Even HIV Cured by Faith? Trauma, Miracles & Ethics.

Via on Nov 28, 2011

A few days ago I and several other EJ contributors were concerned about an article in which it seemed like Ben Ralston was claiming to be able to cure serious medical conditions (in this case a severe long term thyroid imbalance and depression) with a therapy he has learned called Reference Point Therapy.

As is usually the case with these kinds of claims, Ralston used an anecdotal case – which was of course inspiring and heart warming, of a woman he had done a session with who was, even eighteen months later, living free of her previous symptoms. To be fair, Ben didn’t claim he could cure any and all disease, but he made quite a show in the article of saying in only one session he was able to achieve such remarkable results. Quite an advertisement for the technique and the man.

Having been in the alternative healing/yoga/bodywork/spirituality community for roughly 20 years, this is not the first time I have heard such claims. There is always some new technique being marketed that claims (as Ralston does) to be better than other psychotherapies, to be able to do the work that previously took years in a matter of minutes. In this case RPT claims that emotional trauma is at the heart of ALL illness and that by using simple and fast-working techniques trauma can be healed (in 30 seconds claims the master teacher on the RPT website) as well as it’s resulting manifestations as illness or physical pain.

The thing is, I have found that trauma is very significant too, which made me actually feel a kinship with Ralston upon seeing some his earlier posts – but the more I have looked into RPT, the more I think it is actually not a way of working with trauma ( I would suggest looking into Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing or Pat Ogden’s Sensorimotor Therapy for something a bit more substantive, psychologically grounded and scientifically based) but more a kind of fresh faced New Age faith healing scam. The third level of RPT’s training is called “Mastering Miracles.” If that doesn’t give you pause, all I can say is – it bloody well should!

 

Don’t get me wrong, being involved as I have in mind-body healing for a long time, I have found that traumas do have a physical impact. I have clients I have helped with pain syndromes like TMJD, sciatica, low back and neck pain by working with the emotions held in their bodies. A method called Trauma Release Exercises is actually fairly similar to the work I do and fits with the approaches I mentioned positively above.

I also know that there is good evidence to suggest that positive relationships with others, states of gratitude and compassion and feeling mirrored and empathized with by someone actually produces measurable improvement in immune function and that people who do not have this in their lives tend to fare worse when struck with debilitating illness. I even actually have a client with HIV who is symptom free and now has an immeasurably small viral load in his system – perhaps our work together has helped, perhaps it is the medication I would never suggest telling him to stop taking, perhaps some combination. The truth is I don’t know, and I would never tell anyone that I have found the emotional root of HIV and can cure people who are ready to take full responsibility for their illness in one session. That would be unethical.

I must re-iterate, I mean Ben no personal or professional attack here – I am sure he is completely sincere, and may well be having positive results with some clients using this technique, probably because he is smart and kind man who people respond to, and perhaps because in the moment certain intuitive insights and shifts may well be possible, whatever technique one is using. I must also make clear that nowhere has Ben (as far as I know)  made any claims about healing HIV!

In the comments section, I and a few others pointed out that the article in question could be creating unrealistic expectations by making unreasonable claims. An anecdotal account does not provide strong evidence of a causal connection. If in fact he has found a way to really cure intractable serious diseases, this would be a massive achievement that should be scientifically corroborated in order for the perception he was creating to be ethical.  But the more we did this, the more we encountered an unfortunate, but perhaps predictable, hubris.

Ralston actually asked what was meant by “serious disease” – because he thought there was no such thing (cue the postmodern relativist New Age swirly music) in fact, he said if a disease was going to cause death, all the more reason not to take it seriously! He went on to make references to magic and faith and of course to call me and others negative and bitter for raising our concerns. He has learned the spiritual truth about illness, healing and the miraculous  - and in fact could teach me a thing or two! Oy.

The reason I think we were so uncomfortable is that people who are really sick, people who medical science cannot seem to help are also really desperate – and styling oneself as a kind of miracle worker raises some very serious ethical questions.

But this is not about Ben Ralston, I actually quite like the guy – this about the dangerous age-old big tent revival game of faith healing. This morning in my YouTube subscriptions, this video showed up about a church claiming to heal HIV and telling those afflicted with this serious disease to stop taking their medicine and believe that they have been healed by God.

