Chapter 13, from awarding winning book Peace, Power, & Presence
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.
How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.”
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
The recognition of Life as medicine has been stirring within my awareness for many years now, and I’d like to share what I understand in this regard. It’s really quite magnificent… transforming the world into an experience that is kind, supporting, loving, and intelligent.
The meaning of “Life as medicine” goes back to something else we have already explored, that “Everything is happening for you and not to you.”
Everything that is happening for you has one particular and essential purpose—it is medicine intended to restore wholeness, to dispel illusions, and expand awareness. All phenomena are the emergence of consciousness unfolding. I’ve just taken a look at what a dictionary has to say about the word “medicine” and have been pleasantly surprised—it actually makes reference to the Native American use of the word, which is the one most akin to the way I am using it here.
Let’s take a look at what the word medicine means and how this applies to life. Your life, my life, and Life itself.
Something that serves as a remedy or corrective: medicine for rebuilding the economy; measures that are harsh medicine.
Shamanistic practices or beliefs, especially among Native Americans.
Something, such as a ritual practice or sacred object, believed to control natural or supernatural powers or serve as a preventive or remedy.
Among the Native Americans, any object supposed to give control over natural or magical forces, to act as a protective charm, or to cause healing; also, magical power itself; the potency that a charm, token, or rite is supposed to exert.
The North American Indian boy usually took as his medicine the first animal of which he dreamed during the long and solitary fast that he observed at puberty. F. H. Giddings.
The words in bold indicate the defining points I find particularly applicable. The meaning I am associating with the word “medicine” is “something that brings about healing or provides remedy to dis-ease.” I don’t limit the word dis-ease to physical ailment, but rather I see that it includes all the ways in which a person can be or become not-at-ease. Not at ease with herself, with her life, with her body, her circumstances, et cetera.
What I wish to remind you of is that everything in life is happening for you and comes to you as medicine to remedy dis-ease or an absence of health and wholeness. Health, as defined in most dictionaries, is “the wholeness or soundness of body, mind, and soul.” All things in our world are here to bring about healing and wholeness, one way or another.
People, family members, events, situations, accidents, coincidences, pain, joy, struggles, friends, et cetera, are all a form of medicine perfectly orchestrated into your life to remedy that which is in a place of un-wholeness, disparity, and dis-ease. Life is really one vast conspiracy working not against us and the other manifestations of Life, but rather is working powerfully for the wellbeing of all that is. Conspiracy literally means to breath together. The origins of the word breath also mean spirit. The word conspiracy can also be interpreted from an etymological point of view as to come together in spirit or together as one in spirit. The Universe is one in spirit working toward the wellbeing of all the many manifestations of life—and that includes you and me.
Letting the Victim Go Now
To really get into the feeling of what I’ve just said, it is necessary to absolutely let go of being a victim. As far as I can ascertain, victimitis is a dangerous psychosomatic plague that has passed through the contemporary human collective consciousness, and is presently a global pandemic. Forget about scares of bird flu and the global hoax named “terrorism,” victimitis is far more prevalent and is a far greater threat to the wellbeing of humankind and this planet. In fact, much of the world as we know it is the product of and is heavily dependent upon this state of dis-ease I refer to as victimitis. I have not met many people who are not engaged in a victim mentality at some level. Over my lifetime I have, and still do, watch how a victim mentality crops up within myself, and I’ve found that it gets more and more subtle and slippery the deeper I delve into it.
There is, of course, a gift of Power waiting patiently within this pandemic dis-ease. That gift is the re-cognition, the re-membering, that “I” am one hundred percent re-sponsible for my experience of reality. The Dreamer and the flow of intention moving through and from the Dreamer are entirely responsible for what “I” experience, therefore “I” too must assume that degree of responsibility. Only then will “I” truly experience its divine nature within the dream. One of the greatest steps a person can take on the path of freedom is to reclaim his or her Power from the false perception that “I am a victim” to the things and events happening around me.
