The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.” 29.
The Astrologer On a clear night on the island of Allandon, the astrologer was peering through the telescope in the village observatory when the scientist walked in. “How’s the view now?” asked the scientist.
The astrologer stepped away from the telescope and turned to the scientist. “Brilliant! The changes you made to the lens are perfect. Everything is so much clearer.” “I’m glad to hear it’s working well,” said the scientist. “Yes, I don’t know how I can repay you,” said the astrologer.
The scientist moved up to the telescope. “Oh, I don’t know,” he said casually as he peered quickly into the eyepiece. “Perhaps you could, you know, do one of those chart things you do.” The astrologer was surprised. “You would like me to do your birth chart?” “Oh, just for fun, you know,” he said. “I don’t really believe in those things.” “Uh-huh,” she replied with a smile. “Now don’t get me wrong. I mean no disrespect. But isn’t it completely irrational to think that the position of the stars could really have anything to do with our lives?” he asked. “Perhaps it is,” she said.
The scientist frowned. “That’s not what I wanted to hear.” “No?” “Well, I was hoping that you could give me some proof that this stuff is real.” The astrologer looked into his eyes. “Do you have a feeling inside you that wants it to be real?” “Yes, I suppose I do,” he conceded. “Look there for your proof,” said the astrologer gently. In life there is no getting away from duality. As I have said, it is a requirement of existence itself. However this does not mean that it is ever necessary for us to identify firmly with one side of a duality and be in opposition to the other. We don’t need the battles of the sexes, the pitting of Democrats against Republicans, the wars of opposing ideologies. We have started to become so overtly aware of the damage caused by polarization that we are getting very clear in both our hearts and our minds what will be required of us to heal our divides. As we bridge the rift between the West and the East, the material and the spiritual, reason and faith, innovation and tradition, both sides benefit. I am reminded of a movie I saw a few years ago entitled The Painted Veil, in which Ed Norton plays a bacteriologist and physician who has volunteered to go to a remote village in China to help stem a major cholera epidemic that has broken out. Through a series of deductions he realizes that the village’s water supply is continually being contaminated as a result of a local spiritual tradition to bury the bodies of the dead within the banks of the river. His orders to remove the dead bodies from the river banks are met with fervent opposition by the locals, who can’t comprehend that this is actually contributing to the outbreak. It is only when his reason-centered approach is allowed to influence their faith-based tradition and that the outbreak is brought under control. On the flip side, our society is seeing a growing number of people of reason looking to people of faith, openly searching for something they realize is missing in their lives, something they cannot find through rationality alone. I personally have benefited from learning that I was sometimes best to follow my intuition even when the prudence of reason spoke otherwise. Living life not only through the intellect but also through the heart has made me much happier, more self-aware, confident, and perhaps even a little more humble. I have seen much of my fear fall by the wayside. I no longer feel the need, as I did up through university, to express my cynicism and outrage at all the darkness that I felt around me. My optimism about life today is unlimited. My life is no longer just about strategies to cope with fear and isolation, but also about connecting to a unity that has been there all along, just waiting to be discovered. We begin to fulfill our potential as human beings when our reason and intuition both have a voice, when we develop both the left and the right sides of our brain, and perhaps more importantly when they are working together. We can move from our heart saying one thing and our head saying another thing to a more integrated experience. This is what it means to feel whole. I truly believe these two forces were made to complement each other, and when our rational and intuitive sides are both active and in harmony, we are positioned to have the most sublime experiences life has to offer. On a larger scale, I believe the healing of the planet is also the bringing-into-balance of two sides, a profound merger in all facets of life of East and West. This is the last great synthesis, which promises to bring together the two fundamental ways that we look at life. This synthesis does not always unfold as smoothly as the harmonious interplay of yin and yang in the East. Neither, however, is it the fully confrontational battle of thesis and antithesis in the West’s Hegelian dialectic tradition.
The tone of this final resolution of materialism and spirituality, of atomism and holism, of reason and intuition, of individuality and communality, appears to be borrowing from both systems of thought. Perhaps this is a good indication that the healing of these two polarities is well underway. In our society, what is occurring in the healing arts and sciences themselves is a prime example of how this synthesis is taking place.
