Restoring Health Through the Spiritual Flow of Life

By Mitra Shafaei,
Rehabilitation Therapist,
Registered Kinesiologist (Ont. Canada), MSc, BSc

Doug Marman’s new book, “The Spiritual Flow of Life” helped me understand how to form a constructive and inspiring relationship with our bodies.

Mitra Shafaei

We have all heard about the use of “mindfulness” and “positive thinking” as ways of relieving illness. They are now a well-known trend in the healthcare field of our times. However, it is not exactly clear why these strategies work—and more importantly how they work. And it is not always easy to educate patients—especially when they are going through the most difficult time of their lives—to use such techniques as an important element in their treatments. However, what Doug talks about in his book, “The Spiritual Flow of Life,” goes beyond mindfulness and positive thinking strategies.

To give a little bit of background, I have been working in the field of rehabilitation for over 15 years. The range of patients that I provide treatment for is quite wide; from people who suffer from chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, to patients who are dealing with acute injuries related to motor vehicle accidents.

I always find it helpful to have my patients see themselves as one of the active participants in the circle of their healthcare providers. I encourage them to be a part of the team, instead of expecting that their cure will come to them from “outside”. Of course, a lot of help does come from doctors and physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and rehabilitation therapists (like me). But the main ones who determine whether all the hard work of others becomes effective or not are the patients!

I have always known that this is true, as I have seen it many times in my career. But I never really knew why and how true it is. Doug’s recent book helped me understand and it bridged the gap for me. Now I know the reason behind this “bond” that we have with our bodies: The “all-for-one bond” is the key.

Since I understand this better, it is easier to explain this special bond to my patients. And because they are now better able to understand it, see it, and make sense of it, they can use the suggested techniques more effectively. As a result, their recovery and progress is now significantly better. In fact, I can objectively show that these patients recover faster than those who are not using the process in their treatments—in other words, the patients who expect their help will come to them from outside, and not from within.

One of the inspiring ideas that came to me from reading “The Spiritual Flow of Life,” is something that I explain to my patients this way:

“Imagine you are the leader of a big factory, and the factory is your body. Now, imagine parts of your factory went under a catastrophic fire and burned down. There are workers who are severely injured, and some are even dead. These workers have worked for your factory with devotion and love for their entire lives. But now they are suffering and in great need of help.  Think of all those areas, cells, and organs of your body as workers and damaged structures. You, as the leader, need to make a commitment to visit those people who work for you and need your help, on a daily basis. Be with them! Tell them how much you appreciate them, their work, and their love. Tell them how much you love them back and care for them. Change the burned-out lights and fix them. Bring light to the dark rooms and food for the team. Keep the area bright and clean and let those people heal in a loving environment.”

I have had patients who suffered from stroke and half of their bodies were paralyzed. Being in a wheelchair for more than two years is not easy. But, the frustration and negative feelings that make them “hate” their bodies never helps them. I suggest that they see it differently, which helps them change their perspective. I encourage them by saying this:

“Don’t try to be the boss of your body. Instead, be the leader! Your factory is half burned! Is it fair to go there, as the boss, and scream at them: “Why are you not doing your job?” How would you feel if you had a boss who didn’t care and could not see the problem? Would you stay in such an abusive environment and keep working for that boss? I know that I would quit and leave with no hesitation! Now, if all the workers—your cells and organs—quit and leave, what will happen to the factory—to YOU?”

They laugh and say: “I guess you have a point.”

So I ask them to be “a loving and caring leader who is there to inspire the employees and help them, not to abuse them!”

Frustrated patients have now become more loving and kind to their bodies. Shortly after they start changing their perspective, a change and progression in their recovery begins. Their new way of seeing comes directly from what I learned in “The Spiritual Flow of Life”.

In other words, I help my patients learn how to become a “Soul Catalyst” in their relationship with their bodies. Soul Catalyst is a term that Doug talks about extensively in his book. As soon as my patients change their perspective and become more involved in their treatment, their progress changes. I mean “real change,” to the point that management in my company noticed it. They recently sent me this message: “We don’t know what you are doing, but it’s working; better than the other team members. We want to know more about it and hopefully teach others to use it.”

In this note, I have shared only one example on how this book inspired me to help my patients. I believe everybody interested in the field of health and wellness will find this book helpful. I strongly recommend my colleagues and other healthcare professionals to read this book. It can help them develop new strategies that will help their patients, on their journey to recovery.

Not Everything

By Doug Marman

Not everything can be explained with words. Not every situation can be understood. Not everyone fits into the boxes we try to put them in.

