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| Magazine: Yoga Journal
Issue: July/August 1997
Author: Kristin Barendsen
Why People Don't Heal
"When I began my work as a medical intuitive," Caroline Myss says from the stage, "I thought that people wanted to heal. Now I don't believe that. I don't believe that at all. We're addicted to the power of the wound, to the privilege the wound gives us. We don't want to be in pain-but we sure don't want to heal."
Wry laughter spreads through the audience. That sound-of a nerve hit dead-on-grows familiar over the course of the two-day workshop in Boulder, Colorado. Five hundred of us have gathered for a conference called Why People Don't Heal, taught by Caroline Myss (pronounced "mace"), renowned medical intuitive, author, and speaker on the New Age circuit. With her feet very firmly on the ground and her ideas blowing through the roof of the building, Myss is part passionate teacher, part mystic, part comedienne. New insights and connections come to her as she speaks, and at times she jumps up and down to get the words out, as if she can hardly contain the energy of her insights.
A Chicago native, Myss speaks with the directness of a city dweller and the warmth of a favorite aunt. "I want to make you feel like you're in my living room," she says. She vows to teach us how to read the fluctuations of our own energy system, and how to let go of old wounds so that we can "engage our health."
Extraordinary goals. But as Myss tells it, to her the extraordinary has always been ordinary. In the Catholic school she attended, nuns healed cancer by prayer and seemed to have direct communication with the divine. Myss describes herself in childhood as a "loose intuitive cannon," receiving impressions from strangers about what sort of houses they lived in and what kind of cars they drove. At 14, she was kicked out of a neighbor woman's house for accurately reading the woman's palm-and "guessing" that the woman's second marriage had never been consummated.
Through young adulthood, this intuitive ability lay dormant. Then at 29, while working as a publisher with Stillpoint, the New Age press she cofounded in New Hampshire, Myss suddenly found herself medically clairvoyant. She could sense not only whether a person was ill-she could feel the location and the quality of the illness. Cancer felt like concrete; epilepsy like an electrical storm in the brain.
Soon she met C. Norman Shealy, a Harvard-trained neurosurgeon who was studying medical intuitives. They began an unusual partnership: From his office in Missouri 1,200 miles away, Shealy would call Myss and ask for a reading on a patient. With only the patient's name, age, and permission, Myss would get impressions of the nature of the illness, "as if I were reading a series of data banks in the body." With practice, she was also able to read the emotional factors that fostered the dysfunction. Myss never met any of Shealy's patients, nor did he tell her whether her diagnoses matched his; these proved important factors in keeping Myss's intuition pure, unaffected by personal connection or desire to perform. Over time, Shealy's records showed that Myss was correct 93 percent of the time. "I have not seen anyone more accurate than Caroline," Shealy says, "not even a physician."
Not uncommonly, Myss would feel an energy disturbance in a patient's body before diagnostic tests could detect the problem. She cites as an example the story of a patient of Shealy's, a dentist. Given the dentist's name and age, Myss could feel that the right side of his body around the pancreas was "generating toxic energy," and that he felt an overwhelming sense of frustration with his career and responsibilities. Her diagnosis was pancreatic cancer. Shealy confirmed that the man had severe pain in his right side that suggested pancreatic cancer, and that he was exhausted and depressed. But tests for cancer had already come back "all clear." Shealy did not mention the possibility of cancer to the dentist, but urged him to re-evaluate the life choices that were contributing to his depression. "Unfortunately," Myss says, "the man was unable to act on Norm's advice." Two weeks later, the tests were repeated, and this time they were positive for pancreatic cancer. The man had surgery immediately, but died four months later.
