In 2013, Emperor’s College celebrates 30 years of
“inspiring the future of medicine”.
What developments in integrative medicine do you hope to see in the next 30 years and how will you help to implement them?
What a time to ask this question…the world is on the threshold of change like very few times in history or myth. Human cognition of existence is catching fire, when I was a kid the song lyric “Run for your life the earth’s on fire” was for a moment the sound of one hand clapping. A koan that stopped the heart caught the attention and altered the trajectory of a few minds. It begged the question “what are we doing?” and since that time the discoveries in biology, physics and medicine have leap frogged over each other to reach this threshold. What we do know is that we don’t know…much, and that is our greatest achievement. What we don’t know is the magic that is life. That dark space is where healing happens.
It brings me satisfaction to see that the discoveries of recent years confirm the wisdom of the ancients, that we have come in a spiral to a point that carries connection to the Tao, the Dreamtime and the Dhamma, yet is a new expression of them all. Most important I believe, is the spreading acknowledgment that nothing is as it appears, all things are interconnected and we are not the limited, culture bound, physical body-minds we thought we were.
For medicine this means the patient, client, seeker, is the guide; and illness, trauma, disharmony is the teacher. Healers are facilitators in this relationship, this task, this challenge. Healers are also the witnesses, observers and students. Healers devote time and attention to accumulating massive amounts of information, developing discernment and insight but are not the organism in question and must join in partnership with the seeking individual rather than controlling or disquieting that person. The most important thing we can learn is that we do not know what we think we know and even that is subject to change.
People have access to information like never before. Patients are not just putty in the hands of medical practitioners any more. Consumers are driving the machine and it is beginning to turn, slowly as a giant ship in the water. It is turning to follow the teaching of Traditional Oriental Medicine and the desires of the consumers in putting prevention first, and supporting what is well on principle. What does that take? Environmental restoration and protection, nutritious food, clean water, sanitation, happiness are the factors required for good health. In the immediate moment Happiness is the most important factor. In sickness or in health, happiness is the most important factor.
For my own selfish delight I commit to being happy, to feeling that happiness with life each day and to encourage that in others. Cannot help anyone else without that. When happy we allow the cells of the body to function without interference and they have what it takes to form tissues who have what it takes to form organelles who have what it takes to form organs who have what it takes to form the organism that may be us. And we have what it takes to form communities that thrive.
It is the responsibility of healers to encourage faith in the cells of the body, joy in life, happiness in the moment, not to instill fear and control.
We need to say “wake up, relax and live right now.”
This is a care not cure model. It is an honest and direct communication that fosters independence and strength and personal growth at all levels. It means accepting diversity and expression as non-threatening and stimulating. It means facing our fears, it means that courage is celebrated for what it is every moment of every day.
Schools, hospitals, and other monolithic edifices are going away. Where once we herded together unwillingly or ambivalently we are now able to focus on what brings each of us our bliss. This is happening for everyone. The apparent discrepancy between rich and poor, haves and have nots is an illusion. Happiness is not based in materialism. Well being does not depend on wealth.
Integrative Medicine is the crest of a wave that carries medicine, engineering, philosophy, art, writing, and adventure into the mixing pot. It takes all of us, it is a restructuring of society, not a piece of it, not a practice, not a guild. It’s about all of us. Tech is changing the face of the world but the biggest and most important change that is happening now is the paradigm shift to personal power founded in happiness. We are blooming.
That is what the TCM perspective brings into the light today: we are all interconnected, we are not separate from each other and we are not what we seem. That is what quantum physics brings to light today:
we are all interconnected, we are not separate from each other and we are not what we seem. The meeting of these two tales is a fusion reaction. We are in for a lot of energy.
What am I doing to help implement these changes? I am as enthused with gratitude and excitement and awe as I – a powerfully sensational being – can be, and I am present for every moment. I watch for and let go of any aspect of anger, delusion or denial that comes by and proactively fill my time and mind with appreciation of the beauty around me. I am amazed by what can be done with attention to the moment. I am amazed at the unfolding of discernment that is an apparently infinite process. I fully enjoy the experience of life and I know that is what we are all here for. So I share this when requested and observe it with heartfelt appreciation. That is what I am doing to implement these changes. When others recognize this in me, I see it in them as well and that connection is a spark that has a macrocosmic effect. This ripple is the sweetness we bring forth, that is what real health is, extending beyond time and beyond space.