Joshua Duncan holds up an animal in Peru

Reflections on Cultural Detoxification

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‘As the Cultural Noise Clears, the Symphony of Life Is Ever-Present.’

As children, we are very free, playful, curious, exploratory and unlimited in imagination and creativity.

As a child grows, he or she observes and imitates the actions of those closest to him or her at first like a game, yet over time, these actions become patterns.  The child begins to identify more and more with these patterns of being and the structure of personality forms. The patterns are a direct result of the general beliefs and accepted activity within the culture he or she is raised.

As the child identifies more and more with the personality, his or her flexibility and freedom diminishes and he or she finds himself or herself more and more limited. The individual may feel confined to a construct of who he or she is—”I don’t like this,” “I like this,” “I wake up at this time”—yet this is all cultural conditioning and learned behavior. Truly, at our essence, we are unlimited beings of choice, our birthright freedom to explore and create.

A grumpy father and bored son watch television

These patterns over time may become dis-ease physically, emotionally and mentally if they are unhealthy.

Just as the mind learns, so too does the body, with each cell remembering patterns of action. Emotional patterns may also be stored in the body, as all emotion has its own vibratory frequency, which is now being recognized by science. The brain and nervous system develop neural connection patterns that remember ways of thinking, feeling and acting. The human mind structure, or HMS, is very programmable in a real sense.

As the individual grows older, patterns become more and more dense and solid—like sediment settling to a lake floor. If, from the beginning, one receives healthy patterns of being in harmony with nature of oneself and all of life, then the individual may grow like a great fruit-bearing tree with a healthy foundation, healthy patterns of being, healthy whole being. His or her being works with all of life from the well-being of the whole—this is ideal.

Mother and daughter eat fruits

Not all of us have had an opportunity to receive this great blessing of harmonious education right from the beginning, and many find great challenge in creating real change or transformation in their lives. For this, we need to go deep and uproot the unhealthy patterns that were planted long ago—and clean the accumulated dirt so we can plant new seeds and enjoy harmony within.

There are countless modalities and traditions, all contributing to this great work. In the Amazon jungle, this very deep work has been going on since before recorded history.

Healers work with plant medicines to facilitate this cultural detoxification process, bringing the body to health, harmony and balance, and with the physical follows mental (nervous system) and emotional (endocrine system). Through this miraculous healing work, the individual realizes he or she is more than just a body, heart and mind and that there is a deeper meaning and purpose to his or life. As the cultural noise clears, the symphony of life is ever-present.

A woman sits in tall grass, reflecting

Cultural detox is the process of releasing all the limitations we have learned and realizing ourselves as an inseparable part of creation. It is a very physical process yet encompasses our whole being. Working with the plant medicine, we heal physical dis-ease and disorder, release deep emotional trauma and calm the mind.

All that we ever seek is ever-present, yet we must learn to listen. By stepping outside the culture we are familiar with, a great spaciousness is revealed—and in this a freedom beyond the HMS.

A very simple yet potent exercise that attunes the mind to the heart and helps release identification with the HMS is called the quantum pause. This is a form of meditation that takes about 15 minutes, and you may do it as often as you like.

Joshua Duncan delivers a talk at Arnold's Way
Joshua Duncan discusses his extensive travel and education in the healing arts at the October 2013 potluck at the Lansdale, Pennsylvania, raw food café Arnold’s Way. He also spoke about cultural detoxification.

Begin by finding your pulse on your wrist, neck or heart—wherever is easiest. Take a few moments to relax and settle in to your heart’s rhythm. Inhale through the nose to the count of five pulse beats. Suspend your breathing to the count of five pulse beats. Exhale through your mouth to the count of five pulse beats and suspend your breath for the count of five pulse beats.

Repeat this four times—this is one set. Relax with normal breathing for about three minutes, noticing what thoughts or emotions come to the surface and letting them pass with an open heart.

After three minutes, begin another set, and repeat this for a total of four sets. This is a specific formula or technology, which, when practiced regularly, helps dismantle the construct of self and establish a more expansive perspective outside the HMS.

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