Participating, transforming, celebrating: the dance of unitary becoming.
Key Words Rogerian nursing science, pandimensionality, Qabalah, healing
Martha Rogers' (1994) legacy to nursing is the focus on the "irreducible human being and its environment, both defined as energy fields" (p. 33). For Rogers, this environment was not limited to one's neighborhood or community but encompassed space, the entire cosmos. The unitary wholeness she described bridges past and future in the sense of older and newer perspectives, those that have been with us and those newly emerging across disciplines. Her ideas are futuristic and visionary, yet they resonate with perennial themes found in the oldest traditions known to humankind across the globe.
In one of her last articles published in 1994, Rogers predicted that within the next two decades we will see changes that transcend anything we could imagine today. She wrote that there is a "growing unity and at the same time a marked increase in diversity and complexity on all fronts" (p. 33).
The theme of unity and diversity is a common one in philosophy as well as everyday life, one we struggle with as human beings in a pluralistic, muliticultural world. It is important in our efforts to advance nursing science, specifically the Science of Unitary Human Beings, that we focus an unity while acknowledging and honoring diversity. This is why I have chosen to highlight what I see as parallel themes resonating across the years and onward to illustrate the timeless contribution Rogers made not only to nursing but to knowledge about humankind that has relevance beyond nursing.
Despite the importance of Rogerian nursing science, now and in the evolving future, it is not the most widely used frame work in nursing curricula or nursing practice settings. The Society of Rogerian Scholars is not the largest nursing organization, and the Rogerian conferences are not the best attended nursing conferences. As Sheila Gheema, my colleague on Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science, keeps asking, Why is this so? And what can we do about it? Perhaps forging linkages via focusing on similarities rather than differences is one approach. At least it's the one I've chosen for this article.
Integral wholeness, unity, and diversity are themes held in common across a variety of perspectives, including the wisdom traditions of the East and West and the new physics. The word "whole" shares a common Indo-European root in "kailo-" with other words such as health, heal, holy, and hallow (Soukanhov et al., 1992), giving us the mantra of whole, heal, holy. Wholeness, healing, and holiness flowing together-a core theme in the wisdom traditions mentioned earlier. I chose to focus on one, the Western wisdom or mystery tradition and its view of the Qabalah, and the parallels to Rogerian nursing science that I, a novice in the study of this tradition, see emerging as I go deeper into that study. I'll also offer some ideas about newer perspectives emerging today that link to Rogerian nursing science in the belief that one of the ways to facilitate the growing and disseminating of that science is to highlight such parallels. Rogerian nursing science is a bridge spanning those ideas that have been with us for some time and those that are newly emerging.
The Qabalah is the framework of the Western mystery tradition as well as the Jewish mystical tradition. As such it is believed to transmit the hidden wisdom of the universe. Gareth Knight (1965, p. 6) called it "the ground plan of the flower garden of mystical experience." As he explained, trying to describe mystical experience is like trying to describe the scent of a flower-you really need to smell the flower for yourself, because no words can adequately convey the scent. Similarly, you have to experience the mystical in order to know what it is.
The composite symbol or glyph of the Qabalah is the Tree of Life; it represents simultaneously the human and the universe (see Diagram 1). Movement, change, and relationship are core concepts in the understanding of the Tree and its paths. The five spheres or Sephiroth in the middle, the Middle Pillar, correspond to the person; Kether is the Crown above the head, moving down through air (Daath), fire (Tiphareth), and water (Yesod) to Malkuth, earth below the feet. One moves up and down and around the Tree via the 32 paths of wisdom or states of consciousness (Kaplan, 1997). Thirty-one paths parallel the 31 nerves coming off the spinal cord while the 32nd corresponds to the complex of 12 cranial nerves. In other words, as Kaplan explains, the person is seen as a microcosm with everything in the body paralleling something in the forces of creation. Further correspondences can be drawn between each Sephirah or sphere and archangels, angels, chakras, colors, the Tarot, astrological symbols, and more.
