I spent two-thirds of 2014 de-toxing my liver. This process will, I think, never be ended – because the liver filters toxins from the blood, and even with good diet and a disciplined life, the inflow of toxins from environmental pollution and psychological stress can never be absent from a person’s life.
In this cleansing journey, most of all I was impressed and surprised by the indivisible conjoining of body and mind. With the detoxification came such profound peace. When I asked myself if it was my body or soul that felt at peace, I couldn’t tell. It reminded me of babyhood – the peace of an infant resting. How do I remember that? Not by recall in the normal sense, but my body recognized and identified it, somehow.
This detoxification may have created peace, but it also rocked the boat. It made me aware of what my body/mind/soul needed for well-being; it made clear to me what situations and relationships didn’t do me good.
I began to understand the physical effect on my being of psychological input – that there were some people and situations from which I had to be healed after encounter. Not that they were of themselves toxic – but they were not doing me good. Nuts are not bad, they’re tasty and delicious and an excellent food: but if you have a nut allergy they’ll kill you. So for me with some environments, some relationships. As I repeated again and again the de-toxing, getting used to the peace and restfulness of clearing, I began to notice what stimuli and inputs didn’t sit well with me.
In de-toxing the liver, the gall bladder plays an important part. Back in the days of Shakespeare (and before that, with Hippocrates, and later, in the anthroposophical system of Rudolf Steiner), people’s temperaments were said to be governed by four humours. I won’t go into detail, or you’ll be reading this forever, but you can look up about it here or here, if you’re interested.
A problem that has beset me since childhood – despite being a compliant child and in general a quiet person – is rage. Upwelling. So it intrigued me to read that in Hippocrates’ system of humours, rage associated with yellow bile – from the gall bladder. There was also a black bile from the spleen, but that tended towards melancholy (indeed “melancholy” means “black bile”).
But yellow bile was known as choler, and its excess encourages a choleric temperament; irritable, volatile, inclined to anger. That’s me. I find it hard to own this, because I know I am a quiet, peaceable person; and how can you be both? I don’t like it because I depart from my true self in entering a choleric state. But the humours (as they were understood in that ancient system of medicine) are meant to be in balance. It’s when they are out of kilter that disharmony is created, and rage or melancholy (or whichever humour comes to the fore) predominates.
Bile is bitter. Remember the Christmas carol – “The holly bears a berry as bitter as any gall”? Rage is bitter. Fury. It burns.
I thought about the composition of the human being. It’s not like Russian nesting dolls, one inside the other – the mind inside the body, the soul inside the mind, the spirit inside the soul. Rather, the different aspects, what are called the “subtle” aspects, which is to say the intangible, non-physical aspects, all occupy the same space simultaneously. Indeed, if anything, the body is smaller than the “subtle bodies”; its boundaries do not extend so far. That’s why you can feel a person’s vibe as they approach, or (in some cases) see their aura. The subtle bodies are like light shining. Soul-light.
And I wondered, can you have subtle bile? Is this what the letter to the Hebrews described as the “root of bitterness”?
In the KJV it’s put like this (Hebrews 12.15): “…looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness spring up to trouble you, and thereby many be defiled…”
It’s seen there as a person within a community. But perhaps it can be a phenomenon within an individual? Bitterness, gall, upwelling in imbalance, like a spreading stain – rage gradually seeping through; toxic, overwhelming.
I’m not quite sure how you de-tox the subtle body. I know what is recommended in the religions – in some cases meditation, fasting; in others confession, eucharist; bringing to the foot of the cross one’s burdens, troubles and sins. I take note, but I’ve also seen plenty of bitter, furious souls who were steeped in religion, saturated with it.
So I think there are two things that apply to the soothing and rebalancing to keep subtle bile in its right proportion. One is de-toxing the body – because the physical body and the subtle bodies are linked, and I have found for myself that deep peace arises from physical detoxification. The second is giving permission to transformation. Remember how the letter to the Romans (12:2 KJV) says: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”?
That suggests it is possible for something new and healthy to grow through. Like a snake emerging from a shed skin. Like the liver which renews itself every 300-500 days. It suggests that a person doesn’t have to stay fixed, stuck, in the patterns of toxic rage and resentment that build up poison in the body until one becomes quite ill. It’s possible to shed, it, to de-tox, to emerge – transformed and renewed.
A puzzle for me arises from certain relationships and circumstances which, for good reason, I cannot excise, but which tend towards re-toxing not de-toxing. My hope is that my spirit can become so strengthened that I can, as it were, turn the flow – become the influencer instead of the influenced. That I can cease to be malleable (“conformed to this world”) and instead grow into the I Am of God, by a steady process both physical and spiritual, of de-toxification, transforming and renewing.
I’m working on it.