Iona Miller's EMERGENT HEALING PARADIGM
EMERGENT HEALING Paradigm, Iona Miller 2015
IONA MILLER WEB PRESENCE
WHAT’S NEW: Updated 2015
Join me on Facebook
"To heal the symptom, we must heal the person, and to heal the person we must first heal the story in which the person has imagined himself." --James Hillman
"There is no such thing as a spiritual journey. If there were a spiritual journey, it would be only a quarter inch long, though many miles deep. You do not have to go away outside yourself to come into real conversation with your soul and with the mysteries of the spiritual world. The eternal is at home --within you." --Meister Eckhart
"every soil has its secret, of which we carry an unconscious image in our souls: a relationship of spirit to body and of body to earth." --Jung; CW XVIII
What is this invisible ground whose image we carry in our souls where spiritual ideals merge with worldly realities? Isn’t it always right here, right now everywhere always forever? The contextual background, the invisible environment, is the fundamental ground from which both mind and matter emerge, the luminous absolute space of reality beyond the mere absence of energy/matter.
The radiant ground is the fundamental source beyond the boundary layer of quantum foam. Our healing task is to somehow realize this radiant image of the body in earth, to ground this body in its essential nature, which is the source of creativity and healing. It is precisely in the world, in life itself, that we experience compassion, wisdom, enlightenment. It is only our persistent rigid delusions to the contrary that prevent us from realizing it every moment.
FIELDS WITHIN FIELDS
Emergence is an organic process which has superceded mechanistic models of healing. It is central to understanding consciousness and the brain. Emergence is a process by which order appears “spontaneously” within a system. Spontaneous healing defies medical explanations but manifests everyday in our healthy immune function. We can heal physically, psychologically and spiritually. A mental shift can produce a physical shift. We can develop strategies for deliberately optimizing this process.
Healing is essentially a form of creativity, of dynamic creative process. Physical healing is a type of spiritual healing. Sometimes spiritual healing cures the physical body through unknown means. Spontaneous healing means to restore, to make sound or whole.
Healing is not always synonymous with cure. Sometimes we heal physically but not emotionally, or the reverse. The healing process of evoking or optimizing that function in a compromised immune system is our challenge.
Our beliefs, emotions and feelings affect the body. Just as it can be suppressed in grief or stress, our immune system can respond positively to a variety of inputs, both orthodox and heterodox. Alternative means are complementary to allopathic medical treatment.
When many elements are allowed to mingle, they form patterns among themselves as they interact. When the mind lets go of its rational order and enters into unstructured chaos it emerges later with a new structure.
New physics strongly suggests that we are all holistically connected in a shared domain finer than the physical level, which we can call subspace. The biological basis for this field can be found in communication on a cellular basis. The doorway to the quantum level exists in the extracellular fluid between each and every cell in the human body.
Studies of the cell membrane and intercellular communication have led us to an understanding that ultimate communication may be carried by packets of light energy, or photons. By applying healing intentionality, we can influence the mindbody and energy fields of other individuals, animals, plants, and even an entire planet.
Order emerges from chaos, but chaos also overwhelms us when order breaks down in our bodies, minds or societies. Then we need emergent healing that comes from deep within, not introjected from outside of ourselves but welling up from our core. In this new Depression, we need deep healing, individually and collectively.
Our sick system needs to heal from corruption and mismanagement. The planet needs to heal from human impact and overpopulation. It is a complex problem which can only be addressed by a radical shift in healing paradigms and means. The transformative process takes many forms in working with chaos through nature's way.
We all share an interest in healing and healing relationships. Healing doesn't only come from outside; we all have internal self-healing potentials. Healing can be mobilized by the seemingly irrational, such as healing rituals or beliefs. The relationship of mindbody and the associated energy fields is complex.
Healing is not necessarily synonymous with cure. Sometimes we heal physically, but not emotionally or spiritually. Sometimes we heal spirit and restore soul, but a physical cure remains elusive. In the past healing has focused on the physical body and mind but not on the human energy field. When body, soul and spirit respond in resonance, holistic integrity is restored.
Diagnostic medical devices such as the PET, MRI, fMRI often produce results allowing others to claim demonstration of a human energy field that coexists with the physical body. The human energy field is now studied at the bioelectronic as well as biochemical level. Magnetic polarities and spin properties of molecules in the extracellular fluids of the body are described in the peer-reviewed and popular scientific literature.
Biophysics, the science of the physical principles of life, sees the body in terms of living light - a photonic process of communication and coordination. These models can be applied to tissues and organs, ecosystems and populations. All human cultures have a model of the universe. Primal societies embody their models in mythology and modern societies define their models with science. Such models serve important psychological and social functions.
Meditation masters speak of an inner Light that pervades the physical and energy bodies, and now science investigates it as biophotons, and through quantum physics we can watch that matter/energy/information devolve back into the unstructured void from which creative potential emanates.
Mystics have often equated this pervasive Light/Sound with primordial Consciousness and the source of life as well as matter. Quantum bioholography shows the DNA literally produces coherent light, which transduces to sound that directs the formative processes of life. Radiant energy is radiant energy. Whether we look outside into our environment or inside into ourselves we find primordial Light.
