|Alejandra Melendrez Miguel Mayor, Apostol's maternal grandmother, was a respected healer and midwife. Photo Copyright © 2000 | Virgil Apostol.|
Practical application involves not only techniques but also the application of principles and theories that influence those techniques. If techniques stand by themselves, they are dead-ended. A technique is the physical outcome expressed by the mind and spirit that act as “one” influencing the physical movements leading to sequence in motion. Thus, the practitioner becomes a creative, sensitive, and even clairvoyant warrior, capable of adapting to any given situation.
When applying the skills of Arnis de Mano in combat or in practice, one of the characteristics of the late Eduardo “Dading” Vintayen was that he neither directly faced nor looked at his opponents being that he had developed a high level of sensing the opponent’s initial or follow-up strike. This is one of the many examples of how long-time practitioners of the Filipino martial arts can develop a keen sensitivity with the ability to avoid or defend against an attack from any given angle. This is also true of the Filipino healing arts.
The practical application of Ablon, for example, does not emphasize specific techniques alone but on guidance and help from intuition or an omniscient consciousness be it God, guiding or helping spirits, or whatever the practitioner believes in. This is what separates “technicians” or those that go through the movements just because the book or instructor said so, from “true healers”. Technicians depend on techniques while true healers also rely on the mind and spirit as guiding forces for using those tools. As the practitioner progresses, the ability to go straight to the source of the injury, for example, increases. The practitioner also spends less time trying to figure out what needs to be worked on in order to treat that injury.
Bio-Energetic Flow in the Urat and Pennet
The flow of bio-energy is crucial for the proper balance of bodily function. A blockage in the urat or pennet can be damaging and may cause the general area to become knotted or kinked (nagkaretket), spasmodic (napiskel), stiff (naktang), or frozen (nalamiisan). As a result, this can impede the flow of blood and life-force energy. The heart also needs to pump extra hard in order to force the blood through these restricted areas where blockages have occurred. If prolonged and extent throughout the body, some claim that this may lead to disease such as high-blood pressure.
If the body becomes hot or is bumped, the urat and pennet are said to expand or become swollen (lumteg). If cold, they will contract (koriteg). If the body is struck, they may bruise (litem). If a body part atrophies, they can shrivel (kumbet). And if a body part is not stretched or exercised, then they can become shorter (koretret). All these symptoms signify an imbalance in the urat and pennet which is, in one way or another, not allowed to pass the blood and bio-energy through to its fullest potential.
Through Ablon, it is possible to balance the spiritual bio-energy by understanding the functioning of the urat and pennet, the methods in aligning these structures, and knowing which ones to treat.
I was once given the opportunity to give a short lecture and workshop on traditional Filipino healing to a group of medical professionals. The way I opened my talk was to stalk my way towards the front while swinging a long bladed weapon called a panabas. Through the corners of my eyes, I saw many of the people that were sitting by the inner isle move away from me with shock, afraid of being cut. Perhaps all of them were wondering what the heck I was doing and how this tied in with healing, but that was exactly what I wanted them to think. I knew that I had their attention.
By the time I was up on stage, I explained that what I had just demonstrated to them was the deadly potential of the blade, followed by the explanation that it is not so much the weapon that one should fear but the one holding the weapon. I further gave a scenario of being out in the battlefield while an enemy was aiming for my neck with his own treacherous weapon. I then asked an open-ended question to the audience if at that moment, I was going to think of something else such as what I was having for dinner. Of course they all realized that, by then, my own head or limbs would have been severed.
With the audience still bewildered with where I was going with this, I continued by stating that this is what happens to many of us while with our patients or during a treatment or procedure. In their eyes, I saw some enlightenment.
What I was explaining to these doctors, nurses, and other health professionals was that spiritual power moves to places of least resistance. The patients that are sitting or lying in front of them have submitted their trust in what is being done for them. They have subconsciously placed themselves at their mercy, thus being in a mode for receiving their spiritual power in whatever form. But what if the mind of the health provider was occupied with thoughts of his or her mortgage payments, family problems, or even an upcoming vacation? Would this not mean that the health provider’s intent was not totally dedicated to the patient’s well being? Likewise, if the health provider were full of anger, the patient would surely pick up on this. As I tell both patients and healers alike, “energy moves to places of least resistance.” When a stimulus in their environment overpowers them, that stimulus can either be for or against their well being.
Espiritista medium protector, Avelina Campollo (left), acting as a channel for the flow of spiritual energy, which is poured into Apostol's hands. Balungao, Pangasinan. Photo copyright © 1999. Photo by Salvador D. Belan.
It is not uncommon for us not to notice if someone is occupied with other thoughts and to “feel” what that person is experiencing whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. And so it is when we have a patient in front of us. Therefore, as a healer, mind intent is of utmost importance. If a healer is psychically transmitting negative thoughts, the patient will consciously or subconsciously pick up on this.
Intention also applies to the healing work being done. Without this, the healer is like an empty shell merely going through the motions. Mind intent is what separates the healer from a mediocre therapist. Most importantly, though, is the use of mind intent to carry out the healing principles. This is backed up by concentration and dedication.
Applied to the martial arts, when an opportunity to execute a pressure point reveals itself, merely pressing on that point is not going to do anything. In order for it to be effective, intense mind intent, one with full concentration and dedication with the knowledge that it will inflict pain, must be mastered. However, if the opponent is an advanced practitioner, he may be able to withstand or counter the pressure through his own methods. This is where psychology comes in. Before the application of the pressure point, a distracting technique might be sufficient enough for the opponent to temporarily let down his defense and be caught off-guard by the pressure point application. This, in turn, is also applicable to the healing arts.
I once went to a healer to see what he could do for my aching shoulder. Expecting a lengthy session, the healer grabbed my arm, began range-of-motion, and then caught me off-guard by yanking my arm downward with a sudden jerk. Instantaneously, I felt a hot electrical surge run down my arm. Like a magician, the healer slowly raised his hands as if levitating or energetically pulling up my arm which felt weightless rising on its own. My shoulder was instantly healed!
Back to Top