In a case study with a happier ending, a man Myss had casually met after a lecture called her to ask for help in diagnosing his son, Peter. At first, Myss could not identify the vibrational frequency she was sensing; then, suddenly, she realized that Peter was HIV-positive and had begun to develop AIDS. She called Peter directly, who said, "Jesus, Caroline, I'm so scared. I've had two tests, and they've both come out HIV-positive." Myss and Shealy created a healing program for Peter which included a change of diet, aerobic exercise, quitting smoking, coming out of the closet, and psychotherapy geared toward accepting his homosexuality. Peter's response to the treatment plan was, "Is that all?" As Myss says, "Peter did what he needed to do in order to heal, without complaining or feeling that healing was an effort." Within six weeks, Peter tested negative for HIV. Now a practicing attorney, Peter is still HIV-negative 10 years later. Myss and Shealy wrote up this remarkable story in their first book, AIDS: Passageway to Transformation, published in 1987 by Stillpoint. They followed this book in 1988 with The Creation of Health, a roadmap of how illness corresponds to negative emotions stored in the chakras, the yogic system of anatomical energy.
Shortly after beginning their collaboration, Myss and Shealy took to the classroom, giving workshops on "the science of intuition." Today they give several workshops together each year, including five 10-day intensives called Vision, Creativity and Intuition.
Why People Don't Heal
Myss is quick to demystify medical intuition, calling it "a disciplined science, not a gift. It is simply the capacity to translate symbolic information." She says that doing a reading is not a visual or even physical experience, but "an energetic feeling." Beginning with the root chakra and progressing to the crown, she "follows the circuits" leading back to these storehouses of energy. An energy blockage-which can signal the location of illness-"feels like a brick wall." She compares this feeling to the experience of writing fluently and suddenly hitting a block that leaves you unable to write another word.
Myss says she is fluent in only this area of intuition and no other. "I can't do stocks, I can't do the lottery," she says, adding that if she could, she'd be speaking to us from the Cayman Islands. Meeting strangers, she does not usually receive any more than a general health impression unless that person asks for a reading. That request, she says, seems to "open a door that is not normally opened." When doing a reading from a remote location, she needs the requester's name and age. These details provide "a latitude and a longitude," to differentiate, for example, "Mary Smith age 30 from the 10,000 other Mary Smiths who might exist in the United States." This has been a landmark year for Myss. Her six-tape set released this spring, "Energy Anatomy," sold 2,000 copies within the first two weeks, becoming Sounds True's fastest-selling release ever. ("Why People Don't Heal," a Sounds True recording of a 1992 workshop, was a surprise best- seller and helped spread her notice.) In addition, Myss completed her doctorate in "intuition and energy medicine" (the country's first such degree) at Greenwich University in Hilo, Hawaii. And due out in October is her long-awaited book, Anatomy of the Spirit, culled from the fruits of her doctoral research.
In both Anatomy of the Spirit and "Energy Anatomy," Myss explores the connections between the Hindu seven chakras, the Christian seven sacraments, and the Jewish Tree of Life. From these sources she has distilled what she refers to as the "seven essential lessons of the universal spiritual path" (see sidebar). These "sacred truths" are then woven into one thread, the "health thread of the body." "I've just begun to teach this material publicly," she says. "And every single time people start to weep, I think because they've found a way to go back to their old tradition and merge it with the New Age."
Myss's core teachings revolve around releasing victim consciousness and embracing forgiveness. When she began her work as a medical intuitive, she recalls, the idea that we create our own reality had just taken hold in the New Age community, and people were eagerly trying all kinds of alternative therapies to heal their illnesses. By the late '80s, however, it became obvious that many people were not healing, despite their best efforts and apparent intentions. The question loomed in Myss's mind: "I wonder why people don't heal?" Then one day, the answer was enacted in front of her: Observing a friend reveal, in an inappropriate context, that she was an incest survivor, Myss realized that we "show our wounds" as a way to get close to each other. "Woundology," as she calls it, "is our first language of intimacy." The problem with bonding this way, Myss says, is that it gives power to victim consciousness and keeps people wounded. "Perhaps becoming healthy in some way threatens you more than you realize," she writes in Anatomy of the Spirit. "Perhaps you are unable to let go of something from the past, or perhaps becoming healthy would alter the balance of power between you and another person. . . . If 10 different therapies and therapists are not enough to bring some degree of healing into your life, then you need to consider the possibility of conscious or unconscious interference or the very real possibility that your healing may include preparation to leave this physical life."
So should we all stop processing and fire our therapists? "Therapy is a boat to cross the river," she says. "But we don't get off on the other side." Myss advises acknowledging a wound and talking about it with a friend three times. The fourth time, to be truly supportive, the friend should walk away. By not feeding the wound, Myss says, we can "unplug from the perception" that we were harmed.
