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Adapted from the Preface to Consciousness & Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind-Body Medicine As we prepared this collection of essays, we identified the following as key tenets of the integral impulse currently emerging within modern healthcare.   Integral medicine does not just refer to the science of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and damage of the body or mind, but to a medicine that heals. It is a dynamic, holistic, life-long process that exists in widening and deepening relationships with self, culture, and nature. Integral medicine is about transformation, growth, and the restoration of wholeness. Health is seen not as the absence of disease, but...

[caption id="attachment_938" align="alignleft" width="233"] Shri Aurobindo (1872-1950)[/caption] Adapted from the Preface to Consciousness & Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind-Body Medicine While science has contributed to our understanding and treatment of disease, it has also served to limit the development of a model in which personal relationships, emotions, meaning, and belief systems are viewed as fundamental points of connection between body, mind, spirit, society, and nature. For increasing numbers of health-care consumers and professionals alike, the biomedical model fails to offer a system for understanding the fullness of lived experiences—minimizing or negating completely the possibility for human transcendence in the face of illness and...

I'm delighted to announce that I'm a new board member of the esteemed academic institution, Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. Pacifica's focus on depth psychology compliments my career in consciousness studies and health and well-being. The motto, "Animae Mundi Colendae Gratia," is a beautiful framework for the spirit of the institution: By creating an educational environment with a spirit of free and open inquiry, consistent with the recognized values of academic freedom, Pacifica is dedicated to cultivating and harvesting the gifts of the human imagination. So that these insights may influence the personal, cultural, and planetary concerns of our era, this...

Adapted from the Preface to Consciousness & Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind-Body Medicine Centuries ago, adventurers exploring the frontiers of our planet discovered, again and again, that they lived in a wider world than previously assumed. During this period, the art of map-making made tremendous strides. Fictitious lines of latitude and longitude became as important to navigators as the force of currents and the direction of winds. Perceptions of the world changed as new tools were discovered and new ideas unfolded. More recently, the quest to understand the universe and our place in it follows a similar pushing of boundaries with its...

Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain The three thousand great thousand worlds arise in a single thought. When the great manifests within the small, another world is reached. As the breeze blows through Ukiah, fragrant flowers smile. When it rains in Talmage, moistened plants rejoice. With boundless joy and giving, bring benefit to the multitudes. With vows of kindness and compassion, alleviate suffering and bestow happiness. The constant changes of the land are speaking the great Dharma. Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain wells forth from the earth. --Composed by Venerable Master Hua on April 20, 1978 As a public speaker, I have had the opportunity to teach in many venues, from the United Nations to...

My holistic doctor offered me the best cure for stress: get lost in nature. While he may not have been speaking directly to my love for gardening, that is where I find my greatest reprieve from the stresses of life. The pumpkins, grown from heirloom seeds that date back centuries, are making great strides. With an awesome force of nature, they are running wild in a controlled kind of way. The vast vines push through the fence, finding wide-open spaces to make their mark. Like my ancestors who came to American before the American Revolution (see Seeding Our Future, Minding Our...

by Marilyn Schlitz & Elizabeth Valentina Introduction Welcome to Part Three of three. In Part Two we reviewed 5 – 8 of twelve basic tools that are important in practicing whole person healthcare, based on the tremendous insights of health care practitioners. These include: cultivate loving kindness, model optimal health, develop a support system, and create healing rituals. Tools: 9 – 12 (visit Part One for 1 – 4; visit Part Two for 5 – 8) 9. Set intentions for optimal healing. Ask yourself, “What matters most?  What values do I want to adhere to?”  Based on these reflections, you can craft an...

by Marilyn Schlitz & Elizabeth Valentina Introduction Welcome back for Part Two of three. In Part One we reviewed 1 – 4 of twelve basic tools that are important in practicing whole person healthcare, based on the tremendous insights of health care practitioners. These included: examine your worldview, take an integral perspective, develop healing relationships, and deep listening. Tools: 5 – 8 5. Cultivate loving kindness. Many healing practitioners note that the greatest source of healing in the world is love.  Offering human to human, heart centered care is at the core of the healing relationship.  Delivering care with loving kindness may transform...

by Marilyn Schlitz & Elizabeth Valentina Introduction Great strides have been made in the study of whole person healthcare. Integrating body, mind and spirit has become a key dimension of health education, prevention and treatment. Despite many advances in a wide range of holistic approaches, however, our health care system remains primarily disease-centered rather than focused on the well-being of the whole person. To thrive as individuals and as communities of caring, we are called to develop an appreciation for both the inner wisdom of direct personal experiences of illness and health (your own and your patients), and for scientific and technological developments that...

Lisa Reagan of LILIPOH Magazine interviewed Deepak  Chopra and me about the upcoming Death Makes Life Possible film for their Winter 2013 edition. Download the PDF of the full article here: Death Makes Life Possible LILIPOH Spring 2013 This article will soon appear in Mandrin. Science is very influenced by the dominant paradigm of materialism, but it is now being informed by spiritual insights. One of the extraordinary things of our times is that never before have so many ways of approaching reality come into contact.  - Marilyn Schlitz This article also appeared June 10th on the Kindred Community website, including a Soundcloud link...

Before the rain drenched winter was over, I got the spring itch. I made my way to the Petaluma Seed Bank, eager to begin my small backyard garden again. This wondrous Seed Bank, housed in an historical building from the days of the California gold rush, specializes in heirlooms, free from genetic engineering and artificial anything.  Truly home grown. I wandered through the thousands of seed possibilities, feeling a sense of promise that awaited me over the months to come.  I found a packet of Squash Connecticut Field pumpkins. Reading the package, I learned that these seeds were a source of...

My days are spent researching and writing non-fiction. But when I want to expand my horizons, I'm a complete devotee of good fiction. Reading authors who have great facility with words, and to create images beyond imagination, offer great doorways into new ways of thinking. Three books that have just crossed my reading window include: The Ghost Writer, by Philip Roth, The Lost Daughter of Happiness, by Geling Yan, and The Banquet Bug, by Geling Yan.     A great gift was discovering Philip Roth. Just finishing reading The Ghost Writer, I found his erudition and spellbinding narrative making me hungry for more.           Geling Yan's capacity to translate her cultural experiences...

Humans have always been fascinated by the possibility of a "larger reality." Especially in times of transition -- a sudden illness, a failed relationship, the death of a loved one, an unplanned shift in career -- we may sense that there is more being to our everyday world, more dimensions than we usually comprehend. Such moments often carry the signature of grace, for so often they leave us aware of ourselves in relation to things beyond. Many report that their sense of "I" becomes part of a larger "we," and that they recognize connection as the true basis of reality. For...

Can we glimpse the future? Is there any truth to people’s belief in premonitions? Such provocative questions have largely been ignored by scientists, many of whom argue that claims of precognition can be completely explained away as superstition or delusion. But a small group of scientists continue to tackle these questions head on. In a laboratory at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) in Northern California, psychologist Dean Radin approaches human experience with an open mind and experimental rigor. In a series of experiments that Radin describes as “presentiment,” participants are invited to see and feel into the future. Sitting in a...

What happens when we die? Can people communicate with those who have passed on? Efforts to answer such questions using science have been underway since the late 1800s. Over the years, the methods have varied, some more convincing than others. One area that is both promising and amenable to rigorous science involves the study of mediumship, or “spirit” communication. In a standard mediumship “reading,” a client (or “sitter”) asks questions about a friend or relative who has passed away (a “discarnate”). The medium reports that he can connect with the friend and offer reliable insights. An important but unresolved question about such...