There already is a solidly rational basis for understanding health and degeneration of the human organism as well as how one organism may communicate energetically with another through time and space. Imbalances and problems show up in the human energy field before they manifest on a physical plane level. Also, many curative and healing processes begin in the human energy field before manifesting any signs in the physical body. This is the rationale for putting scientifically-based energy medicine into practice.
HYPOTHESIS: Emergent healing depends on the nonlocal principles of nature's own self-organization, as well as on direct causal influences on the mindbody of the organism. It is proposed that the interactive field -- therapeutic entrainment -- present in the healing situation can be amplified intentionally to mobilize the psychophysical healing process.
The science that currently drives the healing professions is out of date and not really appropriate to complex systems. New science provides far better models for the human condition. I.e. relativity, quantum, chaos and holographic theories.
Healing and disease are matters that involve senses more than mind and are matters of consciousness and its structures. The effects of empathic bonding transcend time and space. Dreaming, when the unconscious takes the stage on its own terms, can be a window through which healing enters.
Human beings, like all complex systems are self regulating (homeostasis principle) and will generally do so given the opportunity. Yet activity and the struggle to be healed are also natural. Healing flows from one's true center -- unself-conscious, focused, authentic, genuine, accepting of any outcome, uncontaminated by fear of death, and without guilt or blame.
Healing often depends far more on the connection between the practitioner and client than it does on the particular practice. "Doing without doing" facilitates cooperation with the natural order instead of trying to change it, allowing for "controlled accidents" to happen magically when we attune to or align with the intrinsic order in a certain way, complementing the more process-oriented, causal principles.
Symptoms are at their base attempts by the organism to solve problems. As such their isolated eradication can result in further symptoms arising in answer to the unsolved deeper issue. Paradoxically, acceptance and gratitude in spite of the presence of disease can heal without conscious effort -- a shift in being, not doing.
There are only self-healers; the best one can do is find and encourage that process in oneself or another, addressing the whole person. Spiritual perfection and health are not necessarily equated, and healing often involves surrender or letting go. Underlying the desire for total personal, conscious control and responsibility in health is frequently a narcissistic desire for power.
Consciousness prevails throughout all reality and is a basic field that is part of all structure in the universe. While the brain acts locally, consciousness can act nonlocally, at a distance.
Natural healing emerges spontaneously through nature's own self-organizing processes. It involves a dynamic, flowing state or "liquification" of consciousness and out-worn structure, a return to the womb for rebirth, a baptism or healing immerison in the vast ocean of deep unconsciousness. In this creative regression, destructuring or destratification proceeds by immersion in the flow of psychosensory imagery through identification with more primal forms or patterns. Chaos Theory provides a more-than metaphorical language for describing these complex, flowing dynamics of the chaotic process of psychophysical transformation.
Addressing this paradigmatic schism between mechanistic and holistic models (see Appendix for comparative charts), medical schools have included the humanities in education, pastoral workers have become active in hospitals, and psychologists tend to patients undergoing somatic care. But it is a paradigmatic shift in worldview across the healing arts that is called for to embody methods of healing which harmonize with our current scientific theories.
Meanwhile, individuals have also turned to various forms of alternative or complementary medicine, seeking to incorporate life meaning and spirituality within their illnesses and treatments. In transpersonal and energy medicine they seek a soulful, holistic treatment for the mindbody and spirit. How the flow and exchange of energy affect our health -- for better or worse -- is fundamental to most forms of non-allopathic medicine. What all the alternative therapies and "touchy-feely" practices have in common is more listening. Social support works through empathy by helping people navigate through life.
There is an intangible connection between psyche and soma. In many complex ways the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind because they are in fact indissoluble. Our neurological and metabolic biochemistry, stress hormones, pain levels and many other factors affect our quality of life.
We can also be affected from the environoment, from the body politic, from our culture and its expectations, repressive or nurturing societies, and a variety of other health promoting and toxic factors. When things go smoothly, it is relatively easy to maintain homeostasis, but when our lives are disrupted, sometimes utterly so, it becomes difficult not to succumb to some psychophysical manifestations of dis-ease.
For most of human history, healing has involved contact with spirit, with altered consciousness, with rituals intended to create a shared biofield with a shaman who seemingly could exert mind over matter. This spiritual technology has yielded to technological medicine governed by the rational protocols of science. But noting that medical intuition and therapeutic rapport are real forces in the healing process, many practitioners are moving toward a new paradigm or model of healing.
We have the capacity to therapeutically influence one another in ways we cannot yet explain. Anomalies such as the demonstrated power of prayer, placebo effect, spontaneous remission, therapeutic intentionality, and remote healing hint that the irrational, the mysterious, is an inherent part of the natural healing process. When we become ill, the fundamental nature of consciousness is revealed as it relates indivisibly to both mind and matter, psyche and soma.
