When I was a young man in Catholic seminary, about 15 years of age, I had a most peculiar and profound quest for a young man aspiring for a meaningful life purpose. I wanted to know what we had to do in order to stop dying. I had read the story of Creation in the Bible and was well aware of what brought death into human experience, although I didn’t understand it. Eating the “fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Really? Just eating a “forbidden fruit” has brought disease and death to the entire human species?! And an apple, at that! One of our most nutritious foods! Something wasn’t right about this story in Genesis. If it was true, however, then there must be a way to undo what our first parents did to merit such a stiff punishment.
In my simple and naïve way of thinking, it seemed to me that if eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil causes death, then it seemed to follow that we could simply stop eating this fruit and we would stop dying. I brought this curious thought to my spiritual director and he didn’t show as much interest in my mental musings as I was having at a rather deep level. He simply told me to stop thinking about such nonsense and study my Latin instead. That was that.
But that wasn’t that for me. The question did not go away but rather became a burning quest for an answer, for someone to come along and say “That’s right, and we can do just that!” I had to put my quest on the back burner for more practical and necessary endeavors, like studying for exams.
If you ask the right question, I was later to discover, you will receive the right answer. On May 20, 1967 I was attending a seminar in Applied Ontology in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when my quest came off the back burner. Ontology is the metaphysical study of the nature of being and of reality. Applied Ontology is the art and science of living the true nature of being and of reality. In other words, being who and what you really are—and not just in theory. The facilitator and dynamic speaker was Dr. William H. Bahan of the Universal Institute of Applied Ontology in Loveland, Colorado—a man who would become my professional mentor and most beloved friend. He was a doctor of Chiropractic, which I had become—but that’s another story.
Half way through the seminar, Dr. Bahan started talking about our responsibility as healers and teachers—which is what the title of doctor means—which was to bring about an increase of life in those who came to us for the healing of their ills. His chief reference turned out to be the Book of Genesis and the Story of Creation, including more specifically the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden where the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil were planted. You can only imagine how this got my attention.
He then began to speak from a certain place of authenticity and uncanny authority about what had transpired in the Garden of Eden that led to “The Fall” of Adam and Eve from grace—the so-called “Original Sin.” I had never heard the story told from such a clear and meaningful perspective. Bill simply revealed the truth of what had happened—and, more to the point, continues to happen—to bring diseases and death into the experience of human beings. The Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he allowed, is the “design tree” of the “Creative Process,” and it wasn’t external to Man in some fruit orchard. It is part of our very make up as stewards of the cycles of creation, which was the very reason and purpose for God creating Man in His own image and likeness. As long as we were true stewards and ate only of the fruit of the Tree of Life, we would fare well in Eden. But if we ate of the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we would “surely die.”
Then he said what I had been waiting for someone to say for a decade or more. In order to stop dying, he went on to say, we needed to stop eating this “forbidden fruit,” which he defined simply as “judgment.” Judging the evolving forms that are being brought forth by Life through the Creative Process and then interfering with that process by imposing our own self-interested ideas as to how things could evolve if we just made this or that alteration in life’s natural and perfect design. It made such profound sense. The word “evil,” Bill explained, is more like “evol.” Evol is an unfolding of life’s design through the Creative Process. Evil is produced when we interfere with life’s design in order to produce something other than what the Creative Process had in Mind and in store for us.
It was primarily an act of disobedience and self-active determination that derailed Man’s stewardship of Creation and his enjoyment of life in the Garden of Eden. As a consequence, our creative powers were greatly diminished and we soon found ourselves out of Eden and laboring for our survival on Earth. Eden was a Heavenly abode, and we had much different forms than the animal forms we have now. These forms are subject to the evolutionary cycles of birth and death. But we are still immortal beings incarnate in these mortal bodies, which we have to shed in order to return to Paradise. In Paradise there is no death, no disease, and no suffering. One may rightly wonder why it is that we spend so much effort trying to stave off death.
This blew my mind. I was ecstatic. Could it be that simple? I didn’t sleep for three days. My quest was complete. Well, almost complete. All that remained was for me to prove it out in my living. That entailed, first of all, seeing how this applied to daily living and how I was continuing to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evol; how we human beings were still manipulating the natural creative processes and thwarting them to please our own self-centered purposes. Then, upon seeing how I was eating this death-dealing fruit, to change my behavior.
