This is a really exciting time for me. I’m in Los Angeles attending a workshop with the very talented and cutting edge scientist, Dr Mario Martinez. He’s an expert on wellness and healing having put together fascinating and important theories derived from an integrated view of the fields of psychoneuroimmunology, cultural anthropology and Buddhist contemplative psychology practices. He calls this biocognitive science. I’m delighted to be learning how to apply his theories to real life trauma held in the body. Allow me to share some of what I’ve learned. Of course, I invite you to see if there’s a fit for you and your healing practice.
Have you ever said you forgave someone but then felt somewhere in your body that this wasn’t true? In other words, this person still triggered something unpleasant inside your body. This may be experienced as an ache in your stomach or a dullness in your legs. (My little body willingly carried years of abuse in her cells until I figured out how to let this go.) According to Dr Martinez, healing with the mind (intellect) is ineffective because it does not include the necessary healing of the wounds held in the body. As I’ve said many times in this blog, our bodies carry the unhealed trauma of our entire lives (and past lives too if you believe in this). We also, as children, innocently assumed unhealed traumas from our parents. Our bodies carry cultural traumas and even traumatic events we watch on television. Over time and depending on the type of inner wound, these can develop into dis-eases like cancer, arthritis, diabetes and even fibromyalgia (which Dr Martinez assured us was a very real disease).
Another important point coming out of Dr Martinez’s theories was that our genes have very little impact (less than 5%). It’s the culture we live in that defines for us how we get sick, how we age and how we heal. Adding to the mental forgiveness that didn’t stick because the body wasn’t considered, now we have to account also for how our culture tells us to deal with the trauma. If the culture says, “Nope. What happened is unforgivable,” even if you want to forgive, you will find it very difficult if not impossible. This is why so many people who’ve imagined they healed through mental therapy still get sick!
The letting go process taught in this site is very effective for healing because it focuses on healing within the body. What I love about the work of Dr Martinez is that he encourages us to create awareness beyond our bodies and into our culture. Without this awareness, even with letting go we may be stuck in an unhealthy loop that continues to feed our bodies with trauma.
Over the next while, I’ll weave into this blog, many cultural injunctions (none of which are true for ALL humans) from which you can build awareness. Check your body with them and practice letting go. You might also pay attention to how people around you talk about illness and aging. See if you hear things like:
It’s that season again. Time for my flu shot!
Oh don’t go outside without a coat, you’ll catch a cold!
Allergies run in our family.
Achey joints are a natural part of aging.
I put my dog on special food for her allergies. (everyone forgets less than 25 years ago most family pets ate table scraps)
Cancer runs in my family so I have to be hyper-vigilant with my lifestyle. It’s not fun but I have no choice.
Everyone knows as you get older memory loss is inevitable.
Doctors say if we live long enough we’ll eventually die of cancer.
Can you think of any others?
hugs from beyond time and space,
Another benefit of a daily letting go practice is the increase in body awareness that develops.