Complementary medicine

 

I like the term “complementary medicine”. It implies a pragmatic and inclusive approach to health and well being.

Common sense implies that we use a combination of approaches to our health. I’ll go to a regular doctor for any serious or potentially serious health issue. And I’ll also use whatever else makes sense to me, whether it’s herbs prescribed by an herbalist, acupuncture, Breema, diet, nature, or Vortex Healing.

So if anyone comes to me for – for instance – Vortex Healing, and they have a serious health issue, I would always encourage them to go to a medical specialist and follow their advice. That’s not something I would say (only) for legal reasons, but because it makes sense. It’s integral to giving them the best chances for recovery.

Rock, roll, and crawl like a baby

 

– See also Sitting Wrecks Your Body from Outdoor Magazine.

I like approaches to health and well-being that are simple, fun, and intuitive (since they are aligned with our evolution and development). In this case, rolling, rocking, and crawling like a baby. It’s also very similar to what’s found in many traditional approaches, including different forms of yoga, and also Breema.

 

Why we resist what can be helpful (sometimes)

 

Why do we sometimes resist what can help us?

I can find quite a few possible reasons:

We are not ready for it. We are not ready to try it, or to have the problem resolve.

We have been disappointed in the past and don’t want to be again, so we reject it altogether. (From a wound, identification, belief.)

We don’t want others to tell us what to do. It may feel patronizing, or as outside pressure. (If it does, it points to beliefs and wounds.)

We don’t trust the messenger or the remedy. (For good reasons, or because of a wound/identification.)

We want to give what we are already trying a go, and don’t want to mix too many things. (This is very valid, especially if what we are already doing is working or has a good chance of working.)

I am sure there are other possible reasons. I have experienced this in my own life. For instance, I knew that some used herbs to heal from chronic fatigue but I had a prejudice about it until a friend convinced me to seek a local herbalist. It was a turning point in getting back to health. (The prejudice was that herbs wouldn’t have much effect, and that it was mostly used by naive new agey people.)

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A few words about sensitivity

 

Since childhood, I have been quite sensitive to a range of stimuli, especially sounds (noise, eating sounds, paper rustling), certain foods (sugar, dairy), chemicals, heat, physical exertion, and more.

I notice that my sensitivity is related to how well I feel in general. When I feel stronger and/or feel good about my life, I tend to be less sensitive. When I feel more fatigued or vulnerable, and I am less happy about my life, I become more sensitive.

Also, I assume these sensitivities are a type of “allergic” reaction. It’s my system reacting strongly to stimuli that in themselves are relatively harmless. My system seems to respond as if it’s a life and death situation, when it really isn’t.

That’s why retraining my system’s response seems important. How do I retrain or reprogram the stimuli-response reaction? How do I help my system respond with calmness to the stimuli that previously have triggered a strong reaction? One way is to feel the response in my body, and rest with it. As I rest with it, I am signaling to my system that it’s OK. There is no life-and-death situation here. It’s OK to relax. It’s OK to be OK with it.

Joey Lott writes about this, and it’s also an inherent part of Natural Rest and the Living Inquiries. In Natural Rest, I notice what’s here and allow it as is. I may even say “I love you, stay as long as you like”. In the Living Inquiries, I look at images and words, and feel sensations, which invites the “velcro” to release. (Sensations that seems “stuck on” images and words, lending them charge, and a sense of reality and solidity.) Both signal to my system that it’s OK. The stimuli is OK, whether it’s a sound, image, or sensation. It’s not life threatening. It’s OK for my system to respond in a relaxed way. It’s even OK to find love for it.

Said another way, when there is velcro (or a belief, or identification, or a psychological knot), the stimuli may trigger a strong and unpleasant reaction. It’s an over reaction, in a conventional sense, although the reaction is appropriate to the underlying belief, identification, velcro, or trauma. And this looks like sensitivity.

There is a sound. The sound itself is harmless. My system responds strongly, with a fight or flight or freeze response. It’s alarmed. It reacts that way due to a belief (or identification, velcro, trauma). And that stimuli-response pathway can be changed. My system can learn to respond in a more relaxed way, through inquiry, or Natural Rest, or just feeling the sensations of the reactions and resting with these sensations. In each case, I am showing my system that it’s OK. It’s OK to respond in a relaxed way. There is no life-and-death situation here.

Another way to work with this is Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), allowing the body to release tension and trauma through it’s natural and inherent trembling mechanism. (Spontaneous trembling, shaking, rocking, stretching.)

A couple of notes:

I included physical exertion above. I suspect that chronic fatigue fits into this pattern of stimuli followed by an exaggerated response. The stimuli is physical exertion, and the response is fatigue. It may be a type of freeze response. This is not the whole picture of CFS, but it may be a part of it for many. (I suspect there is a great deal of individual variation here, and another part of the picture is physical problems such as mineral and vitamin deficiencies, viruses, auto-immune illnesses and more.)

Similarly, fatigue itself may be the stimuli, and the system responds with increased fatigue. This can also be retrained, in the way described above. It’s at least worth a try. And inquiry can be invaluable in this process.

