Patrick Hanaway, MD, ABIHM: Hello, my name
is Patrick Hanaway. I’m a board certified family physician. I’m a board certified physician
in integrative and holistic medicine. I’m also a Marakame. A Marakame is a shaman in
the native tradition of the Huichol people of the Sierra Madres in Mexico. I’ve been
initiated in that tradition as part of my healing practice. Today, what I’m going to
talk to you about are aspects of healing: Native American healing and transpersonal
healing. A way of connecting to the larger consciousness that’s there and present with
us at all times. The term transpersonal healing and transpersonal psychology arose from Carl
Jung. Jung, who was working with the collective unconsciousness, talked about transpersonal
consciousness as a way of relating across people, across space, across time in terms
of understanding and connecting to that which helps the healing process.
We are connected to a greater unconsciousness in our whole lives; a greater consciousness
in our whole lives. For that, we have the opportunity to be able to connect, to learn,
to grow, to heal. Not only ourselves but the patients and people who we see and interact
with. The term transpersonal psychology was coined
to understand the relationship between transpersonal healing, the collective unconsciousness and
psychology by bringing aspects of consciousness, of mind‑body healing, of transformation
and of spiritual inquiry into the process of healing.
Now Jung was an amazing person who was a disciple, or a student, of Freud, took some of his ideas,
and brought them into an entirely new light because of his life experience, and that’s
what helped him to be able to connect to the ideas of consciousness as it relates to spirit,
spirituality, and religion. What happened for Jung was in 1913 he had
a dream, and in that dream there was a massive flood, and that flood covered Europe, and
it covered his native Switzerland. It destroyed things, buildings were crumbled, and then
everything – the water – turned to blood. He was deeply disturbed by this dream. Not
understanding, “What did it mean?” He spent a lot of time working with dreams and trying
to understand and connect to, “What was the meaning of this?” He was actually afraid that
he was going crazy. But then, in August of that year, World War
I began and the destruction and the bath and flood of blood that occurred could not get
out of his mind that he had tapped into a collective unconsciousness and awareness of
what was coming in the months to come. From that time on in 1913 through 1928 he began
to really closely follow his dreams. Take copious notes. Worked to understand and these
formed the foundation of all of his future work.
He worked with the inner guide. He had a wise elder. A guide, a spiritual guru who came
to him in his dreams. He had a young girl, an anima that was the counterpoint. There
was an old, leathered being that came that was kind of the wise guy in the picture that
sort of was a counterpoint to his ego trying to help him to see things. He used these inner
guides in order to be able to help frame what he talked about and brought forward as transpersonal
psychology and transpersonal healing. He asked the question, do you want to be good
or do you want to be whole? Recognizing that healing is wholeness. That the root of the
word heal is the word whole and to become more whole means that it’s not just whole
within my body and being, but whole within my relationship to all that is on this Earth
and in this Universe. Having connection and awareness of that, we’ll see, that these
qualities can and are used as healing tools. As awarenesses within many other traditions.
Take for example the shaman. The Shaman has noted within indigenous tribes and groups
around the world for as far back as we see. We see the cave paintings in Le Somme, France
from 35,000 years ago that describe the work of these people. Healers are a part of man
for the last 800,000 years. We know this. We see that fire has been around, and we connect
to the fire for that period of time. It’s through the evolution of consciousness and
connection with each other that we begin to see and feel these greater connections into
the process of healing. Now, the forms of transpersonal healing that
I’m talking about here as shamanism are also present in the Daoist masters of Chinese medicine,
in the Ayurvedic vaidyas who’ve been present there in the teachings of the Vedas and the
Upanishads, in the teachings of even Jesus Christ acting as a healer and looking at what
was happening through his work with fasting and connecting and performing miracles.
These are aspects of transpersonal healing, where there’s a connection to a greater whole.
That aspect as it relates to prayer, and connection, and community, are important aspects within
indigenous healing systems, and aspects that Jung has brought forth as we begin to see
them with language that we can understand within our Western culture.
Within shamanism, an ancient tradition that’s been there, we see that the focus is on healing,
not only of ourselves, but of our families and of our communities and our environment.
It’s said that without a community, there is no shaman, and without a shaman, there
is no community. The relationship between these two things are intrinsic as we move
forward in the process of healing. Here we see this Marakame from one of the
villages in the Sierra Madres making offerings of thanksgiving to Grandmother Ocean, Tate
Haramara, to recognize that all of the sacred beings, kakiates, have arisen from the water
and that all of the water, all of the rain, all of the streams, rivers, lakes, ponds,
all flow into the ocean as the source of wisdom. So the Marakame is presenting the offerings
of thanks and gratitude, of prayers, of the journey of pilgrimage to say, “Thank you for
all that you do. I offer you these aspects of me. I offer you my life to do the work.”
Because the work of a shaman is one that connects to the community. It’s not something that
you can walk away from ‑‑ the work is never done.
Shamans use different tools. Some will use vision questing, pilgrimages, as we see here
with this Marakame, the offering of doing specific ceremonies, sacred dances, sometimes
as a community, sometimes individually. Their work is to use their tools to connect across
the veil to be able to hear the divine and to be able to bring that forth into this world
to help in the process of healing with an individual.