HEALING DISRUPTED LIVES
Chaos Theory and the Healing Process
The Role and Value of Journey Work in the Process of Recovery
by Iona Miller, Asklepia Foundation, 2003
1). Disruption and Continuity;
2). Healing Words: "Metaphors Be with You";
3). The Healing Power of Narrative History;
4). Soul Support: Healing the Disordered Bodymind;
5). Character: Have Some, Don't Just Be One;
6). Conclusions and Directions
Abstract: Our life journey is an unpredictable series of chaotic twists and turns which mold our lives, despite our best intentions and plans, as we wend our way toward our certain end. The 'journey' is a core guiding metaphor for our multifarious experiences. It is a poetic journey of self-discovery. Chaos theory provides a natural yet scientific metaphor of this complex trajectory of emergent order from disorder, the complex dance at the edge of chaos.
Process-oriented therapies help us not only recover but make sense of our feelings and experiences by evoking our story, a meaningful narrative of our unique course. It is a combination of subjective healing fiction and our objective history, but expresses the reality of our psyche -- our embodied soul.
Even if many have embarked on a similar quest, each of us makes this dramatic voyage of discovery for ourselves -- we become our own Columbus of the soul, going where we do not know. It leads into the unknown where fearsome dragons (pain, suffering, loss, grief, illness, emotional devastation, mortality, our own personal demons) await to devour us. How we navigate those turbulent seas or traverse that undiscovered country is crucial to our wholeness and well-being...even as old explorers heading for the shores of death.
If metaphor is central to embodied experience, we can find healing meaning embodied in our personal tales, which speak from the soul of the resilience of human spirit.
Efforts to control a chronic condition are rooted in two ideas: that people can control their environment and that people should take responsibility for their health. The notion that chronic illness can be controlled is common in U.S. medical practice, whereas discussion of the limits of control are uncommon. Often couched in terms of illness management in both the medical and social science literature, control over the condition reflects interpretations of Western Cartesian philosophy, which, in contemporary thought, has been interpreted as mind over matter.
The responsibility people feel for controlling their chronic illnesses and the efforts they make to overcome the constraints such control places on everyday life affect self-perceptions and alter as the illness waxes and wanes. . .embodied knowledge is assaulted by the ethos of rational determinism. The imposition of another type of order [leaves us] without meaning in [our] lives. The close relationship between embodied knowledge and meaning is thus relegated to a subsidiary position, while control over the body becomes preeminent. Metaphor is central to embodied experience. -- Gay Becker, 1997.
No one really knows how nonlocal healing works, but the empathic bond is one important aspect. Therapeutic entrainment which is present in the healing situation can be intentionally amplified by the mind to mobilize the healing process. The unconscious plays a role in such healing, because all the templates used during healing are located in the holographic records of the human unconscious. It is not possible to differentiate local healing from nonlocal healing. All healing is essentially remote healing, regardless of how much distance is involved between healer and patient. One assumption is that a cybernetic device becomes yet a third focus of consciousness in the healing process traditionally viewed as involving just the consciousness of two people.
From a spiritual point of view, when healing occurs, the process happens at an energy level where all consciousness is one. So by this definition, the cybernetic device has a form of electromagnetic consciousness which can also manifest at an energy level where all consciousness is one.
Our contemporary task is to move beyond the apparent mind/body dichotomy of western mechanistic thought and understand our reality as part of the holistic embedded field. We are nested in reality. We don't end at our skin boundary. This cannot remain a mere concept but must become part of our essence, a belief lived from our very core. Living from a holistic perspective is an experiential process, a Way of life.
"Consciousness" encompasses the potentially integrated healing aspects of brain, mind, emotions, and spirit, together with physiological and environmental influences that produce unique patterns. The body IS the unconscious, which forms a living matrix. Healing is a physical or biological form of creativity. Nonlocal healing is a synchronistic event, which takes place in the presence of intentionality to share a common field of influence.
The "consciousness of healing" may be a pattern, or patterns, that can be identified in the anomalous energies associated with sensitive persons. Anomalous energies are one highly meaningful constellation of factors. Recurrent, complex, interrelated patterns, processes and temporal variations, influenced by the environment, are inherent in states of consciousness for better or worse.
Selected aspects of consciousness provide more reliable experimental replication and active integration of holistic investigations into the sources and processes of healing, other associated non-local phenomena, environmental effects and biophysical interactions of body, mind, emotions and spirit.
Dreamhealing - Psychophysical Healing Technique with Journeys
DREAMHEALING & the Creative Consciousness Process (A therapeutic technique using dreams, symptoms and metaphors as portals to inner life) - Scientific revolutions and paradigm shifts happen in various disciplines on a regular basis. Some practitioners in a field are quick to adapt new models into their conceptualizations and work, while others who are reluctant to change cannot make the leap in consciousness. Continuing to adhere to outdated, but familiar philosophies and practices, they represent the established order and its preference for the status quo.The healing arts, both medical and psychological, have not been exempt from this persistent human pattern. But our understanding of the fundamental nature of reality through scientific understanding is progressing exponentially; advances have been phenomenal. Increasing popularity of the alternative health movement, human potential movement, recovery movement, and self-help has shown that a large segment of the population are changing their approach to well being. A variety of so-called healing techniques have become available with widely varying credibility and results.Whether they have any scientifically traceable therapeutic effect, or not, most are rooted in the idea of treating the WHOLE PERSON, rather than mechanically treating bodies in a maintenance factory. Complementary health practices encourage preventive maintenance as well as physical and psychological self-care and self-regulation, not just crisis management.
