A Short Course for Physicians and Patients

10 Things Medical School Does Not Teach …
But Everyone Should Know

Sixth Lesson

Understanding Illness

Understanding Illness Through Awareness of the Big Picture

Mr. Pogo

To move from Fighting Disease to Understanding Illness, we should consider a few simple things:

First, let’s consider the difference between disease and illness. Believe it or not, the idea of diseases has been created by medical science in more ways than we dare imagine. Scientists and physicians have gone to vast expense to name and categorize human ills in order to make them seem more manageable. They have lined them up — or tried to, to make them look like the species and genera by which botanists study plants and vegetation.

But, it just ain’t so. Facts suggest quite otherwise.

This approach is far from the truth and reality of things. Diseases are almost always just names given to collections of signs and symptoms to gain handles on them. That while the real proof lies not in words and labels, but in helping the patient understand and manage his/her illness. And, that case is on the whole quite lacking in medical practice.

Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, explained it this way: “There are no diseases, only sick people.”

Disease or no disease, label or no label, it is the patient and his/her experience which is of real importance.

Second, we need to understand the true nature of the human form and of existence to get a clearer of health and illness. Humans are part of the wider and deeper world. And, causes lie in those deeper worlds of God and Nature, of which physicians and public are relatively oblivious. There are NO strictly physical illnesses. They are generated from within and find their way into outer bodily expression.

Our bodies are not the source of our problems.

Humans are spiritual beings having physical experiences in a material world. But, we must not forget that the inner dimensions are always in our midst — right here, right now.

“The Kingdom of God is in your very midst.” What appears — for good or ill — in the physical world begins in emotional, mental and spiritual ones.

Third, our forms are part of nature. Certainly not separate from it. But how woefully ignorant we are of our relationship to Nature, the Garment of God.

Dr. Lewis Thomas, a biologist, researcher, administrator and physician, hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “The only solid piece of scientific truth about which I feel totally confident is that we are profoundly ignorant about nature. [Our part in nature is not to be denied.] Indeed, I regard this as the major discovery of the past hundred years of biology.” (The Medusa and the Snail, 1995)

Our ignorance of nature is appalling.

Our ignorance of the Nature of the human being is even more appalling. Especially when we consider the billions, probably trillions, of dollars which have been expended on medical laboratory research over the generations. But again, medical research has had little to do with real people in day-to-day real life experience.

Fourth: Like the Trinity itself, humans are triple beings bridging God and nature. Consciousness approximates the third pillar of the human being: Spirit, Consciousness and Form.

Made in the image and likeness of God, we all have our own personal Trinity.

Paracelsus put the human trinity this way: “The spirit is the master, imagination the tool, and the body the plastic material.”

A more modern rendering of the same idea was given by Edgar Cayce, the American Prophet: “The spirit is the life, the mind is the builder, and the physical is the result.”

Fifth, since we know so little about God and nature, we ought to learn more about them.
Living human beings — well or ill — should be the focus of everyone’s study.
We do not get to the truth of the human being by stripping its layers and parts. Medical science has worked in that manner and we have learned a lot. But mostly, “more and more about less and less.”

We suggest that human beings — including physicians — are smart enough and intuitive enough to begin exploring beyond the physical form. When we do, profound clues, sometimes answers, and even enlightenment will follow.

Instead of working with and studying parts, let’s try to consider wholes, whole beings, and the Greater Wholes of which they are part. God and spirit must be brought back into the mix. Medicine and its human clients can no longer afford — financially and otherwise — to continue merely playing with pieces. The whole orchestra is needed to produce a profound symphony.

Diseases teach physicians how to think, but illnesses can teach us all how to live better and more healthfully.

Each illness is a living story which can allow us to grow and expand. Hard as it may be to accept, illness is part of life and challenges us to move closer to our deepest, truest being. Thus illness becomes a force for healing in the grander scheme of things. And, nature helps show us the way. How amazing!

“Nature heals while the doctor takes the fee.” Anonymous

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