There is a fine line between madness and genius, or at least that’s what they say. If you look at history, a fairly large share of artists and thinkers have been thought to have had what we now call Bipolar Disorder. And if you’ve ever been manic, then you know. You are tapped into the oneness of the universe, the spirit, the magic, the flow. And the music and writing or painting you do comes from the flow. It is from you but it is from something bigger too. One reason it can be hard to get patients with Bipolar Disorder to take their medication is that being overmedicated can take away not only the mania, but the access to the flow as well. And that, my friend, is an awful feeling. Like being somewhere between alive and not. Because it is this flow that is at the core of every religion the world has ever seen. At the core of art and philosophy. It is the meaning of life.
Plenty of people who do not suffer mental illness tap into the flow too. But we, as a society, have fewer and fewer people able to. And that is dangerous. It is at the core of what is happening in our country now. And what has been happening in this world since 1492, the advent of the Modern Era. People far from the flow grow bitter and unloving and resentful of those still in touch with it. People far from the flow are not quite alive.
In the flow you see connections. You see that everything and everyone is connected. You see that everything is one. And you see that we are all loved. You see that you love everyone. And that everyone loves you; you are lovable. And that can be terrifying. But when you’re in the flow, in that moment and place, it’s not.
There are people in recent times so clearly in the flow so much. Cornell West, the late Howard Zinn, Martin Luther King, Malcom X (El Haj Malik El Shabbaz), Bernie, AOC, Robert Benigni, Victor Frankl, Audre Lorde, Allen Ginsburg, . I clearly follow social justice a lot more than art or music. If you’ve ever gotten a chance to be around these people so much in the flow, you felt it. I felt it when I met Howard Zinnia’s on my birthday in 2003. An energy coming from him, a calm and a peace that came over you in his presence. A feeling of being loved.
If you yourself have not been in the flow, or not recently, I imagine you would not pick up on it. Or you would, but it would be too much to take and you’d block it out. And block them and what they create out. You might ignore it, you might hate it. I tend to think the most destructive people in our society are the ones that have a sense of the flow moreso than those who are just indifferent. There is a knowing somewhere inside of them that they are being denied the flow. But the only one denying it is they themselves. As I said, it can be terrifying.
If you look at the extraordinary cure rate of guided psychedelic therapy with MDMA for conditions like PTSD and depression, you see it is because psychedelics tap you into the flow. But when you hear about someone who was not with a guide, that’s when you hear horror stories of bad trips. And so when we refer to these past few years as a bad dream, a bad trip, we’re exactly right. Our society is being run by people on a bad trip that never ends and they are projecting that out onto us.
What else explains a group of people perpetuating global warming at full steam when it clearly will mean the end of humanity?
While mental illness like Bipolar Disorder can bring you closer to the flow, other forms of mental illness are a sign of alienation from it. The most obvious being narcissism. If you’ve lived with a narcissist, you know what gaslighting is. If you are living in Trump’s America you know too (whether you know to call it that or not). Gaslighting seeks to throw you into a chaos far from the flow. Narcissists seek to make you feel unlovable. Because they are convince that they are. And if you try to prove to them they are loved and lovable, you will regret it.
PTSD at its core is removal from the flow. Trauma is the experience of having been abandoned but everyone in your life, by God, by yourself, by the universe. It is the ultimate disconnection and sense of being unlovable, and of the world being a place devoid of love. It is a world between life and death. The only way out is to face your ineffaceable trauma memories. And to accept that you aren’t alone. That you are connected and loved. And that is why psychedelics cure PTSD. And that is why people traumatize one another. People far from the flow and resentful and angry about it, seek to punish those in it and to pull them out to be in that same in between chaotic world they reside in. And that is why healing and thriving and being joyful and loving enrages them more than anything. To see you’re back in the flow is something they cannot stand. They cannot get back to the flow and they don’t realize it is only them keeping them from it.
