Sunday, March 17, 2013

Medicine and Mysticism

I think that eventually anyone that is involved in any kind of mystical or spiritual practice (or anyone that is alive) is going to be faced with a medical condition for which they will be faced with a choice. That choice will be: Do I take an accepted modern treatment for this condition or do I use an alternative treatment? The severity of the condition will obviously play into the decision but ones own principles and beliefs are going to figure in the decision. Do you believe that Big Pharma is solely out to get your money and feed you a treatment with no intent on curing you? Do you feel that alternative treatments are little more than placebos? Are you willing to try anything as long as it works?

Once you've settled on what you're going to do you're faced with another question: What does this mean for my beliefs and practice? Likely if you chose an alternative treatment you aren't going to have to wrestle with many moral of philosophical issues but if you went the conventional medicine route and depending on your spiritual or mystical leanings, you may have to reconcile some things in your belief system.

Any of us involved with altered states of consciousness or those of us that deal with things that aren't really there already know the "rational" explanations for these experiences. They're a product of the brain misfiring, chemical reactions, tricks of the light, etc. When you go throwing pharmaceuticals into the mix things get even trickier. You may begin to doubt your experiences even more, even if you haven't already. If your path focuses on energetic or natural healing you may even feel like you're betraying everything you believe in by taking a pill regardless of what you experience. There are a lot of things to consider here.

I mention all of this because I've been wrestling with many of these questions myself over the last several weeks. I've never been a fan of pharmaceuticals but I've also never had a reason (or need) to use them in the long term. When you have a condition that affects your life in such a way that you're willing to do just about anything for relief, even compromise your beliefs and principles, it starts a ripple that crashes through the core of who you are. I guess writing this is one of the ways that I'm coping with how I'm having to change my belief system. I'm giving evidence based medicine and pharmaceuticals a chance to do what they're supposed to do even though I don't have a lot of faith in them.

I don't think that the medications I've been using have hindered my ability to be mystical or spiritual but they haven't really been helping my condition either. The side effects have just made it harder to concentrate alongside the condition the medication is supposed to treat. I'm taking a hiatus from mystical endeavors to give the medication an unbiased and uncontaminated chance to work. I don't want any false positives. I have plans to attempt to treat my condition with alternative methods but I'm giving conventional methods their shot first. I'm not keen on taking drugs with lots of side effects that have an unknown mechanism of action but I'm not a neurologist so I'm providing as much optimism as I can muster on that front.

In the coming weeks I'll try to get back into the groove of things but until this grand experiment is over I can't say when it will be. I have lots of ideas floating around but I can't really test anything at this point and my condition makes it hard to concentrate on anything too mystical, let alone practice it. Thanks for bearing with me.

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