Healing makes truth visible , and truth facilitates healing. Healing is, after all, the natural order of things. And the natural order of things is what truth explains. Healing has its own truth(s) which derives from the greater universal truth. It’s important to really understand healing. Often we base our knowledge of healing on the pervasive medical model. Achieving medical benchmarks is strongly possible with healing, but it’s efficacy is limited if we’re not conversant with the truth it carries and the truth it points to.
Modern medicine properly dates back to the 19th century. Healers have been healing since at least the start of recorded history, and long before. Healing actually has a storied cross-cultural history. The contrasting worldviews of healing and medicine are stated very well by Dean Ornish, MD:
Eating a vegetarian diet, walking (exercising) every day, and meditating is considered radical. Allowing someone to slice your chest open and graft your leg veins in your heart is considered normal and conservative.
Today’s medicine established a good track record in countering infectious diseases. Up until the last century, infectious diseases were the main cause of illness and death. This infrastructure is still in place, together with the use of the words “fight disease” and the inevitable conflict mentality it creates. This structure was and is in many cases a combination of drugs and surgery.
Nowadays humans live longer and illnesses have become both chronic and complex, and some have no clear causal factors. Medicine’s procedure hasn’t changed much though. It waits for people to develop symptoms then seeks to treat symptoms with drugs and surgery, which may or may not work, or have their own inherent complications. At the same time, the evidence that lifestyle and attitude changes have enormous impact on health is now overwhelming. Amongst the most effective are a healthier diet, regular exercise and reducing stress. Unfortunately, medicine has not fully transitioned and even resists a patient-care model that’s based on lowering risks and promoting prevention.
The origin of the word “medical” is this: From Latin medicus, physician; from mederi, to remedy, to heal; and Greek medesthai to be mindful of.
Worth thinking about!
Here’s an example of a healing infrastructure from ancient Greece:
If you lived in 500 BC and were ill or troubled, physically or emotionally, you would have journeyed to Cos, Epidaurus, Pergamum, or one of the many temples of the Greek god of healing, Aesclepius. For more than one thousand years, a holistic inner and outer medicine was practiced at these centers, which were located throughout Europe, the Near East, and the Mediterranean…
Upon your arrival, you would begin the process of purification by cleansing and fasting… After settling in to your dormitory, you would explore the temple grounds, enjoying the beautiful gardens and the graceful and serene statues of the great Greek sculptors… Roaming minstrels would lift your spirit, and you would participate in lively philosophical dialogues, which would stimulate your intellect and challenge you to consider alternative perspectives to your current life situation.
— Elliot Dacher, MD
Medicine asks, “How can disease be destroyed?” Healing asks, “Is there a teaching story in the disease?” Medicine tends to be authority-driven and top-down. Healing is a co-creative partnership and open to intuitive guidance. While medicine focuses on pathology and cure, healing focuses on the wellness of the individual and the community.
Doctors are paid for providing treatments, not spending time with patients. Studies show that doctor visits average about 20 minutes (some say 11 minutes), doctors shift to technical details when patients mention emotions, and interrupt patients’ initial statements after 23 seconds. Ironically what helps patients make healthy lifestyle changes is to be given real, human attention and connection.
Healing is person-centered. Medicine is disease- and treatment-centered. Healing heals the person. Medicine seeks to cure specific symptoms. Healing is about humanity. It brings humanity, life and society into the same sphere, understanding that wholeness is a joint endeavor.
In healing who comes before what. The what is understood as one part of the who. Healing includes all the other parts of who we are. Beyond symptoms, healing is a journey of self-discovery. In this discovery we also better relate to life in general, other people and even other species. In healing we begin to develop a solid sense of life’s common elements that are shared by all. Healing contributes value to individuals and society far beyond the alleviation of symptoms. It allows us to participate both individually and collectively in wisdom, compassion and truth.
Healing is more than eliminating disease symptoms; it is a process of achieving wholeness, alignment, and integration that encompasses every level of our being. Healing encourages self-awareness and enables us to express our unique potential more fully in our work, study, and relationships with ourselves and others. The healing journey not only helps us connect to our own inner rhythms, but also brings us closer to our spiritual nature and the world around us.
— Nathaniel Altman
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