The ways we seek to cure what ails us, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, have started to converge. This is notwithstanding the fact that many proponents of the Western medical model have been fighting the rise of Eastern medicine in our society at every turn. Our health coverage is still designed to advantage practitioners and patients of Western medicine over the so-called ‘alternative’ modalities offered by Eastern practitioners. But over the last few decades, Eastern modalities are no longer considered ‘alternative’ as such, and are ever gaining on Western medicine as the preferred choice for treatment and prevention. Note that the term ‘alternative’ was first popularized when people who had been given no hope by Western doctors for chronic and often life-threatening illnesses searched for an alternative approach. Western medicine is atomistic, based on the principle of dividing an organism into its component parts and dealing directly with the part that is diseased, so that this inherently bad part can be eradicated. Cancer, for example, has generally been treated in one way: if a tumor is found, the doctor will look for ways to excise it, shrink it, or render it inert and stop its growth.
There has been little consideration given to the complex organism—the human being—that the cancer emerges out of. Now truth be told, the undistracted attention on the part rather than the whole has led to significant expertise in some areas. Surgical techniques that have saved the lives of many and improved the quality of life of countless others are the product of a Western mindset. So is the development of prosthetics, hearing aids and artificial organs, to name just a few important innovations.
The focus of Western thought on the individual and the separateness of all things has honed the skill of the Western doctor in dealing with the minutest detail of an individual event or symptom—at the expense of gaining expertise on how to deal with the person as a whole. Eastern medicine, by contrast, is holistic. That means that any organism is considered to be more than the sum of its parts.
The interrelationships of the parts with one another and with the organism as a whole are the focal points. For this reason, the Eastern practitioner may treat identical cancer tumors located in exactly the same spot in two patients quite differently.
The tumor itself is not the focus of treatment, since the tumor is considered a symptom of a deeper illness.
The focus is the state of the organism and the conditions that gave rise to the tumor in the first place.
The tumor itself is not considered bad; it is simply the manifestation of dis-ease, a message from the consciousness of the organism that its system is out of balance. And so the Eastern practitioner strives to help bring the organism back into balance, such that once the balance is restored, the organism is empowered to deal with the symptom of imbalance, in this case the cancerous tumor. Up until very recently in the West, we only saw the doctor as a kind of ‘fixer’, a dispassionate expert whose words and prescriptions were not to be questioned. He was somehow above us rather than in some kind of relationship with us. It is not a surprise that Western doctors were typically known to have very poor bedside manner, and would speak to us about our disease conditions impassively or at best with misguided sympathy.
There was no relation, for the Western doctor, between our condition and the emotional impact of the doctor’s behavior towards us or the actual manner in which the treatment was conducted. If there is cancer, it was thought that it will either grow or be killed off solely based on the efficacy of the radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. In contrast, the Eastern doctor is the ‘healer’ who forms a partnership with us to restore balance. It is more common for the Eastern practitioner to get to know us in areas other than those directly related to our medical condition.
Their concern tends to be not only our physical but also our mental, emotional, and spiritual balance.
The manner in which treatment is administered is often an essential aspect of the treatment itself.
The proposition that Eastern and Western modalities could work together, hand in hand, has only started to come about recently. On the one hand, many Eastern practices have been modernized and enhanced by Western technology and diagnostics methods. On the other hand, there have been a growing number of pioneers in the West who, while still grounded in the practice of Western medicine, believe that Eastern practices and techniques can be used in conjunction as complementary modalities. As an example, Western-based Cancer Centers are popping up that understand that illness must be addressed on the multi-dimensional levels that make up a complete human being—not just because it is what patients want, but because treating a patient as a whole person and not just a collection of body parts is becoming recognized as an effective component of healing. This is backed up, by the way, in clinical studies. Individually we are becoming aware that healing is not just taking a pill or applying a cream to mask symptoms or give temporary relief. It is not painting a happy face over a legacy of pain and sorrow. And so too in the world, healing does not take place when one force tries to annihilate another, or when a society’s external order masks the internal suffering that rises from discrimination and intolerance. Healing is really getting to the source of our pain, bringing our darkness out into the open so that we can look at it and allow it to be. It is in acknowledging that we have fear and giving ourselves the opportunity to shine our love on it that healing occurs, for in submitting our fear to the light of love, it suddenly is transformed.
