Monday, November 29, 2010

The "Cure" for Cancer

About a year ago, I had a series of lucid dreams about cancer. I wrote about them here in this blog, and then decided to delete one of the original posts because its heaviness impeded my desire to write. I feel comfortable reposting it now, as one of its meanings has matured into a message for all of us.

Over the past year, I have come to realize that yes, I have cancer, and that we all have cancer. Because of our interconnectivity, we all have to deal with the reality of this imbalance as it affects the human race. The other day, I was walking through the forest with a friend, who lost his wife to cancer. We went to gather seeds from the most robust, beautiful species of curly dock that we could find. We walked for nearly an hour, letting our minds air out and our hearts take over so that we would be in right relation before we took from the forest.

The two of us ventured to the top of the highest hill, what must have been a beautiful vantage point for people and animals long ago, before the tall Monterey pines arrived. We imagined the grizzlies that used to roam up here, eating the native huckleberries, which still adorn the hill. My friend brought me here to show me that people had recently poisoned the beautiful medicinal plants all around the periphery of this high, holy place. The poisoned area is completely unmarked, right on the trail, where hikers, children, dogs, and wild animals commonly roam.

My friend, who knows the park intimately, told me that at first, the plants appeared to be covered in a white fungus-like substance, but after he inspected them closely, he realized the substance was poison. After just a few days, the plants had withered and died unnaturally. We wondered who did it, and imagined that perhaps the phone company or maybe even park officials had poisoned them unthinking, to keep plants away from the tall radio towers and equipment that modern humans have placed here.

We both felt devastated. I walked around examining the land, to which we humans were once so consciously bonded. I silently wept at the recent, deep disconnection that enables us to pour poison on the Earth without a second thought. Of course, the person who did this had no malice. But the depth of this forgetting has a profound an effect on the health of all life, including human beings. As long as we pour poison onto our Mother (in the many ways that we do), we will have cancer.

My friend and I went our separate ways at the top of the hill to be with the poisoned plants and our own grief. I sprinkled tobacco on the Earth and cried tears for our forgetting, and tears for the plants. The only thing I could say was, "I don't know why we did this to you. I don't know why we did this to you..."

When we finished with our offerings, we sauntered back down the trail feeling cleansed by grief, and continued on our journey to gather seeds. We returned to a particular plant that stood out because of its tall, straight stature, and because of the broad, curly leaves sprouting up beside last year's plant. It stood right next to a tree that had been scored by a buck's antlers, at the edge of a hawthorn grove. A red-shafted flicker perched and called nearby. This plant was simply glowing with permission to harvest its beautiful seeds. We left an offering of tobacco, collected plenty of seeds for our garden, and happily scattered the rest nearby.

After leaving the park, my friend and I discussed the link between cancer and the way we live in the world today. Our gathering native seeds from the park is illegal; poisoning the Earth is not. While I respect and appreciate whole-heartedly people in search of a "cure" for cancer, I also feel that we share the epidemic collectively, regardless of whether it manifests in the cells of our individual bodies. We also share the cure.

To the people who have cancer and have lost loved ones to cancer, I pray for your individual healing and I know, truly, that we can and do heal from this disease and from the grief it leaves in its wake. I pray, too, that we remember that we must eat the fruit of the seeds we sow. Let these fruits, then, be borne of balance and vitality. When we remember our inextricable link with all that is, then our instinct of self-preservation will include all our relations. The cure for cancer lies in our relationship with all of life. As such, we already hold the cure, right here in our hands, every day.

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