Tree Sky. Photo by Kim Lessel.

Life is a mystery. Some questions should not be answered. Some questions are for living with, like a companion. Not every picture needs words. Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss.

Not every day can be extraordinary, or extraordinary days would be ordinary. But every moment is meaningful and seeps deeper into our beingness than we realize.

Our mind desperately wants to understand, but not knowing is also a gift because it keeps us learning. Not everything has a beginning and an end. Sometimes it just is.

Where is life taking us? Ask life.

Do you know how to ask life? Do you know how to listen to life’s answers? Can you hear the questions of life? What is life asking you?

Not every teaching can be found in books. Not every teacher has a name. Sometimes the core of our being sails beyond all worlds, leaving names behind.

Not every pause should be filled with words. Moments of silence are never empty. Some speech is noise, some is singing.

Can you hear the stories of the trees? Do you know why they stand in one place for years with outstretched arms? Sit beneath their branches for a while. Listen to their tales.

Sometimes we need to step off our path and see where it is taking us, to appreciate the adventure we are on. Not every gift is visible. Not everyone realizes what a gift they are to others.

Our paths of learning reach back lifetimes. We are not the same as we were when we first began. The world is not the same. Is there an end to this path? How can we understand the meaning of a story that never ends?

Not everything is finite. Our mind can’t grasp infinity—it really can’t grasp it. But we can experience it, and in that experience we too become infinite. How can this be?

Not everything can be explained with words.

Finding Spiritual Love

By Doug Marman

My wife, Karen, recently remembered a dream she had many years ago. In her dream she was at a seminar, in a roundtable discussion. Paul Twitchell was there. He started talking:

“Love connects everything,” he said. “All of life is held together by love. Every rock, every tree…everything.”

Paiting by Grev Kafi.

Paiting by Grev Kafi.

Thinking about this dream and looking across the decades since she had it, she said to me, “Listening to what Paul said was one thing, but knowing it is altogether different.”

This goes to the heart of the spiritual path: How do we know, really know, the meaning of spiritual love?

We won’t find it by reading books or listening to talks—although the stories of others can increase our hunger for it. Knowingness doesn’t come from thinking about love or trying to understand it with our mind. In fact, if we try to go after love directly, the very thing we are pursuing runs away from us.

The reality of spiritual love—the love that flows into this physical world from the inner and connects all things—doesn’t come from hunting it down. We can’t catch it or trap it like a wild animal.

How do we find it? To put it simply, we need experience. Once we have spiritual experiences, we begin to see and understand the reality of spirit lurking in the heart of everything around us.

This presents us with a paradox: We need spiritual experiences, but we can’t get them by going after them.

Fortunately, there’s a solution. Love isn’t something that can be owned or possessed because it only blossoms in relationships. So, to understand spiritual love, we must foster a relationship with all of Life.

It needs to develop the same way all relationships do. It takes time. It needs care. We must welcome Life into our home—invite her in. We need to ask and listen to what she wants of us. We need to make sacrifices, just as we would with any lover.

Some people long for a spiritual experience so powerful that it will prove to them, once and for all, the reality of spiritual love. But, even if you’re fortunate enough to have such an experience, it will fade over time. After a while, you’ll feel as if you once found the secret of life but lost it.

More important than dramatic encounters are the small spiritual blessings that come to us in our daily lives. Everyone has moments when they feel lifted by a subtle feeling that changes their mood. It might happen while we’re watching children playing or when we take a walk in the woods. Something comes over us and touches us deeply.

These are spiritual experiences. They can be so subtle that they’re barely noticeable. But they are gifts that Life sends our way. They’re invitations to enter a relationship with something larger than we can imagine. Life is opening a door for us. Don’t let these moments slip by.

These gifts are like ocean waves knocking at our door. Since when does the ocean come to someone’s door? These are extraordinary occasions. Dive in and let the waves carry you out, far beyond all doorways. Follow them wherever they take you. Their depths will surprise you.

Once you start to appreciate these blessings, they will change you. They will also start happening more often. Wait expectantly for another secret visit, another subtle feeling that lifts and moves you, and your relationship with Life will deepen. Make time in your life for her, wait by your door for her, and she will greet you every day.

The more you welcome Life into your home, the more doors she’ll open for you. She’ll show you all the secrets of love. Once you’ve felt her kiss a thousand times, you will know. You will know that you and Life find meaning in each other. Your secret rendezvous with her will continue as long as you keep awaiting her arrival.