It’s easy to see how we disobey the Creator and thwart the natural design in the way we grow our food by genetic engineering and manipulation of the soil with chemicals to produce plenty of food. Stewardship has been almost entirely abandoned for the sake of producing product. We’ve become very product oriented, the ultimate product being money and material wealth—the end made to justify the means in our irrational thinking. We’ve got to feed the masses. Yet, surely we continue to die.
But how does this apply to the way we care for our bodies. Even in our health care we are oriented in results rather than process, in relieving the symptoms of disease rather than engaging and stewarding a healing process. We have settled, it seems, for relief from our pain and suffering in lieu of healing our bodies and our lives.
THE GARDEN IS WITH US
In the Biblical story of the Fall, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent, who alone got the curse of God upon its head. The serpent represents the brain and spinal chord, and the tree of life, along with the design tree of the knowledge of how life evolves and grows Creation, are both within our body temples. The tree of life is the endocrine system, which delivers creative energy and life’s messages to the cells by way of hormones, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evol is the brain and central nervous system which administers the design and control of life in the body. The Garden is our hearts, in which we are to keep a sweet and heavenly atmosphere for the gifts of spirit to be born through us. Our minds and bodies are the capacities for rendering stewardship in the natural world. But our consciousness is the most important aspect of our being because it can change levels. It’s our capacity to know who we are as divine beings. It can move down a level to create hell and up a level to create heaven. Heaven, then, is nothing more than a state of consciousness, as is hell.
Wow! All of this and more was packed into that weekend seminar, so you can see why I was blown away. It was way more answer to my quest than I had ever expected to receive. And I had to scramble in order to make some drastic and fundamental changes in how I practiced my healing profession. I had to switch from being the fixer, a masculine approach, to being a healer, a more feminine approach. The fixer imposes change by manipulation. The healer coaches the client in how to nurture the healing process so that the body is allowed to make its own appropriate changes. The former is oriented in product and results. The latter is oriented in process and growth. The one is reactive; the other proactive.
GETTING BACK INTO THE GARDEN
An interesting aspect of the story of Eden is the placing of a cherubim with a flaming sword that turned every way in the Garden guarding the way to the Tree of Life. No one could get back into the Garden and eat of the Tree of Life without encountering the angel with the flaming sword. The angel is who we are in reality. The flaming sword is the truth of love. It is the truth of love that gives birth to life. Without love and truth life is not possible, in the same way that a child cannot be born without a father and a mother. The qualities of the father and mother are reflected in the child. Life is characterized by Love and Truth. In order to know life, in other words, one must be true to the truth of love in the expression of one’s living. It is life that generates health in our bodies. It is a lack of life that produces disease and death. It is that simple.
Therefore, the only way back into the Garden of Paradise, is to let it be born through us from within. The “kingdom of heaven” is within us, the Teacher instructed us. As we are consistent in expressing the qualities of heaven in our living, heaven begins to appear around us. Our world is a reflection of what’s in our consciousness, our heaven in other words. As above, so below. I will leave you with a sampling of what Dr. Bill Bahan offered us that weekend:
We are responsible to allow life to be born. And life is born in the parenthood of love and truth. There’s the flaming sword. That’s a great symbol. You can’t come to the Tree of Life, you can’t know life, and you can’t know yourself—because you are life. That’s who you are. You can’t know yourself except you come through that flaming sword.
If there is anything in your expression that is not true to the truth of love, outside! You can’t get in. You can’t get by that sword if you’re identified with complaint or unhappiness or resentment or fear or jealousy. Outside! You can’t get in. The moment you’re true to the truth of love, you walk right through.
If you’re a true servant of love, of the Lord, you’re going to win. You’re going to win! I know that in relation to my service. I’m going to win. Win all the time. Love never faileth. Those who are true to the truth of love, they never fail. No such thing as failure in the Kingdom. Failures are for those who don’t want to live in the Kingdom on Earth. Those who live in it, they move and have their being with an absolute spirit of victory.
Such was the victorious spirit of Dr. William Bahan. His words were a flaming sword that turned every way, and only by being genuinely true to the truth of love could one stand comfortably in the shadow of his presence. He was love and truth in action. He was Life itself. And so are you. Come into the Garden and enjoy the gifts of Love, one of which is health; another is happiness; yet another is unconditional acceptance of who you are. Love does not judge. Love never faileth. Let love radiate without concern for results.
Here’s to your health and healing,
Anthony Palombo, D.C.
Visit my HealingTones.org blog for more inspiring articles on the Golden Age we are entering.