Myss explains that this perception stems from an evolutionary stage symbolized by Hammurabi's ancient code of justice: "an eye for an eye." When we believe that someone-our parents, an exlover-has betrayed us, we think it is appropriate to punish that person, sometimes by staying angry for years and years. Thus we spend a majority of our energy in keeping the past alive. If we can learn to forgive those we believe have betrayed us, however, we can "call our spirits back" into present time. Through this act, we heal emotionally, and have more energy available to heal physically.
Walking Her Talk
During this weekend's workshop, Myss expands on her core teachings of woundology and forgiveness, showing how they fit into human evolution and the evolution of the individual psyche. Beginning at 2000 B.C.E., she leads us through history, explaining her interpretation of the symbolic meaning of events. She shows us how spirituality has evolved from fear- based superstition, through a parent-child relationship with God, to the idea that we create our own reality; how our personal and societal evolution progresses from a "tribal," or group identity, through the growth of the individual self, toward the realization that we're all interconnected. She organizes it all in a framework of eight chakras and three "columns of power," and peppers it with stories from her life that sound, by her own admission, like they were lifted from Ripley's Believe it or Not! By the time we get to 1996, the blackboard is a mess of squiggles, and my notes are almost indecipherable, but somehow it all makes sense.
"Have you connected the dots yet?" Myss asks. "Is the light going on?" To workshop participants who enjoy having their perceptions blown apart, Myss's ideas are several months worth of brain candy. Others look baffled. Still others, reluctant to count themselves as woundologizers, try to challenge her stance. A woman claims to have forgiven her abusive mother, but clearly demonstrates she is still angry; Myss keeps her on the hook for 10 minutes, trying to make her see the paradox. She doesn't. "Do you see why consciousness is so frightening?" Myss asks the audience. "Forgiveness doesn't look attractive until we get to the other side." Myss doesn't let her audience get away with much, but her attitude is one of understanding and "tough love" more than judgment. She readily discusses her own struggles to put her teachings into practice. "I'm working as hard as you," she says.
Recently Myss has had to work on rebuilding her own health. In 1992, two weeks after she began to wonder why people don't heal, Myss became ill with a condition that worsened until she found herself, three years later, in a "place of incredible desperation," saying, "I want out-I can't deal with the pain." She searched for guidance from, of all things, her tape "Why People Don't Heal," taking notes on the part about forgiveness. Realizing she needed to forgive two people in her life, she asked the gods to arrange opportunities for contact with these people. Within a few months, both conflicts came to resolution. Now, she says, "The things I'm doing to engage my health are going to start working. Because I'm playing by these rules." "I know the gods hold me accountable to walk the way I talk," she says. "A teacher is dishonorable who doesn't do that." She questions, however, the mythology that a leader should be perfect, noting that people use a leader's imperfections as an excuse to give up their own struggles. "When we find out our leaders are flawed, it gives us permission to be flawed, to not engage [truth] except in theory," she notes. "Since when does a leader have to be perfect?"
Why People Do Heal
Over a hotel lunch of salad and pasta, I ask her more about her illness. I can see that she is tired, an impression I never got from watching her onstage.
The story begins in 1988, with Myss's first and only nosebleed. At the time, Myss was still working as a book publisher and was putting the finishing touches on Creation of Health. She felt great conflict over her ambitions as a publisher and the path of intuition it seemed God wanted her to take. Suddenly hemorrhaging through the nose, Myss was rushed to the hospital. When she found herself outside the ambulance looking in, she guessed she must be dead.
"Okay, well, that's that," she said, feeling no emotion. "Where's that tunnel?" Hovering in "raw space," she was grabbed from behind by "something warm and exquisite," and a voice said, "You've got to get back in your body-it's not time." She then saw her colleague Norm Shealy holding up a copy of Creation of Health. Shealy said, "I thought this would be the beginning of our work together, and it has tragically turned out to be the end." Feeling an "eternal respect" for Shealy, Myss knew she had to come back to continue their work. As she re-entered her body, she asked the voice, "Where's my publishing company?" It was nowhere, and she felt nothing for it. After this experience, she was able to let go of her publishing career and continue her work as a medical intuitive.
