On Health and Healing
By Ilarion Merculieff
Summary: From a traditional indigenous point of view, health and environment are inextricably linked. In fact, it is understood that all in Creation are intimately connected. Most indigenous Elders recognize that our bodies reflect that of the Earth Mother and, like everything else, is inseparable from her. Biologically, our bodies contain the identical elements of earth, air, fire, and water. What happens to our bodies happens to Mother Earth. To get to the root causes of our ailments, we need a holistic view of health that includes the whole human being and our intricate connection with the Earth Mother.
From a traditional indigenous point of view, health and environment are inextricably linked. In fact, it is understood that all in Creation are intimately connected. Western Cartesian based science is beginning to recognize and embrace the connectedness of all things even while their systems, thought, and methodologies are still driven by the paradigm that separates a part in order to understand the whole. From the indigenous perspective, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and nature is synergistic, dynamic, in a constant state of flux, ever moving to seek equilibrium. The indigenous worldviews see everything as having a spirit, whereas western science separates parts into animate and inanimate, and uses terms like “natural resources”. The term itself reflects a worldview that all things on the earth are resources for human use, exploitation, and manipulation, something to take. Such words reinforce a consciousness of separation where we compartmentalize and define everything in reference to our needs, wants, and desires. This consciousness is at the root of everything that is being done today that is pushing earth’s life support systems to the brink.
Most indigenous Elders recognize that our bodies reflect that of the Earth Mother and, like everything else, is inseparable from her. Biologically, our bodies contain the identical elements of earth, air, fire, and water. What happens to our bodies happens to Mother Earth. It is no accident that all the pills and medicines we ingest, like hormones, antacids, antibiotics, and anti-depressants become pollutants that we flush down our toilets as discharge from our own bodies, polluting the rivers and oceans and compromising the health of the living planet. It is no accident that the health and balance of ecosystems affect our own health and the health of all sentient beings on earth. As “development” and urban sprawl result in deforestation and pollution of earth, air, and water, previously unknown diseases appear and known diseases increase in the human population. As Mother Earth’s temperature increases, everything on the planet becomes sick from droughts, famines, fires, and floods; healthy ecosystems and nations become destabilized, creating grief, suffering, and disease in human and other populations.
Einstein said that, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. So true. If we use the consciousness of separation and disconnection, we may find temporary solutions to symptoms, but we will never deal with the root cause. Health wise, we will continue to treat each individual ailment separate from the human being, and only to make the ailment manageable. The Elders say that what we choose to look at becomes our reality. As long as we choose to think and perceive of everything as separate, that is only what we see, and that is only what we are capable of dealing with. We will create technologies and scientific understanding without taking into account the bigger picture of interconnectedness in the human body and in the world. Thus, we have CAT scanners, X-ray machines, blood analyzers, EKG monitors, and the like. Each with a specific function that definitely helps in life-threatening situations, but which cannot provide information on the whole being or root causes.