An abundance of psychological problems, emotional and sexual dissatisfaction, and becoming a slave to useless desires promoted by the media can all distract individuals who are attached to the past and an illusory future created by illusions and infantile terrors. Once the [family] tree is healed, those who reach spiritual health know that the moment in which something can be accomplished is here right now—not yesterday, not tomorrow.
The totality of the past exists in the present, as does the powerful seed of what will be in the future. By abandoning all distraction the person can focus her thoughts, feelings, and desires on what she really needs to know or fulfill. There, where she concentrates her attention to the maximum, she can capture the miracle.
I do not speak of extraordinary phenomena like levitation, statues that cry blood, the odor of sanctity, the multiplication of loaves, changing water to wine, the capacity to walk on water and bring the dead back to life, or walking on hot coals. When I speak of miracles, I am referring to the whole universe seen from a new level of Consciousness.
The person who has tamed his personal ego and put it into service of the essential Being, who has ceased to live on his mental island, harnesses the outer world and himself as a unit. The person does not have to live in a reduced space but feels at every instance that he lives in a combination of infinite universes, that the time of clocks is a miniscule tick-tock between an eternal past and future, that his body is a mysterious machine operated by an all-powerful energy that one calls life.
This life exists everywhere, from the smallest particle of matter to the exorbitant stars that populate the cosmos and dance there. Every beat of the heart, every breath, every cell, every thought, every emotion, every desire is a miracle, in the same way that all leaves, every blade of grass, every flower is a miracle.
What is important is not applauding or producing extraordinary phenomena, but learning to consider the world and oneself as sacred work. Generally, people consider life to be a natural phenomenon in which one profits without giving anything in exchange. But the miracle requires an exchange: what we were given, we must share with others. If we are not united, we cannot grasp the miracle.
Once she has attained a high level of Consciousness, a person can help those who have not yet reached this level by teaching or sharing without asking for, or expecting, anything in return. This creates psychomiracles and sets off a positive reaction in others.
At twenty-three years of age I dedicated my whole life to the art of pantomime. One month before getting on the boat for France, I had my first encounter with free generosity when I met an extraordinary woman by the name of Chabela Eastman. Tall, dignified, and elegant, fitted with an abundance of curly white hair, with beautiful lines outlining her face, she was the spouse of a multimillionaire who owned a chain of newspapers. A lover of classical music, it was she who brought the famous conductor Sergiu Celibidache to our distant Chile.
Chabela attended a mime show that I gave in a little theater, to a paltry audience. She paid me a visit in my dressing room and enthusiastically invited me to dinner in the garden of her immense abode. The splendor of the dishes, the excellent roast duck with orange sauce, the liveried servants in white gloves—all increased my shyness.
I went mute and began to shake. She thought I was cold and ran inside and returned carrying an enormous vest of black wool. With best wishes she forced me to wear it, saying, “It belongs to Celibidache. He left for Italy and forgot it here. Let your body absorb the energy of this cloth. It belongs to a great artist, and you too will be known throughout the world one day.”
I did not see her again until the eve of my departure for Europe. She sent her chauffeur in uniform for me, driving a white Rolls Royce, and received me in a small golden room. There, she made me sit down and without a word set two women to sand and polish my fingernails and toenails, to which they added a coat of clear polish. Once their task was complete, the young women left us alone. Chabela then opened a safe and put a big stack of dollars into my hands.
“This will allow you to live for a year. I don’t want you to waste your talents working. You must dedicate yourself exclusively to your art.”
“But I will never be able to repay you.”
“You’re wrong. You’re going to reimburse me immediately.”
Then she gave me a ten-dollar bill and a fountain pen.
“Write a poem here, and sign it.”
I complied. “Birds fly without fear of crashing into the ground.”
Chabela exclaimed, “I am going to frame this bill. In a few years, it will be a thousand times more valuable than the money I gave you today.”