There are two Hebrew words for path, one referring to a public road, the other to a personal route, a "hidden path without markers or signposts" (Kaplan, 1997, p. 10). It is the latter word that is used for the paths of the Tree of Life. The paths, therefore, are "hidden, concealed, and transcendental" (p. 11). In order to attain mystical experience, people must learn for themselves how to travel the 32 paths. No two journeys are the same.
Both unity and diversity are represented on the Tree, top to bottom, bottom to top. No Sephirah or sphere on the Tree can be described in isolation from all the others. Rather, each can be seen as a holographic representation of the whole. No one path linking them can be described in isolation (Knight, 1965). On the Tree, all is interconnected relationship, whole not part.
Rabbi Herbert Weiner (no date) uses this Cosmic Tree of Life to illustrate unity and diversity. He asked, how does each individual leaf fulfill its own unique potential? He answered, by attaching more strongly to the twig, which is attached to the branch, which is attached to the trunk. All is one. Life flows through this connection. Once separated, the leaf that falls to the ground cannot root itself and continue its life as before. Life flowing through connection-this is a blessing, and the meaning of blessing, according to Wiener, is the ability to make connection.
Weiner (1980) further noted that the meaning of the phrase, "oneness of Body-mind-spirit" is destroyed by the very naming of the three, so we have to intuit its meaning. He offered the analogy of a volcano pouring out lava. The lava starts as a gas, becoming liquid, then becoming solid as stone, but it's all one flow. So with the human being as its representation on the Tree of Life shows. The person has feet grounded on earth but extends upward in a transmutation of flesh into the nonmaterial, but all is one vibration rhythmically back and forth in continuous movement (Weiner, 1980). Epstein (1994) wrote that in the Jewish mystical tradition as well as in Christian mysticism, "the spheres of physical and spiritual life are one-that is, body and spirit are infinitely connected" (p. 236).
In a 1978 handout of what she was then calling her Postulated Correlates of Unitary Human Development, Rogers included one that is interesting in light of this discussion: more "visibility," less "visibility," ethereal. At some point she changed this to "materiality--ethereality." In a 1984 interview with Barbara Sarter, contained in the appendix of Sarter's The Stream of Becoming, published in 1988, Rogers indicated that she wanted to retain the idea in this "correlate" but planned to change words again. The misinterpretation, from her view, was that people were seeing this as mass vs. spirit, and she was trying to convey something about the experience, "experienced as ethereal" (p. 131). She indicated that awareness is a manifestation of pattern as are "consciousness and soul--" as she said, "whatever one means by these-- ... that derive out of the system" (p. 123). She reiterated that her system is a synthesis and transcendence with its own unity. Rogers also indicated in a 1983 interview with Sarter (1988) that mystical awareness is a manifestation of pattern and that patterning does not need a physical body to persist. However, by 1986 when the correlates were published (Malinski, 1986), Rogers had deleted this one entirely.
According to The American Heritage Dictionary (Soukanhov et 51., 1992) ethereal has meanings such as lightness, heavenly or of the celestial spheres, and spiritual. The word that Rogers identified as problematic, at least in the interview with Sarter, was not ethereal but materiality because of its association with matter. In 1978 she also had a "correlate" of heaviness--lightness--weightless that was dropped, along with pragmatic--imaginative--visionary that was retained. The "patterning that does not need a physical body to persist" seems to reflect ethereal, weightless, and visionary--for me as I interpret Rogerian nursing science, if not for Rogers herself.
One thing that becomes clear from the study of the Qabalah is that what we interpret as polarities and dichotomies are not. As Rabbi Weiner explains, yes has no meaning in the absence of no. Rather than dichotomy we seem to be talking about paradox. As the philosopher-psychologist Steven Rosen (1994) wrote, paradox needs to be understood in its "Zen-related sense of a wholeness so uncompromising that it confounds the dichotomies built into ordinary thinking" (p. 120). According to Rosen, wholeness lies in the embodiment of paradox, where wholeness "is utterly fluid and dynamic, an unobstructed boundless flow" (p. 269). Parse and Parse nurses have certainly done seminal work in nursing theory in this area.