Is X a threat? The physical exertion? The fatigue? The brain fog? These sensations I label in that way?

Can I find X? Fatigue? Exertion? Brain fog? Someone who has these?

Is there a command to X? To escape a situation? For the fatigue to go away? For the brain fog to go away?

I am intentionally avoided using the term “nervous system” above. It’s obviously important in this context, but there is clearly a lot more going on than just the nervous system. Our whole body-mind is included.

One way the nervous system plays a role, is what happens when the sympathetic nervous system (flight/fight/freeze) is chronically activated. This leads to the parasympathetic part of the nervous system being less active. And this, in turn, leads to diminished immune function, digestion, and more, which in turn can lead to a range of health problems.  Teaching the nervous system to relax – in general and when faced with certain stimuli – helps our overall health. It makes the body better able to heal itself.

My experience with Lyme in Norway

 

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In mid-May, I noticed a numbness in hands, feet, and face, and weakness in my hands. Two weeks later, I discovered a red ring on the underside of my arm, near the armpit. I went to a doctor who thought it could be Lyme disease and gave me a five day antibiotics treatment (this was in the US). The numbness went away after one day.

Two weeks later, in Norway, the symptoms returned and were much stronger. The numbness was back in my hands, feet, and face, and now also tongue and mouth (and a bit later lower arms), along with stiff neck, very strong brain fog and grogginess, and fatigue. (The initial extremely strong fatigue and brain fog could be related to jet lag, and I also have a baseline fatigue and brain fog from the CFS. Although the unusually strong grogginess remains now even after the jetlag is gone.) I also have weak grip (things slip out of my hands), and when I get up after resting I move and feel like an old man.

I had gathered that Lyme is a controversial topic in Norway. The official position seems to be that the infection itself doesn’t last very long. (If the symptoms are longer lasting, it’s something else.) Doctors who treat this “non-existing” disease in Norway risk loosing their license, and one did even last year.

When I called my regular doctor, I got an appointment the same day by the receptionist. She called back within an hour and said that when the doctor had heard why I wanted to see him, he cancelled the appointment and said I could possibly get an appointment two months later. A bright spot: Some days later, I was able to get an appointment. My doctor looked at the red ring, did some neurological tests, and agreed that Lyme is a probable diagnosis. He gave me a relatively mild two-week antibiotics treatment.

From what I understand, it’s important to treat it more thoroughly, especially early in the process, to prevent problems later on. I got the names of some doctors who may be more knowledgeable about Lyme, and contacted several of them. The pattern was the same with all of them: When they heard why I wanted to see them, they either didn’t respond or said they possibly had an appointment about two months in the future (and to call them then to set it up).

The last one I talked with was initially friendly and welcoming, and when heard why I called responded “that’s a controversial topic in Norway, I need to go now and will call you back later, goodbye”. And then didn’t respond to my later attempts at contacting him.

The essence is that it seems impossible to get quality treatment for Lyme disease in Norway. That’s why most Norwegians with Lyme disease go to Germany or Poland to see doctors there.

Several things come up for me around this:

I had expected Norwegian doctors to at least have the integrity to tell me they can’t treat me since they may loose their license if they do. Instead, they either cancel my appointment, don’t respond, or tell me to call back in two months. (Which seems irresponsible considering my symptoms,)

Since there is disagreement about Lyme internationally, I would expect the Norwegian doctors and government to take a precautionary approach. To treat any possible or likely Lyme disease thoroughly (initial four or six week antibiotics treatment + anti-cyst medication). Instead, they chose to not treat it, avoid patients who may have it, or they treat it in a minimalistic way that may make it worse in the long run.

I don’t know the politics around this, but the official policy on Lyme in Norway does seem to be influenced by politics, and perhaps arrogance and wounded egos.

I should mention that I am among the more cautious when it comes to using medication and antibiotics (also to reduce the risk of creating more antibiotic resistant strains), but in this case, the risks of leaving it untreated or wrongly treated seem serious enough so I chose to go the medical and precautionary route.

This also triggers the victim identity in me, since it comes on top of my existing struggles with CFS, and it happened just as I left the US (where I could have received proper treatment) for Norway (where I can’t).

Update: It seems there are three possibilities when people are infected by Lyme. (a) It lasts for a relatively short period of time, and then is gone, perhaps due to antibiotics treatment. (b) It can become longer lasting, due to continued infection. (c) There may be an auto-immune response which creates problems. I am sure there are other possibilities too. I haven’t read much about it yet.

Update 2, mid-July 2015: I went to Poland to see a Lyme specialist there. It turns out that he also specializes in CFS. It’s possible that there is a weakness in my system that makes me more susceptible to both CFS and Lyme. He took a good number of tests to get an idea of what’s going on, and what the best course of treatment may be. One of the main questions is why my mitochondria seem compromised, and unable to produce as much energy as they normally would. I feel a little better, partly from what he gave me, and partly from feeling I am in good hands and that someone actually takes my case seriously and may be able to do something about it.