The transformation of our fear is complex, and occurs at many levels. If we follow the Eastern vision, the universe is a single living organism that we as human beings are a part of. We are also ourselves an organism made up of smaller organisms—heart cells and liver cells and blood cells, all with a life of their own but which contribute to the functioning of the larger organism.
These organisms are therefore all interrelated by purpose. That is why our own personal path is inextricably linked with the journey of humanity, and the destiny of the universe. We are all on a common path—a healing path—back to the full unity of the Dao. We each have a unique pattern of light and darkness, of Love and Fear, and are on a path to let go of our darkness. When we have let go of all of our darkness then we will have let go of our individuality too, for our individuality is the ultimate illusion. As a being of pure light we would become self-identical with the Dao. This is the melting of the island into the ocean from whence it came. But the Western vision sees the transformation of our fear differently. From the mechanistic standpoint we are separate and distinct. Our evolution is certainly not driving to dissolve our individuality but rather is seen as strengthening it. We wear the overcoming of our fear like a badge of courage, emblematic of our personal growth. We are not going back but rather we are going forward, evolving on the leading edge of consciousness. In the final synthesis of East and West there must be a sacred merger of both of these visions into one. Perhaps our path is not simply a return of the island back to the ocean, but also the flowering of the island into increasing complexity. When a part of us heals, we could say at one level that we let go of darkness, but at another level we could say the darkness is transformed. We can see it as a maturing of the character of our Ego Self, making the veil of the illusion of our individuality finer, more transparent, and yet at the same time stronger and more sophisticated. In this way it is possible to move towards greater individuality while moving closer to a unity with the Dao at the same time. It is as though we are each a sacred abode for the Dao, and our maturation moves us from simple to complex. At one time in our history we could be compared to simple caves and now are each becoming magnificent cathedrals. As caves, it would have been very difficult for the light of the Dao to penetrate into our limited consciousness. In fact we would practically have to go outside ourselves to become aware of the light of the Dao. But imagine us now becoming grand cathedrals, vast, spacious, with colorful stained glass windows on all the walls, letting in the light of the Dao. Our expansion from the cave to the cathedral is our move towards enlightenment. It is the march of consciousness. As our abodes become more complex, more intricate, more sophisticated, the more they allow in the light of the Dao. And so the more they become cherished houses for the Dao to experience itself from a particular perspective—our individuality. As the flow of life moves us into ever-greater complexity, we will experience our grandeur as never before. If the purpose of life is to provide each one of us with the most exquisite experience possible, one could equally say the purpose of life is to provide the Dao with the most exquisite experience of itself through us. We are at a time in history where our cathedrals are undergoing major transformations, to give us more space and bring in more light for our experiences. For now, it is enough to be aware that we stand on one side knowing that part of the truth is held on the other side. And if we can begin to see the possibility of having a foot in both camps, of thinking two ways in parallel, then we are indeed participating in bringing humanity through a watershed in the evolution of our consciousness. To get there we must become beings who can stand comfortably in discomfort, loving our own fear and accepting our own judgment. This move to greater complexity is our true coming-into-balance, the healing of the dichotomy that makes up who we are. And the more we are healed, the better we are placed to allow the source of all Creation to shine through us and fulfill the highest expression of ourselves, as beings of boundless creativity. In this free 7-part series, Dr. Pedram Shojai teaches you about the power of healing your oral biome. More than 70% of all chronic inflammatory diseases begin as tiny bacteria in your mouth getting flushed into your bloodstream. Gut health begins in the mouth, this is the cutting edge truth that's emerging. Learn the simple, low cost methods to restore or.
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