Her attitude was devoid of all desire and seduction. She behaved as if driven by a great goodness and an extraordinary admiration for art. Her freely given generosity changed my life. She gave me faith in the human being, and consequently faith in myself and in the world.
Some years later, passionate about the study of the Tarot and reading books on psychoanalysis, it occurred to me that the doctors and therapists of university psychology, trained as scientists and not as artists, make the mistake of turning spiritual healing into commerce.
Making psychoanalysis or psychotherapy a profession drives them to stretch the time for which a patient must receive therapy for the longest duration possible, sometimes years. They have to have a certain number of patients, enough to live comfortably. The group of consultants becomes a herd. Or, since they live off their patients, the “sick” are symbolically turned into foster parents. It follows that treating a person so that he will remain a patient for the rest of his life is excellent business, while leading a person to healing represents a financial loss.
To be a healer requires deep humility. A true therapist knows that he cannot heal the world but can only begin, step by step, to heal one individual after the other, striving to show that life is a magnificent gift and that the universe was created with a love without limits.
Mother Teresa understood this very well, and it is an image of her that showed me the way. One sees her in the middle of a road full of garbage, squatting before a nearly dead child, all her concentration focused on him, giving him energy with the warmth of her hands. Obviously, she did not make this moral act a profession, she did not claim to be paid by the dying whom she collected, she was not a tradeswoman gathering a herd to milk for as long as possible.
From what did she live? From work fulfilled in her community or by donations. The only possible solution for therapists to avoid exploiting the suffering of those who ask them for help is for governments to finance them.
Thanks to the example of this woman saint, it seemed a shame to live off Tarology, Psychomagic, Psychoshamanism, or Metagenealogy. The role of a conductor exploiting a herd, or the role of a child who lives off his symbolic parents, seems immoral and disgraceful to me. I am assured other sources of revenue in cinema, literature, theater, and comics, and I opted for the solution of practicing therapy as a free art. [*At the age of fifty, when in financial ruin, I had no choice but to temporarily accept consultants paying me what they could, without imposing a fee, as do honest healers and shamans the world over.]
In our materialistic society, if one offers something freely it is generally taken either to promote a commercial enterprise or to pull people into a sect. When we truly give without asking anything in return, we uncover the sublime and miraculous part of the human relationship. This enables us to rediscover faith in one another, a necessary principle of all healing.
All physical and mental illness falls under a certain level of Consciousness. When we attain supreme happiness, even if we have cancer, we are not ill. The illness, which resides in us, becomes a teacher that makes us evolve. If we live identified closely to the ego, the illness invades us and plunges us into depression.
The doctor tries to heal an illness. From the point of view of a professional doctor, illness is an invasion or a dysfunction of the body that transforms someone into a sick person. This doctor considers the person’s ego but not his essential Being. The illuminated Consciousness is in a state of permanent health. At this level the person is no longer ill, he is a being who has an illness, but the illness does not have the person.
The ego faces constant resistance; it defends traces of the past. If we want to fulfill ourselves spiritually, we will have to fight against the ego all of our lives, until our deaths. Doing so, the ego eventually becomes an ally.
In guiding others toward health, an artist-therapist heals himself. This state of self-healing allows the transformation into psychothaumaturgy. Even if he knows that it is impossible to propel all of humanity to health, or to transform the world, he works toward this ideal while accepting with a deep humility that he can begin the task but will never be able to achieve it.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Park Street Press,
an imprint of Inner Traditions Inc. www.innertraditions.com
©2011 by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marianne Costa.
English translation ©2014.
Metagenealogy: Self-Discovery through Psychomagic and the Family Tree
by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marianne Costa.
Alejandro Jodorowsky is a playwright, filmmaker, composer, mime, psychotherapist, and author of many books on spirituality and tarot, and over thirty comic books and graphic novels. He has directed several films, including The Rainbow Thief and the cult classics El Topo and The Holy Mountain. Visit his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/alejandrojodorowsky
Watch a video (in French with English subtitles): Awakening our Consciousness, by Alejandro Jodorowsky.