1. Cradle to grave
The government deserve two cheers for the initiative of providing NHS health trainers to empower patients to take control of their own health. Why only two cheers? Because patients should not need anybody to help them to do such a self-evident thing, which is only common sense.
Health trainers are necessary, but why? The reason is the political slogan on which the NHS was founded: ‘the state will take care of your health and welfare at taxpayers expense from the cradle to the grave.’ This has always been popular as it lets everyone off the hook. They dump onto the state the responsibility for their own health and welfare, and that of their families.
From 1948 nobody had to work to keep the family together, so it has fallen apart. Grandpa and grandma are shunted off to care homes. Many dads felt un-needed, and pushed off. Kids follow suit as soon as they can. The family support network in which I grew up has practically disappeared. The slogan is popular with politicians and doctors too, as it inflates their egos and they can pretend to play God and save people at taxpayers expense.
2 The sickness of today’s society
Is society better off as a result of this slogan? We now pay £100 bn pa of our taxes to the NHS, but are we healthier? No. Patricia Hewitt spoke (May 06) of the ‘Prozac nation’. Everyone is addicted to something (prescription or recreational drugs, work etc) Nobody has any time. Everyone feels isolated, unloved, unappreciated. Everyone feels a victim, and blames others for it. Doctors have become pill-pushers instead of teachers (latin ‘doctare’ to teach).
This change in society has made everyone justifiably angry. Many of us are now seething with suppressed rage, which explodes as road rage, domestic violence, attacks on NHS staff, suicide, murder. Prisons are overflowing. Iatrogenesis (doctor induced disease) has become the biggest killer (see report ‘Death by Medicine’ by Dr Gary Null www.garynull.com) The NHS kills doctors too, who have above average addition rates and a decade shorter life expectancy.
Health trainers are a ray of hope in this bleak NHS world, but what can we suggest to help our clients get out of the universal victim / blaming others mode, so that they start taking responsibility for themselves, and living as they were meant to?
3 My own case history of change
All I really know is my own experience. I describe my own journey below to give you my answer. In 2000, I was a typical client. My life had fallen apart. My wife had died after 37 years of marriage. My daughters and friends were estranged from me, and I felt abandoned. I dressed like a tramp. I was 2 stone overweight. I had poor eyesight and a cataract. I was addicted to sex and a wife. I was obsessional about my latest discovery and talked compulsively at anyone who would listen.
My sister (a psychiatrist) suggested that I saw a psychotherapist. I reacted angrily ‘ I’m not ill. I don’t need therapy’ But it sowed a seed, and I started looking. Someone said ‘Lena is a psychotherapist’ so I asked her. I invited her round for a meal and fell in love with her. She took fright at this deranged weirdo (‘Desperate Dan’) and locked me out. Eventually I got to talk to her and said plaintively ‘All I wanted was a psychotherapist’. She gave me a phone number of Mary, who I saw weekly about 6 times. Then I tried Karen. Then Frank. Over about a year they put me back on the wall.
Someone suggested complementary therapy, so I went to the Holistic Health Clinic and asked what I should have. I tried reflexology, massage, shiatsu, Reiki. I found that my pain threshold had got so high that my body couldn’t feel anything; my heart had shut down. The touch therapies gradually got me back into my body, and I started to feel. With the counselling I started to ‘get real’, and see myself as others saw me, instead of projecting my own ideas all the time.
I desperately needed a wife (anything in a skirt) and fell in love and proposed to 2 more women, who kept me at a safe distance. Then I met an astrologer (Phoebe Wyss) and asked for a reading. (I didn’t believe in astrology) All I told her was my birthday, and over an hour and a half, she told me all about myself. She knew me better than I knew myself, which blew me away. We started going for walks, and within a fortnight I had proposed. She didn’t answer, but did not run away. I asked her to come and live in my posh house. She said ‘No way, sell it and buy another’ which I did. She agreed to live with me for 6 months trial, but kept her flat to escape to if I was unbearable. We married in 2003.