We are all born in touch with the flow. You see it clearly in kids. You see the lack of it so clearly in kids who’ve been badly abused. Even if you can’t describe it, you feel it. So many of us are in the flow less and less and less as we get older. And if we are not loved and nurtured the way we deserve to be, we go so much further away from it. And some of us are aware of it enough to get depressed or addicted or tuned out on social media. And some of us get angry. We know that there must be a meaning to life but it always seems out of reach for us.
When people live in survival mode, they are rarely in the flow. Only in moments of respite, which some get and some just don’t. And if you do get those moments, it may strengthen you or it may make the times of survival unbearable.
Those in power seek to take us from flow by putting us in survival mode though poverty, addiction, rape and sexual violence, racism, war, consumerism, and constant fear. They do all they can to keep us from taking in the things people make in the flow, to keep us from creation and focused on consumption, to divide us from one another with the construct of scarcity and otherness, they do evil in the name of God to keep us from that something higher. They keep us uneducated and afraid and traumatized. And they gaslight us. It’s what narcissists in relationships do and it’s what Trump and all those he is the culmination of do on a much larger scale.
Someone cut off from the flow cannot begin to address their privilege and the systems of oppression that are affecting other people or even themselves. Karen is far from the flow. So terrified to face not only her own racism but all the ways she is oppressed too. Because she is afraid of love, of the vulnerability that comes when you are in the flow. To hide outside, to hide in her own shame and do all she can to create shame in others is what is comfortable to her.
And someone not in the flow cannot begin to admit what we have done to our Mother Earth and accept the love she for us and feel the love we have for her. We cannot bear to admit we need her nurturing, cannot bear to accept that we deserve it and she is offering it. After everything we’ve done to her, her arms are still open wide. There is no choice but to destroy her.
The Modern Era began in 1492 and was driven by imperialism, colonialism, slavery, conquest, genocide. But that is not what started it. And if you look at where it started you realize it is not only those institutions we now are beginning to admit are reprehensible, but the ones we still hold in high esteem, that are at the core of us. I am referring to other institutions created at that time such as modern medicine, science and the university system. And don’t forget democracy, capitalism and Protestantism.
You see, it all started with this idea the people would come to be known as scientists came up with. A group of European men who were clearly not in the flow and very, very pissed off about it. They pulled off the greatest act of narcissism in human history. They said, hey the earth isn’t an organic being. It’s a machine that Man can come to full understand and fully conquer. That simple, seemingly harmless idea, is how we wound up where we are today. That is where Donald Trump was born.
They began deep mining for the first time. Before that, it was taboo because it was essentially penetrating your mother. Who would be okay with that? But now, anything was fair game.
Do you think there were no healers before modern medicine? That people just languished and died. That is what modern medicine would have us believe. In truth, there were healers (largely female) and midwives (all female) who were trusted and valued by their communities. The idea of a man coming in and delivering babies was insane. And they were not cool with that. Just as the rest of the world was colonized through violence and conquest, so too was medicine. They called in the witch hunts and it killed a million European women.
The early, small scale witch hunts in Europe were carried out by the Catholic Church during the Inquisition. That’s probably the extent of what you were taught (just forget about the Salem witch trials for now, that’s a whole other thing. We can go into that in another blog post). The vast majority of the witch hunts occurred a couple hundred years later and it was carried out by the Protestants. Women’s knowledge of healing became denigrated as “old wives tales” and one by one they disappeared or went into hiding.
Protestantism itself took Europeans further from nature and their way of connecting to the flow through traditional beliefs. Catholicism, as my evangelical friends in the Bible Belt growing up liked to point out to me, had retained a lot of the old beliefs at the time and still does to a small extent today. The Celts had simply turned Goddess Brigid into St. Brigid. The underlying idea seen across pre-Modern spirituality of the importance of both female and male energy brought devotion to Mary. The title of Theotokos in Orthodox Christianity, God bearer. The recognition of the power of her womb, of all women’s wombs, of creation, paralleling the mother of all of us, Mother Earth. The recognition of the power of ritual and the elements and senses. The mysteries you accept, knowing you can never truly understand. The transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the literal body and blood. His body up on the crucifix reminding us of our oneness with him. The elite hierarchy of the Church that developed once it was transformed from a communal, radical religious group into the religion of the Holy Roman Empire was never of the flow, but the people took that imposed religion and made it theirs, returned it to what it was in its beginnings. A religion of loving everyone and everything and acknowledging the oneness, even with the Judeo-Christian God himself. A religion where, at the very core, was the idea that God loves all of us no matter what awful things we do. And He wants us to do the same.
