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An Interview with Caroline Myss: 1996

An Interview with Caroline Myss: 1996

By Dennis Hughes

Caroline Myss, Ph.D. is a pioneer in the field of energy medicine and human consciousness, and a respected figure in the field of holistic medicine. She holds degrees in Journalism, Theology and Intuition & Energy Medicine, and is the author of many best-selling books, tape sets, videos and the PBS t elevision special, 'Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can.' Her work with Norman Shealy, M.D., a Harvard-trained neurosurgeon, has helped define how stress and emotion contribute to the formation of disease.Dennis Hughes: I want to start first, Caroline, by asking how you define the term 'Medical Intuitive'.

Caroline Myss: For me it is a capacity to interpret the data in the human energy system, and apply that to assessing a person's health. Data includes emotional information, and for me, fundamentally, one's biographical background. Which is why I teach that your biography becomes your biology. For me, all of the data that is contained in your cell memory, and in your energetic field, is able to be picked up. I shouldn't say all, 'cause that's not true at all. But dominant energy patterns that are contributing to the stress in a human being, are able to be picked up, if a person is open enough. And so, for me, as a medical intuitive, that's where I focus my attention. That's what the skill is all about.

Dennis: It’s good to have that as a starting point for our readers, who may not be familiar with your work. I myself am very interested in meditation and spirituality. I'm wondering what you see as the connection between intuition and spirituality.

Caroline: Intuition to me, Dennis, is simply a skill. It's a fundamental survival skill, that is inherent in everyone's psyche. It's as simple as that. It's not different than the skill to digest food. Spirituality on the other hand, is a chosen path of developing intimate relationships with God. It's chosen, it's nurtured, and it's optional. Whereas intuition–it's there whether or not you have any consciousness about it at all. It's simply a natural survival skill.

Dennis: Like, one of our senses.

Caroline: Well, it is one of the senses. It's a survival sense. It falls under that category. It's not a big deal. It's not a gift. You don't have to meditate for it. You don't have to snort tofu, any of this nonsense. It's gotten all the wrong press, because it's been put in the wrong category. Which is that it's extraordinary, when nothing could be more ordinary.

Dennis: Okay, so you don't see it as a metaphysical thing, quite opposite.

Caroline: No, it's not metaphysical. It's quite physical. It's totally a physical skill.

Dennis: There's a lot of talk about spirit in relation to healing, and that's why I brought up spirit in relation to intuition. My next questions were regarding the chakra system, which I first became aware of through studying meditation and yoga. I was wondering how it appears to you in healthy and ill people. Please talk a little bit about the chakra system.

Caroline: I don't what you mean by the word appear. Are you implying that I see it?

Dennis: Well, perhaps a better word is…?

Caroline: Perceive.

Dennis: How you perceive it, yes.

Caroline: It’s always been a struggle to communicate this. Because we don't really have a vocabulary that can accurately capture the realm that we're talking about. Because it's not a five sensory realm. So, how I perceive the human energy system, is not five sensory at all. And it's not in auric fields. It's none of that stuff. I'm quite bland when it's come to drama in this field. I simply receive an impression. An impression comes very rapidly to me. I've often described it as a piece of ice -- it has no feeling. It's very rapid, like an electrical shock, but without the shock. And once I start to have actual feeling sensations, then so far as I'm concerned, my readings become contaminated. So for me the information has to remain incredibly neutral. It's what I would call ‘ice-like’ information. I receive very rapid impressions. I don't have to sit there and concentrate. Because, if I start to really focus, my conscious mind begins to apply data, which is not accurate.

Dennis: I get the impression that it's more like an antenna?

Caroline: Right.

Dennis: So in your case, it’s not visual. You're not seeing discoloration in different chakras, or that kind of thing?

Caroline: No, I don't ever see any of that. Not at all.

Dennis: Do you perceive soul, mind and emotions as separate bodies?

