Synergy, Healing and Empowerment

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Weaving the Web of Community: A Review of Richard Katz and Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu’s Synergy, Healing and Empowerment BOOK REVIEW Synergy, Healing and Empowerment: Insights from Cultural Diversity. By Richard Katz and Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu. Brush Education, 2012. 312 pp. ISBN 978-1550593860, $34.95. Recently I attended an Ojibwe healing ceremony and became aware of the presence of a vastly different paradigm for creating and sustaining networks of healing and personal transformation than what I have grown accustomed to within my own culture. A paradigm built on shared experience, communal bonds, and synergistic participation instead of the competitive, isolated, and diminishing institutions of the “Western” model. I witnessed people healing one another through story. Through presence. Through an interconnected web of relationship that extends from the individual to the group and out into the living Cosmos and back again in an energetic circle of spiritual regeneration. How wonderful to experience such abundance. Such accessible, practical wisdom and healing. Healing for all, by all, through all. It seems that all too often in Western societies, valuable resources like healing, spiritual wisdom and knowledge are in scarce supply, with access favoring those possessing power, money and prestige. Health care is rationed to those who can afford it or those in the most critical states of disease. Spiritual wisdom is sold to the highest bidder or doled out to initiates who attend luxury retreats, seminars, and conferences. Education is increasingly a “for-profit” business that forces people to trade their future financial independence for temporary access to the ivory towers of academic knowledge. In stark contrast to this steadily-increasing chasm between essential services and the people who need them most, Richard Katz and
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