YouTube Preview Image

 

Now of course there is a central question here – either you buy the belief that ALL illness is based in trauma and that by healing trauma you can heal all disease, or you don’t. If you don’t you start layering in the responsible caveats: in some cases illness has a basis in unhealed trauma, or in some cases healing unresolved trauma can play a part in recovery from some illnesses. The church above of course just thinks it is ALL about faith in God, and what better way to demonstrate your faith than to go off your medication?

I myself have this personal experience from a New Age group I was a part of in the 90′s: one of the charismatic figures in the group had HIV but because it was believed that telling anyone about it was “putting it out in the universe” and that acting as if it didn’t exist was a way of manifesting a healthier reality, he infected two others and all three are now, tragically, stone cold dead.

But then we also get into the question of trauma itself, and what it really means to heal trauma, and on what basis someone can claim to have healed serious trauma in a seconds or minutes or an hour or so, and of course on what basis one can claim to have cured a serious disease – surely this requires documentation to be taken seriously?

Perhaps then I might ask Ben and others who make similar claims if they are willing to be more nuanced, more cautious, and step back from the grandiose claims into more responsible territory. If not, then where do we draw the line?

So, by way of closing, and as a mind-body healer of sorts myself ( I teach yoga and do bodywork that addresses emotional trauma and physical pain syndromes) I think it is really important that we stay grounded, have a healthy respect for serious illness, think carefully about the scope of practice limitations of alternative healing methods and be very, very careful about claiming to be able to cure intractable medical conditions at the wave of a wand, chant of a prayer or through the power of our magical mental manifestation. Am I saying this is impossible? No, it’s just that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence – and if actually true, there should be no problem providing it.

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About Julian Walker

Julian Walker is the founder of http://www.yogateachergradschool.com/ where he supports new and established yoga teachers in living their dreams through business development. He is a writer who has been teaching yoga since 1994, and co-teaches the Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind Yoga Teacher Training in LA with Hala Khouri.Julian's writing is featured in the book 21st Century Yoga available on Amazon.com. www.julianwalkeryoga.com

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31 Responses to “Even HIV Cured by Faith? Trauma, Miracles & Ethics.”

  1. Thanks for this Julian. The debate on the original article was getting pretty ugly. I do believe that many find tremendous help from alternative health methods, but I believe being mindful requires a healthy amount of skepticism too.

  2. Roger Wolsey Roger Wolsey says:

    Here's a way that faith may actually be curing HIV. http://www.churchandglobalaids.org/ They are doing a lot of good in the world.

  3. I have found tremendous healing from all sorts of alternative healing therapies: yoga, meditation, Reiki, Shamanic healing, acupuncture… there are many mysteries on this earth that cannot be explained by science. On this even Einstein would agree, as he was one of the premier meta-physicists. I do believe that we are all made up of energy and that we are connected to one another and everything on this planet by that same energy. And so by tapping into that energy, I have seen with my own eyes (I am also a Reiki healer) that it can bring tremendous healing.

  4. Jill says:

    I’m wondering how the article’s author (Julian Walker) describes the nature, reasoning (scientific and otherwise), and the success of his “Hands on Healing” workshops that he advertises and conducts. Not all healing modalities are the same and *all* operate within a certain level of uncertainty and “mystery” – even the established western medicine norms. My point is, there are many, many paths for a healing opportunity.

    • Julian Walker yogijulian says:

      hi jill – check out the article again – i have expanded it a little since posting. how do i explain the kind of work i do? well it has to do with tension patterns and how we hold emotions in the body. it is about using specific bodywork techniques to create openings in which emotions can be released, insights can emerge and the body can let go.

      i am very specific about why i think this is healing – and make no claims regarding instantaneous healing from any medical condition.

      for more:
      http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/08/yoga-bodyw

  5. Carole says:

    Thank you Julian for this needed perspective. I would love to believe that such an "instant and permanent" cure could be found and I would travel anywhere and pay a large sum of money to achieve it. Since Ben claims it works "almost 100%" of the time, I asked him if he would offer a money back guarantee. He referred me to two other posts of his that did not give a direct answer as to why he won't do this, other than alluding to him getting paid upfront for his time. There seems to be a disconnect here, advertising for phenomenal results yet being paid for time vs. results.