Caroline: I think there are different layers to our being, yes. But, you know, it's not unlike a layer cake. They're all the same things. And they're all different functions, is how I would put it. One has a more practical survival level, that's the mind function. The heart function obviously has an internal level that has to do with the quality of developing perceptions, feelings, the self. And the spirit level has to do with the pondering part of our lives. You know, the unanswerable questions. The 'why I am here' kind of question. These are the unanswerables, they're meant to be pondered but never answered. And that's the province of what I would call the soul. The spirit for me is the eternal self. And when one incarnates, an aspect comes with that incarnation, that's called the soul. And together the mind, the emotional body, and the soul form the energy field that lives within this thing called the human body.

Dennis: Okay. From my studies I’ve learned that our physical bodies are created out of spirit. There's a sense of layering, or coming into the body. I don't want to say down. And I've heard that certain forms of healing, like, Bach flower remedies, for instance, can work on the emotional level before disease will get down into the physical.

Caroline: Yes, absolutely.

Dennis: I'm just wondering if you perceive disease as something that condenses from spirit down through these layers.

Caroline: Yes, I do.

Dennis: Until it gets to the dense part?

Caroline: Yes. But, it's not just disease. I think every part of our lives begins at an energetic level. Like creativity. You can't separate anything from that archetypal process. So it would not be any different for illnesses. What I want to emphasize too, is that there is a belief pattern, that's very prevalent now in our holistic society. Would that be a good way to put it? That illness is the cause of negativity. And actually that I would challenge. I think negativity is a major contributor to be sure. And a definite blockage to healing. But we cannot discount the reality of environmental causes, and DNA, and biological stuff. We are also very presumptuous to negate the possibility that an illness may be a gift. It's a neutral experience is what I'm trying to say. It should be viewed in some regard as no different than any other experience. For some people it's the most appropriate way for them to make choices–that would then take them down a different path in their life. In which case, was that a negative experience? Or was it a life-transforming one? I think that attitude about all illness being due to negativity, and negative in origin, is necessarily to challenge.

Dennis: I appreciate that insight. I asked Dr. Larry Dossey some questions about energy medicine. He thought that because many practitioners claim to be adding energy to make someone well, that was a bit off-base. H feels, rather, that we all have energy in the universal field, and that it's about helping people to become more in tune. I was wondering what you think about the term 'energy medicine', and this idea–of people adding energy to others, as opposed to just helping them get in tune?

Caroline: I would agree with Larry. I don't think any of us can add energy to anybody. I think we can facilitate something profoundly energetic happening within a person. Helping them get in tune, as it were. But I think energy medicine is a field that is probably for me the most authentic level of medicine that there is, because it takes into account what I would call 'square one of creation'. Which is where energy meets the process of incarnating. So I think it is very much going to become the dominant practice of medicine in this next millennium. We have no other place to go but there.

Dennis: Do you think that these different energy medicines that are getting more known, Qi Gong, acupuncture, Jin Shin, flower essences, and so on–do you think these work on a more subtle bodies, or layers, and that perhaps they can help balance people before they manifest gross physical diseases?

Caroline: Yes, I do. I think that they're a great assistance to that. Absolutely. I should mention that it goes without saying that there's no such thing as a guarantee. I have said to all the people that have ever asked me for help that I am not an opponent of allopathic medicine. I'm a supporter of it. And the reason is because I think that energy medicine, in my experience, when the field first emerged with a huge voice, it was claimed that it would outrun the capacity that allopathic medicine has to heal things. There was this belief that energy medicine could cure all forms of cancer, and this, that and the other. Well, guess what, it hasn't. It hasn't outrun allopathic medicine in the least. In fact, if you manage to heal yourself, you could get a good book contract out of this. That's how rare it is. One has to ponder what's the x factor that's missing in the healing ability of energy medicine? It is not what we thought it was cracked up to be, when we first began to turn our allegiance to that field. I have come to believe that energy medicine is a practice of healing that is dependent upon the energy of time. Whereas allopathic medicine uses linear time as a fundamental healing measure. Energy medicine needs to understand the dynamic of chiros time, that is the time without time. Ergo, I think that is one of the reasons, whether or not practitioners are aware of it. The focus on letting go of one's past and forgiveness etc. The act of forgiveness is the act of returning to present time. And that's why when one has become a forgiving person, and has managed to let go of the past, what they've really done is they've shifted their relationship with time. Entering into the ‘present time,’ and that state of electricity is the one that accommodates energy medicine. That's the state that empowers energetic techniques. That's the point at which aromatherapy shifts from being a perfume to actually being an energetic force. When you look at linear medicine, the whole thing is put in the language of time. Take these pills for six weeks. Cancer lasts seven years. These kinds of time elements that are built into an illness, is a very detrimental state of consciousness. But it is the consciousness we take into the energetic medical field. And these two are fundamentally incompatible. And that to me is a reality that people have got to understand. That if they're gonna' use energy medicine, they had better learn to recognize their time zone, and their relationship to time.