Update 3, July 16, 2015: I had an appointment with my regular doctor in Norway (about referal to nevrologist for CFS), and he interrupted me and changed the topic as soon as I tried to give him an update about the Lyme. I still have numbness in arms, legs, and face, a stiff neck, strong headache, very strong grogginess, memory problems, diarrhea, and more, so it seems irresponsible by him to dismiss it – to the point of not even wanting to hear about it. (The symptoms are stronger some days than other, and obviously quite debilitating.)

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Processed food and hopelessness 

 

Nothing new here, but a useful reminder:

I went walking in the woods yesterday. The journey, which was intended to be brief, ended up much longer than planned, and I eventually found myself quite hungry and somewhere I hadn’t been before. There was a McDonald’s there and a bus heading back to the house, so I decided to have a meal at McDonald’s, as part of the adventure. (A meal with milk shake and ice cream.)

Predictably, I didn’t feel good for the rest of the day and the morning after. And specifically, I noticed hopelessness and sluggishness set in, along with a craving for more dairy and junk food. I usually don’t eat/drink dairy, apart from some kefir, because I feel sluggish from it. And I usually don’t eat junk food (fast food, sweets, chips etc.) because my system feels off when I do, and it does seem to bring about a sense of hopelessness for me. Another reason I mostly avoid this is that junk food creates a craving for more junk food. It feeds on itself.

For me, the effects of foods are most noticeable in how they affect my mind. Dairy makes me feel sluggish and drowsy. Sugar makes me feel drained and tired. Wheat makes my mind feel a bit weird and off. Junk food creates hopelessness. And so on. It seems that highly processed foods tend to fuel and activate painful beliefs, identifications, and a victim mentality, at least in my experience. Vegetables, moderate amounts of fruit, and non-wheat grains are usually fine, as are most unprocessed foods.

Now, two days later, the effects are mostly gone. I had a strong craving for more junk food yesterday (anything would have done), but didn’t indulge so it’s mostly gone today. My mind also feels more clear again.

From talking with others, it seems that I am not the only one experiencing heavily processed food in this way. It’s almost astonishing that they are allowed to sell and advertise it. Especially knowing that the food itself is designed, and intentionally so, to create more cravings for it. It’s a drug you can become addicted to. It does impact the mind (and obviously the body) quite strongly, and not in a favorable way. And it doesn’t provide any (real) value beyond that of less processed foods. To put it crudely, it’s there to line the coffers of large corporations.

Attending to the spine

 

In my teens and early twenties, I did a Taoist practice where I brought attention up and down the spine and through the top of the head. (Visualizing dark light going up, and golden light coming down, with the in and out breath.)

Now, I am doing a similar although simpler practice where I bring attention up and down the spine. Rest with it. Notice. Allow. Feel.

I notice again something I noticed several years ago. When I bring attention to the spine, I see three (or more) pictures of the spine, and they don’t quite align. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where the spine is, for that reason, and it’s more noticeable from the chest area up. My sense is that it’s connected with an incarnation trauma, perhaps the sense of being unloved and unlovable, and a sense of fragmentation. (Which is also expressed in sometimes being confused what to do next in life, and feeling split between two or more options.)

Some ways to explore this:

Continue bringing attention to the spine. Notice. Allow. Rest with it.

Find kindness towards it. See it’s there to protect me. It’s from deep caring. It’s from love. Treat it with respect. Kindness. Authenticity. (As I would like to be treated.)

Look for a threat. Where is the threat in bringing attention to the spine? In the multiple pictures of the spine? In the slight discomfort I experience when I bring attention there?

What’s the worst that can happen if this doesn’t heal or resolve? (Look for the threat.)

What’s the best that can happen if it does heal and resolve? (Look for that.)

Look for the spine. See if it’s findable.

Look at the incarnation trauma. Look for a threat there. (In the images, words, sensations associated with it.)

Identifications are tiring

 

Identifications are tiring.

When a story is believed and held as true, it tends to create struggle. And that’s tiring.

It takes a lot of energy. It can be draining. It can even impact our health in quite obvious ways.

If it’s that way with just one identification, imagine how tiring it is to have a whole bundle of them, as most of us do. We are, in some ways, bundles of identifications, and that’s tiring.

That’s one of the things we see when we are relieved of identifications and struggle, even if it’s only temporary.

We may be “lifted out” of identifications and glimpse the ease and simplicity of life without. (And the richness and fullness of life without identifications.)  We may examine a particular hangup or identification, and find release from it.

We may also discover it through resting with what’s here. Shift from thinking to noticing. Finding ourselves as a whole. Shift from resisting to allowing. Shift from rejecting to holding experience in kind experience. Inquire into beliefs and see that what we thought was happening isn’t. Look for and being unable to find the threat, or deficient self, or command, that initially seemed so real and solid.

I imagine that the struggle from identifications is one of the things that creates old age as our culture often thinks of it. It has little to do with a biological inevitability, and more to do with the effects of accumulated struggles over a lifetime.

War metaphors, health, and love

 

It’s common – in our culture, and our time – to use war metaphors in medicine and about our health.