But I digress.
Science is the dogma of our times. And Sir Francis Bacon is its messiah. Do you know how Bacon explained the exalted Scientific Method he came up with? Hypothesis, experiment, conclusion. The man made, systematic creation of objective knowledge. He was inspired by his time spent as an inquisitor of witches. He said we must torture the earth as we do a witch to extract her secrets. That, my friends, is the heart of the institution of science. He could not have been further from the flow. Using violence and trauma to try to separate us all from it, to try to destroy it.
The consumption of indigenous bodies, African bodies, female European bodies. Imperialism, slavery, science.
And so we have arrived at the only possible conclusion to this era. We stand at the rpecidpice: either those of us in touch with flow will be able to usher in a new, better era, or the narcissists will succeed and destroy us all. But they won’t destroy the flow. They can’t. They will simply return us all to it and it will manifest in another way.
The flow speaks to us; we speak to ourselves. One thing traditional healers know that modern medicine denies is that illness has a message for us. And that message is always a return to the flow. A signpost to us that we have taken a wrong turn in our choices, whether they be personal or societal. We see today a tremendous surge in autoimmune disorders in both adults and in our kids. On the literal level, it is due to the choices we have made that have altered our immune systems and our very DNA: avoiding germs, no longer living in contact with animals, an unnatural diet, the use of pesticides and a million chemicals, coal power plant emissions, and living stressed and disconnected lives. It is our bodies crying out to save our souls. If only we would listen. Modern medicine fights this idea with every ounce of its being. Healers and patients who know this truth have to fight to make even small progress for its acceptance into mainstream medicine. This denial by modern medicine not only inhibits patients’ ability to heal, it traumatizes them. It drives them to avoid getting care, it drives them from the flow. People with autoimmune disorders and their families go from thriving to surviving. Further and further from the flow.
I have long sought to figure out what the autism epidemic is telling us. I have autism as do my two oldest kids. I have seen the ugliness of autism and the beauty. Those of us who have, oftentimes struggle to explain this to a culture that more and more presents the bogus idea of embracing autism as a form of neurodiversity. We do celebrate our kids with autism (and our selves if we are on the spectrum) and the good we see in it, but we cannot deny the bad: anxiety, obsessions, violent meltdowns, sensory issues, not to mention all the GI, immune and other neuralgic issues found in those with autism, and their higher risk for certain immune conditions and neurodegenerative diseases as we get older. Mainstream medicine, incredibly, has denied the existence of the autism epidemic. They have denied the immune, GI and neurologic causes of it and only are beginning to recognize it now after decades of physicians and parents fighting. What is autism telling us? Sensuality, our senses, are part of how we access the flow. That is why you see the elimination of the sensual aspects of Christian worship by the Protestants. That is why you see sexuality repressed and controlled so much with the advent of the modern era. A core feature of autism is sensory dysregulation. And so it is when you have autism you are at times so much more in the flow the most and at other times so far away it is excruciating. Hour by hour, minute by minute. Social disconnection is another feature. Part of the disconnection is this fluctuation with flow but part of it is the message we are sending ourselves with this disorder. We need to be more connected. And so, we show ourselves the ultimate disconnection. (So too with the coronavirus). We see clearly in autism too what is true of all disease, that it is the interaction of the all the body systems the create it. And that all the things we have changed about our world that cause the dysregulation of the body that manifests this way.
We are crying out. If only we would listen.
The trauma and suffering so many are going through now, have gone through for centuries, is not okay. But Victor Frankl taught us human suffering can be transformed if we can bring meaning to it, choose to bring something good from it. And so, in the end, no matter what happens, the flow will go on, and we with it. I just sure as hell hope that form is a better world with all of us still in it. Just spending a lot more time in the flow in between our time in our bodies with all their senses and sadness and joy. With one another. Alive.