They may access alternate states of consciousness. This can be done through drumming. It can
be done through communal ceremony. It can be done through just sitting and connecting
to the fire. Many people have a misconception that these
altered states of consciousness occur simply through the use of certain kinds of psychotropic
drugs such as ayahuasca or peyote, but, in fact, there are many ways, including work
that Stanislav Grof has brought forward on Holotropic Breathwork that allow us to move
into alternate states of consciousness so that we can have awareness of things that
our conscious minds aren’t actually able to see right in the moment.
The shaman works as an interface, as a bridge, as a mediator between that which is sacred
and that which was mundane. As one old Huichol shaman said, “Last night we danced with the
gods. Today, back in the cornfields.” It’s the equivalent of the Zen, “Chop wood,
carry water ‑‑ Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment, chop
wood, carry water.” The relationship between what we see as sacred and the mundane is actually
there in front of us all the time, and everything that is mundane is sacred, in and of itself.
We see that the person who becomes a shaman may receive a calling in some way. Most people
that I’ve met who have been called to be shamans don’t want that job. They’re not looking for
that lifelong interface with helping people in every way possible. But it’s a calling
that is from the heart, and one that, when answered, allows great gifts of healing to
be able to come forth. Because it creates a doorway of connection
into the divine, into the vast unknown, into the collective consciousness to be able to
see and feel how to bring these gifts forth, how to help each individual, or a community,
to be able to bring the gifts forth. There’s an intimacy of exchange, particularly with
nature, but also with the forces of dreams and the environment as a whole. It’s about
listening and being totally present. The Aleutian Elder, Larry Merculieff talks
about being six years old, and sitting on the Pribilof Islands in the Aleutian chain
with his Achaea, his mentor, and with the other men in the community and saying, “How
do they know when the sea lion is going to come out of the water so that they’re ready
at that singular moment that that sea lion presents itself?”
It’s because they’re present with all of the signs and all of nature and everything that
has to give. So too, within the Huichol tradition, the deer offers itself as a sacrifice. The
shaman in the rites of initiation goes through this taking of a life in order to recognize
the power of life, and the power and responsibility ‑‑ the karma if you will ‑‑ of taking
that on, of then using that as a driver to help their people over time.
We can see that one of the key aspects of the work of the shaman is about having right
relationship. That relationship is with people, with their family, with their community, with
the animals, with the rock people, with the weather beings, with the ocean, with the sacred
sites, and with themselves ‑‑ with all that is.
That right relationship in body, mind and spirit is required in order to be able to
allow for the hearing, the seeing, the learning, the knowing to occur. As we see that balance,
it’s talked about commonly within the four directions of north, south, east and west
that are called, within the elements of earth, water, fire and air. These are ways that we
can relate to the natural world, as it exists. Within our culture, we may often as the question,
“Which way is east?” not even knowing which direction the sun rises in. We’ve become disconnected
from the earth, from nature, from the knowing, from all the wisdom that’s there.
As we see here, in this balance, it’s a way of connecting back to life itself ‑‑ not
the virtual life of this computer that you’re looking at, but of life itself, of all connection.
Technology is a part of that as well, but it’s not the answer. It’s a simple tool that
we can use. I like this Navajo proverb about connection,
about knowing, “I have been to the end of the Earth. I have been to the end of the waters.
I have been to the end of the sky. I have been to the end of the mountains, and I have
found none that are not my friends.” Buckaroo Banzai said, “Wherever you go, there
you are.” Right here. We see the teachings of the Daoist masters, of the Buddhist masters,
of the Hindu masters, of the Native American elders, of the native traditions from around
the world. From the Maori in New Zealand to the Aboriginals in Australia, each of these
traditions knows, understands, and connects to the right relationship.
That right relationship includes a relationship with our ancestors and what’s gone before.
But in that connection with what’s gone before, there’s also the awareness of what is to come,
and the recognition that my actions will have an impact on seven generations of children
that come down after me. When our choices and our movements in the
world, on a day‑to‑day and moment‑to‑moment basis, include the consideration of, “Does
this action have any impact on seven generations of children to come?” it changes what we choose
as priorities and importance in our life. We take time to connect to each other, to
love and care, to listen, to eat the food that comes from the Earth, and honor and thank
the Earth for that connection. We see the importance of rituals and ceremonies,
of being at the wedding, of being with someone as they’re dying, of supporting the mother
in birth, of connecting to the elders and the lineage of the traditions that they have,
but also of our elders who are stuck in nursing homes, with dementia, where they don’t have
the opportunity to talk to people and remember their lives of what’s gone on.
We’re a culture that is so obsessed with youth that we push that aside, and we forget the
teachings, we forget the connections, and honoring those who’ve taught us.
Here we see an inscription on the rock at Oraibi on the Hopi reservation on the Third
Mesa, where there was a recognition that ‑‑ as we see in the upper left hand corner ‑‑ there
were the people, and their heads were disconnected from their bodies as they moved along.