Along the Tree, polarity means the flowing of force or energy "from a sphere of high pressure to a sphere of low pressure; high and low being always relative terms" (Fortune, 193511984, p. 229). It is this rhythmic swing, not stability, that is the basis of life (Fortune, 193511984). If we look at it from the perspective of time, there is no split in terms of past, present, future--all is one. If we look at it from the perspective of healing, if healing of the body is to occur, one has to heal the whole (Weiner, 1980) because the whole is more than the physical body. Behind Kether, the Crown, the top Sephirah on the tree, is negative existence, the "nothingness ... that is already something" (Knight, 1965, p. 30) because it is the realm where all potentials exist and from which all life comes. The Veils of Negative Existence are called in Hebrew Ain, Ain Soph, and Ain Soph Aur, meaning Negativity, the Limitless, and The Limitless Light, limitless nothingness blazing with light (Knight, 1965) and emanating life. The Hebrew word Ain ("I-in") represents nothing in the sense of all potentials, the great nothing out of which everything comes. It is a place where anything can happen. Meditative awareness is recommended in the study of the Qabalah as the way to access meaning here. According to Weiner (1980), one can go into it through joy or despair, laughter or tears, and access an image of healing to manifest in the physical.
As an example of Qabalistic healing, Israel Regardie (193711964) published a book in 1937 called The Art of True Healing which is based on the Tree of Life and working with the universal life force or energy. An underlying assumption is that "immutable rhythm is everywhere manifest in the universe" (p. 5). Relaxation, rhythmical breathing, meditation, visualization, and prayer help us attune to this energy. Regardie offers exercises called the circulation of force and the fountain to perform daily to direct this flow and facilitate health. These exercises are based on the concept of the human as an energy being. What is circulating is energy in a continually moving flow. Although he uses the language of willing and directing, he is really stressing the importance of conscious awareness as "the magical key" (p. 23) to creatively participating in this flowing energy.
For Rogers, field is the unifying concept and energy signifies that it is dynamic; therefore, we have "infinite dynamic unity" (Saner, 1988, p. 114) in Rogerian nursing science. Personally I define energy as the creative potential continuously flowing throughout the universe. Neither description seems incongruent with the Qabalistic view.
Rogers also identified pattern or patterning as the operative word rather than wave frequency. She tried to describe nonrepeating rhythmicities and accelerating change by using wave frequency, for example, in the Manifestations of Field Patterning, as she renamed the old correlates. The persistent difficulty, of course, is what appears to be a linear progression that wasn't solved by simply dropping the old "from--to" as she used these pattern manifestations to describe the process of change, not the direction of change. The use of high pressure and low pressure, relative though they may be, to describe moving along the Tree shares this difficulty, when what is being described by both seems to be more of a rhythmical swing up and down rather than higher--lower, faster--slower. Just as yes has no meaning without no, high has no meaning without low, fast no meaning without slow. They are relative terms, not value terms, and Rogers described diversity as relative and as a manifestation of patterning. She proposed that human and environmental fields are unique and change in mutual process, not through cause and effect. Rogers (Sarter, 1988) also made clear that her nursing science made no claims to first principles or final endings because, she believed, no one knows what they are in a world that is integral and without boundaries.
Rogers always had a problem with the idea of intentional, purposive, goal-directed behavior because of her belief that multiple potentials exist simultaneously; some will be actualized, some won't (Sarter, 1988). What we come to is a focused, participatory awareness. This is captured in Barrett's (1986) theory of power as knowing participation in change and in Schneider's (1995) concept of focusing awareness, derived from her qualitative study of extraordinary healing. Schneider defined focusing awareness as "becoming increasingly aware and using that awareness to make decisions and to participate more fully in the healing process" (p. 35). For me this is what intentionality is all about, not willing a particular outcome but mindful awareness, focusing awareness, to participate more fully in transformative potentials.
