Amy Scher: How to Heal Yourself From Depression When No One Else Can

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February 2, 2021

Amy Scher: How to Heal Yourself From Depression When No One Else Can

Amy Scher February 2, 2021

Amy Scher is an energy therapist, mind-body healing expert, and the bestselling author of How to Heal Yourself From Depression When No One Else Can. She has worked with organizations such as the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University and New York Presbyterian Hospital. With Sounds True, she has published the book, How to Heal Yourself from Depression When No One Else Can: A Self-Guided Program to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t. In this podcast, Tami Simon meets with Amy Scher in conversation about how our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions directly affect the physical body; changing your inner landscape as an important element in healing; our greatest fear: being who we really are; energy psychology practices and techniques; self-healing from depression; and much more.

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Meet Your Host: Tami Simon

Founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today's leading teachers. Tami lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Rasberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.

Photo © Jason Elias

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At the Peak of the Pain

A doctor of Chinese medicine who was a famous bonesetter in China once said to me with a heavy accent, “Here, you [meaning Americans] don’t like to feel pain. You don’t like to suffer.” He said this as he wrung my neck as one would a chicken’s, snapping it back and forth in a way I had never experienced. I screamed as if he were breaking my bones.

For a month prior, I hadn’t been able to move my head to the left or right. My left arm was nearly immobile. I had just started a new job that probably should have ended the moment my body locked up. I went for acupuncture, then pain pills; used ice and hot water bottles. I went to medical doctors, and they X-rayed the area and gave me more pills and a brace to keep my head still—the kind used for whiplash. I later tried one of the best chiropractors in the city, and she gave me the number of a neurosurgeon, thinking I had a herniated disk and would need surgery. I did not seek out the surgeon and stayed in pain for weeks. Finally, a friend from my job gave me the number of her doctor, the famous bonesetter mentioned above. I called him at 10:00 pm that night. That’s how much pain I was in. To my surprise, he answered the phone. He said, “Come in. I wait for you.”

I said, “Now?”

“Yes!” he said. “You have pain, come now.”

Wow, I thought. Now that’s a healer. It didn’t matter that it was the middle of the night.

My partner at the time drove me across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco, and I met my friend from work at the healer’s office. She had come to translate from Mandarin to English. The place was tiny, with photos on the wall of city dignitaries and other famous people who were his clients.

“Hi.” The bonesetter smiled like a boy. “I’m Dr. Fu.”

I sat down in his small room and showed him my X-ray. He threw it on the floor without looking at it. He took the brace off my neck and threw that on the floor, too, right next to the X-ray. Then he twisted me into a pretzel. I howled, yelped, screamed, and hollered.

All of it. No wonder he had me come when no other patients were there. He told me to breathe, and I did my best. Suddenly, at the peak of the pain, I felt my muscles release in my neck, shoulders, and back. It was in fact a miracle to me. I had suffered so long.

I carried my brace and X-ray out in my hands. It was as if I had never been in pain or unable to move. The night sky filled with stars made me feel like I was on another planet. I was in bliss. When I returned to work, everyone was shocked. Was it a miracle, or was it the ability to withstand a greater amount pain to be free of the pain? I would have never imagined that I needed to go deeper into the pain, deeper into the darkness of it. All I had wanted was out.

We are averse to pain and suffering and understandably so, given our American sensibility. We have access to a large market of remedies, products, spiritual paths, and, yes, gateways to the freedom from suffering. I wonder how many times we have diverted our own freedom when we have discovered there is more pain, more trouble, more darkness ahead and we keep adding on remedies. What is the mindset, along with fear and terror, that causes us to avoid our suffering rather than go deeper into seeing what is there? Yes, I should have quit that job on the spot when the pain started, even though I had been there for only a few weeks. I didn’t know at the time, but the pain that was deep inside was because I wanted something different for my life than the job I had accepted. The pain was my impatience, and it was at the same time physical pain in real time. I didn’t wait to allow that“something different” to be revealed in the darkness.

Since all paths—religious, spiritual, or without name—intersect in the place of darkness, darkness is the place where the mind is forced to detach itself from whatever it has grabbed onto in life. And in that nothingness, in that dark place, we awaken.

What of darkness terrorizes us so that we run from it, rather than go deeper into it? How can we bear dark times, or, more explicitly, horrifying times, with the skill of an awakened one? Misery, struggle, and sorrow are not the sole intentions of this life. Yet we can respect our interrelationship with everything in the world, including the suffering in, around, and between us. Is there a way to live in unsettling times that we have forgotten?

Excerpted from Opening to Darkness: Eight Gateways for Being with the Absence of Light in Unsettling Times by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel.

Osho Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, PhD, is an author, poet, ordained Zen Buddhist priest, teacher, and artist, whose diverse background, education, and experience all provide a unique integral and cultural perspective within the space of religion and spirituality. She is the author of The Shamanic Bones of Zen, The Way of Tenderness, The Deepest Peace, and more. Manuel is a native of California and now resides in New Mexico. Learn more at zenju.org.

Sará King: Liberatory Technology from the Future

We live in an age of astounding technological wonders. Yet there is great fear and uncertainty around where it’s taking us all. The multitalented Dr. Sará King is a neuroscientist, education philosopher, public speaker, and codirector of Mobius, a nonprofit committed to the creation of “liberatory technology” as a countercurrent to the harm perpetuated by much of our modern technology. 

In this thought-provoking podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Dr. King about her life and work, covering a variety of intriguing topics including the critical skill of self-compassion; intergenerational trauma and the relationship between the personal and the collective; how to shift to a freeing perspective on our suffering; the pain inflicted through the practice of othering; empowerment, awe, and curiosity; gratitude for our ancestors whose dreams become our reality; the metaphoric medicine bowl visualization; metta (or lovingkindness) practice; weaving together the multiplicity of selves within us; technology that contributes to our sense of interdependence and well-being; and more.

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Daniel J. Siegel: IntraConnected: Discovering MWe (Me ...

We may have a mental understanding that all of life is one inseparable whole, yet how do we actually feel into this reality? And how do we relate to others and the world from this felt awareness? Dr. Daniel J. Siegel is a visionary creative thinker, professor, and founder of the field of interpersonal neurobiology. With Sounds True, he has authored numerous audio programs and courses, and his internationally bestselling books offer us an empowering new understanding of our bodies, our minds, and our mutual interdependence. 

In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Dr. Siegel about his book IntraConnected: MWe (Me + We) as the Integration of Self, Identity, and Belonging. Listen now as they explore the direct experience of being the whole of life; interconnection versus intraconnection; honoring the inner, the inter, and the intra; E. O. Wilson’s concept of consilience; the promotion of “linkages” as the basis of well-being; quantum physics and the study of energy; the Wheel of Awareness practice; the three-pillar practice of focused attention, opening awareness, and building kind intention; the power of wandering and “relaxing the flimsy fantasy of certainty”; our survival instincts and the investment in being separate; how mindfulness practice interrupts the “anticipatory brain” and brings us back to presence; the multiple pandemics of our time, and the lie that our identity is only in the “solo self”; how the tapestry of reality is of love and connection; seeing yourself as a verb instead of a noun; pervasive leadership, and how we’re all called to assist in “the Great Turning”; and more.

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