Deep in Central Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains, an isolated tribe of
Huichol Indians invited me to help them eradicate a decade-long
epidemic among the children that was caused by witchcraft.
There is no difference between
the psychological and the physical body; thoughts and feelings are a real,
measurable force. We can use them to
design our reality rather than just react to it.
Destiny is the hand that you're dealt; free will is how you choose to play it. Find a way to be fully present with who and where you are, practice radical self-acceptance, and then play your hand well.
you get sick, you heal better in community. When family, neighbors, and clans,
come together and push toward a common goal, it actually makes that outcome
more likely, because everyone has a stake in the outcome. The dreams of individuals are magnified when people dream together. Gathering
together in community is the core experience of all tribal cultures.
Everything in the
universe contains its own energy. Each
scientific discipline and religious group describes that energy in its own
words. It doesn't matter how we
define this energy — it matters that we acknowledge it exists. It can help us heal ourselves, and the planet.
We have monitored the brains
of chanting monks, praying nuns, yogis buried alive, even shaman in
drug-induced states. They all light up a portion of
their brains called the Orientation Association Area (OAA), which is responsible for telling us where we are in space. Trance states
intensify input into this area, which moves you beyond your actual physical
boundaries; it's as if you float in another time and space.
As a physician, a Western-trained scientist, I believed everything could be explained. In Indian Country I got to meet some traditional healers. When I saw what the medicine man did, I thought that was magical, but they saw their practice as perfectly logical and explainable. Working with American Indians changed my life; they challenged my medical school assumptions about how people got sick and how they got well. Part 1 of the memoir Kindling Spirit: Healing from Within.
Storytellers need to find new fireplaces around which to tell the tale, and Reality Sandwich is one; a community of kindred spirits who share a mythology about how to sustain ourselves (and the planet) in a civil society. Kindling Spirit: Healing from Within, is my story about ordinary triumphs, tragedies, miracles, indigenous wisdom, radical self-acceptance, shamanic healing, and altered states of consciousness; they all reveal how, if we are willing to look at the familiar in new ways, we can create new endings to old stories.