The Body-Mind Connection

Like many in the West, I grew up with a concept of the superiority of Spirit over Matter and of intellect over emotions. I have subsequently come not merely to regret my "imprinting," but to feel deeply remorseful about my own misunderstandings, this to the extent of wanting to spend the rest of my life atoning for misconceptions and the imbalances that issued from them.

My present understanding cannot be grasped outside of the context of the healer who genuinely wants everyone to be happy and well. About 17 years ago, I met a psychologist, a neighbor named Cynthia Stauffer, now Thea Nye, who took an immediate interest in my work. As a psychologist, she was trained to look at needs and what makes a person feel "good" and what undermines the psychological sense of well-being. We were forever brainstorming these issues from the angle of what is now called the inner child.

The inner child was, of course, always there. People simply were not trying to make contact with that child and did not recognize the importance of the child. I had some vague preparation for my meeting with Cynthia. Morrnah Simeona, the kahuna in Hawaii, had told me that the subconscious cannot take in what does not feel good to the subconscious.

In other words, if the healing that is offered does not feel healing, the subconscious will resist. The Hawaiians use the term unihipili to describe the complex nature of this lunar self, inner being.

Morrnah's first comment was with respect to Rolfing. Massage was becoming popular in Hawaii and Morrnah was an expert on lomi-lomi, a method of massage that includes walking on the person while the person is face down. Morrnah was 165 pounds and she walked on the bottoms of my feet up to my skull and I felt that I was in Paradise. Her point is that the subconscious has few choices: it was receive or reject. Its nature is magnetic so it takes effort to reject. The subconscious therefore gladly accepts what promises to feel good and strains itself to deflect what it does not want. In the years I spent in her presence, I became increasingly convinced of the importance of this mechanism in healing. I would sometimes go so far as to say that I cannot be healed by platitudes or poisons, give me that which will make me well.

The second preparation I had for working with the subconscious was some research I did, after 20 years still unpublished, on memory. This work involved the use of music to lure memories to the surface. It was clear to me that the psyche does not experience the drastic interruptions in life that we call birth and death. The psyche accumulates experiences and stores them in memory as a sort of amalgam of experiences. Anyone who has worked as a psychologist with memories can understand how powerful the role of associations is and how tricky the historic component of memory is.

In any event, Cynthia and I made great headway in the work with the elements. The ancient theory was that for health to be maintained, the elements of fire, earth, air, and water must be in balance. What we learned is that each person has a tendency to express a favorite element and the areas of experience associated with that element feel good whereas the experiences normal to the other elements do not give rise to the same level of satisfaction.

For instance, a fire type thrives on enthusiasm and suffers when that enthusiasm is dampened by detractors who want to point out the shortcomings of half-baked ventures. Ayurveda teaches similar strategies: do nothing to polarize a fire type because his/her natural tendency towards self defense will focus on the healer rather than shift the underlying causes of illness.

Similarly, an earth type needs to function with a high measure of certainty and predictability. Even when it works out in the long run, risk taking is psychological harmful to these people. Earth types want facts and a large measure of control over what is being done to them in the name of cure; but they can be very compliant and responsible if they are given the tools to direct their own process.

Air types need information and communication. They flip out when a doctor says, "hum" and leaves the room. They want to be recognized first as people and only secondarily as patients. Generally, they do not like being left alone nor treated as unintelligent or unequal. Most important is that therapists should avoid saying and doing anything that would raise the level of pain or anxiety.

Water types usually lack discipline and need to be guided through their processes with a sort of parental firmness. They need to feel nurtured and protected and become quite hysterical if they feel unsafe. They are often quite psychic so saying something encouraging while thinking something more drastic is generally detected. It is therefore better to trust that these people have the inner resources to handle bad news if it is the truth.

Elsewhere, I discuss these issues in great deal, especially on my audio tapes called The Elements: Constitutional Type and Temperament. The point here is simply to make it clear that each person receives and heals in a different way. However, nearly every patient with whom I have spoken states that emotions require validation, acceptance, and healing.

The Elements: Constitutional Type and Temperament


My material on constitutional types can be found in an album entitled "The Elements: Constitutional Types and Temperament." It is can be ordered by clicking on the image to the left.

Four 90-minute audio cassettes, $

Given this understanding, I spent many years during my own dark night of the soul searching for what would be healing for others. It has been a long journey. Thirty years ago, I started an article called "Recovering Innocence." I have never been able to complete this article but I recognize that it the most difficult work we ever do.

We all have a schism between the body and mind and between emotions and spirituality. The easiest way to explain this is to take the rules of monastic disciplines. Whether in the East or West, it was generally accepted that a person of the cloth could not serve two masters. The novitiate to renounce wealth and sensuality. I can remember films of "great" teachers throwing gold coins into the river to prove they are above materialism and greed. Poor people, even children of the teachers, might watch as the water buried the coins in the silt. Celibacy has been an even more difficult challenge to many nuns and monks. They were given chaste berries to subdue their hormones and made to feel incredibly guilty if the dosage wasn't high enough to work!

