If I write about the connection between body mind and spirit I will get lots of agreement from most of you. I can see your heads nodding in agreement, yes we are all connected. If I mention the interconnectedness of all life, the idea will seem like a reasonable theoretical framework. But when you find yourself suffering from an illness, what will you choose to do about it?
Most of us will separate our body and mind immediately. Never mind the spirit we can deal with that later. Our first priority is to relieve the suffering of the body. We will turn to medicine, doctors with labels for our suffering, and accept surgeries, injections, and drugs. We might, as the suffering continues, consider the idea that there is a psychological connection. Those spiritually inclined might look for meaning or purpose in their suffering. If we are thoughtful we will use our minds in the process of trying to help our body by researching, pondering options and ideas and debating which treatment and diagnosis seems most likely to decrease our suffering without causing further harm.
But you must see, from this description, that the body the mind and the spirit are not one in this process. That the goal itself – end suffering – held by our societally created medical system, which is pseudo-scientific at best – causes the division of our selves from an organism integrated with its environment to an organism in an environment, an organism with a body, a mind, and a spirit, living in a society.
What I’m considering here is an impossibility. In truth we are designed to separate ourselves, isn’t that the original sin story, which exists in some form in almost all cultures… we were in paradise – a metaphor for One with all of creation, and then we got knowledge and we became conscious of our separateness. This may in fact be the source of both our suffering and our life’s journey – to first notice our separateness and then to reunite ourselves into a one-ness through a life path of contemplation and presence and right action and self care and service…..
So when we choose health-care, it may be inevitable that we first reach for external solutions, ones that will attack and tame our suffering. It is only when these fail that we recognize we have to integrate and use our own capacity. We must develop a relationship with the therapeutic forces of the natural world both inside and outside of us in order to truly heal any suffering. Not an easy task.
Osteopathy, using the biodynamic model is a bridge. My patients are still seeking a decrease or end to suffering. I still provide support. But the goal of the osteopathic doctor is to find the health in the patient. To see how the therapeutic forces are working and to augment that existing wellness. Sometimes this means reconnecting the patient to their wholeness, other times the connection that needs to be reformed is to the natural or supernatural world. But the goal is not to attack the symptoms and restore a false symmetry in the hopes that the mechanistic quality of the human body needs only to achieve perfect symmetry achieved through superimposing an ideal. The goal is to see the existing perfection… that which moves through all life and is constantly creating and regenerating life on a macroscopic, cellular, and subcellular level.
It sounds esoteric. I could break it down into parts for you and talk about the fluid system, the autonomic nervous system, the embryologic forces of development. But it is a living reality, the oneness that is demanded of the osteopathic doctor is first and foremost a complete reliance on this reality. It is not just a nice idea that we are connected, it is in fact the only way to access health. The whole has to be the goal.
So, next time you are suffering, be it a sense of physical, emotional or spiritual angst, and you are tempted to reach for an external solution that further separates you into parts, consider an osteopathic treatment first.