Awareness is a key to participating in these transformative potentials because the process of becoming in Rogerian nursing science is a unitary one. Mystical awareness is a pandimensional awareness of the mutual human-environment field process (integrality), a manifestation of high frequency patterning (resonancy), and associated with innovative, creative, diverse experiences (helicy), reflective of what is traditionally called spirituality (Malinski, 1994). Cowling (1986), who studied mystical experience, differentiation, and creativity at a time when the current Manifestations of Field Patterning were known as the correlates and included ones Rogers later dropped, drew parallels between Rogers' description of an "increasingly diverse field pattern with perceptual features of timelessness, continuousness, beyond waking, transcendence, visionary, and ethereal " and what are commonly called altered states of consciousness (p. 132). Perhaps the deleted manifestations, in this case continuousness, transcendence, and ethereal, could be explored again in light of the patterning that persists beyond the physical body. They are reflected, for example, in poetic expressions exploring the meaning of dying, such as this poem used by John Phillips for years and included in the packet of one of the earlier Rogerian conferences which I recently found in a pamphlet called "Release Into Light: Meditations for Those Who Mourn," distributed by the Theosophical Society of the Eastern Mystery tradition.
Let us not cling to mourning, Do not stand on my grave and weep. I am not there I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow, I I am the sunlight opened grain, I am the gentle autumn's rain. When you awaken in the morning's hush I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand on my grave and cry, I am not there I did not die. (Anonymous)
And another one, from a Carmelite Monastery in Tallow County Waterford, Ireland:
My death is nothing at all ... I have only slipped away into the next room. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you have always used. Laugh as we always laughed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effort. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of your sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near just around the corner. All is well. Nothing is past, nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before, only better, infinitely happier and forever....
For me, these poems reflect a view of death as the patterning that persists when the physical body does not.
I'd like to turn now to parallels in modern science, using just one of the numerous examples that could be explored. It's a 1997 book by Dean Radin, Director of the Consciousness Research Laboratory at the University of Nevada, entitled The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena. In discussing the newly evolving assumptions in a science of wholeness as opposed to a science of separateness, Radin states that this new metaphysics is shifting toward a mystical worldview. The essence of this mysticism is the realization of the interconnectedness of relationships and of possibilities, not certainties, as the fundamental reality. Like Capra before him in the Tao of Physics, first published in 1975 and again in its 3rd edition in 1991, he notes that this interconnectedness finds parallels in ancient doctrines and modern science. Unfortunately, Rogerian nursing science is not included in such discussions of modern science, another reason to demonstrate its implications and applications for the wider world of knowledge. Recent developments in quantum field and relativity theories and in the field of psi, or psychic phenomena, demonstrate a deep interconnectedness that "embraces everything, unbound by the usual limitations of time and space" (p. 270). Deep interconnectedness suggests a unitary phenomenon, not a duality such as mind-matter, inner-outer, etc. Radin cites four developments related to quantum theory that may seem nonsensical yet have been empirically demonstrated. The first development is nonlocality, where a pair of particles once in contact but now too far apart to interact or communicate across spaceat least in the older view of science--have been shown to instantaneously behave in ways that are correlated, demonstrating that they are, in some fashion, still connected. Radin suggests that psi experiences may indeed be manifestations of nonlocal interconnectedness.
The second development involves theories proposed in quantum biology that suggest nonlocality plays a role in the brain and manifests in consciousness. Radin cites the work of Stuart Hameroff, an anesthesiologist from the University of Arizona, whose interest in the transition between conscious self-awareness and unconsciousness has led him to explore parallels between quantum properties and consciousness.
For example, the "unitary sense of self" resembles the properties of quantum coherence and nonlocality; nondeterministic free will resembles quantum indeterminacy; intuitive reasoning resembles quantum computing; and differences and transitions between pre-, sub-, and nonconscious processes resemble how quantum possibilities become hard realities. (p. 285)
The third development is the realization that there is no theoretical minimum energy requirement for transmitting information. Formerly it was assumed that energy had to be involved in transmitting information from one location to another. Now it seems that there is no physical energy requirement as a barrier to transmitting information across distances.
