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Integrated medicine for all
by Connie Hargrave

Researcher Hargrave interviews Drs. Owen and Jean Schwartz, a Canadian counseling team who help people reconnect with their divine essence in order to overcome emotional trauma. 

The 3rd World Congress of Acupuncture and Natural Medicine, held in Edmonton, Canada, brought together East and West under the banner "Integrated Medicine for All in the 21st Century." It welcomed speakers from more than 50 nations. The President of the Congress, Dr Steven K.H. Aung, received his medical training in Canada, but because he grew up in Burma with a Buddhist philosophy, he emphasizes healing through compassion and loving kindness. As President of the World Natural Medicine Foundation, Dr Aung plays a leading role internationally in forging a new synthesis in medicine. The following interviews, with Dr Owen and Jean Mah Schwartz and with Dr Ian Brighthope, demonstrate how this integration is currently taking place.

Dr Owen and Jean Mah Schwartz from Edmonton, Canada, are a husband-and-wife counseling team who remind people of their divinity, and assist them in reconnecting with their essence through a process called the soul journey.

 Share International: You counsel people with the aim of recovering the soul?

Jean Mah Schwartz: The focus of our work is to remind everyone that we are divinity, that we are light, and that our personality is a vehicle for expression, but it is not the essence of who we are, which is the soul.

SI: That seems far from a traditional medical practice.

Dr Owen Schwartz: As a medical doctor I noticed that traumas were not only of a physical, but also of a psycho-spiritual nature. People came to see me with severe depression, relationship stress, divorce, and so on, and when we reviewed their history, it seemed that their condition had to do with early traumas which set them on a course separate from their inner spirit. I used to practise hypnotic regression, and discovered that early experiences often have a profound effect on the body.

JMS: We also believe that there is a grouping of souls in terms of previous lives, and that people come back together to work out a karmic knot. In addition, the parents may not have been ready for the child, may have been angry and irritated, or may have had relationship problems. This can also be a source of trauma.

SI: Can you describe that trauma?

OS: People have described to us that they could feel a light going off, and from that time on they experience pain and a sense of separation. They then look for a way to regain a sense of connection and oneness, and often attach to a parent, and live their life through their parent's wants and needs instead of their own. We see this pattern often, and we encourage a process of learning for both the parents and the child, especially for the parent to allow children their own creativity.

SI: How do you encourage people to reconnect with their essence?

OS: We have a process called the soul journey. The first step is counseling, because one must be open and ready to embark on a mythic journey, like that of Ulysses, because before you get to the light you will experience the dark. We then say a prayer, which is generic, to invoke Spirit and protection of the person by love, by God, by Christ, and so forth, and then we determine the nature of the process which is needed, because not everyone needs to go back in time. We then act as guides and evoke the soul by creating a sacred space in which the person can experience wholeness. Our technique is not very difficult, but we have to be clear, or we will get in the way. Then, with an atmosphere of love and support, and with the divine holding their hand, so to speak, people have a tremendous sense of comfort, so that they can relive whatever is blocking them.

SI: What might someone encounter on this journey?

OS: If, for instance, a person was beaten by a parent, he or she might ask that person: "why did you do that?" When they see the answer in their heart, people come to an understanding, and they become quiet and compassionate and they experience total forgiveness and light, even though they do not condone the action. Or they may go through a number of events very quickly, gaining confidence from opening the first can of worms, being enabled to transform their experience into a beautiful essence and joy. The counselor honours the person's symbolic expression, in that he or she may feel loving hands, see the light, or see an angel.

SI: Is the soul waiting for such openness, and can people maintain this link?

JMS: Yes, it is very moving, and a point of celebration, because it is coming home again to what we already know. Some people are very committed, and because the experience is so moving, they create profound change in their lives. Others lose it through time, and we emphasize that people integrate the connection into their everyday life. Even for us who meditate every day, it is necessary to have discipline, to stay focused, and to be in the present, because it is easy to lose the connection in the everyday world. People can also experience a profound shift in their relationships. We saw several couples whose marriages were breaking down, and the counseling sessions indicated serious problems. However, in each case where one of the partners did the soul journey, there was a profound shift in the relationship, and this shift in awareness helped them to stay connected.

SI: Do you find that a focus on service emerges as a result of soul contact?

JMS: Yes, it is a natural progression, because when you connect with that full essence, you feel connected with others. The desire to work with love and compassion is a part of that. Most people who embark on a spiritual journey ask, "What is my purpose?" But pragmatically speaking, there is a lot of fear in all of us, and it takes a lot of work to remember service. You need to remind yourself, and call on the Masters, call on Spirit, call on the Divine, call on your soul and remind yourself why you are here, because that ego wants to continue to pop up everywhere.

SI: What training prepared you to create this approach to wellness?

OS: I am a yogi, and that training opened me up; and then when I met Jean, in whose presence many experience unconditional love, I realized that I had found a partner, and that led to the work we now do. I have also studied acupuncture, and I find that it can be useful in bringing to the surface emotions which have been buried, making them accessible for counseling. Chinese medicine links the mind, body and emotional patterns. For instance, the lungs represent sadness, and the liver represents bile, or frustration and anger. The stomach and spleen are affected by rumination and guilt. The spleen is the main transformer of our food energy into chi, so if our spleen is not working well, we are not transforming our food, and we develop allergies and other problems. Physical problems thus give us clues to our emotional states.

SI: You found reconnecting with the divine to be a powerful source of healing?

OS: The source of our healing is our soul, which is perfect, in that it has no wants or desires, and gives the experience of bliss and light. This physical plane, as such, is not our home. This is our time and place of testing, but when we contact the soul dimension, we can obtain help from divinity, from God, or Spirit, or from the Masters of the past who have passed on great teachings. Yogananda, Jesus, Christ, the Buddha -- they all await, and are giving us help if we listen to our hearts.

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005