Future Medicine - The Placebo
I've always been slightly perturbed by the use of the phrase “It's only the placebo effect” because that gives the impression that we are only interested in finding the “right” pill or potion rather than being interested in alleviating the distress of the person that has sought help.
If somebody manages to “cure” their ailment by believing that the medicine or treatment they have been given is amazing but in effect their “cure” came from their own belief rather than from the empty pill they were given, surely as a society we should be getting excited about the tremendous power of our beliefs?
I am currently writing a storybook in which the entire history of mankind goes through an amazing and unexpected paradigm shift after the University of Life published study results that had been amassed from data right across the globe covering all ages, cultures and perspectives.
The study showed that people's perception of being “healed” were all different. Some diagnosed with cancer were given healing and from that they found peace with themselves and thus they considered that they had received a “cure” even if they knew they would still die from their cancer. Others would consider only the avoidance of death as a “cure”, whilst others wished only to alleviate symptoms in order to feel “cured”
And so the study created two groups, those which had found their “cure” and those which had not.
Then an interesting thing emerged from the studying of the results. The scientists worked alongside spiritual healers so they could better gauge together the “true” feelings of the study group people, after all we are not always completely aware of hidden issues that would twist and turn our perceptions at outer levels which may not be apparent to us and yet as outer levels they form the boundary of our being and thus impact our entire lives.
For example, there are few humans which use the sense that tells us we are oxygen depleted. We are surrounded by air, we don't give it a second thought because it is just there, everywhere. If the atmosphere is removed creating a vacuum then we don't need any fine senses to alert us to that! There are few people that have separated their awareness of atmosphere and oxygen to any degree and even fewer that know their body has a sense for it!
Through the path of my life experiences I have developed a small ability. I grew up in London but that was back in the day when all the streets were lined with trees, nowadays the need to “save money” has pretty much wiped them out with devastating effects on air quality. I had cancer in 2000 and cancer thrives in a de-oxygenated atmosphere so my body recognises experientially what an internal imbalance of oxygen feels like....and its effects on life. Nowadays I live in the middle of the Finnish forest and my body recognises experientially what an oxygen balanced body feels like. It's not just the oxygen rich and pollutant free air which creates this difference, exercise improves my circulation especially the movement of the lymphatic system responsible for removing toxins and waste products from my body.
The traditional Finnish sauna is an amazing holistic therapy creating a jump start for any sluggish system by pumping the circulation via the alternating hot/cold cycles of a normal sauna visit. The blood pumps round more efficiently which means that more oxygen is delivered to my internal organs and so in turn they are able to perform their unique functions more efficiently which means they produce more of their normal by products but these are also removed more efficiently due to the more efficient movement of the lymphatic system and so on. Also the additional benefit of opening up the body's biggest organ, the skin, to its most efficient use. The skin has been warmed and massaged by the enhanced pumping and now sweats much more efficiently, eliminating more toxins and waste products directly out of the body without having to be circulated through all the other organs first (think how awful it feels on day one of your detox when the body slowly starts to let the buried toxins go and they pass through your body on the way to elimination).
So, coming to live in Finland after my cancer has given my body an awareness of oxygen saturation which I didn't know I had until September 2014 when I was in London for a week on a photography course. On the final day of the course I became aware of myself feeling somewhat agitated but I thought it would settle down once I went out for a walk in the fresh air at lunchtime. Lunchtime arrived and we had been set an assignment to shoot whilst we were out. I didn't feel any better outside so I headed to the supermarket to get some food, thinking that maybe that would help. The food section was in the basement and even though I ate as soon as I'd purchased something it didn't help. As the feeling inside grew and rose ever closer to the surface I recognised it as a panic attack but there were no other reasons or feelings currently active within me to validate that, so it seemed I was having a panic attack whilst totally aware that I was not panicking about anything.
Regardless, I headed out of the stuffy shop to get some fresh air, unfortunately I had forgotten that I was on Oxford Street and so stepping out of a shop changed nothing of the air quality, in fact it probably took a step downwards. By now the feeling was so powerful that it threatened to overwhelm me and so I headed into Soho Square, a small oasis of trees, grass and benches. I sat, concentrated on my breathing and recovered my self. I believe that my body was alerting me about the dangerous levels of air pollution which had dramatically reduced the available oxygen. Having no internal symbology for understanding the alert it had appeared as a most basic instinct of “you have to get out of here”
I believe that it is well known that air pollution is now at ridiculous levels but it doesn't get spoken about because nobody really owns air. Interestingly, even though it was a sunny day with clear skies there was a very local and torrential downpour that afternoon which no doubt cleaned the air back to more acceptable awful standards. Anyway, I am not here to open up that can of worms, merely to show my credentials, such as they are, for claiming a certain awareness of oxygen levels within my own body.
