What do you think of when you hear the word medicine?
Perhaps it includes doctors, nurses, pills, prescriptions, operations, surgery, wounds, illness and disease, curing and healing, science, study, university?
But whatever your picture of medicine – does it include Love?
I’m not a betting person, but I reckon for most who work within the profession that love is not top of the list, or even near the top….in fact it probably doesn’t feature on the list at all!
Indeed, the word love is more a taboo in medicine than it is a presence. If you talk about love as a doctor you risk being mocked, laughed at, not taken seriously and perhaps even ostracised, for it is deemed unscientific, too ‘touchy-feely’, woo-woo and not something that is real, visible and measurable. Because it cannot be measured, then science relegates it to the dustbin, dismissing it before considering what it is and its role in medicine. It is often solely consigned to the ‘personal’ or ‘private’ aspect of our lives, for partners, family and friends but dare not enter the serious scientific business and practice of medicine.
Yet at the same time, we have ancient teachings that tell us that ‘love heals’, that love is ‘the greatest healer,’ with Paracelsus stating that, “The Foundation of Medicine is Love”. WOW! Let us just pause and consider that statement further – The FOUNDATION of MEDICINE is LOVE – the foundation, the rock upon which medicine stands, the key to medicine, to healing – is Love.
Understanding that The Foundation of Medicine is Love was certainly never part of my medical school training or post-graduate surgical training and like many, I too would have poo-pooed and dismissed it as twaddle and deemed it to have no place in the scientific training of medicine. So, is this just an out of date ancient saying from a time when doctors had little else to offer or is it a fundamental truth about medicine that we have long ago forgotten?
Certainly, modern medicine does not have love as its foundation or indeed anywhere in its curriculum and the hidden curriculum reveals a culture of medicine that is far from loving and which undoubtedly takes its toll.
Perhaps it is the absence of love in medicine that has given rise to the presence of our ever-increasing ills?
Not just in society and the high rates of illness and disease and multi-morbidity, but what if it is also crucial to understanding the high levels of addiction, suicide and burnout in the medical profession. What if all of these ills are due to the fact that we have lost touch with the fact that The Foundation of Medicine is Love?
A medicine without true foundations is a medicine in trouble – and so perhaps it is little wonder that we are where we are in terms of the escalating levels of dis-ease, dis-content, demotivation, demoralisation and more within the profession, as the false pillars crack and crumble before us.
The word medicine, from the Latin ars medicina, means the ‘art of healing’ and when understood it makes complete sense that Love is the foundation of that art and of healing. According to Esoteric Medicine and Ageless Wisdom teachings, the essence of every human being IS love – a timeless energetic fact that many sages have conveyed to mankind down through the ages – a fact we keep ignoring, dismissing and over-riding.
It is why we seek love through relationship, we are hard wired to do so, for love is what we are. I am not here referring to the many misinterpretations of what love is and is not, and this has nothing to do with romance or sex or pink fluffy clouds or flowers – it is about the truth of what love is as an energy: the essence and ground of our being, an energy and a quality that is equal for all, that has universal wisdom and enables us to observe all, behold all, without judgement or condemnation, and to bring understanding, acceptance and compassion to all.
This love is ever-present and unaffected by any trauma, hurt, abuse or condition whatsoever. Yet we often do not even know it is there – and we end up due to life experiences growing up, living in ways that are completely at odds with the love that we are. In simple terms, we live in ways that are not loving – we eat foods that are not healthy, we move and act in ways that can be rough or aggressive, we can express with anger/frustration or a whole host of emotions that are not loving, we go to bed late and end up exhausted, we drive and push ourselves to work in ways that are not respectful of our bodies and so much more.
The end result of all of this, is often an illness or suffering of some kind as our bodies eventually say ‘enough, no more, look at what you are doing to me’? In this we have an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-prioritise our choices – to consider the possibility that if how I have lived has contributed to this condition, then I too can contribute to my healing by changing how I live, how I express and how I see and understand myself. We move from victimhood to active healer in our own lives.
And the most critical, transformational and healing understanding one can come to, is the fact that irrespective of the condition, the disease, the suffering, there is a wholeness within, a love within each of us that is completely unperturbed and undisturbed by ANYTHING.
