“What if all our effort in the world was being sabotaged by the way energy was flowing around our bodies”; this thought led me to the most comical and profound experience.

The head of an NGO in Geneva was telling me about the most painful experience of her life; naturally my ears pricked up; she had just come back from a healing session with a Colombian shamanic practitioner. My response was instant. Where could I sign up.

Not only did I sign up but I convinced my wife to come as well – this meant dropping the kids at school, taking a flight to Geneva, embracing near-certain pain and getting back for the 4.30pm pick up.

The humor of this was not lost on us. We rushed to the airport, waited in hire car queues, panicked about being late and drank too much coffee. Getting to the healing session was extremely stressful.

So why did we do this when, by all rational accounts, it made no sense at all. The answer was because it felt like the right thing to do. We were both looking forward a different type of learning experience.

This has led me to question how we think about and understand learning – what if we, in Western cultures, are only engaging in evidence-based learning, what if we only approve of learning that makes sense to our hyper-rational mind; what if we only value learning that we can see and dismiss all that we cannot; in short what if we are immersed in learning that isn’t learning at all – but some sort of mental stimulation or worse mental self-affirmation.

The Maya Priestess held my feet and spoke to her spirits; she dug a stone into my legs, arms and chest. It was excrutiatingly painful. She left me in the room with rocks all over my body. I went to sleep throbbing all over. On her return, we spoke. Apparently I had anger in my right thigh, tears all the way down my spine, thorns in my back and emotional blockages in my chest.

What she was seeing was something that I did not see at all or understand. My rational brain wanted to ridicule and dismiss the whole thing, at best well intentioned, at worst spiritual commercialism. However, my intuition was telling me the exact opposite, that this was very real; and that my culture was blind to this learning.

Of course, the burning question was – did it work? Do you feel any difference? What’s the ROI? I felt myself slipping back into the same old paradymn.

For 24 hours afterwards, I felt very blue and I carried around a deep, deep sadness.

So ROI? I’ll let you decide.


By Peter Baily, Client Director and Founder – The Kairos Project

Peter Baily