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The Doctor will see you now

Thea Euryphaessa gets metaphysical with Taoist teacher and author Barefoot Doctor

Written by . Published on January 26th 2011.

The Doctor will see you now

I came across a blog of yours from a couple of years back in which you pondered the cocaine-plus-vodka addiction particularly among women:

"So I’m looking around at all these powerful, beautiful women, these modern manifestations of female divinity and wondering about the roots of this insidious, low self-esteem syndrome, and wondering what could be done to remedy the problem."

Had any further thoughts?
Well, yes. Though I'm not sure I'd be able to do this on a big scale. It occurred to me that people need love and nurturing and to be shown the possibility they'd be OK without their self-destructive habits; that these habits were in fact an illusion, that the power to grant them social ease, confidence and presence they ascribed them was in fact something they gave themselves from within and really had nothing to do with the drug or alcohol. Based on this I treated one woman with a whopping great €4K a month cocaine and vodka addiction, using quite a lot of hypnotherapy, some acupuncture, a lot of encouragement and positive feedback and a lot of visualization. Within three months she was off the coke, and a month later off the vodka. This was over a year ago and she's remained completely clean.

Another was hooked on twice weekly cocaine binges and using a bit of hypnotherapy and a lot of self-esteem building over a six month period, she stopped four months ago.However both examples required a lot of my time, focus and energy, which isn't going to work on a large scale so in fact I'm still in the same state of wondering.

You say you've noticed this (excessive use of drink/drugs) more in women? What do you reckon that's about then?
Women have only very recently found their power. From Germaine Greer to Madonna to the Spice Girls, today's modern empowered woman has only existed for a few decades compared to thousands of years of male domination. To be out and about having to exercise that power naturally triggers thousands of year’s worth of insecurities wired deep into the system; hence the need for a little confidence booster which the combination of alcohol and cocaine seems to offer so perfectly.

Obviously the price to pay far outweighs the benefit. At the beginning, and for a while, it's easy enough to kid yourself you'll get away with it. However it's not just the women: everyone's afraid of everyone — men are afraid of men, women are afraid of women, men are afraid of women and women are afraid of men. Fear of ridicule, rejection, humiliation, being physically hurt or overpowered and so on. This fear, of course, is primal, mostly unconscious and generally felt as no more than social shyness. Alcohol helps you over that and cocaine clears your head so you can keep on drinking. The men are doing it too but if you watch carefully, there's always a lot more traffic moving through the women's toilets than the men's. At least it looks that way to me. Maybe I've been fixating on women's loos too much, who knows?

Aside from being a confidence booster, do you reckon it may also point to a yearning, albeit unconscious, for the spiritual in an ecstatic sense? I often hear women (particularly British and American) say they want to get 'out of their heads,' rather than just enjoy a relaxed, sociable drink.
Yes. I think a need to lift-off on a regular basis, to transcend the mundane is fundamental to the human condition. Shamans have been doing it and leading others to it since we started out on the planet and this is common to both genders of course. And the yearning for a lift-off definitely arises from a yearning to touch spirit — the consciousness informing the party. Personally I feel it lurking more easily in the party milieu than anywhere else — certainly more than in most churches or temples. Though I'd say this would be pretty much entirely unconscious on most people's parts. I've often discussed it and presented this theory to the relevant parties at parties and been met with derisive snorts, usually as a prelude to the other sort of snort.

Bringing it back down into the body, doesn't sex also provide an opportunity to transcend the mundane? I'm particularly interested in the Taoist take on this.
Yes. In fact the Taoists developed sex as a meditation and healing tool in itself. So, depending on how you did it, you'd achieve a different sort of altered state of effect. It's often misconstrued as just being all about men retaining their sperm on orgasming, but it’s very little to do with that. It's about each party entering a deep state of meditation and remaining there by using slow breathing and muscular relaxation instead of panting and going taught; i.e. remaining fully mindful throughout the sexual experience. When done correctly it leaves both parties feeling high, nurtured, energised and incredibly cheerful and optimistic.

Ah, that's interesting. So the Taoists view the body as sacred, then?
Yes. The body is the arena in which you experience life and life is sacred so the body is sacred - but no more so than any ontological phenomenon. My own take on it, influenced by trance grandmaster Raja Ram, is your body is your temple but it's also your nightclub — you've got to have some fun in/with it too, in other words.

Finally, do you have a simple exercise/affirmation that men and women could practise, together or alone, to encourage a deeper, more consciously embodied state?
A simple exercise to practise with someone/s or alone to attain a more conscious state — there are obviously an infinite number, but try this: sitting or standing comfortably, imagine a silver thread attached to the crown of the head being gently pulled upwards, thereby subtly lengthening the spine, especially at the back of the neck. Feel all the weight of the head, shoulders and upper body sink downwards into the hips and legs so the lower body feels grounded and the upper body light and airy. Draw your mind backwards from the forebrain into the midbrain instead, let your awareness sink backwards so you're gazing out at the world from way further back inside your skull. Soften your heart area. Concentrate on your belly button and feel it moving to and fro as you breathe slowly in and out. This is the optimally aligned state. Now picture all the consciousness of the cosmos gathering into a column of light and pouring itself down through the crown of your head along the front of your spine and through your pelvic floor into the ground, washing away all mundane thinking and spiritualising everything about your life, the life of whomever you're with and the lives of everyone on earth, as it penetrates the ground beneath you and suffuses the entire earth and imbuing you and everyone else with transcendent bliss forevermore.

(Thea and Barefoot got along so well, they’re collaborating on a series of talks in Manchester this spring. Further details to follow.)

Barefoot’s latest book, The Man Who Drove With His Eyes Closed, is out now. For further info visit his website at superchargedtaoist.com. You can also follow him at @BarefootDoctor.

Thea Euryphaessa is an author, life coach, Reiki teacher, and scholar of archetypal psychology who goes by the alter ego, Urban Deva (pronounced ‘day va’). For further info, visit urbandeva.com. Follow her on Twitter @UrbanDeva.

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Sister SmartarseJanuary 23rd 2011.

I've often noted how religion and other organised practises try to peddle the theory that they have the monopoly on ecstasy. Think for a while - the church (christian and particulary post-puritan protestant ones) didn't like singing (unless it was hymns) or dancing, or incense or meditation or whirling and never approved of sex - the things that will give most if not all of us a sense of the devine. Yes, people you don't actually have to buy anything or into anything in order to feel greater than your meagre material existence. Just put on some loud music and start whirling!!

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