DREAMHEALING & the Creative Consciousness Process (A therapeutic technique using dreams, symptoms and metaphors as portals to inner life) - Scientific revolutions and paradigm shifts happen in various disciplines on a regular basis. Some practitioners in a field are quick to adapt new models into their conceptualizations and work, while others who are reluctant to change cannot make the leap in consciousness. Continuing to adhere to outdated, but familiar philosophies and practices, they represent the established order and its preference for the status quo.The healing arts, both medical and psychological, have not been exempt from this persistent human pattern. But our understanding of the fundamental nature of reality through scientific understanding is progressing exponentially; advances have been phenomenal.
Increasing popularity of the alternative health movement, human potential movement, recovery movement, and self-help has shown that a large segment of the population are changing their approach to well being. A variety of so-called healing techniques have become available with widely varying credibility and results.Whether they have any scientifically traceable therapeutic effect, or not, most are rooted in the idea of treating the WHOLE PERSON, rather than mechanically treating bodies in a maintenance factory. Complementary health practices encourage preventive maintenance as well as physical and psychological self-care and self-regulation, not just crisis management.
Author, Iona Miller
FREE RADICAL: Iona Miller, consultant and transdisciplinarian, is a nonfiction writer for the academic and popular press, hypnotherapist (ACHE) and multimedia artist. Her work is an omnisensory fusion of sacred activism, intelligence reform, esoterics, science-art, chaos theory, pop physics, and emergent paradigm shift melding experiential psychotherapy, future science, biophysics, resonant space, philosophy, cosmology, healing, creativity, qabalah, magick, paranormal, media ecology, mind control, paramedia, metaphysics, and cultural filters.
CHANGE AGENT: Rather than having an interest in specific doctrines, she is interested in the transformations, the EFFECTS of doctrines from religion, science, psychology, politics and the arts. Our beliefs are the moldable raw material of the psyche, manipulated by governments, media and culture. How do we become what we are and how is that process changing in the near future?
META HARI: Performance artist and spywhisperer, Ms. Miller is published by Phanes Press, Destiny Books (Inner Traditions), Autonomedia, Nexus Magazine, Dream Network, PM&E, Journal of Nonlocality and Remote Mental Interactions (JNLRMI), Chaosophy Journal, OAK, DNA Monthly, Pop Occulture, Schiffer, Bolero, Science-Art Research Centre, and more. She is a Gaia.com Ambassador and serves on the Board of Medigrace.org nonprofit organization. Recent print articles include Alchemy Journal Vol. 10 No.1, Mar 09 (Australia), Paranoia zine #44, #46, #49, #50 (USA), HunterGatheress Journal, Vol. I and Vol. II, JNLRMI (Russia), Der Golem (Germany), Antibiothis I and III (Portugal), The Art of Fetish (Miami), and Journal of Interdisciplinary Crossroads (India). Her artwork has shown in Miami, Phoenix, New York, in magazines and more. Appearances include "21st Century Radio," "Untamed Dimensions," "Reality Portal," " Digital Long Island," "The Ascending Way," etc.
http://www.facebook.com/iona.miller Join me on Facebook
Join me on Facebook
Does an intention to heal indicate metaphysical free will? And if not, what can it mean to call ourselves “healers” or agents of healing, with or without new agey “evolutionary” spin? Some self-styled healers subscribe to the notion that the more of us join together in our intentionality in a “critical mass”, the more some evolutionary imperative for mass or planetary healing will be amplified or speeded up.
But maybe that is just a vain attempt to wrest order from the warp-speed of chaotic modern life. We are experts at deluding ourselves. Will and intentionality are ideals, even heroic ideals of a striving ego. Will implies a very directive controlling “masculine” approach, and perhaps the nuance of intentionality is nonobjectively “feminine”, perhaps more in harmony with the flow of nature.
No matter what we think or do physical, emotional and spiritual healing goes on as it always has throughout human history. Whether we try self-help (self-regulation; meditation), seek outside help, or get lucky in the synchronistic flow of events often we find just what we need to make the difference. It is the boon or treasure we find in the journey. Psychophysical healing is a variation on the theme of death/rebirth: the old maladaptive self must die so the new creative self can emerge.
Spontaneous healing happens in the dark, in a lacuna of our consciousness, drawing from processes still unclear in our understanding. So what is the uncaused cause if there is no such thing as conscious willing and we lack direct awareness of the causality of conscious will.? Why do we cling to this belief? How does our expectancy enter into it? And if “shift happens” does it really matter how? Yes, because it is that “mattering” of which we speak.
Can we query our belief-generating systems for information? And how could that influence the self-monitoring architecture of another? Who does what to whom in the healing dyad or group? What is the role of psychic contagion? Can we find our answers in the proffered solutions of the new age or parapsychology which seek their legitimacy in the arguments of new physics, traditional or alternative medical fantasies, AI, IT, or any other disciplines serving up plausible solutions?
