It’s Time to Return to Ancient Wisdom
by Katie Cercone
I’m cautious about us all falling back on unconscious consensus thinking as we move forward amidst persistent COVID-19. Not interested in my health being tracked by app, nor do I want to see more borders and hearts close. Our global “stop the spread” protocol traces back to an Imperial College London researcher who’s work is predicting and modeling the probability of poverty and death in a future pandemic. Is that where we want to concentrate our mental energy, on the death toll and economic impact? Aren’t we already all dying and in debt? According to David Crow, author of In Search of the Medicine Buddha: A Himalayan Journey, most of us in the West are slowly eating ourselves to death. How could following the same old white male supremacist logic address the root of a problem that is deeply about the Earth, indigenous wisdom, our relationship to nature and our ability to let go, surrender and live more simply? In the yogic science of Ayurveda, medicine shares a deep reverence for nature, “The influence of the stars in the blood, the pull of the moon in the core of the womb” orient this path of medicine, and healing remedies are concocted auspiciously with the moon’s cycles.
Dolphins are swimming through the canals of Venice, zoo animals are set free, skies are blue again! It’s wonderful to read all the headlines of ways in which the pandemic has served to reverse climate change. If we accidentally started to protect the earth beneath us, what would it look like if we intentionally saved the earth?
Yoga defies so much of western logic. What we call poison, Mercury, is considered the semen of God (Shiva, the first Ayurvedic physician, Lord of Herbs). Mercury is imbibed by some yogis to achieve immortality. For the feminine half, the most powerful manifestation of a woman’s Shakti energy is her menstrual blood. Long considered “unclean” by most major religions, many modern women are inclined to hide, abhor or using the magic bullets of the medical industrial complex, erase their period altogether. It would be irresponsible and nearsighted to chuck out all of western medicine, and I’m certainly not a doctor. And yet, the pandemic having only magnified the urgency of the medical crisis we’re living in, it’s time to spark a revolution in consciousness. It’s time we return to ancient wisdom.
Ancients of Egypt demonstrated prowess equal to early yogis with medicine, were the Kemetic Mystery System required its students of science to be both priests and scholars, the bridge between faith and science personified in the Goddess Ma’at. In Tibet, where we see yogic science preserved through the prism of Tantric Buddhism, the deity Sange Menla is invoked daily at medical colleges. With the body of a luminous rainbow revealing space-like wisdom and impartiality to all beings, through reverence for this multifaceted being, remover of obstacles and guardian of the ten directions, the mandala of nature’s remedies are chanted into existence accompanied by drums, horns, bells and conch shells. When it comes to total healing, at the root level, we simply can’t separate science from magic, art, community or music.
Yogic wisdom teaches that suffering and illness begin in an unstable mind – chaotic or stressful thought patterns disturb the flow of life force channels and nerves. Balance is achieved by guiding the mind back into smooth cycles of breathing. “An alchemist who craves gold failed even before beginning the work,” speaks to anchoring Ayurveda in a greater system “the Science of Life” which guards against the fallibility of the human ego. This ancient system, preserved on palm leaves, is wondrously complex and relational – being intermingled with astrology, ritual magic and deity worship. Whereas the Western medical model is now overwhelmingly ruled by a profit-based and fear-based model of control, with profitability and liability taking precedence over human life; ultimately this bondage to the pursuit of wealth only causes suffering/disease. True integrity in medicine necessitates that medical healers (medicine buddhas) uphold a basic spiritual law that designates service, not gain, as the ultimate goal.
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A yogi of over 20 years, Katie is a radical creative, scribe, priestess and spiritual gangsta hailing from the blessed coast. She received her 200-hour yoga and reiki certification in 2011 with Deborah Hanekamp @Mamamedicine and has led classes in studios, gardens, women’s shelters and arts venues throughout the US, UK and Asia. Her practice today fuses Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini and Shamanic styles of yoga; encompassing the sacred alchemy of asana, mantra and pranayama breath work. Katie’s transformational work lies under a sacred canopy of co-created ritual and magic to align with higher consciousness. A known pioneer of Hip Hop Yoga, she is creative director at ULTRACULTURAL OTHERS Urban Mystery Skool. Follow her on instagram @0r__nah_spiriturlgangsta
David Crow, In Search of the Medicine Buddha: A Himalayan Journey, 2000
Truthstream Media, We’re Living in 12 Monkeys, March 24, 2020 on Youtube