As many have pointed out, it reflects a few different assumptions. It shows an assumption of a basic duality, or split, in ourselves and the world. An illness or medical problem is “other”, something that happens “to us”. And it also reflects an assumption that what’s happening is bad or wrong.

These views can be traced back to early Christianity, and Judaism, and perhaps even further back. And they can be found in some other cultures as well, in different flavors, although certainly not all cultures. Even that is a hint that these assumptions perhaps do not reflect something inherent in the world, and also that these type of assumptions are not inevitable. They are learned, and they can be unlearned, and perhaps be replaced with more helpful metaphors or assumptions.

I notice these basic assumptions in myself. Somewhere in me, there are assumptions that the CFS is “other”, something “other” that is impacting, me, and also that it’s wrong, bad, or at least unfortunate. There is also an assumption behind the label CFS, and what it means for me and my life.

When I notice that, there is the possibility to shift how I relate to all of this. Instead of taking it as how it is, and identify with the views created by  these assumptions, I can relate to these assumptions – and what they trigger in me – more intentionally.

I can, for instance, say you are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. I love you. And repeat this, quietly, and sit in it.

It’s often easier to first do this towards one assumption or reaction at a time, and then perhaps with all of it.

I can also use ho’oponopono towards these parts of me, these parts of worried love. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.

I can experiment with simple loving kindness. I love you.

This is a 180 degree turning around from the war metaphor mentality. It’s an experiment. There may be fears coming up, especially at first. Worries that I won’t take care of myself and my health if I genuinely find peace with and love for the symptoms, and the reactions in me towards them. I can meet those worries too in this way, and see what happens. Is it true I won’t take care of myself and my health? What is the reality? What really happens when I shift into finding love for what’s here, including that which I previously saw as “other” or wrong?

Also, how do I change my view on these symptoms and what’s triggered in me (worry, confusion, fear, anger)? Do I see it as worried or confused love? How is it different when I genuinely see it more that way? Is there a sense of love meeting love, presence meeting presence?

Need for rest

 

I have experienced an unusual need for rest over the last few years, following many years of being very active.

This shift is connected with what some would label chronic fatigue and a dark night of the soul. And, yes, I realize that those labels can be helpful for communication and navigating what’s happening, and they may also be limiting and stressful if taken as too solid and real.

Why this need for rest? There may be several answers.

(a) The body & mind is exhausted and needs rest to recover. This exhaustion may be due to previous years of high energies, both in form of kundalini and in a more everyday sense. And also living with and relating to what was unloved and unexamined in me…. being stressed by it, setting it aside, wrestling with it.

(b) It’s a time for healing. A time for being with myself, for loving and examining the unloved and unexamined. It’s a retreat. It’s nature’s way of ensuring I get time and opportunity to do this, since I didn’t chose retreat on my own.

(c) It’s an invitation for natural rest. For allowing what’s here as it is, allowing this field of experience as it is here & now. And finding myself as that which already allows it, and is it, this field of experience as it is in immediacy. Perhaps first in through rest in a conventional sense, and then living this also in activity.

(d) It may also be related to identifications. (i) As mentioned above, identifications themselves can be tiring. They can lead to stress, unease, struggle and more. (ii) Also, there may be a sense that rest – and perhaps fatigue, isolation – is safer than being active and exposed in the world. Rest becomes a form of protection. An attempt to protect the imagined self. (iii) There may also be beliefs about the fatigue itself and what it means, which can solidify or amplify the sense of fatigue and need for rest.

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Taking care of gums and teeth

 

I have done some reading on what I can do to take care of my gums and teeth, and here are some brief pointers:

Brushing etc. (nothing here is very unusual).

Brush well. (I sometimes use a Sonicare brush which is good for gums and teeth.)

Use remineralizing toothpaste (calcium bentonite clay can be used).

Floss + clean the tongue.

Rinse with salt water after meals.

Diet and supplements.

Eat well and enough to get the metabolism up. (Butter, coconut oil and more is good here.)

Get enough vitamin A, D3 and K2. (Helps gum and teeth health and recovery.)

Bone broth, gelatin etc.

And possibly… oil swishing (ayruvedic).

I have found Joey Lott’s book How I Healed My Teeth Eating Sugar very helpful.

The nice thing about these pointers is that they are simple, they align with the “official” advice, they fit with our evolutionary history (often a good check), and they help improve health in general. And they may not only help maintain and improve gum and teeth health, but can possibly also help “repair” existing problems.

Why do spiritual teachers get sick?

 

Some seem surprised that spiritual teachers get sick.

Why would they get sick?

They are human, and humans get sick.

Their bodies may get worn out through high levels of energies running through (aka kundalini).

They may have asked to be shown what’s left, and to find peace/ease with what’s here (whatever it is), and life gives them an opportunity to find just that.

We can get sick even if we do everything “right”, and teachers – as anyone else – don’t even do everything “right” (in terms of health). It’s a matter of genetics, environment, lifestyle and more.

All of these fit my own experience. My system certainly got burnt through high levels of energies running through it for several years (with a following “collapse”). I did ask for “full awakening” no matter the cost (a year or two before the dark night) and to be shown what’s left (a couple of weeks before the darkest period of the dark night). And there are weaknesses in my genetics (although pretty good overall), toxins in my environment, lack of nutrients in much of my food (due to modern agricultural (mis)practices), and sometimes poor food and health choices on my part.