Many self-styled healers don’t consider the act their “own”. Likewise, those using a Ouija board find the planchette under their fingers seems to move on its own, even though the messages it spells out can only come, ultimately, from the participants. Dowsers looking for water report that the dowsing rod moves autonomously in their hands, relaying unseen forces. Doesn’t that imply anyone can “do it”? Even if we settle on what to do, we still don’t know how to do it, though legions of self-styled experts charge a high price for their opinions and methodology.
Healing is not just a voluntary process we can will, since it depends to some extent on the permeation of collective conscious and unconcious. Even self-healing occurs in some psychophysical “twilight zone”. This suggests that rather than any intentionality, essential character may be more important in the healing process, perhaps through a sort of psychic contagion, like Jung’s concept of mana personality, etc.
A big part of our conscious position is rooted in our belief system or worldview, about the structure of mind and reality. These are fused, yet appear in observation to be a series of nested or embedded hierarchies of operation. They look different, or their agents and descriptors do, to the observer from the organismic, chemical, molecular, atomic, and subatomic domains.
If nothing else, intentionality begins a healing ritual where it is virtually inconsequential if both parties are consciously aware of that context or not. But this ritual seems to deepen beyond sociological context. Another environment obviously springs up, or exist a priori, such as the mystery of unified field. Not only a MESSAGE but MESSAGES emanate/proliferate aside from some medium.
Is it willing, even if we aren’t consciously aware of agency? Is there a common cause in both our willed actions and their ‘effects’, a common cause in some unconscius set of psychophysical events? Does conscious mental rehearsal amplify the effect of activated intention? But aren’t our conscious willings and actions always the result of common underlying cause?
But what if the urge “to heal” doesn’t come from conscious reasoning and decision-making to begin with? What if it spring spontaneously from our essential nature? Then, isn’t everyone a potential healer, as well as healee? Can we surrender to that phenomenal immediacy? Maybe we just have to be willing rather than do willing.
The American Dream Has Soured in Eco-Crisis
FAILURE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM
"I'm just asking you to hear yourself. Listen to what you're really saying and to what you think you're saying. Control, control, control. When are you going to realize that nothing can be controlled? We live in chaos; it's the central issue in everyone's life. Mack, look around you. Everyone in this parking lot is struggling for control. And you know what it is they're trying to control, each and everyone of them? Fear -- they're trying to control their fear." --Steve Martin in, Grand Canyon
"Sweet Dreams Are Made of This"
"One of the great attractions of patriotism -- it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous." --Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
Since ancient times, mankind has shunned chaos and sought order. In Egypt, the primary job of the Pharaoh was to create Maat, order. Then the Nile would flood and with this flow there would be abundance on that thin edge of chaos and order that was Egypt. Thus was born the image of prosperity -- of infinite cornucopia. In the US it is much the same, but in this era it is oil and power that must flow to sustain abundance. Oil greases the wheels of corporate rule and "trickles down" to the common folk. Or so they say...
We might think of this year, 2003, more as "227 A.D." -- the two-hundred twenty-seventh year of the evolving American Dream. The American Dream defines the American soul, soul meaning the force that gives us direction. You become American by having fantasies and dreams that you believe you can eventually attain. When you become American you become an individual. Americans have risen, for good or ill, to the top of the world pecking order, and have been emulated abroad where we have conquered militarily, socially, economically.
Americans have created and spread an immense culture that is garnering more and more converts worldwide. Americans are like the Romans and the Chinese, forever struggling to make others more like themselves. The American middle class, with its consumer affluence, its beckoning to every person to become an individual ("to be oneself"), and its great public arena of particiption in street, forum, cultural, political, and state life, is the single most powerful cultural force in the world. We Americans have become accustomed to, addicted to, the American Dream. First California exported it to the rest of the country, and now it has spread over the world. But the vision can only be sustained if the state keeps conjuring it up, supporting it, making it possible, and above all, convincing people it is good. (Schurmann, 1995).
Is the California Dream turning to a consumeristic nightmare? The "American Dream" of order is a shifting, but central idea in our collective and personal histories. America was built on dreams, that is on the heritage of hope and universalism. What began as a dream of democratic humanism has degraded beyond one of simple home ownership into one of materialistic consumerism -- commercialism. The underlying mandate of rugged individualism (willpower, perseverance, self-reliance, self-determinism), the work ethic, and personal responsibility is counterbalanced by the strong belief that hard work will be rewarded with upward mobility -- abundance.
That upward mobility is the promise of bigger rewards and an upgrade in lifestyle, class, social strata, prestige, health and well-being, personal fulfillment, and opportunities. Its a case of "dream as if you'll live forever and live as if you'll die tomorrow." A plurality of aspirations unites all Americans -- a business-success dream (and not just Americans but the middle-class worldwide). It defines success or failure in the American system. Living proof of the system's effectiveness is an affirmation of the proposition that persistent application of one's talents, small though they may be, pays off. And this, after all, is the substance of the American Dream -- the materialistic "pay off."
