Books of poetry compiled by Dr. Diamond
A Book of Cantillatory Poems
This collection of poetry, based on 25 years of clinical research into the highest therapeutic powers of all art forms, brings together highly acclaimed poets and many who have gone unrecognized for nearly four hundred years.
The Healing Power of Blake
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Provides an inspiring introduction to William Blake’s prophetic poetry and letters. Excerpted, formatted and punctuated to reveal and intensify the Healing Power of his poetry.
By John Diamond, M.D.
He is the true and only doctor.
— Emerson, The Poet
Looking at all those who have come to me for help, I long ago came to the conclusion that there was only one word to describe their real problem. And I arrived at this not by just looking at them, but by looking into them – deeply. And empathizing with them, feeling what they were feeling, and meditating on them. Over many years. Whatever their presenting symptoms, their particular complaints, may have been, there was always something much more important, much more basic, that always underlay them. I realized that until this was dealt with, I would merely be relieving their pain, but never their suffering. For suffering, as the Buddha declared, was the lot of our life. That our lives are suffering is the usual translation of what has been called his first Noble Truth.
And this I discovered appeared to be a virtually universal truth in my practice, at least: those before me were in suffering, and had been all of their lives. Even, and in fact more so, those who attempted to delude themselves, and the world, that the very opposite was the case with them. More than the pain, much more, there was always the suffering. And I attempted to relieve at least some of this by all the means at my disposal: psychological, and spiritual. And structural.
And here I want to now introduce a word which I feel is much more appropriate to describe the deepest pathology of the human condition. The word suffering has for me in recent years become less satisfactory. And this is best understood by considering its etymology. It is from the Indo-European root BHER which meant to carry. This also gave rise to such words as bear and burden. The underlying meaning is that of being overburdened by adversity which he can no longer bear, which he can no longer carry. Pushed down, de-pressed. This relates to the Thyroid meridian, which is the second meridian into which the chi, the Life Energy, flows on its path through the body. But a more important word is one that relates as you will see, to the primary meridian, to the meridian of entry of chi, the breath of life, into the body. This of course is the Lung meridian which naturally is most directly associated with breathing.
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Whitman and the Breath of the Line
By John Diamond, M.D.
Verse: from the Latin vertere, to turn.
Many poets – Wordsworth and Whitman come immediately to mind – are great poets, but poor versifiers: they didn’t know when to turn the line.
The basic reason for this is that they had a Lung 10 problem: not being at peace with their breathing. And this is then transmitted through to us. So that we love what they say, but, deep down, cannot love them, as they threaten our breathing, our lives!
I have found, time and time again, that the cause of the Lung 10 problem is the feeling that they are the victims of another’s Gall Bladder 40 sadistic attack. This trauma is then passed on to us, unwittingly, in their poetry. And their music. Think of the sadistic conductor (not uncommon!) threatening the orchestra members with his stick. Their breathing is jammed (as, of course, is his) – and this is then inflicted on the audience. Monitor your breathing when you’re next at a concert.
If, as I maintain the basic purpose of all artistic endeavor is to raise the Life Energy of the recipient, then it is absolutely essential that the artist is breathing easily, naturally, peacefully. And, tragically, this is not the usual situation.
Particularly tragic because one of the very best therapies is mutual breathing: the healer breathing easily and naturally, like that and encouraging the sufferer to breathe with him, as one with him: breath with breath, soul with soul.
Let’s now consider Walt Whitman. Much as I love his poetry, I do not feel loved by it because it restricts my free, peaceful breathing. To reveal his real genius, we need to re-versify him so as to, as it were, free up his breathing. And therefore ours as well. Then he is manifesting his highest therapeutic potential.
So, at the risk of being accused of blasphemy, even heresy, here are some examples from the first edition of Song of Myself. In every case, although you may object on principle, you will find, if you are perceptive, that your breathing has relaxed, that you have been Energized – as was Whitman’s basic Intention.
Note: I have also changed the punctuation, for it, too, is an aid to relaxed breathing. That is its very purpose.
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Clear and sweet is my soul . . . and clear and sweet is all
that is not my soul.