But this was just the beginning of her health crisis. Myss underwent nose surgery, and without her consent, the surgeon removed the turbinate system which acts as filter for the nasal passages. Apparently as a result, she developed chronic sinus problems and head pain, which increased until it reached an "intolerable" pitch last year.
Myss was outraged at the surgeon for what she saw as a violation. After going through the "usual machinations" of plotting a lawsuit, she began to look at it symbolically. "Maybe it happened for a reason, and until I forgive [the surgeon], that reason can't surface." Myss offers a few interpretations of her illness. "For one thing, it shows that I have only distributed my energy in the mental field. I've never nurtured or taken care of my body the way I should." She also calls it a chance to learn why people do heal. "I am convinced that in order for me to understand why people don't heal, I had to become very ill. I had to be susceptible to self-pity." After finally letting go of her rage, the question popped into her head: "I wonder why people do heal." And instantly, she had the feeling, "Oh, my God, I'm gonna get out of this."
During the afternoon presentation, Myss elaborates on her theory of addiction. "Addiction is the lack of developed will," she says. "You've given your will over to an external source," such as a substance or a behavior pattern, "that has authority over your biology, your psychology." The will, located in the throat (fifth chakra), is blocked when the heart (fourth chakra) and mind (sixth chakra) are in conflict, Myss says-for example, when one works at an unfulfilling job or stays in an abusive relationship. As long as the heart and mind are incongruent, she says, "you will be an addict." This is also a shortcut to illness. Her advice is to "start talking to yourself in both languages: What do I think and what do I feel?" And "start living by a very different code that says, 'If I don't have agreement from both my mind and heart, I ain't goin'!'"
To develop the will, and release addictions, we must start a form of daily discipline, Myss says. "You begin by commanding your physical body," a necessary step before we can command the spiritual body. Healing from illness often requires enormous discipline of the physical body, which is why illness can lead to self-empowerment, Myss offers.
Does Myss ever catch herself speaking woundology? "Oh, sure," she reassures me. "I'm one of the few people who has no unhappy childhood memories to report. But where it gets me is that I never married or had children." She says she feels "cheated from" this part of life. "I am obviously past becoming a mother," says Myss, who is 43 years old. "And that's a heartbreak for me, because I really wanted to know what that was like. Everyone is dealt a hand in which they're missing a piece, and you can either take that missing piece and use it as guidance, or you can spend your life dwelling on it every day in a sort of shadow meditation. I did a lot of that; I had a lot of self-pity, sometimes to where my dear friend Norm [Shealy] would want to bash my head in. I've made a promise to myself recently: no more."
Most of Myss's large Polish family lives in the Chicago area, and they get together almost every weekend for a family celebration-a communion party, a christening. Christmas Eve is so big they have to rent a hall. Myss lives in a town house in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago where Ernest Hemingway once lived.
Because her intuition is clearest when it's free of emotional attachment, Myss never diagnoses family or friends. "Once an impression becomes personal, it's contaminated," she says. This proves problematic when doing face-to-face readings, as she would become "susceptible to the fears and hopes" of the client. Besides clouding her intuition, it makes the truth harder to tell. "It is too difficult for me to look someone in the eye and tell them, 'Yes, your cancer is spreading.'"
This is not an issue Myss faces today, because she no longer gives readings, either public or private. She recounts the story behind this decision. At a 1992 workshop, she began the afternoon session by sitting down next to a woman and asking her, "What can I do for you today?" Instead of recounting a health problem, as other participants had, the woman "crossed her arms over her chest, looked at me as if I were a con artist, and said, 'I don't know. You tell me. I paid my money.' To say I filled up with rage is like saying it gets a bit cool in a Montana winter. I wanted so much to pick up this woman and escort her to the door that I actually began to hyperventilate. I took a deep breath and said, 'You know, I'm going to sit here next to you until I can think of a reason to thank you for that comment. And we might be here for a very long time.' The atmosphere in the workshop grew tense. No one moved. And then it hit me. I jumped out of my seat and announced, 'I will no longer do any personal health evaluations on anyone. Instead, I will teach you to evaluate yourselves.'" So a new phase in the work began.