[T]he United States, unlike most other nations, defines itself not on the facts of blood, religion, language, geography, or shared history, but on a set of ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and consolidated in the Constitution. At the core of these ideals lies the ambiguous but galvanizing concept of the American Dream, a concept that for better and worse has proven to be amazingly elastic and durable for hundreds of years and across racial, class, and other demographic lines.
Cullen traces a series of overlapping American dreams: the quest for religious freedom that brought the Pilgrims to the "New World"; the political freedom promised in the Declaration; the dream of upward mobility, embodied most fully in the figure of Abraham Lincoln; the dream of home ownership, from homestead to suburb; the intensely idealistic--and largely unrealized--dream of equality articulated most vividly by Martin Luther King, Jr. The version of the American Dream that dominates our own time--what Cullen calls "the Dream of the Coast"--is one of personal fulfillment, of fame and fortune all the more alluring if achieved without obvious effort, which finds its most insidious expression in the culture of Hollywood. (Cullen)
The dark heart of the American dream is that our hearts are torn between the two positions of humanistic conscientious goodwill (love, justice, freedom, equality, liberty), and selfishness if not greed. It is no coincidence that often the most affluent are the most narcissistic, self-absorbed, and addicted -- to everything from consumerism, to personal urgency, to privilege, to manic activity, to escapism and thrill-seeking behavior, to sex, to self-indulgence, to instant gratification, to mind and mood altering chemicals, to power. Ironically, the wealthy are often poor in soul, with few social bonds except through prosperity. They are never sure whose motives they can trust.
The cinematic image of Wall Street's exploitive anti-hero Gordon Gecko and his narcissistic narcosis still haunts us with the refrain, "Greed is good." It is even more poignant now that the Wall Street bubble has burst. The trajectory of our acquisitiveness has gone from less necessity to more choice, to rampant desire ("more is better" whether we "need' it or not), and we've lost our souls in the process. Our consumer culture is built on the Cartesian shopping principle: "I buy, therefore I am."
We obsess on our bodies and minds, often neglecting our souls. But "we need more" than an abundance of material goods.
This greediness, acquisitiveness, the inability to be filled, becomes even more important to reflect upon during the present fall of corrupt corporations and the rise of the Pax Americana , the militarily unopposed spread of American power and values. We are perceived as a bully-nation by a large part of the world. Problematically, there are natural consequences to this unilateral behavior. In some ways the new American "Empire" has become an extension of the resource-exploitive notion of "manifest destiny," exporting it abroad.
American civilization, -- middle class civilization -- with its democracy, individualism, mobility, and human rights, wants to predominate, to encompass the entire world, but it cannot because it remains incomplete. Egalitarianism isn't too far from antiauthoritarianism. Power is exercised by imposing it on others, while authority elicits willing compliance. That moral authority only comes from a shared ethical base that transcends national boundaries, transcends religious affiliation. Such authority cannot fail to be recognized, but no one, no nation has been able to wield it.
The underlying truth of American culture is that it is, of course, multinational, composed of those from all continents, backgrounds, and ethnicities. Americans are a polyglot of Europeans, Latinos, Africans, Indians, Asians, Native Americans, and any other nationality who had strong enough drive to migrate here in the first place. Many people have mixed backgrounds, a robust combination of racial traits. We are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan, atheist, agnostic, and have more Muslims than Afghanistan. All are free to pursue their orientation without persecution or pressure from neighbors or the state. It is no secret this country was founded on the desire for spiritual freedom.
Americans are English, French, Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab. Or Pakistani, or Afghan. An American may also be a Cherokee, Sioux, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Hopi, Apache, Seminole, or one the many other native American tribes, or mixed bloods. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place, they are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American. Many of us are products of the "melting pot," of mixed heritage. We need not deny our roots to become Americans.
Free to believe in no religion, we answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God. An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness. Americans are traditionally generous, helping out just about every other nation in the world at some time. America welcomes the best -- the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best art, the best athletes. But it also welcomes the least, as shown by the sentiment expressed by the Statue of Liberty.
The success of democracy in the past was undergird with the family and religion. The fruits of the market system -- science, technology, urbanization, affluence -- are undermining these institutions that are the foundations of social order. In traditional cultures, many of the tasks we now pay others to do for us were done within the family. Shameless self-promotion has taken its place, wherein marketing ourselves becomes a way of life. Speech and action have become marketing, revealing not personality but ambition. We are naturally and rightly wary of people we perceive as peddling themselves. Money gives an individual power; as they say "money talks, and bullsh-- walks." Or, the measure of sincerity is, "Show me the money."
Politics is now presumed to be the realm of dishonest speech and ulterior motives. Politicians, lacking credibility, know they are transparent, but still shamelessly try to manipulate the opinions of voters. Our private wariness and the public failure of parasitic politics has led to an ironic attitude, disillusionment. What should be seen as tragic is perceived as farcical. Our greatest fear is perhaps being caught having staked our all on a false hope -- personal, political, or both. Paradoxically, having fewer hopes can lead to more commitment to materialism, to making money, since little else seems quite worth the risk or emotional investment.
