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.
This week we saw the virus’ spread accelerate. It seems to be never ending, but it will pass. One medical official postulated that by January we will be mostly through it. It’s tough to know, but in the meantime, we need strategies to remain sane…and healthy.
A greater understanding connects us to solutions. The more understanding we can weave around the problem the more likely we will find meaningful actions. School is in session!
Today’s lesson, class, is on cutting edge viral theory that will remind you of your capacity to remain whole at every moment during any situation.
Who wants a little lesson to help you through the Pandemic?
Very well! So, you probably have been given the idea that viruses are tiny, beastly, foreign invaders that highjack our cells to make more virus then release their progeny by killing the cell in some sort of self-serving (psychopathic) manner.
Suspend that narrative for a minute, take in these three facts about viruses, and let’s see where we arrive.
#1 All living cells have viruses, even down to the one-celled organisms. No cell is free of viruses. We should wonder as to why we consider their presence abnormal. It is better to see viruses as part of the normal machinery of the cell. That’s different!
Viruses are ubiquitous in the environment. Millions of airborne viruses are wafting around you each day, and billions more microbial travelers are descending everywhere on Earth, after riding air currents around the world.
The soil, our oceans and our bodies also contain massive amounts of viruses.
Viruses are little non-living packets of genetic (DNA & RNA) information. They enter and leave cells in a highly regulated fashion. Sometimes they cause disease, but many times they don’t. Viruses leave behind a piece of their genetic sequence. After recovering from an infection there will always be a piece of that virus encoded within your DNA.
A large percentage of the human genome is actually viral in origin. 50% of the human genome is said to have a viral etiology! The genome insertion can cause disease or can bring important benefits.
Professor Luis P. Villarreal, the Founding Director of the Center for Virus Research at UC Irvine, says it like this: “So powerful and ancient are viruses, that I would summarize their role in life as ‘Ex Virus Omnia’ (from virus everything).”
We have barely begun to understand viruses. They are invisible to microscopes and weren’t discovered until 1940 when the electron micrograph was invented. 99.999% have not been described in detail. The origin of viruses is unclear.
Much to ponder
Putting this together raises the possibility that there’s more going on than meets the eye. Who’s getting what I’m saying?
Excellent! Let’s tie this in to 2020 goings on.
On to SARS CoV-2
On a couple of occasions, before the Pandemic, a doctor named Zach Bush MD lectured that the Hubei Province in Central China (where Wuhan is) was rife for the next pandemic. Why? Because they use more pesticide and other unnatural farming techniques than anywhere else in the entire world. Amazing, right?
Stress to the environment stimulates nature’s adaptive responses. Bush postulates genomic information is being passed in this novel virus to the host which learns an important advantage. This virus is a nano-communication, just like any other virus. The majority of people don’t even know they are incorporating it, but a minority get quite ill in the process.
Why do some people get sick?
So why do some people get sick and even die from these things we used to think of as invaders, but now think of as communicators?
One major factor is pollution.
Remember the link between COVID case mortality and air pollution? A Harvard study from the end of April showed us that each incremental increase in measured air pollution in a city effects the death rate in a big way!
A recent study showed that heart related deaths, the leading cause of death in older people, are also connected to poor air quality. Are we dying for our industrial enterprises?
The implicated particles are produced by combustion sources such as car engines, fireplaces and coal-fired power plants. They’re small enough to be breathed deep into the lungs where they can cause chronic inflammation.
Got me, class?
Good. Here is a refresher on helpful measures:
Eliminate tobacco smoke
Reduce your use of wood stoves and fireplaces
Don’t burn leaves, garbage, plastic or rubber
Use HEPA air filters and air cleaners designed to reduce particles
Drive less: carpool, use public transportation, bike or walk
Keep car, boat and other engines tuned
Inflate tires to the recommended pressure
When refueling: stop when the pump shuts off, avoid spilling fuel, and tighten your gas cap
Use low-VOC paint and cleaning products, and seal and store them so they can’t evaporate
Choose energy saving appliances
Set thermostats higher in summer and lower in winter
Turn off lights you are not using
We can have hope that the fall in pollution from the shutdown, when our cars and airplanes were in the garages and hangers, will weaken the death rate. Pollution levels are certainly lower. It is uncertain as to whether previous exposure will count too heavily.
It is Interesting to know that winter is a time of poorest air quality. Bush postulates that this is why we get flu season when we do. Interesting to think in those terms.
What remains clear is improper care of our environment stimulates disease, death and suffering. And, disconnection with nature stimulates novel viruses.
Remembering our connection with the world is the Healing Step!
Steps to mitigate it: Easy as 1,2,3
Consider the earth as a part of our larger human body and treat it with utmost respect. We win when every part of us is well.
TWO! Consider societal structures and the environment to be the most fitting arena for intervention. Clean our air, water and soil and our understanding of the world and our role in it. Our deepest research shows that advances in sanitation and hygiene account for far more of the improvement in life expectancy over the last 120 years than does the creation of vaccines and antibiotics.
Let’s avoid the trap of tinkering with the world and when it makes us sick tinker with the body because it cries out in protest. Respect the vast intelligence in the body. Support natural cures that keep the body whole.
Viruses are communicators. Supporting careful, considerate, loving communication in your life supports careful, considerate, loving communication everywhere. Let’s model peaceful communication. Ghandi said to be the change you want to see in the world.
One must first create peace in himself if he desires to see peace in the world; for lacking peace within, no effort of his can bring any result. Bowl of Saki, July 2, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Everyday we cast a vote for how we want the world to be. We cast it in the way we talk to others, in the way we talk to ourselves, and also in the way we choose to spend our money and the type of industry we support when we do so. Let’s line it up.
Struggle isn’t the problem, not learning from it is.
Committing to expanding our understanding, lovingly, is the first step to being blessed by illness.