Prayer requests, anyone? Every week my church fosters the spirit of community and cooperation by sharing our burdens and offering solace to those in need. One by one, parishioners come up to the front of the congregation to speak of their concerns over their loved ones. A litany of sickness and suffering, finished off by calls for help. Can you bake? How about visit and sing songs? Maybe provide some financial support? Wouldn’t you want your friends to bring you a home-cooked meal in the hospital, or sing carols at your grandfather’s bedside on Christmas, or offer to help your mother pay those exorbitant hospital bills? Sure, who wouldn’t? It feels good, the aid is in place, we’re doing all we can to help. But something is missing in this picture. We have the wounded, the sick, we have the caregivers, the hospitals, the physicians. But in our eagerness to soothe the hurt, to comfort the sick, we avoid the knowledge of our own complicity. Like colonial plantation owners tending to a sick slave, we soothe our own guilt with warm milk and honey.
What?! you say, you fairly shout at me, What can you be saying? How can you compare me to a slaveholder, when it is my own flesh and blood lying in that hospital bed? I didn’t put her there, I didn’t cause the suffering (that I am so afraid will be me next)? I told her to eat less fat, to exercise more, I told him to keep taking that blood pressure medicine, I taught him yoga and meditation, I did (am doing) what I could!!!
It’s not prevention I’m talking about. It’s not about eating more fiber and avoiding stress. We are suffering from wrong understanding. We are dying believing that the symptom makes the sickness. We accept that cutting off a tumor and then irradiating the body is the best we can do. We allow our trusted doctors to amputate ulcers and administer toxic drugs for cancer. We encourage immune-suppressing steroids for breathing problems, anything to stop the suffering, without regard for the long term; blind to the true health of the whole person. We support the system that creates illness, entrenches sickness, and deteriorates our health more severely with each added generation.
Like slavery in colonial times, like dependence upon oil in modern times, we can’t see our way past ‘how it’s always done’ to what is happening in the here and now. We won’t see that suppressing the twinges of neuritis now leads to debilitating chronic symptoms in the years ahead. We are afraid to admit that giving bronchodilators to the coughing child now leads to life-long asthma in the adult. We just want it to stop now, and for this insistence, we pay dearly. Knowing somewhere inside that we could have made different choices, that we caused the suffering, knowing this truly, is too hard to allow into our consciousness. So we pray, we hold hands, we bake, we sing, we provide solace up until the end, and then after the tears dry, we move on to the next bedside.
There is a better way. There is a system of medicine that does not create illness with its treatments. Homeopathy is a time-honored means to treat disease at its source, rather than futilely trimming away the external manifestations. It’s more than just ‘strengthening the immune system,’ more than building up the body with nutritious foods. Homeopathy understands that diseases don’t limit themselves to one area of the body, one organ system, one leg or the other hand. When a body is diseased, the entire person is sick. When the pancreas stops producing insulin, the whole person is ill. Providing the missing hormone is helpful, even life-saving in the short-term, but for true health and return to full function, the body that houses the sick pancreas must also be healed.
Ever wonder why some diseases are considered ‘incurable’? That’s because modern medicine, with its myopic focus on diagnosis and prevention, has lost sight of the big picture. Yes, some folks can’t be cured, but that percentage would be a lot smaller if we began our healing efforts with the roots of the problem. Let’s start the healing at the level where disease first takes hold….the entire person.
Illness begins at the energetic level. Remember that feeling that comes before a cold, before the running nose, before the stuffy sinuses? When you know that you are “coming down with something”? That’s the very beginning of illness; when the disease has disturbed your energy. You are already sick prior to actual physical symptoms. This is the level at which homeopathy heals. The term “vital force” is a useful one to describe the energetic component of the body. This is what leaves when we die. The vital force has to be present for wounds to heal, bee stings to hurt and then ease, broken bones to knit. Yes, we need the cells that march in to eliminate infection and reconstruct tissue, but without the vital force these cellular components would not even be called into action. We can keep the wound clean and set the bone, but without the vital force all we would ever get would be a clean wound and a casted limb. Homeopathy partners up with our vital force to strengthen our body’s innate knowledge and bring an end to the diseased state.
This work is much more than healing diseases. Homeopathy, properly applied, brings an end to recurrent conditions, or predispositions, so that the patient no longer suffers from migraines, asthma, epilepsy, psoriasis. When these diseases are considered separate from the whole person, treated so as to eliminate simply the symptoms, then the person becomes sicker. The skin may clear, the headache may go away, but surely it all comes back again and again, each time with greater force until the disease is finally driven deeper and a more serious condition arises. By contrast, when the patient is treated as a whole, the recurrences become milder each time until finally the whole person is free of disease. Energy abounds and there is a state of ease and harmony.
As a living example from my practice, Sally (her name changed) is a huge bull mastiff dog who woke up one morning with a terrible pain in her leg. She cried and limped all the way to her veterinarian’s, where her saddened caretakers were told that she needed to be given chemotherapy and have her leg amputated to save her life. With this treatment, she could live four more months. Her guardians struggled with this decision, buying time with pain medications that only partly worked. Finally they called me, and now Sally is walking four-legged and pain free nearly three years after her diagnosis. Their biggest trouble now is keeping her from stealing the hors-d’oeuvre during parties. (Sally used to be afraid to come out and meet new people, but that changed along with the healing of her leg.) And the best part is that she’s not on any medications whatsoever. Her body no longer needs crutches. In homeopathy, the remedies are given only until the vital force responds curatively.
Then there’s the big yellow cat I’ll call Keith, who kept getting corneal ulcers. After he had suffered for five months straight with constant ointments and eye drops, his guardians decided to try homeopathy. He has been a year ulcer-free, and his long-term hindquarter weakness is a memory of the past. He received a single dose of treatment, and that is all that he needed.
We can institute change. If we begin with ourselves and our loved ones, we can create a groundswell of opinion that drives our caretakers and physicians to find a better way. If we raise awareness of the true nature of health and sickness, then we can transform our hospitals and care centers into the true centers of healing that they were designed to be. The modern medical paradigm focuses on the eradication of disease through the use of force. Our medical professionals hand out prescriptions designed to stop the expression of symptoms, like a many-fingered hand plugging up leaks. If the symptom can be silenced, then the treatment is considered a success. If the tumor is taken off and the skin heals, the patient is considered cured. But this is not curing. Physicians do have an awareness that the patient is more than the sum of his symptoms, but this understanding is vague and rudimentary at best. Let’s build on that beginning and ask for more. More training, more understanding, better treatment of ourselves and our loved ones. Together we can turn the tide.