An ironic attitude to politics and public life never invites disappointment by a movement's decline or a leader's dishonesty, ineffectiveness, philandering, propagandizing, manipulation, or overweaning arrogance. There is a kind of security here in the skeptical mentality, but it is the negative security of perpetual suspicion. Irony prevents us from taking another seriously -- their integrity, sincere motivation, authority. We laugh at their trite, hypocritical, sanctimonious posturing. We have become wary even of hope, of believing too much, especially in people. Paradoxically, it has become a point of vague, if convictionless, pride. We have a confused estimate of our powers, limits, and needs. Meaning has given way to postmodern coolness and disenchantment. We're left cold.
We need a sense of purpose -- secure relationships with others, trust and commitment -- something and someone to believe in, not dangerous self-certainty from overconfidence. There is a world crisis stemming from lack of authority. Power is the capacity to force compliance from others, while authority means compliance is given willingly by people to those whom they hold in awe. We are constantly in motion yet rarely satisfied.
For all our so-called individuality, we are highly conformist in dress, in attitudes, in beliefs, etc. Yet somehow, as a nation, we lack what makes a person truly individuated: identity and soul. Identity gives us self-respect and a legitimate place among others, while soul provides direction and true vision. Soul must be driven by more than deep ambivalence and the threat of bankruptsy. It is that kind of true vision that created the this country, the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
This modern lack of apparent soul has damaged our image in foreign lands where the export, encroachment, and penetration of our culture through television, movies, commerce, policies, tourism, and technologies is automatic. William Irwin Thomson said, "The history of the soul is always the history of the voiceless, the oppressed, the repressed."
Our American philosophy, our secular worldview is allegedly based on freedom, progress, reason, science and the social contract. We are somehow expected to be self-aware, self-contained, and self-motivated. "I want it all now" is a distinctly self-ish attitude. But American experience begins not in self-confidence, but in a blend of confidence and anxiety that emerges as restlessness.
But what happens when progress fails, when reason is abandoned in a toxic system, when an individual falls between the cracks of the mind-controlled society? Our economy and civilization is in deep flux and according to the rules of chaos theory could cascade into crisis and breakdown before a new order arises.
"Money changes everything," as the Cindi Lauper song says. Or, the Pink Floyd song Money, "keep your hands off of my stack." If anyone can become rich and powerful in America, we begin to sense the uneasy obligation to try to achieve it or live life in the shadow of failure, where failure means an ordinary, unremarkable life. But we can't all be movie or rock stars. We can hope for a sound, robust, diverse society only if we work for it, beginning with ourselves. Many middle-class Americans thought they had gotten rick in the stock market, only to find their dream crushed in the Fall of 2008. Loss of money, whether a reality or a paper perception, changes everything, too as many are finding out.
Long ago, de Tocqueville defined the insular malaise that penetrates American life: "Each one of them, withdrawn into himself, is almost unaware of the fate of the rest. Mankind, for him, consists in his children and his personal friends. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, they are near enough, but he does not notice them. He touches them but feels nothing." More and more, we need to consider not only our fellow Americans, but the diversity of global citizenry. Our private lives are pervasively affected by toxic, ailing or failing public institutions, economics and culture. We walk on a tightrope of necessity strung between freedom and responsibility. The whole toxic system is sick unto death.
Conversely, each of us is responsible for the common good and for upholding the integrity of common things, having values and standing up for them. And not the platitudinous values of political correctness, nor the water-down values of fear -- fear of either the enemy or the homeland which has labelled virtually any dissent as treason. To be authoritative, the vision needs to come from an authentic center that values people over things, to honor the social contract of mutual respect, mutual reliance.
Many other cultures do not validate the so-called American dream, -- the myth of progress, the myth of power, the myth of control, the myth of economic liberalism -- a disorderly scramble for goods. Sadly, it has also meant a virtual 'end of nature' in planetary environmental cataclysm. The meaning of the changes that already exist is the profound sadness of a world where there is no escaping the attacks of man. The basic forces of nature, once beyond our reach, are forevermore subject to man's dominion, even if we reorder our lives and live more humbly.
Human productivity is a poor substitute for biological productivity. Sure, the politics could change -- and they have -- for the worse, with massive environmental roll-backs by the G.W. Bush administration. In the historical past, defiance of nature has meant prosperity and a sort of security. Now, the notion of stewardship is losing a battle to planetary management and genetic engineering. The momentum behind our impulse to control nature may be too strong to stop -- nature has ended. We have chosen between that wholeness and our self-interests over other species, to make ourselves gods instead of remaining one of God's creatures. Thus, with 6 billion people on the planet, we've become the "Adam bomb."
2008 Update: We can create an evolutionary politics to build a more creative future. Calculated cycles of commodification and scarcity, business and war have driven the military/industrial complex and the multinational corporate climate. Cover Ups and confusion have paralyzed us into apathy where nothing significant can be trusted, believed or known. One percent of humanity controls 40% of global wealth.
But we can empower ourselves to resist status quo politics and shape ourselves a better destiny - a 21st century Manifest Destiny that fulfills our positive spiritual potential. If we don't want a dark future for humanity, we must reinvent ourselves and our culture from the foundation upwards. Even if that is fantastically radical, it can still happen, one inspired person at a time and cascade toward a visionay approach to large-scale societal transformation that heals personal and global socioeconomical scars.
