So where does one begin a spiritual/healing journey? What “system” or “ideology” should I explore? Faith healing where I tempt fate whilst dancing with cobras? Bite the heads off chickens and read the blood stains on the wall? Shamanistic rituals snorting green goo on a vision quest? Or go all Timothy Leary and just drop a tab of acid to reach an altered state and try and figure it out?
While these might work for some and each approach might have its proponents, they are not for me. Any path that I follow must speak to me (obviously) and may include elements stemming from different systems. The placebo effect is real for a reason, the power of belief an uncharted ocean. Sometimes things work and we don’t know why. My disease is a testament to this. I take a flu drug daily that, for a yet unknown explanation, helps reduce the dyskinesia associated with taking dopamine. There is a biological process at work that cannot be explained. Why then can’t an ideology or belief system have the same effect? Just because we can’t explain it doesn’t mean it isn’t effective or that we can’t use it. So the million dollar question is what speaks me?
I have decided that some of these Eastern philosophies might have gotten something right. It is not just that they have been around for centuries, but what they say makes sense. Not that I am ready to declare bouncing yoga masters levitating. But western medicine has just recently, in my lifetime, started to address the damage that stress can cause to the body and mind. Something that eastern systems, what I will call ES, have been addressing all along. The difference between the two is that the ES has about a 1000 year head start on how to bring the connection between mind and body into harmony. Thus I go forth and start my path trying to understand the concept of chakras and energy meridians within the body. My journey will include both yoga and meditation to help open up and connect with these energy fields. Both of these are learned practices that will require time and experience. I hope and expect that practicing these modalities will have a profound effect not only on my disease, but also with my interactions and connections with the world around me. I am not declaring ES to be a panacea for all ills, as even monks get sick, but I believe it will put me in a better state of mind to deal with all the challenges that life brings. I will try to chronicle it’s impact on my life and disease so that others may benefit from my discoveries or disappointments. Much as I was a human experiment by volunteering for the clinical trial (please see earlier posts), I offer up my soul for humankind (or at least other Parkinson’s sufferers).