Singing the body back to health

A pagan standing stone from the Pyrenees

When an individual falls ill…the shaman… after dealing with the cause, begins to rebuild the World House of that person’s body by…speaking or singing out a sacred map, following a natural order of holy words and magical sounds, in a rhythmic roll call…This map of holy sounds re-creates the concentric cubes of sacred places on the Earth that correspond to all the connecting planes in our bodies….If done right, our bodies then begin to echo and resound with the Original Earth from where all life takes its form. This is called remembering the Earth, and it makes us get well.    –Mayan shaman Martin Prechtel

Christian Science says that God is perfect; we are expressions of God; and therefore we are perfect. Sickness is an illusion. Affirming this belief is the way to avoid and cure sickness. And once in a while, I can get it to work. It’s not curing the cold I’ve had for two weeks. I am solidly in the belief that I am sick.

Getting desperate, I turned yesterday to notes from conversations with Christian Science practitioner Eric Nelson. I read:

Don’t mistake erroneous suggestions for your own thoughts—recognize them as false accusations. It doesn’t originate with you–it isn’t even about you.

I made a connection suddenly between the possibility of the other kind of thoughts in my head–praising the good Godly attributes that are the source of our being–and the shaman’s voice, singing the sick person back to health by reconstructing the process of song that created the pure person in the first place. It’s a parallel procedure.

The Mayan shaman does not improvise, I don’t think, but has learned the songs that created the people, using an ancient language. (Similarly, Christian Scientists read from the Bible and the writings of founder Mary Baker Eddy.) But surely the shamanic language is evocative and symbolical—the meaning and resonance are what count.

I decided to try generating praise. I sat down and released my thoughts into the language of the King James Bible, the only ancient-ish language I know. Something like this:

O holy god most high and bright, thy heavens open to my yearning heart. Thy beauty pours into eager hands, and I dwell in thy perfection. Strength is abundant in thy sight. I give over my care to thee, resting in peace, moving in love….

It spread an uplifted calm through my mind and body, and I do feel considerably less coldish today, although I’m still coughing a bit.

I tried to give up Christian Science for a while, feeling that there were too many conflicts between its largely intellectual approach and the earthy rituals of indigenous tradition.

But it hit me recently that all my ancestors were, at least nominally, Christian (until you get back to the Druids). Despite my godless upbringing and my years of wandering through the spiritual landscape of yoga and Buddhism, I have to find some way to embrace Christianity—even if I choose to blend a 19th century version of it with the ancient practice of honoring the ancestors and the natural world that is the ground of our being.

And there are so many striking similarities between the two philosophies! This is my challenge, to find their intersection.

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