Faith works

Holy Spirit for Healing: Merging Ancient Wisdom with Modern Medicine (authors Ron Roth and Peter Ochiogrosso) teaches us how to heal ourselves by tapping into the same cosmic consciousness that the great spiritual leaders like Jesus Christ, Buddha and Mohammed demonstrated. Ron Roth was a former Catholic priest and a faith healer for most of his life.

Faith is knowing beyond a doubt that God works through us. I was stunned to discover how quickly I healed myself when I put the principles found inside this book into practice. The authors tell us that we can expect “miraculous,” often spontaneous cures, as long as we act with the confidence of the Divine.

After reading and rereading this wonderful book several times, I finally sustained an interest to begin reading the Gospels. For most of my life I found much of Jesus’s message obscure and often contradictory. The King James Version uses many words today that are archaic and modern versions of the Bible use words that  are simplistic. I discovered by reading this book that the original Greek meaning of Jesus’s words is often much more in harmony with his message. For example, the word “repent” doesn’t mean stop sinning or something bad will happen to you; its meaning is closer to “change who you are.”  Much of our illnesses are created by our thought patterns. When we struggle to heal ourselves of illness, we must change our thought patterns and become a different person.

We receive the ability to heal by understanding and practicing the basics of how God’s love works. (If we have trouble with the word God or Jesus, the authors instruct us to substitute a universal presence or some other Divine deity for whom we feel an affinity.)

God loves and cares for us and doesn’t punish us with ill health or other catastrophes. Many of us think that he does, but this thinking is not the way to spiritual wisdom. A man blind since birth was presented to Jesus. His followers asked which one of the man’s parents had sinned. He answered that “neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” And then what did Jesus do? He cured the man of his blindness. These are considered “miracles” to us but they are miracles only to those who are not very knowledgeable in the ways of God, say the authors. Jesus thought with the mind of God and was able to understand the laws of the universe that today we are beginning to learn about as “energy medicine.” Jesus says to us, “as I do, so can you.”

The book instructs us to begin our healing process by purging ourselves of negative thinking, guilt, fear, anger, etc. using meditation techniques that encompass words, breathing techniques and visualizations that spiritually vibrate. Peace, love, joy are three words with high healing impact. These words were used by ancient priests in daily chanting. We visualize speaking with Jesus or another Divine presence and we command/decree that the Divine light, the Holy Spirit enter our mind and body. The Light, the Spirit heals but the body and mind must be primed through practice to allow healing to happen.

Real faith is the energy to command the negative energies out of our lives using the God spirit within us. Decree is an ancient form of command prayer and one of the most powerful healing forces we can use. Decree comes from knowing beyond a doubt that we are a child of the Divine and we channel that Divine power to our authority. It goes against how most of us were taught to pray. Many of us when we pray are actually begging and bargaining with what we see as a fickle God. The authors say this is not the way to spiritual wisdom. Spiritual wisdom comes from knowing who we are (a bigger part of God than we realize) and that we have the ability to act in God’s name. That’s what Jesus did, that’s what the Biblical prophets like Elijah did. They didn’t ask God’s permission, they acted in God’s name.

The authors tell us that decree is something we can do with confidence within a certain period of time, but it is important to practice on ourselves before we go out and practice it on others.

There is a caveat. We are encouraged not to fall into the trap of going into remission (remission is what doctors say when they can’t explain what happened) and then abandoning our fledgling spiritual practices. We need to keep in shape spiritually to be able to handle the problems that inevitably come our way.

Faith healer

For therapy to work, both parties must have faith, sometimes against all reason, that their expedition will succeed.

I heartily recommend Gary Greenberg’s article America’s War on Unhappiness in Harper’s Magazine/September 2010. It is an often tongue-in-cheek look at the post-Freudian state of therapy today. Unfortunately, the article is only available to Harper’s subcribers. I have written about it previously here.

Greenberg writes about the “Dodo Bird Effect” as it applies to therapy. The Dodo Bird Effect is a term borrowed from Alice in Wonderland and coined in 1936 by psychologist Saul Rosenzweig. Rosenzweig discovered that it doesn’t really matter what therapy you choose to pursue, because they all work. “Everyone has won and all must have prizes” is the way the dodo bird put it. The Dodo Bird Effect is similar to the better known placebo effect. But what numerous studies have shown since the Rosenzweig study is that the single factor that makes a difference is FAITH, the patient’s faith that the therapy will work and the therapist believing in what he does.