Through the time where we then see changes in the world, we have a choice that when we
see – -what looked to be to be symbols of Nazi Germany, of nuclear power plants ‑‑ at
this point in time, we have a choice to go back to connecting to the Earth and the planting
of the corn and the connecting to the divine, or of moving off in a way that breeds chaos.
We shall see. But when you lose the rhythm of the drumbeat
of God, you’re lost from the peace and the rhythm of life. And so the movement of sound
and rhythm and connection is all a part of connection ‑‑ our connection to each other.
The Africans say, “If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance.” Even
though the suffering and what we may perceive as poverty is there, the joy of connection
to all that is in life remains The various tools that they use for helping
to detoxify, to purify themselves, of going into the sweat lodge, what the Yup’ik Eskimos
call the Maqivik. Where it’s sitting in the fire circle, smudging and connecting to each
other. Or just sitting around fire. The Africans call the fire, African TV. I love it because
before there was TV, there was fire. So even TV for 60 years or 70 years? But that fire
is for 800,000 years. Where is more wisdom going to occur than in
the sharing and interrelationship as we sit around the fire? How do we help our mothers
who are delivering babies and young men and young women who are growing into adulthood,
to have awareness of what’s going on, to have initiation that helps them to see that they
are stepping through an important part of initiation.
It creates a realignment of the soul, of the life purpose of what’s going on because in
an authentic initiation, we are able to make that bridge and connection between the mundane
and the sacred, between the individual life and the collective life and the collective
consciousness. That’s present there. Remembering the stories of the ancestors that
have been brought down to them. It’s fascinating to me that when you go and listen to the native
elders of the Yupik Eskimo people and they talk about the waves of people who have come
across, that are completely supported by the archaeological and language records and the
DNA records. They know what happened 20,000 years ago to their people.
They know the relationships between their people and other native people that are present
on this continent. How can that be? But they do because they are listening, they hear,
they connect. As we see in this picture of Yupik Eskimos, they’re playful in their dance.
They poke fun at each other, they have joy in a setting of suffering, in retelling the
stories of connecting and remembering. So we see that there is beauty before me,
behind me, below me, above me, and all around me. Navajo saying — Beauty, I have spoken,
and you’ll notice that many of these elders and many of these teachings, are brief. They
don’t say a lot of words. It’s the experience of connection.
It’s the experience of moving into a different relationship with nature, with all that is,
with feeling the energies of the people who are around us. In journeying when you can
use guided imagery and other simple household shamanic tools of journeying such as drumming
to help us to be able to move and go into the lower world, the middle world and the
upper world, to receive different teachings, to have different awareness of what’s going
on around us. But in the native way, we are focusing on
allowing nature to heal the person. How do we help the person to connect to all that
is, to allow the healing i.e. becoming more whole to happen as a part of their own experience
and connection to life? As that’s happening, it requires witnessing. Can I get a witness?
Being able to see what those interrelationships are.
Because a therapeutic relationship is part of the process of any healing encounter that
goes. The use of ritual and belief to help to be able to support that healing process
and a connection to a spirit…spirit…inspiration, bringing spirit into our being. These are
approaches and tools. We see that when we meet with these people,
they are not out with websites talking about what they do, who they are, and how great
they are. The Muskogee elder, Sam Proctor said to me,
“The essence of their people is about humility, integrity and humbleness.” I said that what
is the difference between humility and humbleness? He said, “There are different aspects of the
same thing, that is, how important that quality is to our people.”
There is no ego in healing. There is connection; there is knowing; there is awareness of our
place – our very, very small place within a very, very large world. We can use aspects
of transpersonal connection, of working with healers and of prayer.
The idea of prayer, of being able to help people at a distance has been demonstrated
in a number of very interesting studies like intercessory prayer in ICUs, in Mantra I and
Mantra II study. Looking at the effect that praying, and having people pray for the prayers
can actually make a difference in ICU outcomes and in HIV and AIDS. It’s unbelievable. The
connection that we have is far greater than any of us can imagine.
I’ll tell just a quick story ‑ I was going to give this talk, few years ago. It was the
first time I was giving this talk. I was going to sit by the fire at a friend’s house and
I was on the West Coast. Another friend came and said that he was coming over and he had
seen a hawk on the road that had been killed. We took it, collected the feathers and put
it into the fire at seven o’clock at night, West Coast time.
I went to go and give the talk the next morning; I got a call from my wife on the East Coast
and said, “The weirdest thing happened last night.” Our dog came in 10 o’clock at night,
exactly the same time, with a red tail hawk in his mouth, dropped it down in front of
everybody. They built the fire, collected the feathers and made an offering of the remains
of that animal. At exactly the same time, 3,000 miles apart,
I and my family was doing the exact same thing with a hawk that had presented itself into
our lives. The awareness of interconnectedness of what’s
happening in our lives, of synchronicity, is far beyond the capacity of our mind to
understand. The capacity of the same forces to We can use these tools of prayer, of connection,
of the healing encounter to help support the process, that is, as the bodhisattva says,
“Be a benefit to other people.” I ask you to remember that these concepts, ability to
be able to move forward and bring these energies, this awareness and this consciousness into
practice with something that has value. If you’re interested, I encourage you to open
your heart and listen. Thank you.