Many of us in the West are deeply conflicted about our bodies. On the one hand, we aspire to an extremely high level of romantic and spiritual love and on the other cannot find what we desire and succumb to a counterfeit expression.

I now see the body as the outer manifestation of emotions. The body is not independent of feelings but rather a reflection of them. It is also built in the mold of memories and holds the keys to our origins in Time and Space, our link to our place in the Cosmic Scheme. Intellect is a much more curious phenomena. It is what makes people different from other species and even angels; and, as we were taught, it is also what gives rise to ego, overconfidence, and a capacity to pit ourselves against natural law and divine guidance so that we can exercise our free will . . . and sin, sin being any deviation from the Law of God. It is extremely important to differentiate the Law of God from the laws of man. God did not tell us to be hungry, poor, or celibate.

I do not want go into religious arguments about what God did or did not instruct each of us to. I want to focus on the essential schism between the psychological and spiritual components of our being. On the psychological level, we are each of us seeking to be understood, to be accepted for who we are, and to recognized as innocent. Even the law now recognizes the importance of some of these factors because victims are often believed to have just cause for acting out against the perpetrators of their suffering.

This is extremely critical because all emotions are reactions to something that happened to the one having the emotional experience. That in each of us that is receptive is not causal but reactive. That which is receptive holds the memories of the events that have occurred and judges the events according to the unique feelings that the experiencer had at the time.

On the other hand, the spiritual seemingly puts impossible demands on the psychological. The spiritual component of each of us would have us make sacrifices that affect the physical and emotional parts of our being but are deemed unimportant by the spiritual. We put down our lives for causes: why? Isn't it total nonsense to die on the battlefield and leave a beloved family behind? Who in his right mind would do such a thing? The answer is that a mind could get so carried away by its brand of truth that it could do such a thing, but the body would never willingly sacrifice itself. Within the body, there is a survival instinct and deep fear of abandonment, rejection, and loss of love from that upon which the receptive depends.

Yes, the soul is immortal but the body is not and there is a great desire in every body to live.

Little by little, I came to understand that the spiritual is, in fact, causal. It creates the thrust of destiny that brings the rest of the individual into situations in which the experiences are amassed that fill our psyches with fear, dread, grief, rage, depression, and so forth. None of us went out in search of fear. Fear occurred because we ventured into an arena in which the decks seemed to be stacked against us.

I therefore began to develop a system of healing that acknowledged the subconscious and brought the spiritual into loving acceptance of the perils of the incarnational journey. I came to understand that the physical feels constant pressure to adapt to the demands of a seemingly tyrannical overlord. In a mundane sense, we could call this tyrant "Mrs. Should Do" or "Mr. Must Do." However we wish to view this authority, unbearable pressure is put on the inner being to submit to the voice of authority. In a positive situation, it is precisely because of our obedience that we express conscience and loyalty and many other virtues that are esteemed by the "higher self." The problem is that the "lower self" is expedient because it wants some recognition for itself in its own right.

The even bigger problem is that tyrany does not feel loving. The inner child is not idealistic enough to share agendas with the soul. It simply wants to be appreciated because its safety and security depend on the sincerity of the spiritual self, its willingness to look after the vulnerable child and to protect it from danger.

Hildegard of Bingen wrote that cancer patients must be careful to avoid spiritual risks factors. Chief among these was a lack of faith. Faith in what? In the lovingness of God or the world? Because the church has been so heavily tangled up in religion at the expense of genuine spirituality, many individuals do not have a lot of faith. In their realism, they see a world in which the God has not protected them from the worst things they can imagine happening to them. I do not mean this in any sort of irreverent way. I know I might be sounding irreverent, but I mean to sound psychological. If a parent does not intervene to stop the abuse of the other parent, the child naturally believes that the parents do not care. So, why does God let bad things happen?

It is extremely hard to have the kind of faith that enables us to get to the bottom of the Laws of the Universe and to understand our personal journeys within this Universe. What I am proposing is that our existence is predicated on the bond between Spirit and Matter. If Spirit is not expressed through the personality, it may lose interest in the survival issues of the personality. Likewise, a very material person may be so dense that not much Spirit vibrates in the inner space. On the other hand, if a great deal of Spirit is projected into the personality, the personality may have to expand to accommodate this energy. This leads to an ever expanding Space as the frequency of the spiritual being accelerates. A very fast vibration is dematerializing.

In my most sensitive work with clients, I try to facilitate a greater recognition of the relationship of the Spirit and Matter and to evoke a compassionate connection between these often disparate parts of our being. For this, I usually work with music, but sometimes as a channel or astrologer. I totally believe that the longevity of the body is dependent upon the free flow between the emotional and spiritual, the feminine and masculine, the inner child and the soul.

DNA and Cancer


DNA and Cancer




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