Personal Health Challenges
During my 60+ years on this Planet, I have
had numerous personal health challenges. I have also offered
my insights to many thousands of people facing their own issues.
My own problems usually involve "excess heat." I
run fevers and suffer acutely when exposed to psychological
and pathogenic toxins. For me, detoxification has
become a process of purification that
involves physical as well as spiritual measures, and successful
detoxification always results in enhanced clarity. Because
of my personal experiences, I feel I am an expert on "fire."
I have never seen illness as an enemy. I believe
illness is a warning that life is out of balance.
It is therefore my sacred duty to restore balance, and it is
a point of honor that I do not persist further in any direction
if doing so would aggravate the symptoms of imbalance. I therefore
respond to illness "obediently" and somewhat passively:
I wait to be shown what is amiss so that I can correct the
problems. In certain ways, this is the opposite of what we
have been taught about acute conditions: normally, they require
immediate responses because they seem to be so threatening.
I have perhaps merely learned to live with fever and come to
respect and appreciate its purificatory action.
Throughout my life, I have had health crises. The first that I remember resulted from
a smallpox vaccine. I was dragged kicking and screaming to
a fire station where morbid material was scratched into me.
I felt hugely violated, enraged that I did not have a choice
about what was forced on me. I was very sick after this.
Scarlet fever caused permanent damage to the optic nerve
of one eye. This experience is my first conscious memory
of modern medicine. On that "red day" when my first
apprehensions revolving around conventional medicine were
triggered, I was three years old.
At that age, I did
not understand how serums were made or I would have been
even further outraged. I now realize that there are those
who do see disease
as the enemy, people who wage war on germs and
justify whatever measures they employ in this war. As
such I recognize the fundamental difference between "medicine" and "healing." In
medicine, disease is to be conquered or destroyed, whereas
in healing, the patient is to be made well. Ironically,
these two theories do not necessarily result in the same
measures nor outcomes.
If the disease is
regarded as dangerous, harm to the pathogens as well
as patient are, as in war, acceptable risk factors, collateral
damage, if you will. However, if the body and the patient
whose body is ill are to be healed, there has to be some
sort of implicit faith in the recuperative power of the
body and regenerative nature of the remedies.
For the most part,
modern medicine does not recognize a healing force within
the body. Perhaps the latest investigations of psychoneuroimmunology
are the closest we have to identifying an inherent healing
mechanism that can be prompted to act in more effective
ways to reduce the risk to the patient.
In any event, this is all academic
and theoretical. I'm a philosopher, not a doctor, and I
am deeply offended by the notion that health can arise
from morbid substances, even more sickened by the idea
that human health depends on the sacrifices and suffering
of innocent animals. Therefore, as a matter of personal
choice, I opt for a gentler approach to my own health challenges.
Soon after arriving in Vietnam (1966-68), I went into a
coma. Doctors from many different countries argued for months
about my "diagnosis." The Government wrote S.O.D.
on the forms: "strange Oriental disease." A doctor
from the World Health Organization insisted that the correct
diagnosis was F.U.O.: "fever of unknown origin." I
could not believe that educated people could argue about
such nonsense. I think I was in deep shock over what I had
seen in my first days in Vietnam, and I needed to spend some
time out of consciousness to rebuild my determination to
stick out my assignment with the Department of State.
|I had more fevers in India (1968-70),
nineteen months of fevers. According to one physician,
I was given enough antibiotics to "kill a herd of
elephants." The vaccines had been ineffective
for the type of typhoid I had, and the antibiotics were
disabling. Once an almost fanatic tennis player, I was
fragile for ten years following my work for the Government.
in Kashmir in 1969
Little by little, I broke with my upbringing. I became a
vegetarian as a matter of conscience, not as a health choicethough
I now believe it is a healthy choice as well as one that
supports my inner truth. I have not used any allopathic medicines
nor had a medical exam since leaving the State Department
in 1970. I do not think I threw the baby out with the bath
water. I simply came face-to-face with the limitations of
modern medicine and began seeking answers from Nature instead
of industry. I wanted to be in harmony, and knew that I had
to live with reverence for the Natural World.
