Contact Us

Thank you for reaching out a virtual hand. 

I am usually able to respond to most correspondences in 24 hours. Please be patient, or check the musings or calendar section of the site!

Thank you,

Scott K Smith

2632 West Avenue 35
Los Angeles, CA, 90065
United States

213-254-5302

Home of Scott K Smith, Magick Maker
On Magick, Health, Healing, Ritual, Energy, and Spirit. Dedicated to the Gods in all of us, TheSacredOther.com

Musings

Healer. Artist. Intuitive.

npr -- Oliver Sacks, On Illness as a Path to Thoughtfulness

Scott K Smith

I think illness and deep illness may force one to think, even if one hasn’t been a thinking person before. And perhaps force on to think in the terms of metaphor, or the imagination, of myth.

I'm up this morning with a lot of tasty bits on my plate like putting my monthly homework together, an advanced meditation student, and a long-term healing client on the road to awakening and recovery. 

You may have  heard of Oliver Sacks, most popularly known for the movie based on his book, Awakenings. He's penned other musings and books on consciousness from his unique perspective and personal shifts. Oliver Sacks recently passed away (Sunday) and NPR highlighted some of his work, which I excerpted below, and this got me thinking. 

There are so many elements of my life that have entered a state of the mythic, or mystic, when I have learned to walk into the crack that sudden departure, grief and trauma, or ritualized spiritual experience has shown me. 

We're in a media age where youth culture dominates the popular spiritual content with "positive vibes," or discussions on closed circle teaching and "micro-aggressions" usually with subtext that insists or insinuates that people just don't understand. 

I think there is a lot of legroom for understanding when we get into the wound, when we stop shielding experiences with positivity, and start stepping into the truly mystical experience of living with what is uncomfortable, with grief, with what the Buddhist have made a practice-shift out of, suffering.

I do not believe it is humankind's point to live in tiny, closed information loops, and protective bubbles and illness, and trauma teach us the value of being broken open, so that we can have deeper--what I would call--Spiritual Awareness. 

Neurologist Oliver Sacks, who died Sunday, once described himself as an “old Jewish atheist,” but during the decades he spent studying the human brain, he sometimes found himself recording experiences that he likened to a godly cosmic force.

Such was the case once when Sacks tried marijuana in the 1960s: He was looking at his hand, and it appeared to be retreating from him, yet getting larger and larger.

“I was fascinated that one could have such perceptual changes, and also that they went with a certain feeling of significance, an almost numinous feeling,” Sacks told Fresh Air’s Terry Gross in 2012. “I’m strongly atheist by disposition, but nonetheless when this happened, I couldn’t help thinking, ‘That must be what the hand of God is like.’”

Our Oliver Sacks coverage (and the rest of that Fresh Air interview) is here. And now I’m gonna go home and re-read The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat and sniffle a little.

– Petra (npr, Image via Getty)

You can listen to the full interview here at npr.

I ask myself many times where I find discomfort, "Is this unhealthy? Is this right for me and am I simply reacting because I am uncomfortable with the topic or situation; and can I learn from it if I shut up the judgement and justification and just listen?" Illness has a very loud, uncomfortable voice as many of us know, or will come to know in our lifetimes, and in our bodies, but it is an inevitability that we will suffer injury.

My take from this and many of life's experiences has been to learn to ask, "but what meaning can I find in this that takes me deeper and gives magick to what I am experiencing?"

Scott K Smith