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The Transformative Power of Ceremony in Healing Noël Radcliffe M.D. April 9, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "The Transformative Power of Ceremony in Healing Noël Radcliffe M.D. April 9, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Transformative Power of Ceremony in Healing Noël Radcliffe M.D. April 9, 2011

2 “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.” Luciuc Annaeus Seneca Art by Funcor, Shalamar School for Hearing Impaired, Lahore

3 Worldview a set of assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false, which we hold consciously or subconsciously, about the makeup and structure of the world. This is the framework of beliefs, values, and judgments within which make decisions and go about living. It profoundly affects our health and healing.

4 Consciousness and Worldview To a great extent, our worldview determines what we’re capable of seeing, and therefore determines our perceptions of reality. What our worldview doesn’t expand to contain quite literally escapes our perception. We just don’t see it. -- Living Deeply Inattentional blindness. Hear what agrees with our worldview.


6 Cultural differences Disease / illness Disease is a biological malfunctioning. Illness is impaired functioning, with a cultural context. Healing /curing Curing is treating a specific condition, whereas healing refers to the whole person, and includes the spiritual health. Body /mind is illness located just in the physical, or does the mind influence health.

7 Perspectives of healing-a continuum. Physical to Spiritual Pharmaceuticals/surgery Body work/chiropractic/acupuncture Energy healing/qigong Healing ceremony/prayer External or Internal source Physician or healer driven (external) Innate or thought driven (internal)

8 Illness can be transformative Susan Sontag --“Illness as a Metaphor” Illness should mean nothing, it just is. Louise Hay-- “Heal Your Body A-Z: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Way to Overcome Them”

9 Supernatural -1800s Worldview- the world is hostile, humans have no control. Divine theory-Illness is thought to be punishment from the Gods (AIDS), Demonic-possession from evil spirits Miasmatic-hidden entities in our air and soil

10 Warrior-early 1900’s, fear based Maiasmas determined to be bacteria. Science is the answer to fear. Industrial revolution and science are driving forces. Increased separation between inner and outer, subjective and rational. Mastery and domination of natural forces. War on Cancer, War on AIDS.

11 Self regulating systems Disease is a dysfunction in a self regulating and self healing system. Seeking patterns that can be changed. Lifestyle modifications.

12 Consciousness/Integral Looking for deeper meaning, both metaphorical and literal. Cancer can be a life changing experience. Self blame –”New age guilt” Belief that our own thoughts and negative perceptions cause disease. Insights can lead to a new direction. “Much of society’s disillusionment with modern medicine lies in its failure to acknowledge the importance of meaning in their lives and illness.” --Larry Dossey

13 The patient’s worldview Acceptance and nonjudgmental Listen with empathy Create openings or increase awareness. “John B.-CAD, melanoma, prostate cancer, GERD, CVA, hip and shoulder replacements. Believes we are here to suffer.

14 “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Dr. Wayne Dyer

15 Upward Causation “All phenomena are caused by unchanging universal laws that exist independently of human consciousness.” Downward Causation “Causal nature of consciousness is individually willed and downward in direction.” Art by Richard Bonk

16 “It is the seamless interconnectedness of experience that reflects the complex and dynamic flow of forces, biological and intentional, that define the human experience and open the possibility of a larger life and health.” Elliot Dacher

17 How do thoughts create changes in a physical body? Psychoneuro- immunology Heart math

18 Mind body interactions along the neuro axis. currently available indices of central- peripheral integration and homeostasis heart rate variability (HRV) markers of inflammation Stem cells

19 Heart Math The heart generates an extensive and powerful rhythmic electromagnetic field. The heart’s field acts as a carrier wave for information that provides a global synchronizing signal for the entire body. Information pertaining to a persons emotional state is communicated throughout the body via the hearts electromagnetic field.