To ground this theory in a level of practical benefit, I’d like to suggest that for the next week or two each morning and several times throughout the day you set the intention to remember to pass through the following steps in some form when struggles and challenges arise in your world. This might be a challenge with your circumstances or with particular people. You may want to bookmark these pages to come back to this practice when you find yourself experiencing a conflict. Here are your steps:
First a note about breath and the deeper significance of breath. In my experience breathing fully is crucial for engaging with deep feelings. Each conscious inspiration literally inspires the Body-mind with the spirit and matter. It is our conscious use of breath that engages our attention back into the conspiracy of Life working together as One Power, for the benefit of all. I will point out that spirit or the heavens is representative of the masculine principle, or the masculine side of Awareness. Matter, which may be derived from the Latin word mater meaning “origin, source, mother,” represents the feminine principle, or the feminine side of Awareness. Every conscious expiration literally allows that which has expired or come to an end within your Body-mind to pass back to spirit and the Earth.
So, the first step is to breathe. Breathe deeply and fully, intending your breath through the whole body, whilst physically engaging the pelvic diaphragm (the pelvic muscles), abdominal muscles, thoracic diaphragm, and finally the clavicle. Engaging the lower part of the body in this way stimulates and activates the first three energy centers and neural plexuses within the Body-mind. This is important because if they remain dormant it is very difficult to get to the truth of the matter (the truth within the body).
Step back from the internal reaction that has come up. Being familiar with meditation and ‘the witness’ may be a prerequisite to consciously knowing just what this entails, although I feel that an awareness of ‘the witness’ within one’s consciousness can be felt and experienced with a minimal amount of effort. The key really is to recognise it, as it is always there. This is one of the many benefits of cultivating meditative awareness, and it’s an important element of The Path of Freedom, and something we will explore in the second volume in this series of books. If you are not familiar with meditation I invite you to do your best with inwardly stepping back from the situation you are feeling challenged by. Typically this will mean pulling back from the emotions and thoughts that have been stirred up—which does not mean suppressing or denying these emotions and thoughts.
Remove all notions of “the other,” the “other” being anything or anyone external to yourself. Hence if a person has done something that annoys you, it is necessary to remove that person from your reaction, and from your story about the event. Stay with the reaction but drop the association that has been automatically made between the emotions you are experiencing (your reaction) and the person “out there” who seemed to cause that reaction or emotional response.
If you find it difficult to disassociate the outside world from what you are feeling, simply ask yourself this one question, “Where do I feel this emotion?” It will be immediately apparent that you feel the emotion (the energy that is stirring in response/reaction to the challenging circumstances) within the framework of your own body. You do not feel the emotions out there somewhere. You do not feel them in other people. This energy—this emotion—is within the framework of your body and therefore it is entirely, absolutely, and undeniably, one hundred percent your responsibility. Is this point clear? Remember he who bears the consequence holds the responsibility. The consequence of my destructive emotions is first and foremost experienced by me, so I am the person first and foremost responsible for what I am feeling.
With the “other” removed, that leaves only you or “I” (in the first person, from within you). Now that there is only YOU/I in your relationship to these emotions, bring your awareness (within your feeling world) to the notion that “This is happening for me. I am an Infinite Being and out of that infinity this is what I am co-creating for myself in order to actualise the full magnificence of all That I Am into this world…into the dream.”
It is also now important to release all judgment and opinion around what has happened and around the emotions that have come up. This requires deep trust. To not judge rape or abuse, for instance, as “good” or “bad” requires deep trust, for the ego wants things like this “bad” and “wrong.” If you approach this energy (the emotion you are feeling) from a perspective of right and wrong when you try to explore the notion that it is happening for you and not to you, the victim is going to jump up and start sabotaging your efforts to stay present with what is unfolding.
From this place of no judgment and oneness (there is only YOU and no other) the next steps are going to have to arise from within you. Stay with your feelings. Stay with the emotions. Stay with the thoughts. Continue to breathe. Feel the pause between two breaths after each exhalation for about 2-6 seconds. Stay with that which is within you. When your awareness/attention projects out to some distraction or thought, gently bring it back to the feeling that is within you. Bring your attention down to your belly and breathe.
