Dear Colleague and Friends,
I spent over two hours last night speaking with Larry LeShan. I wanted to see if there was a model we could use that would give people a simple explanation of why IIST (Integrative Immune Strengthening Therapy) often yielded such profound healing which includes people healing themselves from very serious illnesses, such as stage 4 cancers.
I went on to tell Larry about the previous evening-workshop I had taught and how well the class participants did in maintaining center and being connected to heaven and earth while they performed gentle movements taken from Aiki Jujutsu, Qigong, etc. In fact, near the end of the workshop one participant volunteered and did an IIST session with another volunteer in front of the group while I gave gentle feedback to help her maintain “energetic wholeness and center.”
It was truly beautiful and enlivening and it was apparent to me how profound the results of that session were. Not only did both volunteers become more and more centered in their authentic selves … the “client” began to create a bridge … from being firmly rooted in the present moment to an imagined future that was filled with more joy, purpose, and satisfaction.
So here was my quandary that I presented to Larry: How to COMMUNICATE the significance and the power of what just occurred, not only to the two courageous volunteers, but to the rest of the class as well. As I felt that every student who had attended could truly learn to use this work well!
I thought it could be done with a MODEL.
After all, in Physical Therapy or in Osteopathy, models are used routinely to explain rationally why people heal.
In 1983, I spent 6 full days studying with Robin McKenzie, a well known physical therapist from New Zealand. Robin took patients who were about to be admitted to the hospital with neck or low back pain and treated them in front of the class. One man was wheeled in on a stretcher right from the ER with severe low back pain. He was wincing in pain which got worse with every movement Robin had him perform … and the class could feel the pain it was so intense … and then Robin found just the right movement/angle that allowed the patient to extend his low back fully and as he repeatedly performed these extension exercises, he was significantly out of pain. Then Robin had him get up and walk while maintaining a posture of lumbar extension and he was pain free.
Now Robin had a model … I explained to Larry. The client was evaluated and it was decided he had a deranged lumbar disc that protruded posterior-laterally, putting pressure onto the nerve roots causing low back and radiating pain down his leg. This means the gel-like center of the disc (nucleus pulposis) squirted through a tear in the fibrous cartilage (annulus fibrosis) causing a problem by putting pressure on the nerve root.
So, the model states that: doing extension exercises brings the gel-like center of the disc (nucleus pulposus) anteriorly, taking the pressure off the nerve root and thus reducing or eliminating pain. The model goes on to state that, by doing these low back extension exercises every couple of hours and maintaining the posture of extension, you can keep this gel-like substance back in the center where it belongs, surrounded by fibrous cartilage. This will allow the section of fibrous cartilage that was torn to scar and heal and thus keep this gel from squirting out again. The model stated this healing process took about 4 days if low back extension was maintained the entire time.
It’s a simple, straight-forward model and when a patient had a disc problem it worked great. Even more than that, at that time, I loved letting the clients know “exactly” what was going on with them and the clients loved knowing that someone knew “exactly” what was wrong with them.
At that time I worked in a hospital and helped numerous people get well and avoid imminent spinal surgery using this and other manual therapy methods … all which had a theory as to why they worked. Now the funny part of this story is that years later it was proven using MRIs that the theory was wrong … funny right … but it still worked.
Then I went on to explain further to Larry the importance of models. From 1985 to 1997, I studied intensively with John Upledger, the osteopathic physician that pioneered Craniosacral therapy.
He had a few models. One that I love is his model about energy cysts and their removal.
John believed that trauma could be stored inside the body in walled-off energy and by “heating up” energetically the “membrane” that held this traumatized energy, this energy could be released. John spoke about entropy … the greater the entropy … the greater the disorganization of the body’s tissues and energy. When entropy increased you were more likely to have pain and disease. So when you helped your clients to release their energy cysts, there was less entropy, better organization/coherency and therefore less pain and it created an optimal environment for the body to heal itself.
So, after giving these examples of models, I asked Larry what he thought about using this “entropy” model with IIST.
That when a person comes into being more present with their “true authentic center” and they have more wholeness (better alignment with heaven and earth) and they are passionate about their imagined future and begin to take small, large, or tiny steps in this direction … they will have less entropy … more organization of their energy systems … and thus be in an optimal state of self healing.
Now I was waiting for Larry to poke holes in my theory (that I borrowed from Dr. Upledger … from John).