20 Emotions and the heart field Anger and frustration are associated with an erratic, disordered, incoherent pattern. Positive emotions such as love and appreciation are associated with a smooth, ordered, coherent pattern

21 Dean Ornish “Of course, ancient swamis and yogis, rabbis and priests, nuns and monks didn’t develop mind-body techniques to get cholesterol down…or to perform better at board meetings. Their techniques are tools for transformation and transcendence. “ Ultimate health

22 There is considerable evidence of efficacy for several mind- body therapies in the treatment of : coronary artery disease (eg, cardiac rehabilitation), headaches, insomnia, incontinence, chronic low back pain, disease and treatment-related symptoms of cancer improving postsurgical outcomes. Astin JAAstin JA, Shapiro SL, Eisenberg DM, Forys KL.Shapiro SLEisenberg DMForys KL

23 Positive outcomes in mind body therapies. depression insomniaAnxiety post-traumatic stressirritable bowel syndrome (IBS) nauseaacute and chronic pain managing impaired circulation diabeteshypertension enhanced cardiac-vagal tone and cardiovascular function improved glucose tolerance and lipid profiles modulation of neuroendocrine responses immune responses and inflammatory responses

24 Intention MBSR and HTN MBSR and depression Group that set their intention prior to start of each session did the best. SL Shapiro

25 History of the Healing Ceremony Local healers Shaman Medicine Woman Local herbs Symbolic rituals Dance Drumming Art by Teri Rosario

26 Community Rituals Rituals gave structure and meaning to life’s challenges. Taught people how to act in times of trouble. Created the values of a culture. Gave significance to life’s passages. In times of a mystical belief system they provided the opportunity for a strong connection to the sacred.

27 Shamanism Shamanic healing is a method of healing that treats the spiritual aspect of illness (tikkun huanefesh — repair of the soul). Shamanic ceremonies often require the shaman to use hallucinogenics to achieve greater communion with the spirit world.

28 Smudging The ritual of smudging can be defined as "spiritual house cleaning." In theory, the smoke attaches itself to negative energy and as the smoke clears it takes the negative energy with it, releasing it into another space where it will be regenerated into positive energy.

29 Humoral Systems TCM Ayurvedic Latin America Imbalance of hot and cold Goal is to restore homeostasis or balance.

30 Ignorance Desire, anger and closed mindedness give rise to imbalances to the bodies three humors, bile, wind and phlegm. In Tibetan medicine the cause of disease is our ignorance of our human interconnectedness. Art by Theresa Lucero

31 In Tibetan medicine: Our state of consciousness is critical to the outcome of our healing process. Our hopes, fears, dreams create stability or instability Stress causes disruption in our life force, nervous system and physiology. Actions follow thoughts and therefore our thoughts create our future.

32 Thoughts cause disease and healing accepted in Tibetan culture In this culture however, it is OK to say: smoking causes cancer Obesity causes diabetes Anger and resentment causes heart disease? Why is that so hard to accept? Most of us do not believe we have control of our thoughts.

33 Treatments Choelam—lifestyle connectedness Sae—diet Balance humors sMen—medicines Chae--therapies

34 Vibrational healing Everything vibrates at a given frequency. Energy can be blocked, or not balanced. Sound waves can be used to balance the body’s energy.

35 “Clearly the unique quality of Tibetan medicine lay not only in its commitment to healing the human body of illness and disease, but equally, in its revelation of a path in which body, mind and spirit could be liberated from the sufferings of conditioned existence. “ The Spiritual Medicine of Tibet

36 Healing comes on a spiritual level. We have to make ourselves available to the spiritual realm. Ceremony and ritual provide the means of making ourselves available." --Lewis Mehl- Madrona, M.D., author of Coyote Medicine

37 Healing ceremonies Sweat lodge Vision quest Peace pipe Sundance Medicine wheel Plants and herbs Prayer circles and chants Art by Georgia Lesley

38 Native American Sweat Lodge "For a Native American, a healing is a spiritual journey," "What happens to the body reflects what is happening in the mind and spirit.“ -- Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., author of Coyote Medicine and a descendent of the Lakota and Cherokee tribes. Spirit is inseparable element of healing, including spirit of the patient, healer, the patient’s family, community, the environment, and the medicine itself.