Dennis: What you said makes me think of shamans, and the siddhi powers, where healings occur spontaneously. They go into a trance state…I haven't seen these things done first hand, but I've seen some on video…where it seems like they're actually going into a different concept of reality, and making changes by stepping outside our normal framework. These are traditional, indigenous cultures; this isn't the latest new age stuff.

Caroline: Yes, they are doing exactly that. They're transcending chronos time, hour by hour clock time. And, they're ascending into chiros time, trance time, no time. And that's why at that level, you cannot apply the concept of time. The healing simply happens.

Dennis: Is that what the aborigines call 'dream time'?

Caroline: Sure.Dennis: The same type of thing.

Caroline: Yes, mystical time. Every tradition has a name for this non-tine zone. The Greeks called it chiros.

Dennis: Now I'd like to turn to some women's health questions. What are the most common areas of imbalance that you come across in women?

Caroline: The fear of not being able to survive as a single entity. The belief that they have to have a partner. Otherwise they feel quite vulnerable.

Dennis: More so than single men?

Caroline: Oh, by far. My workshops are 85% women on average. And I would say the majority of these women have been divorced at least once. And, many, many, are single. And not by choice, I might add. There are those who would make the statement, 'I'm not interested in getting married again.' And while that may be true, they are most certainly seeking somebody. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, Dennis. There's nothing wrong with wanting a partner. But what’s worth questioning within oneself is if you're being motivated by weakness or fear, or if it's strength–because you want to engage with someone in a really dynamic relationship. What I see so often, is women using the phrase, 'I need someone to take care of me.' What do you mean take care of you? Why can't you take care of yourself?

Dennis: So this psychological imbalance would perhaps leave one open to more physical imbalances?

Caroline: Sure it would. Because, what you do, if you get together with someone on the premise that, 'I'm afraid of this life. So, will you take care of me?' You're setting yourself up for a fall. Because the survival archetype is an alive entity. Its personal agenda with every person is to empower them, so that they can stand up alone, as a functioning consciousness. Therefore, when you enter into anything, as a frightened being, that contract you make with another person out of fear, has to fall apart.

Dennis: Do you think that women are more likely than men to hang onto wounds, and to use woundology to manipulate others around them?

Caroline: No, not by any means. I think it's most definitely equal. I think men very much can equally get into the little child, 'Mommy, take care of me,' thinking. Which is very indicative of unfinished business there. I mean, being in the wounded psyche, it shows up differently. But, make no mistake, that talent is not sexist.

Dennis: Isn't it more acceptable in our culture for women to share and discuss wounds than it is for men?

Caroline: Oh, sure. Men make a big deal. They get applauded if they stand up and say they're in men's groups. Which drives me over the edge. Why should they get applauded because they’ve suddenly decided to say, 'I'm emotional.'? I could throw a tomato at them! I don't applaud them. I'm thinking to myself, 'Big deal. So, what if you're in a men's group, and you're finally discussing da da da. Why should I applaud you for doing that?' Because I think men have no emotions? I've never bought that scoop. That's nonsense to me. Suddenly they've become heroes to women. 'Look at those sensitive men.' Oh, it galls me.

Dennis: What other ramifications are there, in terms of it being more acceptable for women to share and discuss wounds?