Step back from this insight and marvel. It doesn’t matter what your chosen course of action is re supposedly “treatment resistant” schizophrenia, as long as you believe in its ability to produce the outcome you want. You don’t even have to buy any of the therapies that Chris and I have tested – just find your own version of the truth and run with it. (I recommend not putting all your dodo eggs* in one basket. Spread your therapeutic interventions around and very importantly, find a therapist who believes in what he or she is doing.)

The key here is that if a therapy is to work, not only the patient but the therapist must believe in what he does. Since my son’s initial two year course of day program and drug therapy was what I would call a failure, I came to the conclusion early on that the therapists actually didn’t believe in the approach either. Imagine going to work every day and not believing in what you are doing.

It’s especially critical for therapists to believe in happy endings. The doctors in the day program had a “professed” belief in the medication, where they seemed to put most of their emphasis, but it became obvious to me as it should have been obvious to them, that if the patient isn’t getting better you’d better find approach you actually do believe in or take down your shingle. I could tell that the doctors also didn’t believe that schizophrenia was “curable” and that my son would get through this. One way of measuring their belief is by the words they used and the tone of voice. To them, schizophrenia was a sad, sad business. This doesn’t inspire belief by others, because belief must be positive in order to heal. They couldn’t sell me on a healing outcome because the elaboration of the Dodo Bird Effect says they didn’t believe in one.

We have been lucky. Once I figured out that the program wasn’t going to help Chris, I looked around for doctors who could. I found two excellent psychiatrists. The first one introduced us to the world of holistic healing and energy medicine. Dr. “O” totally believed in what she was doing and her belief was contagious. Dr. Stern passes my litmus test for belief through her commitment to what she does as a Family Constellation therapist amongst other interventions.

___________________
Poetic license, the dodo bird has been extinct since the late 1600s.

Yoga and med

When “the crisis” unfolded several years ago, I went to my family doctor and asked him to give me something to help me get through this. I got Paxil. At first I was grateful for it making my mind less like a stuck record, endlessly obsessing about how awful life must be for Chris. I gained a lot of weight, but I also gained a certain distance from my own thoughts. I could maintain a stoicism that I didn’t feel I otherwise posessed. In the interim, I needed this crutch.

When I then tried to get off the Paxil, the haunting fears came rushing back. I thought I was going to be a “lifer” on an antidepressant because I obviously couldn’t handle life as it was. To make a long story short, I found a homeopath, took some natural products and weaned myself off the Paxil very slowly. (The weight loss was more stubborn.) I also took up yoga and meditation. That was three years ago. Yoga is the first “hobby” that Ian and I have done together in our close to thirty years of marriage. Ian and I are no spring chickens, we were both overweight and I couldn’t move one arm above my head for some mysterious reason.

The yoga was both wonderful and difficult. We knew it was the answer to our stress, so we perservered. Doing yoga is like letting the air out of our psychic balloon. Sometimes tears would roll down my face, not from the exercise, but from the spiritual release. The music in combination with the poses got to me in ways that organized religion up to that point had not been able to, regular church goer that I am. Ian and I also dabbled a bit in meditation, althogh not as consistently as the yoga. Today, I feel I can handle whatever it was that I couldn’t manage before. I understand spirituality better because I feel I have lived it. I am at peace.

The Holy Spirit

Letter from Carl Jung in reply to Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, dated 30 January 1961, Kusnacht, Switzerland. Bill Wilson wrote a letter of appreciation to Carl Jung. “Very many thoughtful A.A.’s are students of your writings. Because of your conviction that man is something more than intellect, emotion, and two dollars’s worth of chemicals, you have especially endeared yourself to us . . . “

Dear Mr. Wilson,

Your letter has been very welcome indeed.

