Four of us entered a small wooden hut with a very low thatched ceiling. Inside its faintly lit interior we found ourselves face to face with the weathered features of a short, humble-looking old man. Mauricio, who was modestly dressed like a simple peasant, sat quietly on a raised wooden platform, covered by a simple straw mat on which he slept. He gestured for us to sit on the floor; there was no furniture other than a small table and one chair which was occupied at that moment by Pedro, his friend and neighbor. Mauricio welcomed us in Spanish with a bland facial expression that reflected detached indifference. Pedro translated. We each approached Mauricio with ritual gifts, the customary show of respect and reciprocity throughout the indigenous world. I offered him a simple wristwatch, bought for this purpose, which he briefly glanced at, then put down on a nearby shelf. He didn’t seem very interested in material possessions or in closely tracking the passage of time.
After the ritual formalities, we questioned Mauricio about his healing methods. Mauricio was a curandero, or folk healer, and we were there to inquire about his skills. He briefly described his uses of various herbs, while pointing around the ceiling of the hut to where some were hanging up to dry. Some plants were boiled as a tea and drunk for certain conditions, while others may be prepared into poultices to be applied to the skin. He was not specific about which plants were used for which conditions—that information was reserved for his apprentice, Antonio. Mauricio said that, in addition to the herbs, his primary healing method was the ability to heal with his breath—a gift he had received from his teacher. As he spoke, a remarkably calm and peaceful aura surrounded him. I noticed that his eyes radiated a gentle loving quality, but they also seemed clouded from old age. His energy was still quite vital though, and I guessed he was probably even older than he appeared.
After our questions, Mauricio invited us to visit the local tribal church which, according to Pedro, he maintained and functioned as its tribal leader. On important religious occasions, a Catholic priest arrived to celebrate mass. Most indigenous cultures in Mexico and South America imbibed Christianity, whether they liked it or not and usually merged it with their own ancient rituals and customs; these usually remained secret and hidden from public view. The fact that we were invited to the church was a sign that we had gained Mauricio’s confidence.
We drove a short distance up the road to a dirty-white stucco church, and we entered its simply appointed chapel. It looked like what one might expect of a small rural parish that administers to impoverished indigenous people. We sat inside in silence, and I sensed that don Pablo was engaged in an energetic interaction with Mauricio. After some time, the energy inside became so relaxing that I started to doze off.
Unexpectedly, Mauricio stood up and slowly walked over to a small wooden door to the left of the altar. He pulled a key from his pocket, unlocked the door, and swung it open with a shrill creak. He motioned for us to follow him. We entered a very small room that was perhaps eight-feet [2.5m] square, and inside were many unusual objects hanging on the walls. Mauricio pointed to the costumes and sacred ritual objects, and he mentioned that they were used in tribal ceremonies for many generations. There were spears, masks, body decorations made of feathers, and other objects I didn’t recognize. Seeing this was a big surprise, and meant that Mauricio was honoring our visit by showing us tribal sacred objects rarely seen by white men. It soon became apparent why he had taken us so deeply into his confidence.
Don Pablo, two other students, and I had embarked on another teaching adventure; this one into the legendary Copper Canyon in the mountains of north-west Mexico. We were in search of indigenous shamans or healers, brujos or curanderos, as they are respectively called in Spanish. Our goal, as esoteric students, was to meet and speak with native healers, and possibly to receive teaching. However, this was going to be quite a challenge because the indigenous villages were quite remote and their inhabitants not very welcoming of strangers, especially gringos. We were looking for a proverbial needle in a haystack—one that didn’t want to be found.
Copper Canyon, named for the copper-green color of its steep rock walls, is comprised of six distinct barrancas (canyons) in the high Sierra Madre Mountains of south-western Chihuahua State that, in total land area, dwarfs the Grand Canyon in the U.S. This region is home to the Tarahumara (they call themselves Rarámuri), an indigenous tribe known worldwide as long-distance endurance runners.
What we didn’t anticipate was arriving at the Copper Canyon in the middle of the seasonal marijuana harvest, and that meant potential danger on two fronts. Four gringos traveling in a new American sedan faced the risk of being mistaken for smugglers by the Mexican Federales, who stationed periodic roadblocks to search for drugs and guns, but were just as likely to shake down tourists for money or valuables. Or we could be taken for undercover narcotics agents sent to bust drug growers, in which case we would probably be executed. We managed to make it through one such checkpoint unscathed because when the encounter became a little scary, we identified ourselves as “esotericos”—practitioners of the esoteric arts. That label seemed to work, and they let us pass. Perhaps it commanded fear or respect, or both.
Add to that the stressed-out state that two of us were in because one of us had forgotten his passport. We had to literally race back to his house to get it, just barely making it to the airport in time to catch the flight. This set a tone of great apprehension right from the start, which was further magnified by the potential danger we now faced in this extremely remote location, deep in the mountains of Mexico. I remained on edge for the entire trip and had a very difficult time centering and grounding myself. It took great courage to contain my emotion and to witness what was about to occur.
Jim, another of our group, had arranged for an introduction to a local man who had inroads into the remote indigenous world. However, as it often turns out in Mexico, our plans didn’t materialize. Relying on an introduction by the operator of the hotel where we were staying in Creel, don Pablo and Jim set off with two locals in their battered old Chevy ‘Suburban’ in search of a local shaman. David and I were asked to stay behind because don Pablo knew that in our agitated state we would arouse suspicion, and we would be even less likely to get an introduction without intimidating an already distrustful indigenous community.