But if you know Larry he began to tell stories. A lot of stories.
And if you know Larry, you know that not only did he write Cancer as a Turning Point, he also wrote Landscapes of the Mind … which is a profound and landmark book on consciousness.
In this book, Larry makes it clear that the way you evaluate one world view cannot be the same way used to evaluate another world view. Let me clarify this with an example:
If you deal with consciousness, 1 and 1 doesn’t necessarily equal 2. If you add two ideas together you can get three ideas or fifty ideas or a thousand ideas. If you deal with physical matter there are different rules that you use to evaluate it. Within the physical body you can measure electrical resistance of tissues, blood work, MRIs, etc.
So, Larry is very hesitant to say that being centered in your authentic true self (consciousness world view) has a consistent, or any, effect on the physical body by reducing entropy (physicality-and-matter world view).
Instead, he goes on to tell more stories about how different world views need to be evaluated differently. Which if you know me … I agree … and have agreed for years now, after reading at least 3 versions of Larry’s book on consciousness, before it was finally published.
So then I asked Larry a practical question. Remember this is a man that pioneered a new way of working with clients … a way of basically talking and listening … which helped over 50% of his patients with late stage cancers to go into long term remission of at least ten years.
And you may also remember that before Larry pioneered this new therapy (in the 1950s), 100% of his patients (that he worked with from the same population) died, which was the expected result medically.
So then I mentioned to Larry examples of when we each worked separately with people who had cancer as a demonstration in the workshops we taught together.
That not only was it apparent that their consciousness changed … that they came more into the present moment … more into their center of their unique and authentic self… more into their alignment with heaven and earth … and more into imagining a future that held hope for a more fulfilled and satisfying life … with ideas for at least some step they could take to move in that direction.
We both agreed last night that their physicality had changed in a positive sense.
They looked physically improved … put together better.
Healthier, happier, more coherent, more filled with light, etc.
As I am thinking about it, there was one woman Larry worked with one day and, I worked with her the next, who had recently been diagnosed with a re-occurrence of breast cancer. We did find out that after the workshop she had herself retested and her cancer no longer showed up medically. In fact this happened on another occasion as well with another woman with breast cancer.
So here we have the practical application where apparently one world view has intersected with another. Consciousness and the Material world.
But a definite model we could both agree on? Not yet (-;
What I did come away from the evening with, besides the joy of having a good conversation with a dear and treasured friend that I love very much, was the “terms” I use to describe this work … center… authentic true self… etc., etc… mean so many different things to different people, that it is one of the reasons this work is so often misunderstood. That perhaps at some point I should make up new terms.
So, I am teaching this next Wednesday evening on the WILL.
And I define the WILL as the choices we make to direct our life force.
I want to share with you the tremendous value this has had in my life and in my work.
I haven’t taught this in over 14 years and actually, my insights into the WILL that I am teaching I have gained in the past year.
I “know” when you are reaching out to people to interest them in taking a workshop you are supposed to tell them what value this will have for them. What is the value here for your audience?
I wonder if it would be of value to you to have more clarity when you are listening to yourself or to others to be able to more clearly discern if your WILL is “plugged” into an enthusiastic “false self” or an “authentic” one?
We want to encourage more aliveness/more WILL put into our own and our client’s authentic self and discourage our and our client’s WILL plugging into “false” selves. Right?
In my WORLD VIEW this can make the difference between a life well-lived and a life lived to protect yourself from “harm” or lived according to how someone else thinks you should be living it.
It can also mean the difference between life and death when you are working with someone with cancer.
Just to be clear … this work is not about healing Cancer … it is about living more fully … it just so happens that when you live more fully it can have significant effects on maximizing immune system strength.
Just a note: that when your WILL is plugged into you AUTHENTIC self … it seems like you just flow better in a natural way … it is like coming home to yourself … your attitude towards yourself becomes more kind … more loving … more nurturing.
When you are engaged in an activity with “THE RIGHT USE OF WILL” the activity actually gives you more energy as opposed to draining you or making you tired.
Hope to see you in class?!
P.S. The sweetest moment of the night was when I came into see Larry and gave him his birthday present for his 94th birthday. Larry is not a fan of birthdays … but it was a collection of all the James Bond DVDs that starred Sean Connery … Larry has a “secret fantasy” or seeing himself as James Bond. He loved it!