I had no news from Rowland H. anymore and often wondered what had been his fate. Our conversation which he has adequately reported to you had an aspect of which he did not know. The reason I could not tell him everything was that those days I had to be exceedingly careful of what I said. I found out that I was misunderstood in every possible way. Thus I was very careful when I talked to Rowland H. But what I really thought about was the result of many experiences with men of his kind.

His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.*

How could one formulate such an insight in a language that is not misunderstood in our days?

The only right and legitimate way to such an experience is that it happens to you in reality, and it can only happen to you when you walk on a path which leads you to higher understanding. You might be led to that goal by an act of grace or through a personal and honest contact with friends, or through a higher education of the mind beyond the confines of mere rationalism. I see from your letter that Rowland H. has chosen the second way, which was, under the circumstances, obviously the best one.

I am strongly convinced that the evil principle prevailing in this world leads the unrecognized spiritual need into perdition, if it is not counteracted either by a real religious insight or by the protective wall of human community. An ordinary man, not protected by an action from above and isolated in society, cannot resist the power of evil, which is called very aptly the Devil. But the use of such words arouse(s) so many mistakes that one can only keep aloof from them as much as possible.

These are the reasons why I could not give a full and sufficient explanation to Rowland H., but (I) am risking it with you because I conclude from your very decent and honest letter that you have acquired a point of view about the misleading platitudes one usually hears about alcoholism.

Alcohol in Latin in spiritus, and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritum.

Thanking you again for your kind letter, I remain yours sincerely, C.G. Jung.

_________________
“* ‘As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.’ Psalm 42,1”

Letter reprinted in ‘PASS IT ON’ The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc. 1984, pg. 383-385.

A.A. and SZ

Dr. Abram Hoffer, the originator of niacin treatment for schizophrenia, believed that alcoholism was often a coping mechanism for latent schizophrenia. These two conditions, while on the outside may not have much in common, respond well to megadoses of niacin in combination with other vitamins. There is also a psycho/spiritual dimension that cannot be ignored in both. It is interesting, given that these two conditions have much in common, that programs like Alcoholics Anonymous have seen many success stories, while the same cannot be said for schizophrenia treatment programs.

A.A.’s growth and track record is due to some principles that were understood from the beginning. The founders recognized that in order to succeed in their work, A.A. had to be a volunteer organization, where alcoholics were there to counsel others as peers. They managed to secure some initial funding from J.D. Rockefeller, but Rockefeller and his associates were reluctant to fund them further, warning them to steer clear of the trap of “professionalism”. Money, it was felt, would spoil a good thing. Paid volunteers, according to A.A.’s members, would destroy trust.

The spiritual/religious dimension is a very strong part of A.A. Contrast this with schizophrenia, where religiosity is considered a symptom of psychosis to be chemically eliminated.

The treatment approach that came closest to A.A. for schizophrenia was Soteria, which relied on non-medical people to work closely with the patients. In fact, many people who have recovered from schizophrenia credit their recovery to someone who cared, who was able to empathize with them, perhaps someone who had been there himself. A.A. incidentally, deliberately preferred to staff the organization with recovered alcoholics, including medical doctors.

Today’s schizophrenia programs, by and large, are not success stories. They rely on paid medical staff (who, presumably, are not former schizophrenics), not counseling by peers. The doctor knows best, the patients’ personal life stories are considered irrelevant in the face of the “proven efficacy” of the biochemical model.

Information overload

Here is an e-mail I received from the sound shaman in response to Chris’s latest write-up of his experiences undergoing sound therapy.
http://holisticschizophrenia.blogspot.com/2009/11/sound-shaman-as-therapist.html

“Thank you Rossa, I am glad that we seem to be making positive progress. Chris is a wonderful and deeply sensitive young man, and in my opinion, he needs to gain a deeper understanding that the mind, with it’s endless stream of chatter and unceasing kaleidoscope of imaginings, is not who he really IS.

We have a serious problem in our modern society: it is that we have forgotten what it is to be silent. Our world is trapped in an uncontrollable spiral whose velocity is in the danger zone. Young people are being subjected to an ever schizophrenic society – just watch an hour of MTV, the Saturday morning cartoons, or a typical video game – the number of messages evoked through sound and image is equivalent to what we (as parents in our generation) would have been exposed to in almost a year of media. In earlier generations, this amount of new information would have been absorbed over decades. It is no wonder that our children have difficulty concentrating, sitting still, or thinking coherently – much less understanding their emotions as they are being bombarded with largely irrelevant, incoherent, and manipulative information at an ever increasing rate. It is unlikely that this frenzied multi-media phenomenon will change in the near future, thus it is more important than ever to find ways to offload or discharge this very negative influence.

