I have often remarked to my friends and
students that I do not understand anything at all about how
electricity gets into my home or why any of my appliances
work; but for me healing is simple. The obvious reaction
to this sort of "ignorance" is that if it were
so easy, doctors would have cures for everything and everyone,
and people would all be well. They are also usually quick
to try to remedy my lack of education by explaining to me
the nuances of electricity. I still do not understand electricity,
but I do have a moderate grasp of magnetism.
The energetics of food, herbal healing,
and psychospiritual healing all rely on the affinity or
lack thereof for what is offered as a "cure." They
are therefore forms of chemistry, and I feel I do understand
the chemistry of attraction and repulsion.
My first contact with herbal medicine
was in Hawaii. There, the kahunas, the Hawaiian
healers, taught me that one must talk to the patient about
what is wrong and what is needed. Then, one must go to
the forests to talk to plants and the Spirits Who dwell
with them. We are to tell them what the problem is and
why we are seeking their help. They then agree to help
us or make other suggestions which we are ethically bound
When I moved to Santa Fé and
found myself surrounded by herb shops with dry and desiccated
desert and imported herbs, I felt nostalgia for the mystery
of the tropics. However, I learned to use herbs that had
been stored in bottles. I also learned to read books about
herbs, but I still miss the intimacy of the Islands, the
reverence of the kahunas, and the feeling of being
connected to what is being used for healing.
My mother was a considerable student
of Hawaiiana. She was also an incredibly sensitive and
psychic person. She detested what she felt to be the barrenness
of the desert. She preferred the lushness of the tropics.
She had her point. The tropical rain forests are the source
of an incredible diversity of botanical and animal life.
We also know that they harbor many medicines, some of which
may be critical to our survival. It is not a coincidence
that as we destroy the rain forests, our own resiliency
is impacted. All life is interrelated.
As the oxygen supply diminishes, we
must expect a deterioration of health. We know from the
work of two-time Nobel laureate, Otto Warburg, that cancer
cells are anaerobic, that they thrive when there is a deprivation
of oxygen, that they die when exposed to oxygen. This has
been the basis of many alternative cancer treatments.
We know, too, that oxygen is essential
to life and vitality, that there is malaise and despair
when it is lacking. We need plants to perform the photosynthesis
necessary to life, and we need them for medicine. When
forests are destroyed, existence is threatened. When a
particular plant becomes scarce or extinct, its price may
soar, but a substitute may be availablesuch as bloodroot
for golden seal. However, when whole forests are destroyed,
not only are the treasures of Nature depleted, but the
survival of animals and humans is impacted.
At this critical time, when the incidence
of cancer is rising and the cure rate is unimpressive,
it is only reasonable that fresh strategies for prevention
and treatment be sought. In my opinion, however, nothing
will work if cells are too devitalized to respond to the
inspiration that is an integral part of respiration. In
the inhalation process, we are taking in much more than
oxygen; we literally imbibe life as well. When exhaling,
we discard what is no longer healthy to us, but before
it can be rendered safe, the plant kingdom must recycle
our breath. It is that simple. We are utterly dependent
on plants for the services they render. We owe them a great
debt of gratitude, but we need to understand them and to
protect them with the same fervor we would use to shield
our children from harm.
For me, the quest to rebalance health
is exciting but it is inseparable from the balance that
all the other Kingdoms of Nature also require. We cannot
advance the human race by making our survival depend on
unspeakable torture to animals or destruction of plants.
Many have said it before: if you find peace in yourself,
it affects the world around you. We seem too small to make
a difference, but are we?
We are like ripples, and our waves
can roll far. However, to travel beyond the familiar, we
need a spirit of adventure. We also need to learn how to
become aware of what is subtle and unfamiliar. So far as
the healing cancer is concerned, spontaneity and openness
to much needed new ideas may do much to overcome resistance
and stagnation, the forces which may be inhibiting life
more than anyone realizes.
Of course, no one advocates abandonment
of common sense or reason, just open-mindedness and fairness.
Where unproven methods of treatment are concerned, it is
not the spirit of free inquiry that will heal. Only the
right approach will workand that is not the same
for everyone. People are badly out of touch with themselves.
It is essential that patients find the key to themselves
that will open the door to their own wellness. Botanical
remedies may not be right for everyone, but neither are
chemotherapy and radiation right for everyone. In the search
for your own cure, focus on what you need, be observant,
dare to ask questions and to pray for guidance, and do
not persevere when not getting the results you are seeking.
A sane strategy is one that meets your particular needs
and delivers satisfactory results in a reasonable length
I wish you success and health!