The fourth development is quantum teleportation, a means of instantaneous information transfer, called quantum voodoo by its developers. Radin quotes Charles Bennett of IBM, one of the developers: Quantum "entanglement," an aspect of nonlocality, "establishes a connection between two particles in such a way that the 'quantum essence of the particle' can be passed from one to the other ... 'like a curse passing from a lock of hair back to its original owner"' (p. 286).
Radin suggests that these four developments suggest a way of thinking about psi that may yet bring it into the mainstream of science. They certainly seem to explicate Rogers' (1992) pandimensionality, " a nonlinear domain without temporal or spatial attributes." Her theory of the emergence of paranormal phenomena suggests pandimensional awareness as the framework for such phenomena. She always suggested that there was nothing "paranormal" about them, rather they are "normal" examples of pandimensional awareness and experience.
Such pandimensional experiences include telepathy, clairvoyance, and perception across time. Radin examined and critiqued the available research in these areas. He concluded, regarding telepathy, "that people sometimes get small amounts of specific information from a distance without the use of ordinary senses" (p. 88). Regarding clairvoyance and other perception at a distance, "psi perception operates between minds and through space" (p. 109), so the ability to perceive at a distance, again beyond the use of ordinary senses, is a potential. Regarding perception across time, or precognition, Radin concluded, "The present may not be where-or when-we think it is" (p. 125).
He goes on to discuss what we know of as noninvasive health patterning modalities in Rogerian nursing science, such as healing with prayer, distant healing, use of touch, and various ways belief becomes biology. He also discusses field consciousness, defined as a single underlying reality, "a continuum of nonlocal intelligence, permeating space and time" (p. 159). He offered many illustrations of this group consciousness, or group field. I'll describe one.
Radin and his colleagues asked both Dr. Roger Nelson at Princeton University and Professor Dick Bierman at the University of Amsterdam to run random number generators in their labs while Radin's group ran RNGs in theirs close to the time that the 0. J. Simpson verdict was expected. The random number generators constitute random physical systems where, under ordinary conditions, the system averages zero order. If order appears, it can be detected statistically very quickly. The experimenters were interested in any changes that took place relative to changes in the focused attention of large groups of people. The attention of people worldwide was anticipated to be focused on the announcement of the verdict. It was later determined that some half-billion people watched or listened to the live broadcast of the verdict. Around the time the preshows began, an unexpected degree of order was detected in the RNGs which then declined back into random behavior until the time the clerk read the verdict, at which point it peaked to its highest point. This finding held in all three laboratories and demonstrates the focused awareness of the group field.
Radin speculates that, perhaps, global violence is linked to the angry, aggressive thoughts of people around the world. It's not only the behavior but the thought that contributes to social disorder. Conversely, peaceful protests and thoughts can facilitate order and harmony. This is encapsulated in the phrase, Walk your talk.
This field consciousness is discussed in the Qabalah as the group mind or group soul. In Rogerian science you have the postulates of energy field, openness, pandimensionality, and pattern at work.
According to Rogers (1994), the primary purpose of nursing is to promote well-being of all people, wherever they are, by using nursing knowledge in non-invasive ways. She believed this knowledge is contained within the Science of Unitary Human Beings, but she also envisioned a "new world of transcendent unity," encompassing earth and space (Rogers, 1990, p. 375). Therefore, we must use imagination and visioning to create new ways to promote this well-being and celebrate this dance of unitary becoming.
This is probably the major challenge facing us in this time of managed care and focus on outcomes. One mushrooming trend is for more care to be delivered at home and for family members to provide that care, often in the absence of adequate support such as a health care provider who could nurture and tend to the life process of all family members. The visiting nurse spends enough time to demonstrate a procedure and then disappears for a week. For many this is self-care agency and dependent-care agency carried to the extreme. However, it is not necessarily the nurse's choice-it's what will be reimbursed. We all need to work together to develop the transformative, caring partnerships required if we truly believe that all life exists in an integral flow of field patterning. Every community needs an autonomous nursing center, a health patterning center, where practice is based on Rogerian nursing science and the family participates in the health patterning process. Rogerian nurses would provide comprehensive care in the center, the home, school, and other settings as well as be available to work with their clients throughout hospitalization and discharge back home or to a tertiary care facility.
