I have to wonder why it is such a stretch to think that bringing our attention back to nature would not be a means by which we could begin to heal ourselves as well as the damage that has been done to our planet (by us). I think it’s time to take a serious look at our lives, our health (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually), and our environment and ask ourselves the question, “so how’s this working for us?” Not very well, if you ask me. So what can we do to change the paradigm to one of healing rather than harming?
The critics and naysayers about CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine), whose conclusions are based on what they think is a “scientific” perspective, who like to quote the research findings, (usually done by a drug company), are really not seeing the forest through the trees (oh yes, and there are fewer and fewer of those too, thanks to humans…). Natural healing existed long before western medicine and big pharma. What we call new is ancient and what we call “traditional” is only about 200 years old. Ayurveda, the ancient healing system from India, goes back over 6000 years and there are probably even more traditions of Indigenous people before that. If you really think about it, since all of our “advances” in technology and medicine, there is more cancer than ever before, more radiation, more pollution, more corruption, more torture of animals and humans, and more diagnoses of diseases both physical and mental, than ever before. Our inherent need to label everything has lead us down a path of further belief in the magic bullet or quick fix philosophy – not only in medicine, but in everything. Instant gratification is the rule rather than the exception and once we get it, (that which we think we want), our satisfaction is short lived before we are on to the next thing in our search for what is really to be sought after within, or simply going back to bad habits that probably contributed to the situation to begin with.
I hear it all the time… “I tried Alternative Medicine – it doesn’t work.” And why might that be? Usually it’s because it’s tried as a last resort rather than a first resort when it should be the other way around. By the time a mild symptom has evolved to coronary artery disease or a tumor on a lab report, yes, it is probably too late to simply try a diet or lifestyle change. Not to say that those things shouldn’t be implemented immediately. They should, but that is the time when a western medical approach most likely needs to be implemented.
When we have a minor symptom, be it a little digestive disturbance, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, or a minor skin eruption, we tend to jump to “fix it”, usually with a pharmaceutical, only to receive temporary relief in addition to the gift of a side effect to go with it, or at least a contribution to toxicity. That toxicity builds up the more meds we take as well as eating processed foods and not sleeping properly and before we know it, we have a full blown illness that could have been prevented.
Why not try going back to nature and first inquire within why the symptom might be presenting itself to begin with. Nature really is more intelligent than our limited intellect that tells us to jump to a pharmaceutical because we saw it on TV. Using food as medicine as ancient modalities have understood for thousands of years, can do wonders to switch on and support the body’s innate healing mechanisms, and even affect brain chemistry. Adding other lifestyle changes that are deceptively simple yet powerful allies can only serve to contribute to the prevention of illness and the treatment of dis-ease if it happens. Our only job is to tune in to the messages our body-mind sends, and respond with an attitude of “First, do no harm” – and that is, to yourself or the planet. If the cure harms anything, then it really isn’t a true cure, is it?
Dr. Joanna Carmichael is an RN, Dr. of Metaphysics, Divinity, Interfaith Minister, Ayurveda Practitioner, Spiritual Teacher and Founder & CEO of the Kalyana Centre in Narberth, PA