Caroline: Potentially, it holds everything that can empower someone. If a woman walks in a group of battered women and says, 'I've spent the last 20 years getting the hell beat out of me.' And the other women say, 'Me too, and guess what, it's not your fault. And you haven't done anything wrong. And in fact, you better not take that anymore.' And all of a sudden this women begins to wake up, and recognize she's married to a bully. And one day she whacks him with a frying pan, and walks out of there. That woman's on her way to health. So there's a lot of healing that comes from these groups. But make no mistake, they could also come to a standstill. Once you become part of a healing group, it can feel like you're supposed to stay in that group, rather than utilize it for your healing, and then move on. As if to declare, 'Okay, I am healed from that. And now I'm moving on. And I appreciate the support, but now I can support myself.' But, if it happens that a person gets so cozy in that group, and begins to rely on those wounds–then you've got a problem. You've got a whole different illness going on. You know, wound manipulation. It's what I call woundology.

Dennis: My next question is a down to earth one. What do you think are the common causes of breast and ovarian cancer, and why are they increasing so radically?

Caroline: Well, look at the group of women that they're increasing in. I think that's your first clue. The increased statistics seem to indicate that the groups of women who are most vulnerable, or should I say, growing in vulnerability are yuppies. Women who fall into the, 'I can do everything,' status. 'I can be 'The perfect mother, and a full-time career woman, and the gorgeous wife, and endless socialite, and dah dah dah...' The women with high social pressure seem to be amongst the strongest carriers of the possibility of breast cancer. Of course, there are other categories. Women who's responsibility for family seems to fall dominantly on themselves. Often there is a neglect factor, where they don't get any nurturing in return. The bottom line is self-care. When there is a dirth of self-care, that's a set up for illness.

Dennis: Marin County, California is one of the highest density rates for breast cancer in the U.S.

Caroline: I didn't know that. But I'm not surprised, given what I just said.

Dennis: Do you think these illnesses that we've just been talking about–these leading women's illnesses–do you think they have been accepted at the level of the collective unconscious? And can group and community healing occur, or just individually?

Caroline: What do you mean by accepted?

Dennis: Do you think that women have just accepted that these are the times in which we live, 'X percentage of us are going to get cancer,' and that's it? A kind of self-fulfilling process?

Caroline: Okay, there's an intense focus on money, the world spins on that. It has always spun on that. Every single thing has been on that. The acquisition of land, goods, slaughtering of people, taking over of cultures, that's always been there. What's happening now, however, is there is a fundamental deep archetypal shift in the world of women. And it's not just that they are suddenly in the work force in a professional way, fighting for equal wages. There is a subtle re-shaping in a very select group of people, i.e., mothers–the working mother, motherhood archetypes, in which there's a kind of neglect energy that's coming in. You know, with mothers (whether or not a working woman will admit this), I think a part of her automatically feels guilty when she returns to work, six weeks after she gives birth. There's something fundamentally wrong in that, in the sense that the mother archetype does not find that comfortable. Now, the professional woman might say, 'Well, I can do both. I can put my baby in a day care center at seven in the morning, and pick her up at six at night. Wash her, bathe her, call that quality time, and that's the end of my day.' But the truth is, that the primal mother archetype cannot cope with that. It's against its design. And yet we're shifting that primal mother archetype. Whether it's because so many women are now single mothers by divorce, or they are single mothers by choice, or they are working mothers within a marriage, that archetypal pattern is being tampered with. And I think that is part of the increase in breast cancer– because of the tampering with the mother archetype. That's a very bold thing for me to say, but I believe that. And to say that, now women are actually accepting breast cancer as a matter of course, I think that women are... Dennis we've got to be careful here, because I'm not sure the right word is accepting. But women are recognizing their vulnerability to breast cancer. And therefore there's this emphasis on getting annual mammograms, and this type of self-care, which is wise. But one still has to question why is there such a dramatic increase. Now obviously there weren't people around years ago to take statistics. It may well have been that breast cancer has always been so prevalent. But I don't think so. I think that this concept of mother archetype is playing a dramatic role.Dennis: I was at the Bioneers Conference last October. Samuel Epstein was there–he is the doctor who's written the book The Politics of Cancer. And he had the men stand up and face one another, and he stated that 50% of us, one out of two of us, would be getting cancer in our lifetime. And then he had the women stand up in groups of three, instead of two, and said one of three of the women will, in one form or another, get cancer in their lifetime. Now he was saying that it’s based on chemicals and stuff that we're fed, and what's in the environment. But I wonder if stating that that isn't a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Caroline: Absolutely.