By reconnecting to this essence of love we can learn to make choices that are honouring, respectful and loving of the body and to say no to that which is not loving. Our sense of self is no longer dependent upon outer achievements but comes from within. The key to healing is to know you are love, and that all that happens in our lives is endeavouring to waken us up to this fact, so that we then live the love we are, instead of all the beliefs and ideals we are not.
To live the love we are, means beginning to make choices we know and can feel are beneficial and healthy to our bodies so we feel alert, vital, vibrant, joyful, centred, calm and at ease with ourselves and to stop making the choices that we know and can feel are unhealthy and which leave us feeling tired, bloated, heavy, sluggish, emotionally reactive and in dis-ease and discontent with ourselves.
The quality of the relationship we have with ourselves informs and feeds the quality of choices we make regarding our lifestyle and behaviours – knowing we are love, it becomes natural to want to make choices that are aligned with and of the same quality as that love, even though there will be thoughts and distractions all too eager to keep us away from doing so.
Therefore it does not happen simply by a wish, a belief or a prayer – but by conscious daily moment to moment choices to move gently, to express and honour what we are feeling, to walk in the knowing we are love, to eat what we know and can feel is healthy, loving and respectful for our bodies, to go to bed early and rise early in rhythm with our innate bodily cycles, to take responsibility for our emotional state so that we no longer give free reign to the emotions we can feel are not loving or joyful, like the forces of anger, frustration, rage, jealousy, sadness, misery, resentment etc. and to exercise in a way that is not excessively pushing and harming the body but is gentle and respectful of it.
So, for anyone interested in healing – there is work to be done – but that work is only to cease all the ways we have learned to live and express that are not truly loving and to listen to the innate wisdom that resides in every heart and soul and which knows there is a way to live life that is harmonious, healthy and loving and which is reflected in our bodies. By living in this way, we begin to embody the love we are, we become more aware, connected, joyful, loving and wise than we perhaps could ever have imagined. It is a paradox that on the one hand when we know we are love, we are already healed, and yet we have work to do, to heal the lived momentum and engrained ways that have not been that.
The time is long overdue to restore love to the heart and foundation of medicine and medical education, so that the doctors of tomorrow know who they are, that they too are worth caring for first and foremost by themselves and that their worth is not dependent upon a medical degree. By loving and caring for ourselves in the way we live, nourishing our bodies, getting sufficient rest and sleep, being tender and gentle with ourselves, culturing our own inner lover rather than listening to the inner critic we know so well, we then have an opportunity to inspire patients to do likewise and to take more care of themselves.
This brings in deeper levels of personal responsibility for our health and wellbeing, and with that comes greater empowerment. We no longer see ourselves as victims of life or the Universe or the medical profession – but can make the changes that align with the truth of who we are, the love that we are, and in doing so have the potential to restore true health, harmony and wellbeing.
And even if the condition we have has gone beyond repair, we can still heal by arresting the choices that led to the condition, and reconnecting to the love that we are in our being, knowing it is free of and unaffected by any disease or condition. Healing in this context of a terminal condition does not mean that physical symptoms resolve, but that the person is restored to wholeness in their being, understands why they have what they have, and has healed the choices that led to it as well as being settled in themselves and their life, knowing that there is so much more to this whole journey of life on earth and beyond and that the love they are is not terminated or destroyed by anything.
And this is only scratching the surface – the depths to which we can have medicine be founded upon love are unending. It is a science in and of itself, with the power to transform and heal the profession and the people it serves.
Science as we know it today is a tool that we use in medicine, and how we use it and apply it can vary depending on whether we have love as our foundation or not. A medicine that is founded upon love, will use science responsibly for the benefit of all mankind and never could it allow its misuse for purely personal gain, and financial agendas as we often see today in the pharmaceutical business for example.
Love is the heart and soul of medicine, it is the foundation that enables us to understand who we are, why and how illness and disease occur, and how to truly heal in a way that restores us back to wholeness and enables us to live enriching lives, full of meaning, purpose, joy and of course Love. It enables us to know and understand that Life itself is Medicine, is healing and is always and forever endeavouring to waken us from our slumbers and ill-conceived notions of who we are, to the glorious, divine truth of who we are – Godly beings of pure love.
May everyone everywhere – every university and medical school, every patient, every doctor and nurse – come to know and feel that the true foundation and soul of medicine is love – not just as a theory or a philosophy, but because they know it and live it for themselves.