    It was disappointing also to see his response to others as being "full of fear, negativity and projections", and not allowing for the possibility that there may be some truth in them.

    All workers in healing modalities, alternative and traditional, including Ben, can point to some cases that have been helped by them. A few anecdotal cases however do not prove a claim….especially one as grand as "almost 100%. The greater the claim, the greater the demonstrated proof required.

    Since the first "article" of his I read on Elephant, his postings have appeared to me as (not even thinly disguised) advertising. I wish Elephant would provide more oversight of articles and only publish those that are truly informative, and not just a grab for business.

    • Julian Walker yogijulian says:

      i agree carole.

      • Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

        I did not Carol, I gave you links to two posts written by someone else, and if you had taken the time to read them you would have found many reasons as to why I don't offer a money back 'guarantee' for my work.

        For other readers who will take the time to read those links (as I took the time to answer your question Carol), I provide them again here:
        http://www.referencepointtherapy.com/blog/categor

        There are actually 3 links there, all of them intelligent, well written, and with a pure intention. How you could see only an allusion to "getting paid upfront for his time" is beyond me!

  6. Becky says:

    Hi Julian,
    Ben was criticized about creating unrealistic expectations by making unreasonable claims, how this runs similar to age-old big tent revival game of faith healing. I can see how Ben stating ‘healing can be done in one session’ might stimulate this commentary. Religious fanatics have set many negative stereotypes and connotations.

    Julian, I really see your viewpoint. I live in America, I know about fanatics. The religious fanatic video link you posted was a great example.

    I’ll only believe something if there’s evidence. Evidence based research has my name all over it. I was lucky enough to help perform evidence-based research as a university student with a medical psychologist. Nothing published, but great experience. If someone tells me something to believe in, I always check the evidence. After personally experiencing Ben’s work with RPT, I believe Ben’s viewpoint is worth looking into.

    Please bear with me while I humbly share my thoughts :)?

    Yes there are a lot of scams out there, but discernment and empirical data are key There’s something going on with RPT because I was healed in one session with Ben. If it worked with me, and the woman with the thyroid and depression, what else can it do, and how can the data be collected? Again, I’m not a fan of fanaticism. I’m a fan of evidence. All I’m humbly intending in this post is I think we should give Ben and his work a chance. Try not to let the negativity of fanatics taint the vision. Maybe things got a little messy in the debate.

    I’m not sure how much it matters, but I spent a lot of years and money with psychologists (on and off from age 22 to 36), and medications (anti-anxiety medication for two years, homeopathic remedies); I took three levels of usui reiki to see if reiki could help; my family could testify on my years of anger. Yadda yadda, point is, I’ve been working on my stuff for a long time. These were band-aids for my symptoms. I started reading EJ articles; one thing led to another and I found Ben and RPT.

    I had skepticism before considering Ben/RPT. Let me tell you! I researched RPT via the Australian website, talked about it with my reiki teacher (she said, “be careful, there’s a lot of scams out there, go with your gut feeling”), talked about it with my mom…(she asked, “is it a scam?”). I reflected on Ben’s EJ articles, the integrity often laced throughout them. This guy was saying one session only, maybe two or three sessions. I decided to let first hand experiences tell if it was real or not.

    I healed from one session.

    Please bear with me. Please :)?

    Julian, I know Ben saying healing can be done in one-session sounds comparable to a touting religious fanatic, but technically that’s not Ben’s fault. I don’t want to focus on blame, but we know the ugly story of fanatics.

    Julian, you said the more you looked at RPT, the more you thought it doesn’t work with trauma and is more of a fresh faced new age faith healing scam. Might this be because of the new-age glossy touch on the Aussie website? For the record, I like Ben’s Prem Center’s website’s version of RPT explanation over the Australian version :)

    All I’m saying is there’s something real to Ben’s work with RPT, and there’s something to the one session. I’m one of his statistics, I guess, if that’s how you want to say it. It’s worth looking into.

    Ben offered to talk to you via skype and explain what he does, how it works. When I first read that, I thought how brilliant, surely this Julian character will accept. What person wanting evidence wouldn’t?

