Los caminos son complejos, pero son parte de nuestro sendero
The roads are complex, but they are part of our path
Greetings, dear community, I must confess that this initiative made me a little anxious, it is never easy to talk about oneself. It is only necessary to recall Rousseau's "Confessions" and see all the years it took her to write them, in addition to the work of sincerity it entails. But as I have always been a great follower of Socrates, since I met him in high school, I have also tried to remember the maxim of the Delphic oracle: "know thyself". I firmly believe that this is essential in every path of search and knowledge. Perhaps I am very Jungian, since I have memory. I was inspired by the questions as a whole but I could not answer them all separately.
How did this path start for me? Well, I think the first thing that caught my attention was magic, in a child's mind fiction always takes an essential place, in games and in imagery. The figure of the magician was always a magnet for me (see tarot card in the first image). My spirituality since childhood led me to Tarot, to digitopuncture (or energetic massage, my grandfather intuitively made massages and was a highly respected natural chiropractor, even though he never studied and was always a farmer, he never practiced that as a trade, he did it only to help), I loved plant infusions since I was a child, as my family was from the countryside I always liked growing, collecting and knowing the properties of plants; I also liked the perception of forms of spirituality very similar to meditation, I read books very related to these themes. I come from a mixed-race family, but raised in Catholic values. For that reason, unfortunately, of those so diverse things I went through a very empirical investigation of the cults and religions that were within my reach, because inevitably in this Latin American reality everything was very marked by Christianity. I then had to make my way through that ideology and its literature, after going deep inside (I wanted to be a priest, that's why I was even a seminarian) I realized that guilt as a motor of life is not healthy, and is a very present concept in that religion, I also realized that the institutional religious forms that handle the Christian or Catholic religion are highly manipulated there are too many networks of mass manipulation, power and corruption. I had to leave the seminary, I tried to belong to other cults linked to the Bible, but the results for me were the same: disappointment and rejection; I noticed that there was not much reflection, nor self-knowledge, nor critical spirit. Besides, everything was very influenced by figures and egos, sense of belonging to congragations, and sectarianism. Nobody really read the Bible as it is: a set of books, as simple as that, like every book has mistakes, inaccuracies and were written by ordinary people. I have seen how the cults here do a lot of harm to families, politics and society. Since I suffer from depression from an early age, all that ideology made my disorder worse. Depression led me to alcoholism and suicidal tendencies.
Fortunately, I separated from those cults, and from “that book”, and started studying Philosophy, reading Plato, Spinoza, Nietzsche, all this helped me a little to take again my own path; but also I liked very much scientific thought and philosophy of science, so Wittgenstein, Russell, Quine, were a very pleasant transit. I had more clarity and better tools to see what I had consciously and unconsciously submitted to since my earliest searches. But the analytical philosophy left me very empty, I felt that there was no hope for humanity, that no changes were possible, that all institutions were corrupt, and I also felt that I needed to regain something that I had lost; I also dealt with depression that had worsened, I had gone to psychologists and psychiatrists, the medications did not help me and, more and more, the country was immersed in a crisis that did not allow me to afford consultations or to buy medications. It was at this time in my life that Buddhism appeared. Thanks to a great friend, I first became interested in the Buddhist theories about the mind and consciousness, and I began to practice. The noble path was what I had always longed for, I felt like all the loose pieces had come together. I did not have to get rid of rational thinking, quite the contrary; nor did I have to believe in authoritarian entities and egos. Now, as the years go by, I understand that the magician is one of our natural functions, I understand that we can all be priests in our own way, skill and creativity are always with us, but they have to be invoked.
Buddhism led me to discover and rediscover my creative abilities, to try to take more advantage of my potential, despite the hard economic conditions. So I took back many things from my early childhood to finish exploring them well. By causal relationships I ended up studying Traditional Chinese Medicine, in this area I was able to graduate, after many academic failures (unfortunately, T. Ch. M. does not have legal recognition or accreditation in this country). Sometimes one forces oneself to do things that one does not even understand well why one does them, and that is why self-knowledge is important. There are too many people graduating from careers that they don't like and that they practice badly. I was also able to reconnect with my artistic side and I was able to start studying music, despite not being a child (which is what schools require). The arts have a vital therapeutic side to help deal with many problems. I discovered that I should have studied arts, whether it was music or visual arts. But, well, it's never too late to try to correct the course.
What is the most important learning I have gained from the process? Well, thanks to that opening of consciousness and awakening, I have explored martial arts and yoga. I really understood that body and mind are one and the same, we are what we think, what we do, and what we eat.
I must say that the path of herbalism and the knowledge of more adequate forms of nutrition has been part of this whole path, the lines of exploration are sometimes parallel, and thanks to Buddhism it deepened, I read "The Tropical Herbalist" by Keshava Bhat, and it is wonderful. But I have tried various diets, read other materials, but the situation in the country does not allow me to be very faithful to them, so I have had to adapt many theories to reality in order to achieve a little balance between "surviving" and "living well". Is it possible to live only with natural medicine? I think so, more so if it is a question of survival, of escaping from past suicide attempts, from alcoholism and from the serious political-economic-humanitarian crisis in the country where one lives. But it involves making many changes in behavior, large and small. Would I dedicate my life to teaching natural medicine? Yes, I would, but unfortunately the situation in the country makes it almost impossible. I have seen how they have closed schools, how they have closed many projects because of the precariousness of subsistence. Although I am attentive to any opportunity that arises.
I have learned to cook quite a bit on my own. I have planted in many pots of different sizes various types of plants that occur in this climate, and that manage to grow in these small pots, I do not have much space, but even so I have planted (I think this responds to "what are your most loved plants?"): Chives, aloe, lemon balm, oregano orejón, oregano of the normal kind, turmeric, ginger, and some ornamentals. The two I love the most are: turmeric and aloe. I even have small trees there, they are seeds that were given: mahogany, “acacia” and “apamate”, but they do not flower because they need many more years of maturity and more soil. Reading Frazer's "The Golden Branch" (a book that can be criticized a lot, but you can also learn a lot from it), I realized that our relationship with nature is necessary and vital, because the first religion was the cult of trees.
I must say that I am much better now, and I gave up alcoholism years ago, but the road is rough and complex, it can also be long. Tarot continues to help me to dialogue with myself. We must keep in mind that the paths are different. The process is not the same for everyone. Therefore: What can I say to the community? Be careful with what you read, always be very critical, listen to your body, be careful with the very commercial side of natural medicine, be careful with fashions, always research, read, talk, dialogue, go to the source. Be respectful of the beliefs of others. Also walk in the woods, do even a little physical exercise (planting and doing Tai Chi or yoga also counts, even if it's not "sports" in the Western sense) take care of plants and animals; and, if it's in your nature, meditate. I clarify that the Buddhist practice with which I could transform everything was to chant "daimoku", but explore your own paths, you will find what helps you, do not despair.
What other medicines will you explore in your future? I am currently doing a lot of research on "Tibetan medicine", unfortunately I cannot afford any online courses and there are no institutions here that offer them, but the opportunity will come in due course. I hope that my experience has been useful to you, I regret that I have not been more specific with many things, but it is difficult to summarize too much.
(All the photos were taken with my cell phone).
El Herbolario Tropical de Keshava Bhat
El sutra que practico: "El sutra del loto".