Have you ever thought, I would like to be a little less crazy? Or, I would like to be a little more tolerant of ignorance, or I would like to stop drinking so much. Or, I would like to begin learning Aikido. Get into better physical and spiritual shape. Or, I wish I could make better choices so I could live a life I love instead of this inherited life that has me at the end of my rope. Why is it so damn hard to make these desires a reality? What is stopping us?
The desire to improve one’s future seems a common drive for most people. Removing shortcomings and replacing them with our visions for a better future and a better self. To become something. Something more! Yet, despite these desires, here we sit, the same as always. We may think, all I have is this broken-down body and a mind that is as stubborn as a bull. How can I manifest real transformation when I have no money for Aikido classes or even a gym membership? Or maybe we are “genetically predispositioned” to drink and eat too much. Or maybe we were just born crazy as hell and no matter what we do, the same bat shit crazy nonsense happens to us. Maybe I was abused and neglected and do not know how to form close bonds with others. How do I change that? How does one transform oneself into something else?
Starting at the Beginning
Lean in close. It begins with thoughts. Yes, that is correct. Thoughts are where this all begins. They cost nothing. They are yours for the taking. They require little training and they are highly suggestible. Thoughts shape everything around you and give form to ideas. Put simply, thoughts make stuff real. But how? Recent scientific study into the human genome in the past 20 years has revealed something astonishing. We can alter our genes with our minds. Did you hear what you just read? We can alter our genes with our minds!
Ok, so what are genes again? Genes are the blueprints you inherited from your parents. And up until recently, conventional wisdom and science suggested that you are stuck with whatever you get. Like a bad hand in poker. However, this is incorrect. Even if you are “genetically predispositioned” for this and that, you can change all that by thinking. Not only that, but you can change it remarkably fast. Our minds and how we direct our minds can unlock genetic sequences we cannot even comprehend, yet.
Altering Genes Through Our Thoughts and Environment
Research has proven the placebo effect. People with cancer or other afflictions think they received a cure even though in truth they have not. However, because of their strong conviction and belief, they cure themselves. People who walk on fire and do not burn. Those who lift up cars to save small children trapped underneath. People who handle poisonous snakes and get bit yet do not die. These are astonishing examples of mind over matter.
Epigenetics is one way to view this process of transformation. This is a new form of genetics where we focus on altering genes through our thoughts and environment. Instead of messing with the sequence of genes, we instead work with what we have. Genes determine so much. But those genes only know what to do because you direct them. When you decide you are worthless and do not deserve happiness, some genes turn on and some genes turn off. As a result, all the proteins and building blocks for worthlessness and depression are produced. If you believe you are fat and will always be fat, certain genes are alerted and make that reality so. If you believe you are mentally ill then genes begin the work of making that a reality for you.
Shaping Our Destinies
However, it works to your advantage as well. Using nothing more than thoughts, you can tell your genes exactly what you want. And they will respond as if you were ordering food from a menu. We are not victims of the past or some genetic garbage we got from someone else. Rather, we are great creators and mighty shapers of destiny. We conjure our lives from thought and our genetics respond making all that we think…a reality.
Transformation is a process of changing something. This week let’s identify what we want to change about ourselves. One or two things. Start small. By week’s end, we will see how much we have altered our genetic code. The proof will be in the quality of the reality we make for ourselves.
People misuse the word, “holistic”. This week, we are going to bring it all back home. Bring it back down to the grassroots, to its intended meaning and purpose. Note, we can also write “holistic” as “wholistic,” even though your spell checker may not agree. The alternative spelling gives us a much better clue as to the meaning of this misunderstood word. Holism is where the idea of a holistic approach comes from in the first place. It is a philosophy that states that the parts that make up a whole are interdependent and contribute to the whole in a way that is more valuable than the individual parts. “How” the parts connect becomes the important question. The relationship between the parts.