Competent citizenry can learn to impliment constructive visions for our collective planetary future. Deep and broad visions can stimulate reflection and lively discussion of contemporary solutions that can become the scaffolding for action plans from the community level upwards. A courageous and truly integrated vision would include a detailed strategy for a vibrant and life-sustaining future. Individually and collectively we have to redefine what it means to thrive with more compassion for others, not just survive. The paradigm needs to switch from "dog eat dog" to "we're all in it together."
UPDATE, SUMMER 2009 - The economical collapse and the potential of ecological collapse has brought home the fact that we have been living way beyond our means. The coming years aren't being characterized as a new Depression for no reason. The middle class has been gutted, healthcare is likely to be rationed if widely available at all. The era of democracy is completely over and has given way to that of corporate feudalism. We are in dire need of healing lest we drive ourselves extinct.
DENIAL: Abundant evidence suggests industrial civilization must be "downsized" o curb damage to the ecosphere by the "technosphere." Trends behind this rospect include prodigious population growth, urbanization, cultural ependence upon ravenous use of fossil fuels and other nonrenewable
resources, consequent air pollution, and global climate change. Despite rolonged Cold War distraction and entrenched faith that technology could lways enlarge carrying capacity, these trends were well publicized. But here remain eminent writers who persist in denying that human carrying
capacity (Earth's maximum sustainable human load) has now been or ever will e exceeded. Denials of ecological limits resemble anosognosia (inability f stroke patients to recognize their paralysis). Some denial literature esembles their confabulations (elaborately unreal stories concocted as
rationalizations). Denial by opponents of human ecology seems to be a way f coping with an insufferable contradiction between past convictions and resent circumstances, a defense against intolerable anomalous information.
Iona's other healing-relevant sites
THE TAO OF RESILIENCE
The Consciousness Restructuring Process provides a means of direct participation in the emergent process of creating ever-newing resilience through psychophysical healing by facilitating REM and neural restructuring. CRP is an interdisciplinary artform. Aspects of this living process can be described, modelled or experienced through such scientific concepts as Relativity Theory, Quantum Theory, Chaos Theory, the Holographic Model, Systems Theory, Synergetics, REM Dynamics, Personal Mythology, Genetics, Neurotheology and Physiology. The practice of CRP therapy is essentially Humanistic; it is rooted in Transactional Analysis and Gestalt Dreamwork, but takes these disciplines into the Transpersonal Realms where we connect with Source, with Creativity, with Healing, with Spirituality.
Resilience helps us bounce back or recover our spirit, energy, and harmonious way of being. Psychological resilience is that factor which heals us from the traumatic stress of modern life that we are all subjected to in a variety of forms. Resilience has many facets. This resilient "state" represents the cohesive and stabilizing elemental matrix through which a unifying life force is resonantly evolving within us. It is made up of many underlying processes, as well as a quality or state of being. In those for whom this quality is in short supply, therapy can foster first its emergence, and then its stabilization as an intrinsic quality of being, by connecting us with the source of resilience.
Our notions about ourselves and the nature of the world (worldview) around us are filtered through our prejudices about "the way things work". We never apprehend reality directly--only our world-simulation which is congealed from the convergence of our sensory input channels and the information-creating processes of chaotic neural activity. The brain filters and creates reality.
Brains are chaotic systems which create internal perceptual patterns that substitute directly for sensory stimuli. These stimuli are evoked potentials or evoked fields--standing waves in the brain. Imagination has the ability to induce real-time changes in the psychophysical being.
Imagination embodies the power of transformation. It may be accessed through obvious imagery, such as dreams, vision, and other sensory analogs, or viewed directly in symptoms, behavior patterns, emotional patterns, mental concepts, and spiritual beliefs.
The imaginal process is our primary experience and it permeates and conditions all facets of human life. During experiential psychotherapy, the sensory-motor cortex system is influenced through imagination. Psyche affects substance at the most fundamental level, through chaotic neural activity.
Experiential therapy sessions and mysticism demonstrate that as we journey deeper and deeper into the psyche we eventually encounter a state characterized either as "chaotic" or void of images. In a therapeutic context, chaos is experienced as a consciousness state--the ground state. This state is related to healing, dreams, and creativity. Shamanic approaches to healing involve co-consciousness states which lead to restructuring both physical and emotional-mental senses of self.
Dreams, creativity, and healing arise from this undifferentiated "chaotic consciousness." Dreamhealing uses images as portals for consciousness journeys to facilitate transformations ranging from mood alteration to profound physiological changes. Imagery (virtual experience) affects the immune system, activating psychosomatic forces, such as the placebo effect. Chaos-oriented consciousness journeys suggest these states reflect complex phase space, fractal patterns, strange attractors, "the butterfly effect," sensitivity, complex feedback loops, intermittency, and other general dynamical aspects suggested by chaos theory. More than an experiential process, this is a philosophy of treatment -- "Chaosophy."
The Modern Alchemist Book
Temple of Living Light
Magical Perfume Book
Spiritual Alchemy SuperPortal