    And you declined. I mean this humbly and with the most respect, but it made me think maybe you were afraid of something. Or maybe it happened because the debate got messy. I think a very noble and diplomatic-oriented thing to do would be to hear your fellow EJ counterpart out. What if you learned about it, and then made a decision? What if you had a stimulating dialogue with Ben during skype? What if you investigated :)? What would you lose? You’ve worked with mind-body healing for the past roughly 20 years. What’s an hour or two? What if Ben is working on collecting documentation? So many beautiful what ifs :).

    For the record, I see the both of you, Ben and Julian, two peas in a pod. Both of you are doing beautiful healing work with people. Different methods up close, the same in the bigger picture. Both evidenced based. Both effective. And Ben’s really can take one session.

    I’m going to take a break and steam my head over a hot bowl of water with vicks vapo rub (because I’m too tired to run to the store for eucalyptus oil – I’ve terrible head cold/stuffed sinuses.

    Peace and blessings.

    • Julian Walker yogijulian says:

      very lucid and kind and balanced becky. you will notice i said many nice things about ben – the serious ethical question remains about how to present these things, and you may also notice this is mostly what i am suggesting he reconsider.

      hope your stuffy head feels better soon. :)

      • Becky says:

        Well, I do think Ben was very happy about RPTs outcomes. He expressed this. Due to life's dealings with religious fanaticism, his work ran the risk of similar negative connotations. In my above post, I mean to give data to Ben's work.

        Julian, but what about my question…what about Ben's invitation to a skype talk :)? Wouldn't it be diplomatic?

      • Becky says:

        I had one more thought…yes, it's important how to present these things, but Ben does present this. He said/says it takes one session, maybe two or three. And it took one session with me. I'm just sayin :)

  7. Suri says:

    Having had a serious illness and having tried all kinds of alternetive therapies , the only thing i can say is i will never waste my time and my money on alternative "therapies" again. If you take the time to really think about it you ll realize that homeopathy wont cure your cancer , reiki wont cure your diabetes …..anyone that claims that he or she can cure a serious or life threatening illness by any alternative or spiritual energy means is either lying , trying to conn you or delusional ….i am sorry to say this but there is no evidence whatsoever that alternative "therapies" work .

    A lot of people feel some kind of resentment toward western medicine without realizing that modern medicine and science have actually improved our quality of life in the last few centuries and the proof of that is that life expectancy in developed countries is about 85 y.o where as in countries like Afghanistan and Mozambique life expectancy is between 39-43 years …. Get that dude!! So for those who demonize western medicine i say go live in Sierra Leona and see for yourself , see if reiki and cristal therapy can actually cure someone that is dying of cholera or septicemia…. Good luck!

  8. Suri kate says:

    Also about this:

    The result of that single session: 

    "total transformation…

    No more depression, and no need for surgery – normal thyroid function."

    The only way to know if your thyroid is working normaly is thru thyroid function tests , that means blood tests:
    "A TFT panel typically includes thyroid hormones such as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH, thyrotropin) and thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3) depending on local laboratory policy."

    This is science , this is how you know , you just dont make things up or imagine them …you take tests, you look for evidence , solid evidence .
    There is no way on earth Ben could have known this lady's thyroid was working normally after one session without having her take these tests .

    • Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

      As I stated clearly in my comment beneath the original post (and edited in now to the post itself), the woman whose thyroid no longer needs to be removed has regular medical check-ups and tests. That is how both she and I know that the thyroid is healed (18 months later) – a fully qualified medical doctor tells us so Suri, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
      I'm truly sorry that you and so many others had a negative experience at the hands of alternative (so-called) "healers".

  9. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  10. Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

    Julian's dozen or so comments on my own blog post became increasingly negative and personal, to the point that I decided there was clearly nothing to be gained from trying to engage him in dialogue further. I will comment here, for the record, not only to 'defend' myself, but also – more importantly – to protect the image of this wonderful method: RPT.

    First, all these accusations hinge on one thing: whether or not I am lying, or exaggerating, my case. If I am, then what I am doing is *extremely* unethical, and totally irresponsible. Agreed.

    But if I'm not lying, and RPT is a truly groundbreaking method that yields wonderful results, saving people a great deal of money and time (after all, which intelligent snake oil salesman would claim only one session needed by the way? The real con artists are the ones who have clients back week in, week out, for years, no?! And I don’t charge a great deal of money, as anyone can see from my website)… if I'm not lying, then actually the lack of ethics and lack of responsibility (not to mention total disrespect for a fellow EJ columnist) fall back on those making these accusations, all of which I emphasize are based purely on speculation.