The question “why do spiritual teachers get sick” may also come from a confusion between two different things. One is a a health and fitness focus as who we are, at the the human and energetic levels. This can include a focus on diet, exercise, breath, chi, “inner work”, and so on. The other is finding ease with – or as – what is, as it is. A shift in what we take ourselves to be. This one is independent of the health focus. It may include it or not, but doesn’t depend on it. And spirituality, at least as I use the term, is about the second one. The emphasis is on finding ease with what is, through inquiry and seeing what’s really here, and less – or secondarily if at all – on health. (Of course, a wise approach is to include both, with an emphasis on consciously recognizing the “true nature” of ourselves and what’s here.)

There is another aspect to this. When spiritual teachers get sick, it’s an opportunity for them to explore how to relate to it which in turn may benefit others. It may help them mature and deepen as human beings, and clarify what’s really there – in contrast to what at first appears to be there (which may include recognizing it as love, and finding genuine love for it). That’s not “why” they get sick, but it’s a possible outcome.

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Taking care of more aspects of our health and well-being

 

There has been an odd myth in modern western culture that said that we cannot take care of certain aspects of our own health through our lifestyle.

Fortunately, that’s changing, and it has been for a while.

We know that by acting healthy, we can maintain good health into old age. (Staying physically and mentally active, and perhaps even doing forms of yoga, meditation and inquiry.)

We know that by exercising our eyes, we can maintain good eye health or sometimes even reverse eye problems. (I used glasses from my teens. Started eye exercises in my mid-twenties. After a few weeks went back to the eye doctor who said my vision was good and I was in no need to glasses. And when I asked, she said that poor vision can’t be reversed….! My vision went from mildly near sighted – 0.75 to normal.) See f.ex. Natural Vision Improvement by Janet Goodrich.

We know that the mind can be trained. We can train a more stable attention. We can find kindness and love towards ourselves and others. We can even recognize our “true nature” (the layers of it). And all of this can be invited in and made into new habits. See f.ex. shamata (stable attention), ho’oponopono, loving kindness/metta, tonglen, holding satsang with parts of ourselves (kindness, love), and forms of insight meditation and inquiry (recognizing the dynamics of the mind and our human nature, and our true nature).

We know that by making a few relatively simple changes, we can maintain health free from (most or all) infections diseases, and many other diseases. See f.ex. K.P. Khalsa (my herbalist).

We know that by making similar simple changes, we can prevent and even reverse tooth and gum problems. See f.ex. How I healed my Teeth Eating Sugar by Joey Lott. (I am just starting this now.)

We know that tension and trauma can be released in a simple and natural way. (Neurogenic tremors, Tension & Trauma Release Exercises.)

We know that the source of stress and distress, and even trauma, can be recognized and even undone through inquiry. See f.ex. The Work and the Living Inquiries.

There is a lot more here, and it keeps being further explored, adapted to our current modern culture, and widely available. Some of it – such as the effects of some types of meditation – is gaining increasing attention through research.

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Phage Therapy

 

I usually don’t write about science here, mainly because many others do it, and since I want to keep this blog limited in terms of topics.

And yet, sometimes mainstream science and media overlook a topic that seems crucial. In this case, I keep reading about the increasing problem of multi-resistant bacteria, harmful and potentially deadly bacteria resistant to a wide range of antibiotics. What these articles, as well as western science and medicine, seem to largely ignore, is a completely different approach that’s easier, cheaper, and as or more effective. And that’s phage therapy.

It’s been succesfully used in eastern Europe for decades, there is a great deal of research on it, and its less expensive than antibiotics, so why not use it in the west as well? If they don’t trust the research, why not put resources into your own research? If you encounter multi-resistant bacteria, why not apply an approach you know works well? Why not even use it in combination with antibiotics? After all, peoples lives are at stake.

It seems that the old political divide between eastern and western Europe is still at play here, two decades after the political divide largely ended.

If anything, this is yet another example of how science and medicine is influenced – and keeps itself limited – by old habits and financial interests. If researchers and pharmaceutical corporations had people’s best interest at heart (a shocking idea), they would invest a great deal of time and resource in phage research. And yet, inertia and lack of financial incentives makes this a slower process, at least so far.

P.S. Science Friday is an exception to the rule, as they frequently do stories on phage therapy.

Basic orientation and levels of healing

 

Nothing new here, but a meeting I was at a couple of days ago reminded me of it.

There are two basic – and often complimentary – orientations to healing:

(a) Removing or changing the apparent problem, such as an illness or situation in life. (Most medicine and some psychology.)

(b) Changing how we relate to it. (Some psychology, and practices such as yoga, Breema, meditation, inquiry etc.)

And there are – crudely speaking – three levels of healing:

(a) Treating symptoms.

(b) Treating intermediate causes. (Most psychology and medicine is here.)

