In the course of my day many thoughts and ideas arise, most of which I would like to share and I mentally file these for later expression. As is evidenced by the paucity of posts by me in the last 12 months, this strategy has not been particularly effective. One result of the observation of this is the acknowledgement that I act most effectively in the moment, and that long term planning is definitively not my forte. To this end, I am experimenting with a strategy of posting as thoughts and ideas arise, or as near as possible as is practicable. Bear with me in this.
So, today I am inspired by the magnitude of possibility. Yesteday I attended to some clients that a friend in the Sacred Valley asked me to see. The actuality of their situations may be told at a later date, but suffice to say that both had been pronounced incurable by the medical systems available here to them and, whilst for many Peruvians the quality of medical treatment available is poor, the same diagnosis would probably have been made in Australia.
One of these clients has been resigned to her fate for some 10 years, and yet in 2 short visits over the course of a couple of weeks those around her have witnessed more change than in the prior decade. I am not offering this for the purpose of self aggrandisement, as I firmly believe such healings are a matter of grace, a confluence of events and people, a matter of right place and time. Nonetheless I feel that there are mechanisms at play which, if explored from a variety of perspectives, would offer much to our develpment of a more sophisticated language with which to point towards healing.
In both of these instances it is obvious that a large part of the capacity to effect change came about by virtue of my capacity to communicate non verbally, as neither of these individuals had, at that time, the capacity to communicate verbally. Probably the most common explanation of this manner of communication would be to refer to words such as clairaudience or telepathy, which may or may not be the case, but I find the common language available in this instance limiting and divisive because both have a pejorative weighting and are not seen as particularly applicable to "real world" curing.
Now obviously the real world is a culturally bound perspective, but there is quite obviously a weight given to the cultural perspective that we in modern western "democracies" adhere to. That this is so was clearly evidenced to me yesterday as I arrived at the small Peruvian town in which my clients lived. Just past the adobe gate to the town was a monstrous billboard which announced, in English, "Cash Available, ATM next left". Said ATM dispenses US dollars in a region where many live on two or three such dollars a day. US consumer culture is blatantly obvious here, and even by those who cannot afford to participate in it is considered some kind of natural progression. The cultural, economic and environmental cost of this is pronounced.
I can say that the healing afforded these people was a result of grace, and the assistance and direction of the Apus and Pachamamas, the spirits of nature, and celestial sentient beings, which indeed it was, and those who were witness to the events would concur that the winds assisted and the material realm was demonstrably altered by the processes of consciousness enacted therin, but that will not afford me much credibility if I want the cooperation of a mental health research institute in Florida. Nor in fact should it, because I am not Q'ero, am not Chinchero. My genes come from different continents, and my cultural antecedents are worlds apart from those who have for centuries cultivated relationships with the spirits of the mountains and of the elements. I cannot don the intricate weavings of a Q'ero p'aqo, take an initiation and expect to have mystical powers conferred upon me, but I am not so chauvenistic in the house [as it were] of these spirits to suggest that they are a fiction and because I do not believe in them, that they do not exist.
What I am suggesting, however, is that the suffering of two people people was alleviated by seemingly inexplicable means, the whistling of haunting tunes, waving of feathers and blowing of tobacco. In my view this has to be a good thing, and we could afford to spend more time and effort examining how to do this on a much broader scale than I am able to as one individual. In fact, it may be as Davis suggests, that the thoughtful (as opposed to romantic or fanciful) examination of the wisdom of other cultures that, along with our own culture's technological wizardry, offers us a way through the rather dire mess we as a species find ourselves in on a planetary scale.
My remuneration for my day's work was a small bottle of water offered by a grateful father [and produced by Coca Cola] and, as I say, the resulting joy and inspiration that such results offered me. I came home and, in the course of subsequent communications stumbled upon this statistic.
I am not suggesting that indigenous cultures are perfect, far from it, nor am I denying my enjoyment of the health and material prosperity which my modern culture offers me, but I am suggesting, as the picture above shows in no uncertain terms, that something is completely and utterly out of whack! If this is representative of a Darwinian evolution of cultural process, if modern western culture is, as Fukuyama suggested some time back, the end of history, then I think perhaps it will be.
I have seen many people come to disappointing realisations about the motivations and idealogies of mestizo curanderos in the last months, and I myself am under no illusions about the nature in which much old knowledge is applied today in Peru. Nor am I under any illusions about my own frailties or limitations, but equally I am not limiting my capacities to conform to a particular cultural framework. Whilst it is so that the old people, the carriers of wisdom in indigenous cultures have much to offer we in the West, so too have we much to offer their cultures insofar as manners in which they can limit the destructive elements of this culture which now touches every inch of the planet, and at an ever increasing pace. Rather than suggest that we can do nothing about the inexorable onslaught of totalitarianism, social surveillance and control, war and ecological and cultural destruction, let us set about building new cultural identities, new languages that reflect our experiences of possibility, not of limitation.
I do not know what to do, other than that which I do, but I am interested in mature, collective discussion about what to do, and I hold great hope for the bringing to the fore the noblest aspects of the human spirit.