    So what is the basis upon which anyone believes I am lying?
    Well, I take responsibility here for certain things – the superlative, hyperbolic language that I use in my writing. It *does* sounds like informercial, advertorial language. I see that. However, I am not one to censor my expression for fear of what people will think. And my writing is pure self-expression (I'm not a journalist, and have no desire, nor ever claimed, to be one). (I also made a typo: my statement that trauma is the cause of all our problems was a mistake. I meant to say “almost all problems”.)

    Surely though, if you are publicly accusing someone of lying you should also be able to supply some evidence?!
    But there is no evidence, only Julian’s ‘gut feeling’, most of which is based purely on appearances: he said that my friend Simon Rose (the founder of RPT) ‘gives him the creeps’, and alluded to his ‘fresh faced young Aussie’ looks as the reason for not believing him!

    He also stated that I am new to the world of healing, therefore must be letting my ‘early successes’ go to my head. Simply wrong. I have been working in healing for almost 12 years, and in the last 2 years alone have seen over 500 clients. Prior to RPT, I studied and rejected Reiki and Bio-energy healing on the basis that (in my opinion) they often do not give better results than a placebo (less than 30% success rate).

    Writing a series of scathing, negative, highly critical comments on my own blog, followed by this piece which does, if only by association, link me to a nasty video (and Julian had to be prompted by a reader to point out that I have never made claims about curing Aids before he edited his original writing!), IS highly unethical, unprofessional, and libels me. And I don’t make that accusation lightly.

    A few superficial statements thrown in about how I’m a nice guy do not really do much to alter that I’m afraid. Who cares if Ben's a ‘nice guy’ if he's lying about his work?

    About this video:
    In the comment under my blog, Julian simply links to the video with the words: “The next step? – think about it.”
    His insinuation is that there is a link between my work (RPT) and this nonsense done by religious fanatics.

    Actually, my work is the opposite. Rather than disempowering people to have faith in some force outside of themselves, RPT is all about showing people that the questions and answers of their problems, most of the time, lie within them.

    Therefore as an RPT practitioner and teacher, my main purpose is to empower people.

    Finally, about ‘proving’ success rate with empirical date: it is notoriously difficult, as Julian and anyone else who works in healing knows, to prove results with empirical data. The only truly empirical evidence is experience; no two conditions are truly the same; and how do you share subjective experience with others in a way that is objective?

    Several of our RPT practitioners are academics (we have a professor of biology, a PhD in biology/sociology etc) and we have
    talked to them about doing the necessary research, and basically it's a question of funding. So when we have the $1 million or so necessary to conduct epigenetic tests etc, we'll get back to you. Meanwhile, we are so busy actually helping real people every day, that academic questions like this are of no real meaning to us.

  11. __MikeG__ says:

    A few points:

    It is up to the claimant to provide evidence as to the effectiveness of a claim. It is not up to the audience to provide "dis-proof".

    Transparency of a claim means providing detailed, verifible evidence of that claim. For claims of healing, this includes fully referenced case histories, treatment plans, details of actual treatment and analysis of successes and failures as there is no treatment which works 100% of the time. To ensure transparency and validity of a claim, experimental results are published in peer reviewed journals so that those results can publicly be confirmed or denied.

    When challenged, ethical claimants (and their supporters) do not attempt to obfuscate the the challenge by labeling said challenge as fear based, ego based, narrow minded or by accusing the challenger of lacking the courage to believe in the claim.

  12. Thaddeus1 says:

    I would like to express my extreme displeasure with the fact that the editors here at Elephant have allowed this space to become a personal battleground/whipping post/soap box as exemplified in both this article and the article which spurred it on. There are plenty of articles that could be published here and in my humble opinion allowing this to go on simply perpetuates the belief that Elephant Journal is mindless, schoolyard antics in digital format. If we want to elevate Elephant Journal we can begin by exerting some discretionary discernment with this piece and Ben's previous piece.

    • Tamara says:

      I second that and am disgusted that another Elephant writer would use this forum to attack another Elephant writer. Julian, you deserve a thump on the head in my opinion.