(c) Inquiry into the dynamics and nature of the mind, eventually allowing identifications with parts of the content of awareness (images, thoughts) to release. (Some forms of meditation and inquiry.)

Inquiry: It’s chronic fatigue

 

Labels – when taken as true – comes with a particular way of viewing the world, rests on assumptions, and trigger associations. So it can be very helpful to explore even the most basic labels.

One of the labels I have explored for myself is chronic fatigue. Is it true? What happens when I take it as true? Who would I be – right now – without it? What’s the validity in the turnarounds?

– 0 –

It’s chronic fatigue.

Is it true?

Yes.

Can you know for certain it’s true?

No.

What happens when you take it as true?

I feel the weight of the diagnosis.

I imagine a large group of medical doctors with concerned looks agreeing it’s chronic fatigue.

I have an image of it as chronic.

My mind comes up with scary images based on what I have heard or read.

I see images of people being incapacitated for a very long time.

I feel fear, hopelessness.

Who would you be without it?

I feel lighter.

I am with what’s here.

Free of fear.

Peaceful.

Engaged.

Turnarounds

(a) It’s not chronic fatigue.

Chronic fatigue is a label, a thought. What it refers to is something different, not touched by labels and thoughts.

I don’t know if that’s what it is. It’s just a convenient label. Nobody really knows what CFS is.

It’s not chronic, in the sense of permanent or lasting, even now.

(b) It’s temporary fatigue.

Yes. Even now, it’s temporary. Sometimes, I have energy and a more clear mind.

It won’t last. That’s one thing that’s certain.

It’s “fatigue” only when a thought labels it so.

(c) It’s chronic vitality.

I sometimes do a lot, even if I was someone who didn’t have that label.

I experience aliveness and vitality, even when (what a thought calls) tiredness and brain fog is more pronounced.

The sensations that a thought calls tiredness and brain fog are vibrant and full of life.

– 0 –

Adyashanti: Let the body know its OK for it to find its equilibrium, its balance

 

When the body does its dance, sometimes its perfectly appropriate to let it do it, to find its way. Really invite it to find its way, to find its equilibrium. And if you have an intention to allow the body to find its equilibrium, its balance…. If it knows that, if you have told the body its perfectly fine for it to find its equilibrium, then it will be much more likely to find it.

If you don’t have that in mind, sometimes the body can keep going through patterns. It releases and goes through the pattern, releases and goes through the pattern.

If you know inside that you are asking the body to find its natural state of equilibrium, wholeness, release,   it really helps it a lot.  Your communication with it is really quite useful to it. It really helps if we are in synch with our bodies.

– Adyashanti, Silent Retreat, 2009, disc 12, track 6

Satsang with the body: You are welcome here. Your health, vitality and wholeness is welcome here.

And with the mind/psyche: You are welcome here. Your health and wholeness is welcome here.

 

Chronic fatigue

 

Some of the things I have found helpful for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS):

Walks, ideally in nature, and at least once a day.

Nurturing food. Slow cooked stews. (Current one: Beef, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, peas, barley, beef stock.) Oatmeal for breakfast. (Steel cut with coconut flakes, raisins, sunflower seeds, soaked overnight, cooked with apple or banana.) Beef broth. Local fruits, berries, seeds and nuts, nori flakes. I also take ginger and cloves capsules with each meal to aid digestion, and eat just enough so I don’t feel uncomfortably full.

Staying well hydrated. I tend to drink enough so my urine is pale to clear. I mostly drink herbals and spice teas (ginger, licorice, nettle, many from the Yogi tea company), and also at times – especially at winter – beef broth.

Reducing or eliminating certain foods. For me: sugar, dairy, wheat, processed foods. (Based on the effects I notice for myself.)

Nurturing body centered activities. For me, Breema, TRE, massage. (Also yoga, tai chi, chi gong etc.)

Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). These invite the natural neurogenic tremors initiated and guided by the body, allowing for a gentle, gradual and eventually deep release of tension and trauma from our body-mind system. This thaws frozen areas of the body and mind, gently releases chronically held energy, and enlivens the body and mind. From what I hear, and what I experienced myself, it seems very helpful for chronic fatigue.

Taking care of myself. Saying an honest yes or no. Being more honest and transparent with myself and others.

True Meditation. Noticing what’s here is already allowed. Adyashanti’s guided meditations have been very helpful for me.

Inviting in a more stable attention. The easiest for me is to bring attention, gently, to the sensations at the nostrils as the natural (unmanipulated) breath goes in and out.

Identifying and inquiring into stressful thoughts about the fatigue and anything else in my life, using The Work.

Identifying and welcoming deficient selves, noticing they are not what I fundamentally am.

Welcoming what’s here – fears, discomfort, fatigue etc.

You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love.

Herbs, vitamins and minerals. For me, vitamin D, magnesium, siberian ginseng (deep energy), echinacea (immune function), huperzine-a, rhodiola (mental clarity, quick energy), probiotics, and more recently Hanna Kroeger’s B.E. Kit (for chronic fatigue) and Tibetan Chulen (deep, full, soft energy). Adaptogens such as siberian ginseng and rhodiola help build energy and improves immune function.

