Join Our Community

The Miracle List

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

The Miracle List

How patients regain their health.
Alberto  Villoldo Ph.D.
Alberto Villoldo Ph.D. More by this author
Jan 31, 2011 at 09:00 AM

As we followed the shaman up the mountain along the ancient stone pathway crafted by the Inca some six centuries ago, the silence was broken only by the sound of his flute. Our destination was Ollantaytambo, near Machu Picchu, not only one of Peru’s best-preserved archaeological sites but also a site of great spiritual significance.

My companions seemed to be energized by their spirited endeavor, yet I was more concerned with the pounding in my head. The shock to my body of traveling quickly, from sea level in Florida to almost 10,000 feet in the Andes, focused my attention on the inescapable fact that I was suffering from shortness of breath and blurred vision. Thankfully, my wife and two children seemed less affected.

One of the shamans traveling with us noticed my distress and offered me a handful of coca leaves to chew. I decided to try it instead of the acetazolamide I carried in my backpack in case of high-altitude sickness. Soon I felt numbness in my mouth and, very quickly, my symptoms disappeared!

How did this descendant of the Inca know that the leaves of the Erythroxylum coca plant could help with the symptoms of high-altitude sickness? The obvious answer is that it was the benefit of ancient wisdom, yet that only partially satisfied me. It seemed improbable that some hapless forebear had been chosen to chew his way through all the local plants to check their medicinal use. Meanwhile, my companion studied my countenance, much as I would observe my own patients. Meeting his gaze, I realized that his knowledge of the coca leaf did not come from lessons learned but was rooted in a profound knowledge of soul and spirit—not a concept that sat easily with my Western medical training, and yet I felt moved to accept it.

My journey to the Andes was inspired by my wife after she had read several books by Dr. Alberto Villoldo. We chose this expedition because Alberto was leading it, and it was not long after my healing encounter that I had a chance to speak with him. I asked Alberto about the shaman’s apparently unique ability to access complex information by means of intuition.

“It is not knowledge that comes from others,” he said. “It comes from the source of all knowledge, which is Great Spirit. The sages are able to tap into this wisdom, and to a certain extent we all have the potential to do this, not just indigenous peoples. After all, there have been individuals throughout the ages and in all cultures who were considered enlightened.”

I returned to my medical practice serving patients with a variety of challenging brain disorders, my treatment plans always integrating lifestyle issues and nutritional interventions with standard pharmaceutical-based approaches. This less than traditional neurological methodology allowed me to gain a deep understanding of health issues while retaining a mindset that was open to new ideas.

Nevertheless, I continued to be challenged by patients who suffered diseases that were well beyond the scope of neurology alone, including cancer, advanced arthritis, diabetes, and other, equally challenging disorders.

I began to focus on the small but growing number of patients who were actually able to regain their health despite what could have been a diagnosis of incurable disease. What was it about these patients that turned things around? The answer was presented to me late one Friday afternoon during a consultation with a woman suffering from chronic progressive multiple sclerosis.

We had placed Beth on our standard array of nutritional supplements, specific essential fatty acids, and nutrient injections for the disorder several years before. Although her decline had slowed somewhat, she was forced to use a walker and even a wheelchair at times. That afternoon, however, my staff and I were astounded to see her walking down our hallway unassisted.

“We are putting you on our miracle list,” I told her, referring to the growing number of our patients whose improvements could not be explained by medical science.

In the examining room, we explored what had changed in her life and to what she attributed her miraculous improvement.

“I have been studying shamanism for a few years,” she replied, scrutinizing my face for any sign of familiarity with the term.

“Basically, I’ve gained the ability to tap into what I call healing energy,” Beth continued.

Over the coming months, I began to notice that we were putting more and more people on the miracle list. And it was becoming clear to me that, overwhelmingly, the patients who achieved the most profound recoveries were those engaged in some form of meditative or spiritual practice. Whether they repeated affirmations, meditated, or prayed in some fashion, virtually all of these patients were somehow connecting with what the shaman had referred to as the Great Spirit.

Over the next three years, my encounters with Alberto evolved into a close friendship, and we realized that we should put our heads together and collaborate. For it had become clear to us that access to the Great Spirit or Divine Energy—that natural force which is called by so many names—is available to all. In a sense, we are all shamans, and the most advanced teachings in cellular biology are validating lifestyle activities that, for centuries, have been paving the way to enlightenment through meditative practices not just for the chosen few but for all who care to learn.

About Author
Alberto  Villoldo Ph.D.
Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., is a medical anthropologist who comes from a long line of Earthkeepers from the Amazon and the Andes. The author of numerous best-selling books, Dr. Villoldo currently directs The Four Winds Society in Park City, Utah, where Continue reading