As we can demonstrate with measurements, our thoughts influence our electrical field, which in turn influences the atomic and molecular cohesion in the body. The rising incidence of disease in children in modern societies, such as allergies, psychological problems, etc., is not just a result of environmental pollution or bad diet, rather I believe, that it is very much related to the disturbance of the body’s electrical field due to an oversupply of sensory and conceptual information. To heal, we need not medicate our children or give them ever more activities, rather we need to teach them to appreciate silence, stillness, and relaxation. Observing the flow of a river in the forest is far more therapeutic to our information overloaded children than any antidepressant!”

Anonymous advice from other people

I read through all the comments on Oprah’s website on the Jani Schofield interview that took place on Tuesday, Oct. 6. I was glad to see the large number of people who looked at the problems of this seven year old girl diagnosed with schizophrenia in a holistic way. When a child this young has hallucinations and is violent, I think the people who talk about Indigo children, faith/spirit based strategies, and yes, even exorcism, are on to something. I say this because writers and poets have known for centuries that the period of infancy and childhood is a gradual process of drawing away from God/the universal mind. Some children, however, spend a longer, more intense time on this journey, and help is needed to coax them back to accepting a more material reality.

What Oprah’s commenters did not remark on is that a person with a diagnosis is usually seen as the problem. I believe that the problem should be seen in the larger context of family. This is my plug for more people to use family psychotherapy in addition to other holistic interventions.

It is interesting that the Schofields have named their children January and Bodhi (meaning either “enlightenment or awakening”) yet seem unwilling to embrace alternative healing ideas as something “extra” for their daughter. Michael Schofield is on record as saying alternative healing is fine if used in conjunction with medications. He’s not there yet in practice as it appears no alternative therapies are being tried. When I say alternative, I am referring to practices and therapies that are off the radar screen of most people (this is schizophrenia, after all), such as looking at the problem shamanistically, spiritually and energetically. As we all know, there is no quick fix. Healing works best if you try a number of different approaches and are consistent. If someone is lucky enough to shout “eureka, I’m cured” after one type of intervention, then they should consider themselves indeed fortunate. For the rest of us, it’s a slog.

In the spirit of providing ideas of what just might work for you, from time to time I will post an updated list of what other people are doing to help themselves or their relative. Here are some ideas that I have picked up in my travels. Please feel free to send me ideas of what worked/is working for you.

DENIAL

I told my child, as calmly and as seriously as I possibly could, while remaining terrified that it would not work, that as the parent, I made the rules and that they were describing the symptoms of a very serious illness that one, they were too young to have, and two, that I do not allow. I tried to make it that simple – “I don’t allow it” because it was either going to work or it wasn’t. Thankfully, it worked.
See also: Milton H. Erickson

LOOKING FOR GOOD NEWS

I couldn’t help but Google¬© his symptoms. He could have been diagnosed, instead I found a snippet somewhere that said that many boys outgrow “fits” or tantrums by the age of 7 or 8.

I also clung-to stories by other moms especially one who’s grown son is now an MD, who did the “classic” lining-up of toys that nowadays will achieve a diagnosis.

THE WISDOM OF OTHER CULTURES

I am about to suggest may not make any sense to you but it won’t hurt to try either. If you can change her name it might help. In my culture we really believe that all names have an effect on one’s personality.

BEING OPEN MINDED

When my child was 2 yrs old until 4 yrs old she had her “imaginary friends” all the time everyday and I thought it was ok but sometimes it was annoying and I spoke to my friend about it who spoke to me about ghosts and indigo children. I didn’t want to believe it but she was so right about it. I had an excorism done to my child and prayed a lot and used sage incense and this all worked. Since then she has had no further experiences. Look at this at a spiritual level and try other alternatives.

BEING OUTDOORS

I discovered running as a primary tool to use in recovery from mental illness.