I suspect you will find that the medicine will make itself known one way or another when you go through a process something akin to the one I have just outlined.
An Agent of Healing
Oh, and before we move on, there is one further important point I wish to make.
Medicine is an agent that induces or supports healing. I’ve said that trust is required for this process to take effect, yet there is something else required, something even more important than trust—humility. In the Huna and Toltec traditions I am familiar with, it is said that first and foremost it takes humility to heal.
Humility requires understanding—literally to mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stand-under the situation you perceive and elevate it into a place of high esteem. This is one application of the affirmation “I am the resurrection and the Life” (also “…and the light”) Jesus the Christ is reported to have said on occasion. To resurrect something is to revive it from disuse or lifelessness. It is through our humility that the I Am within us resurrects the content of our dream into the Life and Light of our Divine Presence.
Healing is the resurrection of our discordant beliefs, memories, and self-image into the fullness of Life, into the Light of the Dreamer.
Energy and Issues
Yes, life is medicine—an agent of healing, growth, and expanding awareness—and yes, there is much to be gained by owning what I experience in reaction to the apparent other people out there in the world. Yes, it is useful to dissociate the other from my reaction so that I may face the challenge that has arisen and claim the gift of Power that awaited my attention. There is, however, an important point that would be folly to ignore once I have claimed that Power.
As human beings our internal reaction to the world beyond our body is denoted by a shift in our internal energy state, by a shift in our emotions. Once I have owned and transformed my relationship to this energy I may or may not continue to have an issue with the situation that stimulated my reaction. For example, let us say that someone I know behaved in a particular way to which I reacted with a feeling of anger. The energy manifesting as anger is my own—this much has thus far been made clear. Yet what about the original issue I had with this person’s behaviour?
I often find that once I face my inner challenge, reclaim my Power, and come to a place of clarity and Presence on a situation, the issue disappears on its own accord—it’s simply no longer an issue for me. While I believe a situation to be a problem, I am making the situation into a problem through what I internally bring to it. Sometimes, however, there continues to be an issue, a basic pragmatic reality that is in discordance in some way, and this is what we’ll look at now.
By communicating without energy about what was a genuine issue for me, I was able to quite naturally play a part in reflecting to this friend what was for her an ongoing challenge with her own Power. For many years she had felt disempowered by the unconscious beliefs and stories that resulted in her untidiness, and yet in the past people had typically reflected their reaction to this only in a way that was condemning and filled with the energy they didn’t wish to own within themselves. Conflict would typically arise, which was reflective of both her conflict (with this particular behaviour pattern and some aspect of her self-image) and reflective of the conflict the other people had within themselves. We’ve all been along that path, and I am sure you know as well as I do that it’s not a Path of Freedom but rather one of pain and misery.
My challenge to you is to own and embrace the energy that is aroused by your challenges with people around you and then to honour the gift of sharing the issues you have with those people in a loving and constructive way, if you still discern there is a genuine issue there. This requires no thought; you’ll simply know. Either there is something I can lovingly share that may be of benefit to this person, or there is not. A simple question you can ask yourself is “What would love do now?” You can also ask yourself what your intention is in sharing this issue with this person. Do I want to change him? Am I trying to improve or fix him? Or am I simply and genuinely expressing from the heart what my experience of his behaviour is—from one unit of awareness to another? Another simple question I ask myself before choosing to communicate to another person about issues I might have with their behaviour is this: “Is this a path with heart?” Is my sharing this an act taken with heart, or with something else such as anger, self-righteousness, self-centeredness, a desire to change people, and so on? The heart, as mentioned, is an inclusive force within Man.
The simple principle behind what we have just explored is this: Always deal with the energy before dealing with the issue.
Essentially this is a question of prioritisation. The most important battle for my Power is the battle I face within my own being. Only after I have fought this battle successfully (i.e., in a way that produces a life-giving outcome) am I ready to share what has been revealed with an-other, so that they too might have the opportunity to face whatever challenge is presenting itself to them, within.
In this way life is medicine through all my relations.
The above content is Chapter 13, “Life as Medicine”, from the book Peace, Power, and Presence.