14 Chapters
Medium 9781855754201

1 Beginning and adapting

House, Simon; Ridgway, Roy Karnac Books ePub

“The universe resounds with the joyful cry I am.”

Alexander Scriabin, Poem of Ecstasy

The New Zealand gynaecologist, Professor A. M. Liley, pointed out that although in the temporal sense we spend a very short time in the womb, about 1% of our life, in terms of the division of cells, our physical development—apart from stature—is almost complete by the time we are born (Liley, 1977).

We begin life as a single cell; 45 generations of the doubling up of cells by growth division are needed to reach the thirty million million cells of an adult. Of the 45 divisions, 41 take place before birth. Yet even before this single cell there is “life before life”. The sperm’s life can be traced back months to its genesis in the testes, which were already formed in the father when in the grandmother’s womb. The beginnings of the ovum itself existed in the mother when she was still in the grandmother’s womb, where it is known to have been susceptible to the grandmother’s environment. Nor should we lose sight of the genetic trace unbroken down the generations:

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2 Characteristics-intrinsic and being imprinted

House, Simon; Ridgway, Roy Karnac Books ePub

“I am a little world made cunningly.”

John Donne, Holy Sonnet V

In the nine months a child is growing in the womb, he acquires a number of skills, which he puts to good use within a few hours of birth. Within minutes he can communicate with his mother. He can recognize her voice. Later, a short time after birth, he can imitate some of her gestures; he can smile; he can reach out to objects (Bower, 1984). He has other skills, other abilities, which he has learnt in the womb. His entire world, the way he perceives it, the way he adjusts to it, is determined by what happens in the womb.

If everything has gone according to plan and there has been no damage to the fetus, then the bonding process that began in the womb will go on developing after birth, when mother and child are pulled together by signals—by touch, scent, and sound—which produce behaviour designed to protect the child and reward the mother (Klaus & Kennell, 1976).

As in the womb, the child plays the dominant role in the partnership: it is his desires that must be gratified, otherwise he will torment the mother with his screams and tantrums. His mother learns to understand the messages the baby sends with his crying. It can mean different things and produce different reactions in the mother. His hunger cry, for instance, will produce a physiological change in the mother, which will induce her to feed the child.

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5 Recalling of birth memories with LSD

House, Simon; Ridgway, Roy Karnac Books ePub

“When we return to the root we gain the meaning.”

Kanchi Sosan (Chien-chih Seng-ts’an), On Believing in Mind

It was the Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann, who discovered the potent psychoactive properties of lysergic acid diethylamide 25 (LSD25), when he was accidentally affected by a minute quantity of the substance in 1943:

Last Friday, April 16, 1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away. [Hofmann, 1980]

Shortly afterwards LSD25 became the subject of considerable controversy, which has not diminished over the years. Welcomed by a small band of scientists interested in the nature of consciousness, it was later feared and denounced along with other psychedelic drugs for poisoning the minds of young people during the counterculture movement of the 1960s.

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12 Healing the original wound

House, Simon; Ridgway, Roy Karnac Books ePub

“‘People become so proficient at avoiding these things that they cease to realize they are doing it… . It becomes habitual’, maintained Dr David Bohm.

‘The wound remains’, agreed Krishnamurti.

‘We remember to forget, you see’, added Bohm.

‘We remember to forget’, affirmed a psychiatrist from New York City, Dr David Shainberg, ‘and then the process of therapy is to help the remembering and the recall—to remember you have forgotten, and then to understand the connections or why you forgot; then the thing can move in a more holistic way, rather than being fragmented.’“

Krishnamurti, The Wholeness of Life (1976)

“You are nothing but a set
Of obsolete responses.”

T. S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party

A common thread runs through ways of healing. It is the immediate sense of being loved. Simon House writes:

I was starting my first course teaching Re-evaluation Counselling. We were a group of sixteen people. I was just going to explain how it worked when one of our children ran in from the garden with (a grazed knee and) a pained look on his face. He quickly spotted his mother’s face. As their eyes met he burst into tears. I said, “That’s strange. The sight of his mother made him cry.” We soon agreed that once there was the safety and loving support of the mother, the tears of relief could come, the pain of hurt and shock could be felt and released as the hurt heals. [House, 1999]

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7 Preventing the imprint of violence

House, Simon; Ridgway, Roy Karnac Books ePub

The sense of peace, well-being, and prosperity is combined in the word “salaam” or “shalom”, which are basically the same. The spiritual quality most needed to achieve shalom/salaam is compassion, or empathy—terms that are central to religions. Destroying and negating these qualities are violence, depression, and degrading poverty. The great religions are often the first to work against these negatives, keeping to their original purpose of inducing salaam/shalom by enlightening people. Not that they are not alone in this; and religious elements have often notoriously shown themselves distinctly devoid of compassion or empathy, even exhibiting atrocious violence, however remote that may have been from the intentions their founders and true leaders.

Science, though no alternative to religion, has contributed to health and prosperity, although its record in drugs for mental disorders is mixed. Yet scientific evidence is now clarifying the effects of specific nutrients on a person’s feelings and behaviour. This will help us to safeguard the qualities of shalom/salaam and empathy/compassion in the human make-up. Attention to both nutritional and emotional needs can contribute powerfully to peace and reduce personal violence.

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