Monday, October 26, 2009

Health House: An Integral Co-Healing Retreat (not just a Halloween experiment)

We are embarking on an experiment - a healing retreat based on collective consciousness and experiential wisdom instead of just information. I find that most things relating to health are very information heavy. There is nothing wrong with the science and the information but I don’t think we learn best that way. I think we need to have experience inform our perspective so that we understand why we are making the choices that we do. Medical school is about information overload the first two years. But after that we learn by doing - seeing patients with their diseases, putting our hands on their bodies and hearing their stories. We need the information but we won’t remember it without experience.

There is a lot of information about right diet in the media but there are still a lot of Americans having french fries, burgers and coke for lunch. We want to create a retreat where people will have the experience of health and nutrition with the information, the science. We want to see how far we can go together in exploring health and wellness. The potential for all participants is huge - a collective look at health not tied to any particular healing modality or theory but open to all.

So this idea of an Integral Co-healing Retreat has come from several people. Two years ago one of my patient’s had a dream about this - and our first prototype retreat is going to be in his house. Then I have been working with a man who has helped me define my own life’s work as one of in depth health retreats. And then my partner, Richard Klein, recently had the hit we needed to do this as a collective consciousness experiment and create a new pathway to health. So here we are...

You’ll find Richard’s theory and treatise on what we want to do below. I’ll be blogging more as we refine what we are going to do and how our views of health are evolving.

And here’s Ken Wilber’s introduction about Integral Medicine - part of why I picked this as the kind of medicine I practice. Integral Medicine

Principles of an Integral Co-Healing Retreat

By Richard Klein

THE GOAL: To bring together physicians & healers with client/patients in an intensive, focused setting, in order to co-create an inclusive field of healing energy in which the mystery and mechanisms of human healing & wellness – physical, mental/emotional, spiritual – might reveal themselves; further, to create the optimal conditions for healers and patients alike to directly perceive the mechanisms of wellness and to invoke the spontaneous experience of healing—be it in body, mind or soul.

THE RETREAT: Why “Integral”? Integral, because it is necessary to step away from the materialistic, dogmatic, too-highly specialized, over-individualized practice or approach to medicine and healing.

An Integral Co-Healing retreat brings together a group of highly motivated, adventurous, skilled healing practitioners and their clients/patients for a period of 3-5 days. During that time, every healer will treat each individual patient in private sessions. Practitioners who work in a group dynamic will conduct their group work in sensible concert within the scheduled individual treatments. Other types of group activites should also be devised in order to bring together the retreatants for visualization, mantra or meditation practice, or for other educational programs related to nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, or any other topic of value as determined prior to or during the retreat.

Also – and crucially – all the participating practitioners should also share treatments with each other. “Physician, heal thyself” is applied as a pillar of the retreat and an integral part of the process. Patient downtime between treatment and group sessions should be somewhat structured with interim practices involving reading/education, or any variety of healing and/or spiritual practices, including visualization, mantra or meditation, in order to maximize receptivity and depth of effect.

During regular intervals during the retreat (at minimum once each day) the practitioners should assemble privately for in-depth discussion regarding each client/patient, sharing their individual findings and working collectively to create a coherent, incisive portrait of each patient’s condition, history, and needs – reaching, together, for the most accurate diagnosis and effective course of treatment. The more fully engaged the practitioners are with each other, without regard for the particular quality of the engagement—be it consonant or dissonant—the more trust and openness will be created during the retreat. There should be a direct correlation. The practitioners, therefore, should always strive for the most lively and authentic kind of engagement, tending toward consensus but never bowing to the tyranny of political correctness or the temptation to compromise for the sake of inclusion.

Any truly authentic co-healing paradigm will be created anew each time a group forms with the intention to create it. The mysterious foundational mechanisms of healing will always remain untouchable, unknowable, but the intention to create a healing environment in which those mechanisms might emerge, is in fact the sole, guiding principle and motivating force behind the Integral Co-Healing Retreat. The full responsibility to heal then, falls not on any one practitioner or participant nor on any single healing modality, but rather on the ability of the entire group to come together in search of wellness.

Within such a highly engaged dynamic, the likelihood of significant healing breakthroughs during a retreat is maximized and might also occur for the practitioners as readily as for the participants! It is, however, always unreasonable to expect (or even worse, demand) that remarkable healing will always occur in every retreat. Rather, like the prophet Elijah, a place is set at the table, an invitation sent, prayers offered. The rest is out of our hands, and that’s how it should be.

That said, even if “nothing extraordinary” seemed to occur over the course of an entire retreat, the powerful intention, depth of trust and shared empowerment created between the practitioners, the patients and amongst them, should leave everyone with the unmistakable impression that “something amazing” did indeed take place after all.

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