Calling Back Our Power
Illness, Myss says, corresponds to a loss of energetic power in specific areas of the body. Most power losses are caused by negative emotions such as fear, anger, or intimidation. Certain emotional scenarios register in certain chakras: Jealousy hits us in the stomach (third chakra, personal power), fear for the safety of a loved one makes the heart race (fourth chakra, love), financial violation affects the lower back and bowels (second chakra, sex and money). Chronic stresses in these areas can lead to illness. In this way, our personal history is recorded in our cell tissue. "Your biography is your biology," she says.
We can call back our power, she explains, if we refuse to be commanded by negative emotions. "Someone says to you, 'Aren't you afraid of being alone when you grow older?' And you can feel the potential of hooking into that fear. But instead you command yourself to say, 'I don't want any part of that fear.' And your energy says, 'OK, no contact made,' and it has no more clout than if I said, 'Aren't you afraid of my trash can? Aren't you afraid of this rug?'" Prayer and deep breathing are also helpful, Myss adds. This practice of calling back our power is a kind of preventive energy medicine. Myss distinguishes it from the skill of medical intuition, saying that the latter takes years to learn. She has not yet attempted to teach intuitive diagnosis, for fear that people would practice it irresponsibly. "Most Western people think you can go to a weekend workshop, turn around, and practice medical intuition." But she predicts that as the year 2000 turns, medical intuition will become a more accepted and common profession, and her attitude about teaching it will change.
This shift in the status of medical intuition will be only one part of a larger phenomenon, Myss insists. She describes our approach to the millennium as growth toward a new stage of evolution.
Societies, she teaches, evolve through three phases. They begin as "tribal," bonded closely by bloodline; the tribe provides for the physical safety of its members and its members obey the group law. Humans in this phase operate out of their first three chakras: physical needs, sex and money, and personal power. In the next phase, individual tribal members rebel against the group, and aspects of the self develop: the heart, will, mind, and spirit (chakras 4 to 7). In the third phase, chakras 8 to 10, we "live in the energetic spirit world before matter" and begin cocreation with the divine. In this third phase of evolution, our attitudes and beliefs shape our health and the events of our lives.
Approaching the millennium, we are poised on the threshold of this door. But we cannot fully engage these new "Aquarian" rules until we release the old rules of our bloodline tribe. "You're trying to release rules you grew up on, that everybody you know is connected to," she says. "And you're trying to simultaneously visit this other dimension. That's the madness you feel today. We are engaging in the power that guided mystics while leading ordinary lives."
We are reluctant to release tribal rules, Myss says, because we are afraid of getting kicked out of the tribe-we'll be alienated from our families and old friends. Therefore, we either stay back with the group, "pacing our evolution" with them, or we try to take the group with us, attempting to recruit our loved ones into the "consciousness camp." Myss advises against both of these options, saying that we cannot take everyone with us. If we stop speaking woundology, for example, other woundologizers will not be happy with us, and we will be kicked out of their tribe. Rather than waiting for them to change, we need to move on. Trying to change others will likely do more harm than good, she says, especially if we don't practice what we preach, but "if your example inspires others, then well done."
In this new dimension, Myss explains, we still connect to tribes, but we do it consciously. We move away from a loyalty based on bloodline, choosing instead to bond with people when we feel a spiritual connection. Eventually we see the big picture: We're all interconnected, and "all that belongs to life is a part of the tribe."
Keep Your Eye on the Eight
Looking at the events of our lives symbolically, as opportunities to learn and to engage higher levels of truth, helps us disconnect from the old paradigm. In Myss's language, this is "keep your eye on the eight"-the eighth chakra, the lessons we've agreed to learn in this lifetime. Myss describes the eighth chakra as "the center of your contract: the agreements you made before you were incarnated." In some people, she says, "It's obvious to me that they have agreed to learn in this lifetime the end of their victim consciousness. Therefore, they will have numbers of experiences that will bring out their victim side until they become aware of it and challenge it." The "umbrella of your life," the eighth chakra is metaphorically located above the head like a kind of aura, Myss says. She mentions the ninth and 10th chakras in a preview of coming attractions: She knows these chakras exist and can feel them, but she "can't get in." So, if we stop thinking of ourselves as victims, and stop speaking woundology, what will be our new language of intimacy? "It begins with self-love," Myss says. It's a language in which it is "okay to express healthy self-esteem. We still mark it as egocentric to say, 'You know what? I'm really good at this.' Or, 'I really like myself.' Why is that a social no-no? We've got to realize that feeling healthy includes feeling good about ourselves." In this new model, we won't have to exchange weaknesses to build intimacy or compromise our sense of self. Instead, we can say, "I like your attitude; it empowers my attitude." And we can be strong and vulnerable at the same time.
