1. The Circle of Nature: Life and Death Third Discussion in the Nature and Medicine Series Dr.John C. Hughes, D.O. Shaman Woo Du-An ACES at Hallum Lake Aspen, CO August 15, 2012

2. The Circle of Nature: Openness to Life and Death  I. Introduction: “Dust in the Wind”  II.Review: We ARE Nature, Nature is Sacred Medicine  III. The End of Death equals Life: Why Be Afraid?  IV. How Do we Live in the Face of Death?  V. Nature’s Circle of Life and Death is Healthy Medicine

3. Dust in the Wind A green-black hue Follows the sunset As wild thoughts Race upon young minds. “Is our fate Like the sun’s, Where we hurry Across the Earth’s surface To an unknown horizon?” Building houses, accepting offers, Making new contacts, Giving everything away That light might Be shed upon An ever approaching future. Mimicing our models, We set our minds Upon the Goals Secretly believing In the reality Lying only up ahead.

4. “Is it Stability or Comfort that we seek? Do we lie when we Claim neither desire? Why do we continue To hunger for these Ungraspable attributes? Do we not know, Have we not heard? Or do we merely forget In vanity, O vanity. Is the temporal fulfillment Of hopes, hungers, And even heartfelt dreams Worth the sacrifice. Do we not see the crumbling, The aging, the dying Of past dreams In our Fathers and Mothers? Where are we headed? Do not all waters Flow into the sea And again return To the Sky? Can we claim distinction? Are we really More than sand and water? But oh how we love The exquisite Beauty Of snow-laden mountains, Of a mother’s love, Of a perfect rose. Please answer “Yes” Not “No” Because of the Beauty It too cannot Be but vanity.”

5. Are we not but poetry? Do thoughts consist of more Than organizations of the wind, In which we, as particles, Fly here to there Or twirl about in one place? Dust in the wind, Pieces of Earth Filled with Holy breath We all journey Through birth, life, and death. You see, my friends, Friends of fellow dust, We are those bodies And they are us. So cherish your learning Of that honorable dust, Because though the horizon matters In our wheel of time, It’s the memories that show us Where true existence abides.

6. Review (Talk 1): We Are Nature  We Are Animals (Mammals)  We are like all Sentient Beings: Conscious and Alive  We are Wild Beings  We have Natural, Animal Minds  If Nature is Medicine, the Medicine is You

7. Review: We ARE Wild Beings, Inside and Out  Think about the minds of these wild creatures we seek are:  Independent, yet part of the web of life  Free to live out a natural destiny in accordance with their genes and habitat  Subject to the laws of Nature  Not caged in (including cages from a religion, career advancement, parents, philosophy, etc)  But guided and taught by elders in accordance with their instincts, intellect, and intuition

8. You ARE Nature: You ARE the Medicine

9. Review (Talk 2): Sacred Nature Is Medicine  Note the common phrases about Nature:  Being Outdoors, Love for the Woods, Open Space, Freedom  Through loving and being those aspects of ourselves, we begin to experience the wonderment and awe of Nature  In awe, our bodies, minds, and spirits truly become Nature’s cathedrals in sacred unity with the cosmos

10. Review: Sacred Nature Is Medicine: A Howling, Loving Mother  Here is this vast, savage, howling mother of ours, Nature, lying all around, with such beauty, and such affection for her children…and yet we are so early weaned from her breast to society, to that culture which is exclusively an interaction of man on man. –Henry David Thoreau

11. The End of Death equals Life: Why Be Afraid?  Exercise:  Close your eyes and Be Silent  Are you alive or dead?  If you were not breathing, would it be different? Would you still be conscious?  Still scared of death?  Why? Why Not?

12. The End of Death equals Life: Why Be Afraid?  Ok, So you no longer fear death?  Is there anything else to fear?  Are not all fears subordinate to the fear of death?

13. The End of Death equals Life: Why Be Afraid?  Movie: The Dark Knight Rises  Pivotal point of the movie: Bruce Wayne is jailed in a large well-like cavern  He has to climb out of the well to get to freedom and save Gotham  Only one person has ever climbed out of the well

14. The End of Death equals Life: Why Be Afraid?  Movie: The Dark Knight Rises  Wayne (aka Batman) is challenged by an old prisoner–He says, “You think that because you do not fear death that makes you strong. But why not use the strongest force in the universe to aid you. Climb without the rope.”  And he climbs out to save Gotham

15. How Do we Live in the Face of Death?  So, if we are like Batman, we are live more potently knowing our imminent death.  What does that mean?  It means that health in Nature is “Truly seeking life in the face of death”  It also means that health in Nature is “Truly facing death in the pursuit of life”

16. How Do we Live in the Face of Death: But what happens if we really die?  The end of life = death; and the end of death = life (it’s a healthy circle)  Or, do we just die and that’s it?  “The purpose of man is like the purpose of the pollywog—to wiggle along as far as he can without dying; or, to hang to life until death takes him.” -Clarence Darrow  REALLY?

17. How Do we Live in the Face of Death: But what happens if we really die?  In death, human bodies, in a very real manner, constitute the indissoluble bond of all creatures to the earth. Genesis 3:19 states, “…for dust you are and to dust you shall return,”  Death thus composes part of humanity’s and all nature normative essence.  While sometimes tragic, a healthy death always points beyond itself–for example, to the fertility of the soil and the hope of future life.

18. How Do we Live in the Face of Death: But what happens if we really die?  Instead of fostering the human body’s reconnection to new life and fertility in the earth, modern humans cage dead bodies, full of plastic and formaldehyde,into air and water-tight caskets that nullify their role in the cycle of life.  Because modern humans reject the idea of new life after death, they try to immortalize the life of the human bodies by preserving them for eons…. or do exhaustive procedures to save some sliver of life.

19. James Brown in the casket.

20. Nature’s Circle of Life and Death is Healthy Medicine  Teleology: The study of ends or teleology-study of the purpose, or end of creation  All creation moves towards an end–either death or life  Nothing is static  Nature is a cycle–a circle of health that includes life and death as points along the circle  The whole circle of life-death-life-death is the medicine of Nature and her Creator/Destroyer/Recreator

21. Nature’s Circle of Life and Death is Healthy Medicine  The “God” of Nature may be simply known a Recreator who simply recreates and recreates in the cycle of life- death-life  As we get closer to God-like in our natural beings (as we get healthier), we become more involved in recreation.  This priority upon recreation is seen in many of the high order mammals–for example, the dolphin

22. Pelicans airsurf a few inches above breaking waves, using the ever-shifting updraft to fuel their down-coast commute. Seals bodysurf with a style and velocity that men wearing Speedos and fins only dream about. Dolphins torpedo through the curl in the exact position that surfers seek, launching into the air as the waves close out. Nature’s Circle of Life and Death is Healthy Medicine

23. There’s no Darwinian explanation for such goofiness. Time spent riding waves is time spent away from the things a person or a sea lion needs to do to survive: making money, raising babies, catching fish. Or maybe Darwin could explain it. As animals move up the evolutionary ladder, they get smarter. As they get smarter, they get more efficient at feeding and protecting themselves and thus have more time to play. That’s why ants never relax, and why dolphins make surfers look like dorks. –Steve Hawk, Waves Nature’s Circle of Life and Death is Healthy Medicine