The terms "alternative medicine," complementary medicine," and "integrative medicine" are problematic in that all focus on medicine as the primary discipline, not nursing. The Journal of the American Medical Association featured an article supposedly debunking Therapeutic Touch, a health patterning modality strongly identified with nursing, one month (Rosa, Rosa, Sarner, & Barrett, 19 98) and an article the next month reaffirming the public's preferences for complementary modalities, especially among the better educated and more affluent (Astin, 1998). Although many physicians affirm the philosphy of wholeness underlying these modalities, more seem to gravitate to them because that's where a large chunk of the consumer's money is going. Rogerian nurses need to use the language of health patterning modalities and ground them in Rogerian nursing science as we discuss what we do and what we have to offer to colleagues and clients.
Participants at the 7th Rogerian Conference, held at New York University in June, 1998, heard many fine presentations in which Rogerians presented their ideas for transforming nursing practice, nursing ethics, the health care delivery system, and health care policy. I encourage us all to participate knowingly in the growing and disseminating of Rogerian nursing science across the globe.
Astin, J.A. (1998). Why patients use alternative medicine: Results of a national study. Journal of the American Medical Association, 279, 1548-1553.
Barrett, E.A.M. (1986). Investigation of the principle of helicy: The relationship of human field motion and power. In V.M.M. Malinski (Ed.), Explorations on Martha Rogers' Science of Unitary Human Beings (pp. 173-184). Norwalk, CT: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Cowling, W. R. (1986). The relationship of mystical experience, differentiation, and creativity in college students. In V. M. Malinski (Ed.). Explorations on Martha Rogers' science of unitary human beings (pp. 131- 141). Norwalk, CT: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Epstein, G. (1994). Healing into immorality. A new spiritual medicine of healing stories and imagery. New York: Bantam.
Fortune, D. (193511994). The mystical Qabalah. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.
Kaplan, A., translator. (1997). Sefer Yetzirah: The book of creation in theory and practice, revised ed. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.
Knight, G. (1965). A practical guide to Qabalistic symbolism. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.
Malinski, V. M. (1994). Spirituality: A pattern manifestation of the humanlenvironment mutual process. Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science, 2, 12-18.
Radin, D. (1997). The conscious universe: The scientific truth of psychic phenomena. San Francisco: I-larper Edge.
Regardie, I. (1937/1964). The art of true healing. Channel Islands, UK: Servants of the Light. Rogers, M.E. (1992). Nursing science and the space age. Nursing Science Quarterly, 5, 27-34.
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Rogers, M.E., Doyle, M.B., Racolin, A., & Walsh, P.C. (1990). A conversation with Martha Rogers on nursing in space. In E.A.M. Barrett (Ed.), Visions of Rogers' science-based nursing (pp. 375-386). New York: National League for Nursing.
Rosa, L., Rosa, E., Sarner, L., & Barrett, S. (1998). A close look at therapeutic touch. Journal of the American Medical Association, 279,1005-1010.
Rosen, S.M. (1994). Science, paradox, and the Moebius principle: The evolution of a "transcultural" approach to wholeness. Albany: State University of New York.
Sarter, B. (1988). The stream of becoming: A study of Martha Rogers's theory. New York: National League for Nursing.
Schneider, P. E. (1995). Focusing awareness: The process of extraordinary healing from a Rogerian perspective. Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science, 3, 32-43.
Soukhanov, A., et al. (Eds.), (1992). The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 3rd ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Weiner, H. (Speaker). (1980). Healing: A Kabbalistic perspective. (Cassette recording E3). Phoenix: A.R.E. Clinic.
Weiner, H. (Speaker). (No date). The great healing: Where past, present & future meet. (Cassette recording E3). Phoenix: A.R.E. Clinic.
Violet Malinski, RN;PhD
Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing
Hunter College/City University of New York
425 E. 25th Street
New York, New York 10010
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|Publication:||Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1999|
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