Supporting deep, restful sleep. For me, with small doses of melatonin. Also, rest and take naps during the day, the more the better.

Nurture nurturing relationships – with my mind, body, others, life. Finding and connecting with understanding, loving and supportive friends.

Nurture nurturing and enlivening activities. For me, photography, being in nature, Breema, TRE, inquiry, reading, learning, being of service to myself and others.

Nurture a nurturing environment. In my case, beautiful, simple, peaceful, near/in nature, wood fire.

Engaging in activities that are fun, rewarding, meaningful, that spark passion and joy.

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Thorough with one person or topic

 

I find I am drawn to be thorough with one person or topic these days.

For instance, in The Work, I am drawn to do it thoroughly on thoughts on my mother. What are the earliest and/or strongest stressful situations that come to mind? What do I find when I do Judge Your Neighbor worksheets, and inquire into the thoughts?

And I am also drawn to explore certain topics – such as my health – using different approaches. I bring it to mind and invite neurogenic tremors (TRE). I do ho’o on it. I find stressful thoughts and take them to inquiry.

Exploring tiredness & vitality

 

I have been drawn to exploring tiredness recently.

In short: It’s tiredness —> it’s vitality.

It’s vitality. What do I find?

Exploring sense fields

When I label something as tiredness (fatigue, exhaustion), what’s really here? What’s here in sensation, as pure sensation? (When I put this back into words, right now, I find tingling in my body, a slight pressure on the forehead.)

What happens when the mental field comes in with a label (interpretation, story) of tiredness? (It appears as tiredness, it seems real, substantial, I feel tired, other stories around tiredness comes in, hopelessness, I feel I need to rest.)

The Work

Two of my beliefs here are my health is not so good, and it’s tiredness. 

The turnarounds are my health is good, and it’s vitality. 

I find that when the story of tiredness comes up, attention goes to symptoms of tiredness. There is fear here, and stories about what tiredness means, what it may lead to, and that I need to rest. When I believe the story of tiredness, there is a sense of fatigue and tiredness. Working with the turnarounds in daily life, staying with them to see what may come up, I find many examples that my health is good (my medical results are very good, people tell me they see me as healthy, I get up in the morning and do everyday activities, I seek to find clarity around thoughts, I travel, I visit friends, I take photos, I study and learn).

Combining sense field exploration and The Work

Exploring it’s vitality, I stay with what I have taken as symptoms of tiredness – how are these symptoms of vitality? It’s energy, a warm vibration through the body, aliveness. It’s vitality. As I stay with it, the label of vitality seems genuinely as or more true. What’s here are simple sensations untouchable by any label. And the vitality label is as or more true. I stay with this to see what more may reveal itself.

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Beliefs brought to the Surface by CF

 

Health challenges are good for bringing beliefs to the surface. Here are some that still come up for me, sometimes – as this weekend – triggered by a simple cold:

I won’t be able to function, people will judge me.
I am a disappointment to god/others/myself.
I am not living up to my potentials.
I am responsible for the cf/dark night.
I shouldn’t feel tired. I need to have more energy (in order to do what I want).

It’s cf. It’s a dark night.
I can’t do what I want.
It’s not what I want. **

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Aging

 

What we associate with aging in our culture is not really about aging.

It’s what happens when the effects of certain habits and lifestyle accumulate over years and decades.

A bad posture has it’s effects on the body, and when this accumulates over long time it takes it’s toll, as does poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Whatever we do habitually accumulates over time.

At a quite basic level, unreleased tension and trauma has an effect on our body and mind, and this accumulates over days, weeks, years and decades.

And at an even more basic level, our beliefs create tension, rigidity and a certain lifestyle which also has effects that accumulates.

There is no reason we shouldn’t live a vibrant, alive and healthy life until death – whenever it may happen, if we move in the direction of being more alive, vibrant and healthy here and now.

For myself, I see I can do that through….

Inquiry, which helps release beliefs. TRE which helps release accumulated tension and trauma from my system.Yoga, Breema, Tai Chi, Chi Gong and other body-centered activities. Walks in nature. Spending nurturing time with friends. Mediation, prayer and clarifying intention. Finding and doing what makes me feel alive. And much more.

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Water

 

Cranky today? Even mild dehydration can alter our moods

Most people only think about drinking water when they are thirsty; but by then it may already be too late.

Even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly, according to two studies recently conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory.

The tests showed that it didn’t matter if a person had just walked for 40 minutes on a treadmill or was sitting at rest – the adverse effects from mild dehydration were the same. Mild dehydration is defined as an approximately 1.5 percent loss in normal water volume in the body.

– from EurekAlert!

It’s probably what most people already notice, and it’s also good to have it confirmed (or the opposite) by research. I notice for myself that drinking plenty of water is one of the best things I can do for my mind and body. I tend to drink enough, usually in the form of spice or herbal teas, so my urine is clear or has a very pale color. And when my systems feels a bit off, drinking water – along with physical activity such as walking – is often the best medicine to bring it back to balance. I also notice that my experience of dehydration is a sense of contraction (congestion) in my body, especially noticed inside the mouth, and not thirst in a more conventional sense. It’s quite noticeable even when there is a slight dehydration, as reflected in urine that’s a bit less than clear.

