Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Four Questions

At the beginning of her cd Gathering Medicine, Angela Arriens Ph.D shares the four questions that someone from an indigenous culture would be asked who consulted a shaman, when feeling disheartened.

When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in silence?

She says that when someone has stopped any of these things, that they have experienced soul loss. The rest of the cd includes stories, songs, and methods for soul retrieval.

I was really struck by the power in these questions and the answers. I began to share these with people I saw. One person said “hearing them makes me feel so old and boring.” Another person talked about a time in her life that she met someone who brought play back into her experience of life, and how important that was. Someone else asked what if you haven’t stopped? I imagine the answer might be..You are lucky.

Thinking about these questions in our modern culture reminds us that the solution to our current challenges may in fact be found by reconnecting with joy, with dancing, singing, stories, and silence. Imagine if you went to a western doctor and were asked these questions. How different would that be? Imagine what prescription you might walk out with instead of a prescription for a drug. I heard someone on the radio talking about the brain saying the new prescription for a headache will be, listen to Mozart and call me in the morning.

An assumption underlying these questions is that we all can be healthy, and that at one time we all were healthy and connected to joy in life through music, movement, stories, and silence. What if the path to wellness or wholeness is to rediscover these joys and our ability to connect with others? What if it is really that simple? I drove by a house today that had a big sign on the top of the door that said JOY. More on that sign next week.

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