Medicine of the Shamans
You are only a few days away from feeling well.
In the West we do not have a health-care system, we have a disease-care system that recognizes thousands of ailments and myriad remedies. One Spirit Medicine, on the other hand, identifies only one ailment and one cure. The ailment is alienation—from our emotions, from our bodies, from the earth, and from Spirit. The symptoms of this ailment are physical and emotional disease. The cure is the experience of Oneness, which restores inner harmony and facilitates recovery from all maladies, regardless of origin.
One Spirit Medicine states that the best way to heal and maintain health is to grow a new body on a regular basis. It recognizes the body as a system, not as a collection of parts that can be medicated or replaced when they go wrong. You cannot repair the heart without attending to the gut and the brain, and vice versa. And you can begin to grow a new body in as little as seven days. At the Center for Energy Medicine that I direct, every participant has found nearly 75 percent of all their symptoms alleviated within one week. You can do the same with the program in this book.
There are two food habits that will prevent you from growing a new body: excess sugar and excess protein. We’ve known about the evils of sugar and sugary drinks for some time. But new science confirms what our Paleolithic ancestors—who were gatherers and occasional, clumsy hunters—practiced: periodic protein deprivation. It turns out that excessive protein shuts down the longevity programs in our DNA.
At the heart of the Grow a New Body program is a new way of thinking about what you eat and when you eat it, using intermittent fasting, protein restriction, and fat for fuel to upgrade your brain. Then you will set up a carefully choreographed encounter in nature with the invisible world through a vision quest, which accelerates the body’s self-repair and regeneration systems and reconnects you to your own deepest purpose. In indigenous cultures, it is customary to go into the wilderness to seek a vision. The early Christians would go into the desert and fast and pray. But the visionary epiphany can take place anywhere—even in your garden or a big city park.
Preparing the Brain
To grow a new body, we need to detoxify the brain and prime it for higher intelligence.
Mother Nature programs every species for longevity. She wants bees, butterflies, whales, and humanity to live a long time. But she does not care that individual bees, whales, or you and I have a long life. The way she does this is by programming the individual for reproduction. The more babies, the better the chances that the species will survive. She invests in the young and makes us fascinated with sex. The young fall in love, have babies, procreate. The young are the strongest, and the strongest survive.
Nature not only seeks the strongest but also the wisest. Intelligence trumps muscle and sinew and teeth. And she allows only two out of the millions of species in the earth to live into old age. In nearly every species, except orcas and humans, the female animal dies before menopause, when she is no longer useful for reproduction. Orcas and humans have some of the largest brains and greatest capacity for intelligence. Orca grandmothers mentor the youths, showing them coves they can hunt in and teaching them the ways of the sea. Human grandmothers traditionally had a role in guiding the young, one which has eroded in modern times.
Nature loves intelligence. The ancients called this wisdom spirituality. Not religion, which is a fixed set of beliefs and dogma about who your enemies are and how the world works. Spirituality is about exploring the nature of the mind and the fabric of the cosmos through what the ancients called the experience of Oneness.
Later in the book, we will learn how spirituality requires that we activate regions in the brain that prefer to burn fats for fuel. We will learn that these regions are responsible for creativity, exploration, music, and science, and for hacking our biology to program us for longevity and health. The higher brain centers cannot function properly on glucose, the lower-grade fuel the body uses for everyday survival.
HOW DO WE DO IT?
Today’s staccato, screen-dominated, I-want-it-now lifestyle keeps us in a constant state of stress. We need to be weaned off the stress hormones that promote a fight-or-flight mind-set and start producing the brain chemicals that create health, serenity, and joy. You cannot experience Oneness just by chanting Om or repeating a prayer. You need the brain chemistry that supports it. You can do this with the help of neuronutrients that enable the pineal gland to produce DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, a compound that has been referred to as the “spirit molecule.”
DMT is found not just in the human brain but throughout nature: all plants, animals, and even trees produce it. DMT is the main component of ayahuasca, a psychedelic concoction brewed up by Amazon healers as an aid to visioning and psychic exploration. This bliss molecule provides the underlying brain chemistry for us to experience Oneness. The brain produces DMT when we dream, when we meditate, when we make love, and especially when we die. But the brain cannot produce the bliss molecules if it is flooded in stress molecules. We have to chill first, and change our diets.
To start, we must begin by switching to a diet rich in phytonutrients, or plant nutrients. Phyto comes from the Greek for plant, and phytonutrients account for the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other amazing properties of certain plants. The plants you will be using during the seven-day Grow a New Body program are loaded with epigenetic modifiers that switch on more than 500 genes that create health and switch off more than 200 genes that create disease. And you will be taking neuronutrients that support brain health.
Ridding yourself of toxins in your brain and body is essential to restoring physical and mental balance. You can’t heal your emotions if your mind is careening unstoppably because your brain has been damaged by childhood trauma or pesticides in your food or mercury from your dental fillings. The supplements you will be taking in this program will help you eliminate years of toxins built up inside every cell in your body.
The final key is repairing your biome—the thousands of species of beneficial bacteria living in your mouth, skin, and gut. Upgrading your gut biome (also known as “flora”) will help you upgrade your brain by allowing it to manufacture the neurotransmitters that you need to experience Oneness.
Preparing the Mind
To grow a new body, you don’t need to shake a rattle or beat a drum as shamans of old did. What you will need to do is quiet your too-busy mind and return it to your natural, undomesticated self—to who you are without the trappings of roles and expectations, text messages, and to-do lists—the authentic you at your core. You will meet yourself in the quiet of your inner world during your vision quest and the practice of soul retrieval.
The shamanic exercises will help you shed outmoded stories about your past, limiting beliefs, and toxic behaviors, so you can begin to craft a new destiny infused with health and meaning. The practices will lead you to the experience of Oneness.
You Will Live to 100
The philanthropist Armand Hammer is credited with saying, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” Life expectancy for a 65-year-old American woman is nearly 85 years, and in Japan, it is 87 years. Man or woman, you should plan on living to the age of 100. But you don’t want to spend that last 20 years of your life bedridden or unable to remember your grandchildren’s names. You want to spend them in vibrant well-being, taking your humor, your vitality, your sexuality, and your good health into the last days of your life.
You can increase your health span and life span with the Grow a New Body program. To do this, you’ll eat a lot of vegetables—but also fats and some proteins, including fish, and fruit. The rain forest dwellers supernutrients that can turn on the dormant antioxidant mechanisms in every cell, quench free-radical activity in the brain, and switch on the longevity genes that prevent the illnesses associated with old age.
The eating style in the Grow a New Body program is based on the periodic protein deprivation of our ancestors. Numerous books have been written about the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors. Few if any of these authors have lived with horticulturalists or studied modern-day hunter-gatherers—they have only read the research of others. In the years I spent in the Amazon, I discovered that the rain forest dwellers, who followed a similar eating style to our Paleolithic ancestors, were spared the diseases that ravage modern city dwellers. While yes, they eat meat, they don’t do so every day, and certainly not in the form of bacon cheeseburgers! They would feast and then fast, depending on their luck foraging. Today we know that feasting and fasting is the key to regeneration and to growing a new body, and that we can detox and upgrade the brain to experience Oneness. (Also, just as important as diet is the stress-free lifestyle and the experience of Oneness with all life shared by these indigenous peoples.)
You don’t need to look outside yourself to find health. You only have to look within. That’s where you will receive One Spirit Medicine.