Discovery of Alternative
Medicine and Gifted Healers
After leaving the State Department,
I traveled for a while before returning to my home on the
Big Island of Hawaii where my mother had just recovered from
a life threatening illness. She had been skillfully attended
by a chiropractor with extensive skills. I collaborated with
Dr. Nathalie D. Tucker for the next seven plus years. She
exposed me to a world that was new to me and hugely exciting.
I had recurrent back trouble in those days. In 1969, I had
sustained an injury following an incorrectly administered
injection of antibiotics mixed with anesthesia. X-rays showed
a hole through a vertebra but there never was an explanation
for how this could have occurred since I had fallen backwards
against a concrete step. The radiologist thought I had been
shot in the back and couldn't remember the incident. Nathalie
provided much short-term relief, but it was Dr. Shrikrishna
Kashyap, a yogi-Ayurvedic doctor who "filled the hole" using
his knowledge of the nadi, subtle currents in the
etheric body (aura)and, knock on wood, I have never
had another problem with my back. Shyam (as we affectionately
call him) used only his hands, no medicines, just magic.
I learned that deep healing can be absolutely painless and
remarkably simple. I concluded that if those who wish
to relieve suffering would devote the same time to meditation
and spiritual study as they do to the curriculum in medical
schools that patients would find themselves with meaningful
choices and wise health care providers. Fortunately, every
day, I meet more and more impeccably trained doctors who
are serious about their spiritual lives and service.
In 1995, I was bitten 12-14 times by a black
widow spider. I was in excruciating pain and though not literally
paralyzed, I couldn't move because the pain annihilated the
will to make the effort required to move. Every healer I knew
tried to help me; but in the end, it was a combination of herbs
and very private shamanic insights that brought about my recovery.
For me, life is about finding one's way. For some the journey
is longer than others. Each step of the way, there are new
insights to harvest. I offer the fruits of my path as my service;
but it needs to be understood that my way is not the way of
science, but the way of the soul. The pearls of my path, my
wisdom and experience, are mine and may not have the same value
Every path is different, but each person
does have a need for alignment with his or her soul. It is
up to each person to assess the merits of advice, information,
guidance, and recommendations for himself or herself and then
to act in accordance with the truth as it appears at the time.
My "information" is offered "for what it is
worth" and because it represents a relationship to the
healing process that may be congenial to someone else. When
the resonance is not found, I urge people to continue searching
for what does appeal, because healing should promote integration,
not fragmentation. No one should have to go through contortions
to relate to what I write. If my truth does not feel like your
truth, I urge you to keep searching until you find your own
As a personal matter, I believe that all
diseases are curable. This is a belief. It is not what we tend
to see around us. The "real" world suggests that
diseases can be very dangerous and life-threatening. I happen
not to believe this. I believe that the soul creates life and
the soul takes it away . . . As such, I do not actually know
if anything a doctor or even a gifted healer does actually
extends life. I am sure that every experience influences the
quality of life, and I suspect that the body will tend to stay
alive so long as the soul can express itself through the body.
This said, I am the first to admit that there
are many who do not resonate with this idea. This is why it
is so important to find your own truth and also why we need
to adapt the approach to healing to our own truth and not the
dictates of someone else.
I would be remiss if I did not quote one of
my spiritual teachers, Nechung Rinpoche: "The road to
enlightenment is the most difficult path, learn to do the simple
things well first."
Much of the material on this site is historic or ethnobotanical in origin. The information presented is not intended to replace the services of a qualified health care professional. All products discussed on this site are best used under the guidance of an experienced practitioner.
We encourage patients and their friends and family to avail themselves of the information found on the Internet and to share their discoveries with their primary care practitioners. If there are questions about the suitability of a product or strategy, please have your practitioner contact the web hostess.
We are interested in feedback, clinical data, suggestions, and proposals for research and product development. While we naturally hope for the happiest outcome in all situations, the authors of this web site, webmaster, server, publishers, and Sacred Medicine Sanctuary are not responsible for the success, failure, side effects, or outcome of the use of any of the information or healing strategies described on this site.
Sacred Medicine Sanctuary
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2000, 2001, 2005