39 Native Healers "For a Native American sweat lodges help you purify the body, integrate the physical and the spiritual, and reconnect with the earth.

40 Symbolism of Sweat Lodge Round lodge-womb, rebirth Low door, enter crouched—show respect and humility for the earth. Willow saplings—die in winter, rebirth in spring, medicinal/healing properties. Rocks, called Stone People represent ancestors, are heated. Steam is release of ancient wisdom

41 Today’s Healing Rituals Lack of connection to sacred. Tattooing, piercing, plastic surgery. Physician’s office as a healing space?

42 Symbolism of Plastic Surgery Withdraw from society for a short time. You remove your outer garments, your identifying objects. You enter in a sacred space. You become less conscious. You undergo a death/rebirth sequence in which you willingly surrender your life. You emerge transformed.

43 Today’s Clinic Experience Space Intentions The visit as a journey Healing relationship Acceptance Gratitude

44 Advice for patients Set your intentions--What do you wish to accomplish, feel, share, receive. Imagine the health care facility as a healing space. Pause before entering, take off coat. Incorporate the process. Filling out paper work. Share your feelings, vulnerability increases communion. Listen without judgment. Accept what they offer, decide later if it is right for you. Leave with gratitude.

45 Why consider a healing ceremony? Healing can be a process of personal transformation. Health crisis leads to deeper reflection. Holding on to negative patterns, self destructive thoughts can block healing. Positive thinking has health benefits.

46 Ceremony and Ritual today Must be consistent with the patient’s belief system.(Trust in higher power and purpose.) Bond between healer and person seeking help. Intentions must be clear. Choose symbolism that is meaningful. Power of the Mind

47 Reasons to use Ceremony Awareness Letting go Create an opening Balance energy Cleanse thoughts Manifest Intentions Facilitate transformation Art by Bill Wassman

48 Ceremony brings you into the present. Creates a deeper connection to spirit.

49 Ceremony Aligns the physical and the spirit your intentions and your actions. To unite downward and upward causation. (chemotherapy)

50 Ceremony can include family or community support, thus strengthening the patient’s connection to support.

51 Healing rituals allow a person to become an active participant in their own healing process. Activate the body’s own natural healing abilities. Encourage empowerment over victimhood. Art by Alice Lansfield

52 Ceremony ABC’s Create space Intentions Symbolism Power of your mind—imagery. Manifest changes in the physical body or reality.

53 Create a sacred space This can be a physical space, such as an alter or prayer circle, defined by visible borders. It is also a creation of space (time) in one’s life. We must make time in our life, away from our usual daily activities to engage in ceremony.

54 Intentions What is the desired outcome? What do we want to change? What is the path or method we choose to accomplish this? What can we do to support this process? What are the blocks to healing?

55 Symbols -- We can use symbolism to create a physical manifestation of our intentions. Smoke Candles/flame Labyrinth Prayer beads Sweat lodge Mantras Water Sacred symbols

56 Imagery--

57 Caterpillar to Butterfly

58 LETTING GO To visualize is to let go. Write a letter, express all your pain and tear it up or burn it. Releasing yourself from the negative emotions as you do so. Give it up to God, Mother Earth or the Spirit of the Universe, or the biggest tree you can find. Remember there is something bigger than yourself, which can take all your pain. The balloon popping, The forgiving tree (worry tree). The beam of light. I also believe that you can release things unconsciously through body work, Qigong and meditations.

59 Ceremony for beginners. Create space Intentions Symbolism Visualize medications as a healing elixer. Let go of negative thoughts about a treatment or disease. See themselves as healed-Visualization Use stories to create awareness ( white/black wolf) Encourage your patients to use ceremony in their lives.

60 Use Ceremony to increase Joy

61 Be thankful. Find something to be thankful for everyday. Create a ceremony of gratitude that you do every morning.

62 “The Happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” Marcus Aurelius

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