But even if we do learn healthy intimacy, connect to a universal tribe, and cocreate with the divine, we shouldn't expect life to be perfect. "We've turned consciousness into a Promised Land mythology. Once you're there, you're totally fit physically, totally fit psychologically; you have endless energy, endless creativity; you always look good, you never age-come on! Consciousness is not gonna make it a pleasure cruise on this planet!" When I call Caroline Myss two months later, she sounds particularly upbeat. Just before the workshop I attended, she saw a doctor in Boulder who put her on a strict healing regimen to relieve her allergies. Her program includes eating more protein and practicing hatha yoga. (She feels about exercise the way Dorothy Parker did about writing: "I like having exercised.") Myss says her healing program is tough, but it has to be, "because I have to be able to say, 'I'll tell you how hard it is . . .' It's not enough to teach it-I have to live it."
She believes that forgiveness had everything to do with her turn for the better. Right after she forgave the surgeon, somebody recommended the Boulder doctor, who had a rare opening in his schedule. "We could call it coincidence, but I don't think so."
Can Myss "do a reading" on her next five years? She has a full lecture schedule next year, and plans for two more books: Why People Don't Heal . . . and Why They Do, and Sacred Contracts: Agreements We Make Before We Incarnate. She says she has no ambition about what she'll learn next. "My ambition is about how well I teach what I've learned."
Chakra One Organs: Physical body support; base of spine; legs, bones, feet; rectum; immune system. Mental, Emotional Issues: Safety and security; ability to provide for life's necessities; ability to stand up for oneself; feeling at home; emotional support. Physical Dysfunctions: Chronic lower back pain; sciatica; varicose veins; rectal tumors/cancer; depression; immune disorders.
Chakra Two Organs: Sexual organs; large intestine; lower vertebrae; pelvis; appendix; bladder; hip area. Mental, Emotional Issues: Blame and guilt; money and sex; power and control; creativity; ethics and honor in relationships. Physical Dysfunctions: Chronic lower back pain; sciatica; ob-gyn problems; pelvic/low back pain; sexual potency; urinary problems.
Chakra Three Organs: Abdomen; stomach; upper intestines; liver, gall bladder; kidney, pancreas; adrenal glands; spleen; middle spine. Mental, Emotional Issues: Trust; fear and intimidation; self-esteem, self- confidence, self-respect; care of others; responsibility for making decisions; sensitivity to criticism; personal honor. Physical Dysfunctions: Arthritis; gastric or duodenal ulcers; pancreatitis/diabetes; indigestion, chronic or acute; anorexia or bulimia; liver dysfunction; hepatitis; adrenal dysfunction.
Chakra Four Organs: Heart and circulatory system; lungs; shoulders and arms; ribs/breasts; diaphragm; thymus gland. Mental, Emotional Issues: Love and hatred; resentment and bitterness; grief; self-centeredness; loneliness and commitment; forgiveness and compassion; hope and trust. Physical Dysfunctions: Congestive heart failure; myocardial infarction (heart attack); mitral valve prolapse; cardiomegaly; asthma/allergy; lung cancer; bronchial pneumonia; upper back, shoulder; breast cancer.
Chakra Five Organs: Throat; thyroid; trachea; neck vertebrae; mouth; teeth and gums; esophagus; parathyroid; hypothalamus. Mental, Emotional Issues: Choice and strength of will; personal expression; following one's dream; using personal power to create; addiction; judgment and criticism; faith and knowledge; capacity to make decisions. Physical Dysfunctions: Raspy throat; chronic sore throats; mouth ulcers; gum difficulties; temporomandibular joint problems; scoliosis; laryngitis; swollen glands; thyroid problems.