Dennis: For us to stand there and go, 'One out of three of us will get cancer.'

Caroline: It's like invoking prayer, for God's sakes.Dennis: Yes. My heart sank a little bit. Here I am trying my best to keep a pure lifestyle. All I did was kind of react by having my shield go up. My thoughts didn't go any farther than that–it kind of freaked me out.

Caroline: I would've stood up and said, 'Neither of us is getting cancer.'

Dennis: Well, I'm saying it now.

Caroline: To me it's like a curse, to say something like that.

Dennis: Yeah, let's say it in front of two thousand people, and have them all stand up. That was a little bit of bad shamanism there. Okay, enough on that. It seems to be that women are more caring and empathetic than men, in general. I was wondering if you'd like to comment on the re-integration of women into the healing arts, in medical schools? And the teaching of these empathetic, and caring qualities to our male healers also.

Caroline: Here again, I have to' say, the idea that men are not caring is nothing but garbage to me. I think that what's happened is that the field of medicine has in and of itself, become far too scientific. It's the field that is at fault, not the people. It's the structure of the classes, it's a merger of health insurance with medicine, that has taken the heart out, and put the mind in a very fearful state. I think that the practice of medicine, the science of it, has become 50% pharmacological, so that doctors are like walking pharmacies. But I have met a lot of women who are just the same way.I think the idea that women have all this wonderful emotion is a myth, as well as the fact that men do not. I mean, people are people. What is happening across the board is that the recognition that emotions, and the spirit and soul play a fundamental part in the art of healing. Women most certainly carry a more sympathetic heart in the traditional, classic sense–the mother archetype. They have been given the role to carry the heart energy of the human community, whereas men carry the survival energy. But I think that what's happening over all, is that the paradigm of science medicine is being re-shaped to include the soul. And for that reason, a paradigm is shifting, which is allowing the heart to come into it. And that's women. I'm not contradicting what I just said, I'm just saying that science is a vehicle that has taken the heart out of healing. Not men, but science. Had it been women 200 years ago who were dominating the field when science came in, I would not be surprised if they did the same thing that we accuse men of, because it was a force of evolution, in which science took hold and re-shaped this vehicle called healing. And now it's simply time for the heart to move back into that science, and merge it into another one.

Dennis: What do you consider the most important recent developments in alternative medicine? And what's next?

Caroline: I would say, just the general open-mindedness now. And the fact that it's penetrated mainstream–whether or not the public would call it that at all. I mean, from all of these exercise commercials, to eat a healthy diet, to menus in restaurants, even Denny's, that are marked 'healthy choice.' All of that…it's penetrated, it's made its way into the backbone of culture now. And that to me is the major achievement. It’s now become the foundation. We are re-shaping our culture around what it means to take responsibility for health. That you have to exercise, do this, do that, it's everywhere. Nike stock has earned its power in society based on the holistic health movement, make no mistake.

Dennis: Do you have medical intuitive trainings in development?

Caroline: Norm and I have founded the Institute for the Science of Medical Intuition. We begin our classes officially next year. And we've gotten our Ph.D. program in medical intuition accredited nationally through the English/Australian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth of England, in other words. The program will lead to the licensing and Ph.D. of medical intuitives. There'll be a long program. It includes residencies with physicians.

Dennis: This is something that would be available to someone who's living and practicing in California?

Caroline: Yeah, of course, it's national.

Dennis: How would they find out more about that?

Caroline: They contact us at the Holos Institute at (417) 267-2900. Courtesy of Shareguide.