The Need for a Holistic Approach
Keep in mind, we cannot understand each part separately from the whole. All parts are interrelated thus all parts must be considered. For example, a person reports they have shortness of breath. His general practitioner sends him to a pulmonary specialist. The lung doctor sees that an inflamed liver is pushing on the lungs. Since he is not a liver doctor, he refers his patient to a liver specialist. The liver specialist then discovers that excessive alcohol consumption is inflaming the liver. He then refers the patient to a substance abuse specialist who discovers that the reason the patient drinks alcohol excessively is that he is severely depressed. So, he refers him to a depression specialist. And so on and so on, the drudgery lumbers forward. A holistic approach to this issue would consider all these factors and contributing forces…simultaneously.
A Series of Chain Reactions
Each issue created a chain reaction that created another series of chain reactions. How these chain reactions communicate and relate to one another is what wholistic care is all about. If we isolate a component and only fixate on that singular component it is like giving a free house to a homeless person. As you wash your hands and pat yourself on the back for “fixing” the issue of homelessness, you cannot help but realize that there is still a potential learning disability, trauma, mental illness, addiction and or a host of other issues that contribute and overlap to the overall identified problem, which is homelessness. Buying them a house does not remedy the issue. Only by looking at each issue and how it relates to the next can we gain the insight that necessitates and supports true healing and change.
In my years as a clinical therapist and program director, I have encountered many Poseidon problems. Clients express that they feel over-possessed by the unpredictable waters within them, overcome by the surfacing and powerful waves of buried emotions. Why is my anger not going away and why do I sabotage my relationships? Why don’t I feel like I am ever enough? When questions like these arise, we can look to the archetypal figure of Poseidon for further understanding.
More than any other Greek deity, Poseidon shows us the extreme implications of vengeance and emotional intensities. On the one hand, we see a figure who carries our ships across the seas to our destinations. This is to suggest that our emotions are the ebbing, flowing waters that carry our dreams and goals. However, on the other hand, sometimes our emotions get the best of us. The shifting movement of our oceans can possess us for years or even lifetimes. A Poseidon problem resembles temperamental kingship.
Interaction with Other Elements
Poseidon, like the sea itself, ever moves in interaction with the other element. Waters can be stirred, lifted, powerful and unpredictable. As ruler of the seas, Poseidon commands the deep and wide range of our emotional waters. A Poseidon man or Poseidon father can be relentlessly powerful in stormy emotions. At other times he is tranquil, softening edges of hard and rigid surfaces, lapping, soothing, rocking gently those that he loves in his massive embrace.
For example, when our efforts are reliant upon the Poseidon figure, we allow emotions to rule motivations. Of course, this can be quite meaningful. A Poseidon father likely shows great empathy for his children. There is a tremendous amount of passion and squishy moments to be had by watery feelings. But when the king is ruled by the seas of his emotions, his wrath and many unsustainable goals are sentenced to the bottoms of the ocean only to hurl themselves upon the shores soaking the dry land we stand upon.
Our Own Relationship with Emotion
A Poseidon character is the kingly character of the reactive psyche. He is not the rightful ruler of our inner world because he lacks the vantage point of Olympus. Where Zeus may have seen from above with clarity, Poseidon gets salt in his eyes. In fact, Poseidon loses and is humiliated in many instances before Zeus and the other gods. His power cannot win out for the throne. When emotions lead one, there are foreseeable problems. We cannot expect a healthy treatment program if it is so. At least not if we want healthy outcomes for our psychological and spiritual health.
For us today we can look to his nature as a kind of barometer of our own masculine relationship with emotion itself. For example, we may be out of touch with the Poseidon role. That is, we do not rule over emotions with some masculine energy. If so, we may deal with the natural occurrences of water damage. Should we fail to tame or address our waters, perhaps the solid ground in our lives will wash away. We may fail to recognize the Poseidon energy when it swells and thrashes against our boats and shores. It is our destiny, then, to play out his mythology in our lifetime. The trick is to see his role and work with awareness of the seas for to be the sea is to suffer greatly.
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