By Gary Strauss
I have spent most of my life contemplating healing and helping as a way of living and being on the planet. Having grown up in the 60’s and being a post world war two child, I clearly understood the impermanence and relativity of life and death. I found myself always drawn through death to transcendence or the bigger picture. Kubler Ann Ross and Jack kavorkian not to mention Steven Levine lead me to Life and death as a continuum to be appreciated. The Tibetan Book of the Dead helped me to open to Death as way of living in a more enlightened and fulfilled way. We are all living with death in a more relevant way today. Death of our loved ones and ourselves, death of our culture or the underpinnings of it. Death to a way of life we had taken for granted.
About four months ago after a class, sitting on a beautiful veranda in Tempe Arizona with some of my old teachers contemplating our lives and work in the Healing Arts I heard myself say that one of the issues our culture was facing in the name of living was the fear of dying. I heard myself say that if our culture would open to death more we would find better balance in living and being. Because of that, I started a podcast on living and dying with my good friend Kelly Wat.
Maybe the podcast is now irrelevant because we are all in it. Healing through life and death is a statement that reflects consciousness as an important quality for healing. In its statement it means that if I am free, or open, or conscious then I will suffer less and heal more. Whether we live or die may not be the best measure of healing. Maybe the quality of our journey is a better one.
In the west we think freedom from symptoms is health, in the east they think balance is more desirable and in African tribal culture I have heard it said that freedom/willingness to participate is most interesting. Perhaps all of these are important together.
So what is healing really – well in my work as a teacher and practitioner I teach that underneath all symptoms is systemic reality that gives rise to those symptoms. It could be that systemic is a big thing, bigger than we imagine. Systemic could extend beyond the interior of our bodies to the greater world we live in and are a part of to the cosmic realm. I tend to see it that way. So for me, the integrity of being right with self and the world around us is extremely significant and inextricably related to our symptomatic expressions of life. While I hold this paradigm for my life and work I also like to take it gently with amusement.
Maybe a reflection of the symptomatic moment we are experiencing and that it is not an abnormality or something just to get rid of. Maybe this moment of expression that is deeply related to the systemic and cosmic way we have been living – all of us as a world are experiencing a symptom of all of us as a world. For me when I contemplate this, in the same way that I help myself and my clients come to this, I feel a sense of ease and neutrality/peace.
This moment isn’t an aberration – it is a part of all that we are in some way and calls for us to Hold a Space where can have the present moment with all of the polarities That are going on. In my world they would call it a healing crisis – and we would try to find the way to embrace it. I mean why not try to be open to the moment as a way to come to healing with it. And., be open to all that it brings and find a good way, of course to be with and relate to it.
Gary B. Strauss, MS, RPP, PWE is a renowned holistic healthcare practitioner in the U.S. and teacher who has trained and mentored thousands internationally. His Holding Space™ method is the result of his 30-plus years’ experience in energy medicine, nutrition, and natural healing.
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