So, we have senses for things which we don't even know we are sensing which are communicated to us via the best fit of the internal symbology that we currently have. Our bodies are amazing creations, way beyond things we are even capable of currently recognising but we can always be sure that our feedback loop and survival instinct are intact and doing the best they can with the tools they have available to keep us protected. This is a whole other subject which must wait for another day but it is the basic bread and butter of my healing practice i.e. people come to me because they sense something isn't quite right but they have no way of putting their finger on it
So back to the study! The scientist and the guru (this is just the word I shall use to describe the spiritual person with the ability to sense others' energies) conduct their studies and ascribe folk to the “healed” or the “not healed” categories based on the perceptions of the study group participants and not on any old style perceptions of what constituted a “cure”
What they found was very interesting. Most of the test subjects ascribed to the view that “illnesses” were something that came into the person, a virus would somehow get into them and they would be “fighting” with it, with the eventual “winner” deciding the outcome. A much smaller group saw a virus as a jigsaw piece which would connect with a certain type of cell within their body with an almost or absolutely perfect fit. This “perfect” fit was almost always perfectly spherical and created a new “whole”. It still caused a reaction in the recipient's body, in most cases an acute reaction which would send the patient spiralling into internal chaos.
Now, the guru could read this “situation” as a mini paradigm shift (for want of a better phrase!), this whole new cell being a catalyst which created an acute reaction, an internal crisis point which brought into being the opportunity for personal growth (in whichever way was appropriate for the person based on their own personal symbology). Basically the patient was manifested to a crossroads of opportunity and choice, a new way lay ahead into a new paradigm wherein certain elements of the old would no longer hold sway over them by virtue of the amalgamation created by the virus, creating a new whole wherein the former antagonists would join together and become more powerful. (Don't worry I will explain all that gobbledegook in a moment!)
Basically what the scientist would call the production of an antibody which enhances the efficacy of the immune system thereby rendering the patient immune to further attacks of that nature.
From where the guru was sitting, there was a stepping out of duality into a new space of Oneness. I'll give an example to make that clearer! I spent a lot of my life machinating in order to figure out the whole right and wrong thing. I believed what I was taught as a child, that there was a way I was supposed to be and that was what we called the “right” way. And so you go out into the world and begin the task of deciphering which is which, it all seems quite logical and simple at the start....until you begin to realise that people lie, their energy says one thing and their life and words state quite the opposite! This caused me to panic! This caused me the most devastating anxiety that would be humanly possible to create and endure! But I tried, oh how I tried, almost destroying myself in the process!
One day at Energy Healing school I even asked my teacher. “I can easily be aware of disparate aspects of myself simultaneously, so in my right hand is black and in my left hand is white. But how do I know which is the correct one?”
Synchronicity had brought me the perfect teacher to hear my real question and she told me “ You don't have to decide, you are that which holds them both” That woman saved my life, she strengthened me, she helped me step through into a new paradigm wherein I was now immune to the pushes and pulls of the whole concept of right and wrong. Can you even imagine how liberating that was? If you are able to do that you are probably crying right now as you liberate yourself from self induced torture and chronic life crushing anxiety. Good on you!
So you see how the scientist and the guru are studying the same thing, the same reality, observing the same life events and reactions even though they are running them through completely different languages, conceptions and symbologies.
You will no doubt have realised by now that the scientist and the guru must really trust each other implicitly throughout this whole process, they must genuinely be open and curious about life and the Universe and how it works, they must be able to recognise any hidden agendas they may hold and to have the strength of purpose to put those aside for the duration of their studies without fear that they won't be able to collect there own “important” stuff back up again once their study time is over....should they still wish to collect them! After all, when we genuinely open ourselves up to growth and evolution we run the risk of stepping into a new place of awareness which will blow away any imagined desires we subscribed to in our previous existence! Those which follow the spiritual path recognise that the questions we ask are never really answered as such, they merely fade away into insignificance having served their purpose as catalysts which caused us to walk the path of that question.
Anyway, that is just one way in which the ability to conceive of reality in a different light is able to bring about astoundingly different results, particularly when the perception of results is allowed to have a much greater or broader base then just a simplified Did it work? Yes/No model which quite frankly diminishes who we really are by trying to fit us into neat boxes. If you want to fit people into neat boxes then at least give the boxes a colour and ask people to choose the one they are drawn to.....because that is how we live our lives.
I've been a healer for a long time now, whilst simultaneously growing my own self through experiential observation (I believe we call it mindfulness these days) and I have observed that it doesn't matter which course of treatment you take for any particular ailment, what matters is that you get involved and you follow the path which speaks through your own particular version of symbology. Healers usually ask “Does that resonate with you?” and they are asking if that makes sense to you, is it speaking your language, do you feel drawn to it, is this something which means something to you. Because in all likelihood if it is part of something which is already a part of you and your life and experiences then it is something that you will continue to do effortlessly, something that you will take and understand implicitly and thereby be able to incorporate it effortlessly into your life, into your version of you.....and therein lies the key to all healing.
For some it is yoga, for others it is witchcraft, or horse riding, or ibuprofen, or gardening, or surgery, or prayer, or photography, or love. The list is endless, infinite.
So as a personal plea to the world at large could we please stop arguing over ridiculous things such as who has the correct spiritual practices or cures because the answer is that we all do but it is only as individuals that we can pick out the one which is relevant to us!
Choose your placebo wisely! And notice that your life is already telling you what your placebo is!