Flavors of not wrong

 

In what way is something that happens not wrong?

I can find a silver lining. I may see a lot of it as wrong, but something good is there too. This works within my familiar world view and I don’t have to question underlying assumptions.

All is God (reality, Buddha Mind, awareness). It’s OK however it shows up.

And I can question and examine my underlying and basic assumptions, and find what’s more true and real. This is an invitation for the fabric of my familiar world view to unravel, and this can be helpful independent of the two previous ones.

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TRE – Tension and Trauma Release Exercises

 

I had my first TRE session today, led by a friend, and – wow – it was very powerful.

From about halfway through and for the rest of the day, I have felt a sense of grounding, a nurturing soft fullness, relaxed wholeness, flow and ease – on my own and in my interactions with others. There is also a sense of spaciousness in all directions.

The idea behind it is simple: Children and animals shake and tremble when they experience something stressful, while adults have learned to control, freeze and shut down. And through a set of very simple exercises, we can set the stage for that trembling and shaking, which in turn releases tension. This resets and reprograms how we experience ourselves and the world, relate, and live our lives.

There is more info on the TRE website. I especially enjoyed the Carte Blanche Medical video on TRE.

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Chronic fatigue

 

It seems that different cultures and time periods have their own fashionable and mysterious illnesses.

One of ours is chronic fatigue. Is it new or just a new name on an old ailment? Is it due to a virus? Is it a culturally acceptable way for the body-mind system to handle stress?

In my case, it came a few weeks after a viral infection (mononucleosis) and after a longish period of stress. For many years, it was quite manageable, and then it flared up during another period of stress.

It seems that quite different things work for different people. For some, it passes on its own. Others may benefit from yoga or the lightning process.

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Quick boost in well-being from outdoors activities

 

Just five minutes of exercise in a “green space” such as a park can boost mental health, researchers claim.

There is growing evidence that combining activities such as walking or cycling with nature boosts well-being.

In the latest analysis, UK researchers looked at evidence from 1,250 people in 10 studies and found fast improvements in mood and self-esteem.

– from the BBC article Green exercise quickly boosts mental health

We all (or most of us!) know this from our own experience. And yet, it is good to have it conformed by research, and also explore it in more detail. For instance, through these studies they found the most benefit from the first few minutes of outdoor activities, an additional boost if there is water nearby, and the largest effect for young people and those with mental health problems (they have more room for improvement as well).

Another article is available from Environmental News.

Article: The Great Prostate Mistake

 

EACH year some 30 million American men undergo testing for prostate-specific antigen, an enzyme made by the prostate. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994, the P.S.A. test is the most commonly used tool for detecting prostate cancer……

Prostate cancer may get a lot of press, but consider the numbers: American men have a 16 percent lifetime chance of receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer, but only a 3 percent chance of dying from it. That’s because the majority of prostate cancers grow slowly. In other words, men lucky enough to reach old age are much more likely to die with prostate cancer than to die of it.

Even then, the test is hardly more effective than a coin toss. As I’ve been trying to make clear for many years now, P.S.A. testing can’t detect prostate cancer and, more important, it can’t distinguish between the two types of prostate cancer — the one that will kill you and the one that won’t…..

So why is it still used? Because drug companies continue peddling the tests and advocacy groups push “prostate cancer awareness” by encouraging men to get screened….

I never dreamed that my discovery four decades ago would lead to such a profit-driven public health disaster. The medical community must confront reality and stop the inappropriate use of P.S.A. screening. Doing so would save billions of dollars and rescue millions of men from unnecessary, debilitating treatments.

Source: The Great Prostate Mistake, op-ed by Richard Ablin who discovered PSA in the ’70s

A reminder of one of the many reasons why universal health care makes sense.

In the current US system, doctors prescribe tests and treatments they – quite often – know are not needed or are likely to not work. They do it because of pressures and benefits received from interest groups, and because they expect their patients to feel better if something – preferably elaborate and expensive – is done. And how do they get away with it? The insurance companies pick up the tab.

In Europe and other places with universal health care, there is a much stronger incentive to use procedures that are appropriate to the person and situation, and known to work.

Getting our priorities straight when it comes to health

 

Some friends of mine are having a microwave discussion on facebook. Will it kill you? Is it harmless?

My approach is simple: Focus on the simple things we know have a big impact on health. It may be less exiting than conspiracy theories, but works better.

Eat your fruits and vegetables. Exercise. Nurture nurturing relationships. Enjoy life.

If I want to take the next step, it is to organize my life to reduce time spent driving, and walk, bike, or take public transportation instead. It is more enjoyable, gives me effortless exercise, and removes me from an activity that is far more risky than almost anything else we do. (I have already done this, and rarely need to use a car.)

It is easy to get distracted by minor concerns, or scares unsupported by science or common sense (microwaved food and vaccines come to mind as examples). So it is good to get our priorities straight: focus your limited energy on the simple things that we know have a big effect.

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