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Coyote Healing Excerpt from Chapter 4, The Medicine Wheel

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Chapter 4 Excerpt

The Healing Journey: Medicine Wheel

Having found our inner healer, it now compels us to take a journey. The archetype of the journey has many forms, including the quest for the Holy Grail, the pilgrimage from the Lord of the Rings, and the annual trek of the faithful to Mecca. The journey becomes more important than the destination, meaning that the work done to transform ourselves and our relationships takes on a life of its own. The process of growth and change takes on an importance in its own right. Being on this path (or spiral, as we consider the medicine wheel) is more important than arriving at a specific destination.

Another Rumi story illustrates this crucial point (which Alistair Cunningham has documented with long-term cancer survivors).

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In this story, a man in Baghdad dreams of a magical house in a distant, mystical town. He is so inspired by his dream that he sets off on a several year journey to find this house. Each night he dreams further details to guide his journey. Finally he has enough details to recognize the city as Cairo. Then, each successive dream reveals more details of the house until finally he recognizes the section of the city. He explores this section of this city until his dreams guide him to the very house.

He reaches the house with great enthusiasm and anticipation, sure that a rare treasure awaits him. A servant opens the door and hears his story. The master is not at home, and has left a minimal staff in place to manage in his absence. Though puzzled by his enthusiastic desire to explore the house, the servant obliges him, showing him every room. When the final room has been examined, and none of the rooms contain any particular marvel, our hero becomes frustrated and depressed. Why did he spend so many years searching for this unremarkable house? He wonders where the master of the house went on his journey, thinking that he hoped that man had more success in finding something of value. The man puzzles at this coincidence as he sets off for home.

Midway, in a desert oasis, our hero meets a man to whom he feels inextricably drawn. They begin to share travel-weary conversation as they rest.

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Lewis Mehl-Madrona graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residencies in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and (more...)
 

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