  13. chiara_ghiron says:

    Julian, with all respect, I have a question which stems from reading your extremely critical comments to Ben's latest post, then reading this one of yours, and then going back to some of your older ones.
    Could it be that part of your extremely negative criticism comes from fear of competition? Sorry if I say this, but the criticism you gave Ben can equally be applied to your healing practices, you also invoke neuroplasticity inyour Open Sky method and going back to old trauma….
    Could Thaddeus be correct? Could MikeG comments above equally apply to your claims?
    Just a thought, and again, as with Ben, with the open mind of somebody who wants to be convinced, and not the closed mind of rejecting non-Western outcome-based therapy

    • Becky says:

      Fear of competition might be correct. He still hasn't replied to the question earlier about accepting a skype conversation with Ben. I've seen this kind of reaction to circumstances before….it generally implies fear.

  14. Suri says:

    Well, the thing is that it seems like no alternative healer is willing to accept that alternative "medicine" can not cure serious life threatening illneses and that is what makes it dangerous …if you have cancer you should not waste your time looking for a miracle cure . As of today not one alternative therapy has been proved effective under scientific scrutiny and the question is why? Also , the fact that this kind of therapies are not regulated makes them even more unreliable because there is no quality standard whatsoever.

  15. Ramesh says:

    Both Julian and Ben have a point. They represent two (at least) perspectives of a wide spectrum of perspectives and realities that can be mutually supportive. An accupuncture friend of mine used both chemo and Chinese medicine in her fight against leukemia and won. I have myself been witness to a spontaneous healing of a friend in the presence of spiritual energy when doctors had given up on her ability to heal from years of chronic fatigue syndrome. A friend's shingles were healed by a healer i know after years of unsuccessful use of drugs. In my use of raw food and juice fasting combined with yoga and meditation I have seen diabetics get off insulin in a few weeks, etc etc. So, yes, Ben, healing can sometimes work "miracles" and yes, Julian, sometimes medical science is the best miracle cure available. The best approach, and I actually think you would both agree, is to keep an open mind with a good doze of rationality and empirical evidence thrown in.
    From a traditional yogic perspective, the healing depends in part on what the cause of the karma is. If the disease is primarily psychic, then healing or subtler medicines works better, but generally at the stage when the karma is about to be exhausted, which a competent healer can help facilitate. If the disease is primarily a physical karma, then physical medicines are also often needed, whether drugs, herbs, diet, yoga, or even better–a combination. Drugs of course have the dual effect of also often causing negative sideeffects and not deliver any nutrition to the body, but they can also cause wonders in saving lives from the grips of many acute diseases. A yogi is a practical person and is open to what works–and having faith in the process, but not blind faith in dogma. A positive attitude is yoga in practice and can be a great aid in healing.

  16. sarasvati3 says:

    Thank you Julian. The claims made by RPT seem somewhat similar to those made by EFT practitioners and while I did find EFT somewhat helpful and definitely relaxing, I was disappointed by the false claims that I could be completely healed from my anxiety and depression in minutes. Was it naive of me to believe the claims? Of course…but my hopeful nature caused me to believe…wrongly.

    • Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

      EFT and RPT are very different Sarasvati.
      EFT works on the level of symptom (Emotion – it's not the cause of a problem). Hence, 'relaxing' and temporarily helpful. Also why people have to keep on tapping, tapping, tapping.
      RPT works on the level of cause…

  17. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    thanks chelsea – let me make that more clear in the article!

  18. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    thanks joe – yea it is sad to me too that so many equate being spiritual with supposedly open minded belief in miracles and being scientific with supposedly closed mind belief in meaningless rigid cold hard facts and figures.

    evidence is simply a way of making sure we are not fooling ourselves.

    science and spirituality are wonderfully synergistic if you are willing to make the basic move of accepting the primacy of evidence.

    reality is beautiful, poignant and magical enough without believing in the improbable, unreasonable kitsch of the new age.

    i see no reason to believe in anything supernatural and find that this allows me to live in a beautiful relationship to the sacred here and now, in the real world,in my own body, in the eyes of those i love, in nature, in music, poetry, dance, love, and with the existential honesty of knowing there are limits to being a mortal human – and that any spirituality that claims to transcend those limits is probably lying.

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