By Mark Bancroft, MA
“Being sick is a full-time job.” These words were spoken to me by a 67-year-old woman who was diagnosed with cancer two and a half years ago. Since that time, she has been intimately involved in a relationship with today’s health-care system. She, and her body, have been through a lot, including irradiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, radioactive iodine therapy, a colostomy, feeding tubes, and countless medications. The subjective experiences have been just as traumatic: shock, fear, insomnia, uncertainty, loss, frustration, despair, sadness, grief, and worry. Her diagnosis of cancer and the onset of treatment brought an early retirement and forced her into a new full-time position, namely, “being sick.”
As consciousness evolves, beliefs and perceptions change. We individually and collectively come to see the world in a different way. A new worldview, or paradigm, emerges. When this happens, the core beliefs and assumptions of the old worldview break down and stop working. There is less stability and uncertainty increases. New answers to old questions surface, and new questions are asked. Previously dormant power struggles and conflicts come to a head. The old guard resists the change and refuses to relinquish control and authority, even when it is obvious that the old ways are dysfunctional and even detrimental. Nevertheless, pleasant or not, the evolution of consciousness carries on.
Today, a great amount of energy and resources are going into health-insurance reform. If you visit www.healthreform.gov, you will find “The Obama Administration is committed to enacting health insurance reform that provides health care stability and security for all Americans.” At www.whitehouse.gov, the president’s quote is “Whether or not you have health insurance right now, the reforms we seek will bring stability and security that you don’t have today.” Interestingly, “stability and security” are receiving high priority. Unfortunately, the reforms address only a symptom (insurance premiums) of a much deeper problem. They do little, if anything, to heal the structure of the health-care system. It is also interesting to note that when a paradigm shift is taking place, the last things to expect are stability and security. These come much later.
The most important questions that can be asked to bring stability and security to health care are being ignored. The first question is “What is health care?” To answer that we need to ask, “What is health?” Is health the absence of a symptom, or does health encompass something much greater? Do we include the whole person, or just the body? Then, we need to ask, “What is care?” Does our health-care system use and acknowledge the importance of care? Is there caring support, empathy, and respect for the patient’s experience and psychospiritual needs? If a patient’s full-time job has turned into “being sick,” should not immediate care be given to bring the patient into an internal state that allows him or her to identify more directly with health and vitality—a state well known to facilitate physical healing?
In the presence of care, iatrogenic illness (illness related to hospital or medical treatment) would not be implicated as the number one leading cause of death in America, resulting in nearly 800,000 deaths each year.* Clearly, something is seriously amiss with how “health” and “care” have been brought together. Bruce Lipton, PhD, points out the logic that if medicine knew what it was doing, it wouldn’t be so lethal.**
Fortunately, the way forward is clear. Complementary and alternative medicine, insights coming out of quantum mechanics and epigenetics, energy medicine and psychology, integral medicine, and Ken Wilber’s Integral Model, can all be used to create a more stable and secure health-care system. Scaled interventions can bring down costs, cut down on prescription medications, and reduce the number of invasive procedures performed each year.
I encourage each person reading this article to hold the words “health” and “care” in mind, positively staying connected to the essence of each word. Individually and collectively, we can begin to envision bringing “health” and “care” together in a new way that provides a much deeper and richer experience of health for all of us. The current health-care system is in need of reform, and not just at the monetary level. It goes much deeper. Doctors, physicians, nurses, specialists, and those serving within the health-care system also suffer and deserve better.
Holistically, the changes we see taking place in health care reflect much further-reaching changes in the structure of consciousness. It involves how we see ourselves and how we relate to and understand mind, body, and spirit. We certainly should not euthanize the health-care system. However, it is time to let go of old beliefs and perceptions within the system that do not support health. It is time to seriously question those in charge and trusted with the delivery of health care in our society. What is the motivation? Is it money, or is it to heal? If it is to heal, why are three of the four most basic healing elements absent in today’s health-care system; namely, water, air, and fire—the ancient symbols for emotion, mind, and spirit? We are at the point now where health, achieved through the study and understanding of physical matter, has reached and gone past the point of diminishing returns. It is time we bring emotion, mind, and spirit into the healing equation.
Mark Bancroft, MA, is a holistic healing practitioner, specializing in mind-body medicine. For more information, go to www.MarkBancroft.com, or call 530-274-2020.
* See the article Death by Medicine by Gary Null, PhD; Martin Feldman, MD; Debora Rasio, MD; Dorothy Smith, PhD; and Carolyn Dean, MD, ND. (www.garynull.com)
** The Wisdom of Your Cells: How Your Beliefs Control Your Biology by Bruce Lipton, PhD. (Audio CD)