I believe that medicine’s potential is much more than the version we see in the world today. A doctor should be an educator with the goal of bringing patients to a place of deeper understanding of who they are in the world. To me, medicine is ultimately about self-empowerment through self-knowledge and growth.
HEY KIDS… COME INSIDE PLEASE!… IT’S PANDEMIC TIME…
Get it? Instead of dinner time, she’s saying pandemic time.
OK, I admit it, I think we are all going a little bit crazy right about now.
Can you blame us? Can you really believe all that we are facing? It’s not just the Pandemic and all of its uncertainty and confusion but the political insanity and its uncertainty. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel overwhelmed. What is November going to bring? It’s enough to drive you over the edge.
Well, don’t give in! All of us are struggling. And there are piles upon piles of unprecedented circumstances loading up on all of us.
My first small takeaway is that you are not alone. I hope that is a little more than just a small consolation. But read on, there is more consolation.
Being Set Free
One of the things I’ve always loved about my job is that people tell me the truth. I’m there in a role of a total ally, and a true representation of their experience is our greatest guide. When I’m with my patients, truth is a huge asset towards our shared end of finding a great way forward. And we all know the truth is freeing.
It’s an amazing gift to take the deep dive into human nature every day in the office. Sometimes in life we put up a front– in the store, at a social event. I’ve always felt like the facades are down in the office. And it’s healthy to be in that zone! I soak up all the lessons when in the presence of the openness and honesty. You could say I am a student of the human and the human condition. Aren’t we all?
My point is that in a position to see the facade lowered I see person after person with unprecedented challenge and strain.
The REAL consolation is the realization that nothing about your experience right now is a mistake. Nothing is off track. This is your path. The script was not for us to be in comfort and ease, and then got abandoned. No. Life gives us challenges, by design.
And when it does we are forced into the really wonderful position of leaning on each other, helping each other.
Don’t hesitate to ask for a hand. There is an army of do-gooders at the ready. Be watching out for the opportunity to lend a hand also.
Then you arrive at the next step: to appreciate our challenges. Because they are great teachers.
The sweetest silver lining of the pandemic for me is how the scientific community is under the microscope. Everyone is a possible victim, so everyone is interested and everyone is watching closely and learning where our science doesn’t hold up.
I just can’t get over, first of all, the solidarity that we now have with people on all sides of the globe. We have the same thoughts! the same concerns! and the same goals!
Furthermore, I love how much is revealed when the whole world turns it attention to something at once. A lot of thinking power is on this right now. Any assumption about communicable diseases and how they work is being scrutinized.
A Couple lessons
One lesson that emerges is that if we had more brain power on any disease with this intensity we would find lots of interesting new things and directions. Too bad we don’t place a huge emphasis on teaching how to think as opposed to teaching facts. And I’m afraid all the screens everywhere make it way worse. They are think-for-you machines. They weaken thinking.
A second lesson is to really allow bigger picture thinking into what we are doing. There is an assumption that microbes are the runaway star of the infectious disease show. We all are influenced by it.
The more accurate our understanding, the better chance we have in finding the best solutions.
There’s an effort to widen the scope of how we approach infectious disease, beyond the microbe-centric view. Many great physicians over history have placed an emphasis on the host factor rather than on the microbe. Let’s put their ideas on the table! In centuries past, the approach to epidemics was to focus on the prevailing temporal and atmospheric conditions as well as meteorologic conditions. The human being as the host is influenced by these and is compelled into an epidemic constitution.
Pay attention to this now, it will expand your thinking a little:
A lot is being written outside of the mainstream about the sun’s influence and the solar cycles’ influence on health and illness and their role in THIS pandemic. For decades scientists have studied influenza epidemics and have debated their connection to the sun’s cycles.
Late 2019 happens to be a powerful low point in the sun’s current cycle, called a minimum. During a minimum there is very little solar activity and flares and spots. Minimums have connections to epidemics. See below.
Here’s the full story on solar cycles from NASA:
“Every 11 years or so, the Sun’s magnetic field completely flips. This means that the Sun’s north and south poles switch places. Then it takes about another 11 years for the Sun’s north and south poles to flip back again.
The solar cycle affects activity on the surface of the Sun, such as sunspots which are caused by the Sun’s magnetic fields. As the magnetic fields change, so does the amount of activity on the Sun’s surface.
One way to track the solar cycle is by counting the number of sunspots. The beginning of a solar cycle is a solar minimum, or when the Sun has the least sunspots. Over time, solar activity—and the number of sunspots—increases.
The middle of the solar cycle is the solar maximum, or when the Sun has the most sunspots. As the cycle ends, it fades back to the solar minimum and then a new cycle begins.” (nasa.gov)
Many scientific papers argue Solar minimums have a connection to epidemics
For example, a study in the Journal of Astrobiology & Outreach (2017) entitled ‘Sunspot Cycle Minima and Pandemics: The Case for Vigilance?’ concludes that the “three major sunspot minima – Sporer [1400-1520], Maunder [1645-1715] and Dalton [1790-1830] – are known to have been associated with devastating pandemics caused by viral or bacterial agents. Whilst some of these agents could be interpreted as being newly introduced to the Earth, others probably represented mutated or re-activated entities that were in circulation at the time… The modern period 2002-2017 has been characterised by the lowest solar activity since the Dalton minimum… These conditions taken together arguably provide the best opportunity for the onset of pandemics.”
The point is, as a generalization, we have much to learn and much to gain in the knowledge of how important the movements of the solar system (and beyond) are for our experience on earth. To advance our understanding our scope needs to go beyond the microbes and needs to include host factors that pass by our usual boundaries. It comes back around to connecting to the truth to enforce our existence. Our scope needs to expand to see the human as much greater than the product of a neighborhood or a nation. We are cosmic beings. Knowing the truth and living it is our highest aim.
Visionary Rudolf Steiner talks about this exact idea in a lecture:
…People will only achieve results in the sphere of health, hygiene and medicine if they study not historical, but cosmological symptoms. For the diseases we suffer on earth are visitations from heaven… Therefore everything depends on this one aim: the search, the quest for truth.”
More on truth
In a recent essay, Author Terry Boardman summarizes Steiner’s thinking on this passage:
Nothing is better for a person, Steiner said, than real insight into how things work in the world. The truth can never be as damaging as an untruth and to adhere to the truth is a solemn and holy act of worship. Have courage for truth, he urged; stand on the foundation of truth, even if it is harmful or embarrassing. It is essential “to develop the will to see things, to see how human beings are manipulated, to see where there might be impulses by which people are manipulated. This is the same as striving for the sense for truth. … One who possesses the sense for truth is one who unremittingly strives to find the truth of the matter, one who never ceases to seek the truth and who takes responsibility for himself even when he says something untrue out of ignorance.” (quote from R. Steiner)
The pandemic is forcing us to look deeper and to see more. It is a challenging time to be alive, but, for that very reason, it is a rich time to be alive. The more we learn about ourselves the more we will do our lives justice and find unexpected solutions. In the meantime, and when in doubt, let’s keep an eye out for someone who needs a boost and support each other.
Here’s to learning and the opportunities to do so!