Chakra Six Organs: Brain; nervous system; eyes, ears, nose; pineal gland; pituitary gland. Mental, Emotional Issues: Self-evaluation; truth; intellectual abilities; feelings of adequacy; openness to ideas of others; ability to learn from experiences; emotional intelligence. Physical Dysfunctions: Brain tumor/hemorrhage/stroke; neurological disturbances; blindness/deafness; full spinal difficulties; learning disabilities; seizures.
Chakra Seven Organs: Muscular system; skeletal system; skin. Mental, Emotional Issues: Ability to trust life; values, ethics, and courage; humanitarianism; selflessness; ability to see larger pattern; faith and inspiration; spirituality and devotion. Physical Dysfunctions: Paralysis; genetic disorders; bone cancer; multiple sclerosis; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Adapted from Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss, Ph.D. Foreward by C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. Copyright © 1996 by Caroline Myss. To be published in October by Harmony Books, a division of Crown Publishers, Inc.
Guidance for the Contemporary Mystic
Think in a vocabulary of oneness.
Look through the lens of symbolic sight. Remind yourself that all physical and emotional obstacles are illusions. Always seek the energy meaning contained within a situation, and follow it. Evaluate your daily choices and the consequences of those choices for your energy system. This will help you sense when you are losing energy to fear or negative thinking.
Look at the sacred text of your biological energy system for daily guidance. Keep in mind the seven sacred truths of the body and spirit: Simple and powerful, these truths help focus the mind, body, and spirit back to a contact point with Divine awareness. So long as you use these truths as reference points, you can evaluate any loss of power and retrieve your spirit by consciously recognizing which truth you are not honoring. Finally, as a daily act of meditation, draw your attention consciously into each of your chakras, beginning with the first and working your way up. As you focus your attention, ask yourself the following questions:
1. "Am I losing energy? If so, what fear is drawing power from this part of my body?" Then take a deep breath and consciously disconnect your energy from that fear.
2. Invoke the protective energies of the spiritual guardians of that particular chakra.
3. Enter consciously into the energy of that chakra and sense the quality of energy activity increasingly in that part of your body.
Proceed through the chakras focusing in the following ways: For chakra one, feel yourself connected to all of life. Bless the life you have agreed to live, and the family, both personal and extended, that make up your life.
For chakra two, sense the energy you have released from this area of your body into acts of creation. If your energy is contaminated-filled with negativity and fear-reexamine your intention. See each person in your life as having a Divine purpose. Wherever you cannot see that Divinity clearly, ask for the energy to see through the illusions that are controlling you. For chakra three, focus on the qualities of integrity and endurance. Evaluate your own code of behavior and whether you have compromised your honor in any way. If so, meditate on the significance of honor and ask for assistance in maintaining your personal standards.
For chakra four, focus on the energy of love and compassion. Evaluate how well you extend love to others as well as to yourself, including the loving energy that is contained within the act of forgiveness.
For chakra five, focus on the energy of mercy and judgment, and evaluate the quality of the thoughts you are holding about other people, as well as yourself. Evaluate the words you have shared with others and, if you have expressed harmful words, send positive energy to those people. If you have expressed false words, consciously acknowledge that you have acted to deceive others, and examine the fear that exists within you from which deceitful actions emerge. Ask that the Light enter that fear and give you the courage not to act in that negative pattern again.
For chakra six, focus on the energy of Divine wisdom and understanding and continue to evaluate your daily life. Request wisdom and insight for the situations in which you feel confused or frightened. Remind yourself that each of us has a special gift to give to this life and that each of us is inevitably led to that path. It is impossible to miss our life's purpose. For chakra seven, focus on your contact with the Divine, consciously completing and releasing your unfinished business. Allow the energy of God to enter into your mind, body, and spirit, and breathe that energy into your being.
In this daily meditation practice, you will evaluate the health of your body, your mind, and your spirit. Working with the meditation will let you feel the health of your spirit and your body. With it you can work to increase your awareness of the balance of power within your energy system.
Kristin Barendsen is a freelance writer in Oakland, California.
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