Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Medicine Man- Cokorda

Me at the entrance to Cokorda's temple. 
Marie and I went to yoga class in the morning. I smiled as I sat in the studio waiting for class to begin. I looked out over the palm trees and rice fields. A cool breeze was drifting into the studio. The birds were chirping and I was in Bali taking a yoga class! Ahhh! It felt good to stretch and have this time to get the kinks out from the road trip. I was tight but by the end of the 2 hour class, I felt fantastic. After class, Marie mentioned she had a medicine man and asked if I would like to visit him. Nothing serious was wrong with me. My asthma was a little bothersome after the air pollution in Beijing. But I would love to visit a real Balinese medicine man! Sign me up!

Marie explained that Cokorda was from the royal family and never planned to be a medicine man. He had cars, women and a royal lifestyle. But he had a vision and then a car accident and a second vision that he was suppose to become a medicine man. He finally listened to his visions and started to study the lontar, ancient palm leaf manuscripts of traditional medicine. The lontar books have been the source of wisdom and knowledge. The Balinese gain their philosophy of life, knowledge on astronomy, laws, rites, medicine and gods from the ancient lontar. They are the books of life.

Lontar on the left, under the white cloth.
Marie prepared me for my visit to Cokorda and I listened closely.  She told me it is a different experience then the hordes of tourists that go to see Ketut Leyir from Eat, Pray, Love. He does not tell every person the same story and predict a long and healthy life. Cokorda would use pressure points to identify pain or issues with your health. Marie said she would call him and arrange a visit, purchase the offerings and let me know what day we would visit.
 On the day of our visit, Marie took 3 of us to Cokorda's temple. It was a beautiful temple and Marie showed me around the grounds.
We walked to the back to meet Cokorda. We were introduced to him and gave our offerings of coffee, sweets and money. Cokorda said he was around 90 years old. I smiled and watched as he smoked a cigarette. I sat down on the mat to wait as the French woman, Nataile, went first. She had told us that she was in constant pain from her back. I was interested to see what happened. As Cokorda started touching points on her body she screamed out in pain. Oh my goodness! I looked at Paula with shock. He continued and the screams got louder and louder. I turned to Paula and said "I am not certain I want to do this." She wasn't certain either. The screams were awful. What had I signed up for? I remembered Made telling me on person he took screened obscenities it was so painful. I watched as Cokada had Natile lie down and started to poke her toes with a stick. He repeated the area of the body it was associated with. She screamed agin when he got to her back and nervous system. Cokorda had two apprentices that helped him by doing some movements over her body. After some time, they stopped and Cokorda got out the stick to poke her foot. No screams. Her pain appeared to be gone. No screaming. Wow!

Next it was my turn. I sat down and Cokorda started touching my pressure points on my head. I was waiting for pain. I did not have any.Whew! I relaxed and Cokorda contined and ten asked "hiw can I help you?" i told him I ha asthma and was coughing. Cokorda had me lie down. He got out the stick and poked me with it as recited the organs of my body. He got to lung and I did not scream. He said "Lungs good, no problem." Then he poked the top of lung and esophagus area. Owwwwww! That hurt and I jumped. Cokorda went in to explain that it was not my lungs but I was not drinking enough water. "Drink more water. You pee, drink water. Stop using inhaler." Ok. He also offered to give me some oil to rub on my chest. Then he said How can I help you. All ok. Be happy!" I smiled and thanked him. I had a medical checkup and all is good! Be happy! I will try drinking more water to see if it helps my cough. I will keep my inhalers just in case. I am not ready to ditch them yet. 
Visiting a Balinese medicine man was an interesting experience. I was happy I had done this. Most Balinese have a medicine man they visit before they see a doctor. There were several women waiting to be seen. They smiled at us foreigners and patiently waited their turn. The medicine men use a variety if herbs and plants to help a person. Sometimes they will tell you they can not help and you must see a medical doctor. 

As we were leaving our session, I asked Nataile how she felt. She said she felt good and was not in pain. The question was would it work? 

I am a believer in a mixture of eastern and western medicine. I prefer to use healthy living options (diet, accupuncture, excercise) over pharmaceuticals when possible. I don't want to mask problems. I want to live my life the healthiest way possible. Finding a balance in life is important and I have seen first hand how it changes your well-being. Since traveling, my stress and insomnia are gone. I dream again. I calm myself through meditation. It has been a good lesson in healthy living. The trick will be to continue to do so when I return to the workforce. 

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