3 Finding the sledgehammer therapy - ‘dynamic’ meditation
To make me liveable with, she suggested that I try Osho meditations. One evening we did ‘kundalini’, which did not seem to have any effect, but next day I looked in the mirror, and saw a change. One morning we tried ‘dynamic’. After it I hugged her and said ‘my armour has fallen off.’ Then she took me to a retreat centre for a 7 day course called ‘Who is in?’ This is a Zen koan (a question without answer, which drives you mad) We sat in pairs and answered it, changing over at a bell every 5 minutes for 10 hours every day, with breaks for meals and meditations. About the 4th day the floodgates opened and I cried for 15 minutes. I had never cried since I was 4, even when my mother, father and wife died. I have done many more Osho meditation therapy courses since, but the active ingredient (catharsis) in all of them to start the day is dynamic meditation.
In 2002 Phoebe and I created Planet Janet (now Revitalise) a café and therapy centre opposite Hove town hall, in memory of my first wife. The basement is a soundproof meditation room, in which since opening I have been leading dynamic meditation 3 times per week. The theory behind dynamic is as follows. The cause of everyone’s sickness is not being allowed to express emotions which are repressed into the unconscious, from where (decades later) they express as mental or physical illness. The cure is simple - catharsis – releasing these repressed emotions, not at anyone, but into the air in the safe space of a meditation room. There is a scientific evidence base of 35 years worldwide experience behind it.
The first half hour of dynamic meditation is catharsis, to empty out your emotional garbage can. In the second half hour you then have a chance of getting into the altered state of consciousness called meditation. The outcome of doing it was my attitude to life gradually changed. My hate of myself turned to love, my ‘no’ to life changed to ‘yes’, my weight returned to normal, my cataract disappeared, my eyesight improved, food tastes better, my obsessional and compulsive behaviour faded away, my forgetful, foggy mind cleared, and a contentment settled over me. I now enjoy everything in life, and feel that for the first time I am really living.
4 Did I plan for these changes?
No, I resisted them. All my life I have resisted change. All the changes in my life have happened, not because of my intention to change, but because a force majeure defeated my resistance. My job changed 5 times, not because I wanted it but because I was made redundant and I was forced to find another job. The biggest change was when my wife (Janet) died, which I also resisted because I thought that I couldn’t live without her, but I was powerless to stop her dying. I learnt that my belief was mistaken. Every change in my life was because existence changed me. Every time I resisted the change, but existence did not care, and it was bigger than me. It simply moved the goal posts and left me floundering, to sink or swim in the new circumstances.
As I said in paragraph 2 the whole of society is sick, but what can the government, NHS, therapists, health trainers do to heal society? It sounds paradoxical, but first, stop wanting society, people, clients, to change, because the wanting is counter productive, and reinforces the client’s resistance. Relax. Existence knows what it is doing, and it will change everybody when it decides.
Second, have effective therapies available when people want to try them. (Not wanting to change)
Third, understand the underlying reason for people’s odd behaviour. People are not fools. They know that they are committing slow suicide when they are smoking or drinking themselves to death. Of course they will deny that they have a death wish, but people’s reality is expressed in their deeds, not their words. The only rational explanation of their deeds is that, deep down in their unconscious minds, they want to die. But why?
5 Why do people want to die?
Life is hell for many people, so it is natural to want to end it. In death you don’t have to get up in the morning, go to work, and there is no suffering. But why is life hell for some people and not for others? It all depends on your beliefs. If you believe that life is hell, that is how life will be for you. Ditto heaven. It is your choice of life, depending on what you believe.
How did the limiting belief that life is hell arise? It came from your conditioning, like programming your computer with faulty software. Today’s society is the product of thousands of years of religious conditioning that we are not OK. We have been repeatedly told that we are original sinners ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden apple in the garden of Eden, and got expelled, It is therefore not surprising that we see ourselves as victims who don’t deserve to be healthy and happy, or even to live. Deep down we therefore hate ourselves, and say ‘no’ to life.
6 How can we throw out our limiting beliefs?
The way that I did it was by doing dynamic meditation (see para 3) It is a sort of self de-hypnosis.
If you would like to try it for yourself, I facilitate it every Tues & Thurs mornings from 730-830am (before work) and every Sat morning from 8-9am in the basement at Revitalise café (use back door) opposite Hove town hall. Everyone is welcome on a drop in basis, for donations, or season ticket for a month £20. If you can’t get there then, I sell the CD for £10 so that you to do it elsewhere.
If you want more details, I have written a 3 page paper called ‘Cathartic Meditation’ available on request. There is a 7 page paper called ‘The Evidence Base for Osho Meditations’ on this website section 9.3. Also see www.activemeditation.com, and www.osho.com.
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