Later that evening, don Pablo and Jim returned to announce they’d been successful in meeting a local curandero named Mauricio. All four of us had been extended an invitation to return the next day to be received by him. So here we were, in the local chapel, incredibly fortunate to have this audience with Mauricio, who had just deeply honored us with his trust. We returned to the main chapel and Mauricio walked to the door, indicating it was time to depart the church. Outside, don Pablo asked Mauricio if he would like to receive another healing for his vision. Apparently, when they had first met the day before, Mauricio had asked don Pablo if he would help him with his loss of vision. He was almost completely blind due to a combination of severe cataracts and the curse of a brujo, or sorcerer, who was angry with him for some undisclosed reason. Indigenous people usually ‘read’ energy, and Mauricio obviously knew don Pablo had healing skills. Don Pablo had given him a healing the day before, which had helped, and this is what had earned his trust. He now offered another healing to try to further improve Mauricio’s vision. Mauricio nodded in agreement.
We retraced our route and continued a short distance past Mauricio’s hut to Pedro’s dwelling—an L-shaped hacienda with a long wooden-planked veranda extending along its entire front perimeter. Pedro was a short middle-aged mestizo man, with a kindly demeanor. He helped to look after Mauricio’s needs, though it wasn’t clear whether this relationship was an official capacity or solely one of choice.
Don Pablo seated Mauricio in a chair he placed in the open courtyard, and oriented him with the midday sun over his head and slightly behind his back. He stood facing Mauricio, with Jim on his left, David opposite, and I on his right, forming a circle. Don Pablo assumed his customary ceremonial posture with his arms extended slightly out from his sides, palms up. I felt him strengthen his connection to the celestial realms as he became firmly rooted into the Earth. The center of his torso protruded a little forward and he entered a deep trance state. I could sense don Pablo recruiting the energy of the sun as he began to clear and strengthen Mauricio’s energy field. After about ten minutes, he moved closer to Mauricio’s head and began to physically pull what seemed like an invisible elastic goop out of his eyes. His motion looked like a pantomime of pulling and stretching thick strands of saltwater taffy out of Mauricio’s head and throwing them to the ground as pieces broke off. This strenuous action continued for about 15 minutes, and then don Pablo, now profusely sweating, resumed his original ritual position in front of Mauricio. By then, all of us were deep in trance and starting to swelter in the hot midday sun.
As don Pablo continued to address Mauricio, I saw a green-gray column of energy descend from the sky and enter the top of Mauricio’s head. I instantly knew something very significant was happening, but exactly what wasn’t clear. Finally, don Pablo signaled he was done, and we turned and followed him out of the searing sun onto the shaded cover of Pedro’s veranda, where we sat for some time in silence. Mauricio remained seated in the sun, either too altered or too stunned to move.
After a while, don Pablo became concerned that Mauricio was getting too hot and asked Antonio, his apprentice, to assist in moving him out of the direct sun. They helped him onto the veranda where he continued to sit in silence. Eventually, Mauricio opened his eyes and slowly scanned his surroundings. Tears of gratitude were streaming down Mauricio’s cheeks as words of appreciation struggled to flow from his lips. He thanked don Pablo profusely—his vision was now restored! I could see that his eyes were now clear. Mauricio told us he had recently had a dream in which he saw a powerful healer coming to help him. His premonition had just been fulfilled.
Don Pablo suggested that now was the time to ask Mauricio any remaining questions we might have. David said it appeared to him that Mauricio saw God everywhere. Mauricio unleashed a warm broad smile and spoke about a quality of heart and relationship with the Sacred that was lacking in the West, and how our mental, physical, and spiritual health suffered from it. He said we are so obsessed with television and consuming and acquiring material things that we have lost our connection to other people and to God. He spoke further about the real power of prayer and suggested we orient our lives toward the Sacred, pray, and develop the vision to see God everywhere. Mauricio’s whole being was emanating love as he allowed his true self to be unfurled. We sat for a while longer in the glowing stillness of heart space until don Pablo finally motioned it was time to leave. We said our goodbyes and climbed back into the old Suburban.
Later that evening, don Pablo said he was receiving a gift of reciprocity through an energetic transmission from Mauricio, which continued throughout the night and into the next day. He didn’t identify the gift; but one week later, in his office, don Pablo gave me healing with his breath. This was an important demonstration of how reciprocity operates in the esoteric world and its function in the accumulation of healing capacities.
Don Pablo remarked how open Mauricio had been to his healing, and that was why he experienced such a profound result. He said he has never encountered that level of openness in Westerners – so they usually experience less dramatic and more gradual results when receiving energy healings. Indigenous people living in traditional ways have not lost their deeper connection to the Sacred or the Earth – so their essential being is healthy. Most Westerners have lost their terrestrial-celestial soul connection and exist in a state of existential illness. Therefore we cannot as easily receive deeper spiritual healings.
‘Mauricio’s Miracle’ is excerpted from Mystic Witness, Healing Ourselves and the Earth Through Active Mysticism, by Larry Alboher, D.C. It is available in eBook format at Amazon.com for the Kindle, iBookstore for the iPad, BarnesandNoble.com for the Nook, and ebookstore.sony.com for the Sony Reader. If you do not own an iPad or an eBook reader, you can download the free Kindle Reading App, for MAC or PC, from Kindle Support at Amazon.com; http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=sv_kinc_9?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200127470. The Kindle App will work on any computer or digital device, including your smart phone.
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