A Call to Collaboration with Practitioners of Traditional Medicines

A new medicine for a new time

Many people are looking to healers to be the new leaders of the new society. These people are attracted to and supportive of new ways of thinking.

Yet for the most part, healers don't seem to be stepping into these leadership roles in themselves or in their communities in any meaningful way. Who could blame them, as they’re apparently stuck between the millstones of a number of paradoxes in our society right now.

The most obvious and pertinent one is the general witch hunt that is raging against unorthodox medical views. We’re smack in the middle of a corporate sponsored extreme marginalization of anything that doesn’t submit to the rules of a game that technomedicine is in the process of inventing and reinventing on a daily basis in an effort to completely monopolize every dimension of human health and healing. This is in stark contrast to the fact that so many people are looking for medical answers that technomedicine does not, cannot and will never provide.

The world is demanding a new medicine for a new time. It’s up to us to challenge the prevailing paradigm, because what we’ve tried until now isn’t working well enough. Healers won’t become leaders by trying to fit into an old paradigm that no longer works and that people are rejecting out of practicality and common sense. Healers can’t be leaders by being followers. It’s time to step into what we’re being called to do.

Acceptance is a double-edged sword

Healers do things differently than political leaders do. We’re more indirect, inclusive, less dramatic and come from a different base of authority than political leaders. Still, there are significant differences between soft power, the acquiescence of complacency and just plain fear. Today’s generation of traditional healers seems to be caught like an amateur stage magician juggling between these three power states.

Healers need to make a living. We do that not just by healing, but also by fitting as best as we can into the business and medical communities. This process has led us to play a kind of political game with society at large to be accepted, allowed in, utilized and maybe, just maybe not get burned at the stake for what we do. Yet the threat of being lynched, sacrificed by the Spirit of the Age for our beliefs and practices is always right here, closer than any of us like to admit.

Acceptance is a double-edged sword. We get to be a part of the system, and for that, we submit to being controlled by it. Modern medicine has learned a painful and nearly terminal lesson in this respect over the last fifty years. As a result, Western medicine is disappearing faster than almost any other traditional medicine. The art of the physician was first bonsai’d by the insurance industry and now is being replaced progressively by data-fed technology.

Some of my patients are retired MDs who lament over this trend and contend that before this decade is out, there will be virtually no competent medical practitioners…

A crystal ball for your future

How did you show up with and for your community during the Covid crisis? And how did your community show up for you? That’s the crystal ball for the future of your role as a healer.

How did you innovate as a healer during the Covid crisis? How can you continue to invoke this creative pressure to innovate beyond this crisis through and beyond the next crisis and so on?

Or do you imagine the crises are all over?

We need medical diversity

As just one of many possible examples of crises on our near horizon, big business is cultivating plague conditions with industrial meat. Making these animals live in wretched and unnatural conditions imposes unimaginable psycho-emotional-immune pressure and compromises their biology in every way. This biopressure is increased exponentially as industry crams these animals together in environments of filth that they can’t get away from, pumping them full of antibiotics and other pharmaceutical medications just so they can survive the ordeal of life.

We could not invent better laboratory conditions than this scenario for incubating medication-resistant super-diseases that will eventually come home to roost in our own bodies. Many of the diseases that modern medicine has ‘cured’ are coming back for their revenge via commercial situations such as these. If we’re caught without an arsenal of medical tools that view and work with the world differently than technomedicine does, well, we’re dead.

We need medical diversity now more than ever.

Yet at the same time, technomedicine has been using the moral, ethical and military tactics of colonization to impose itself on nearly every corner and way of life on the globe. The worldview, economic practices and social pressures of technomedicine infect traditional cultures and corrupt the politics of the countries they invade. This is frequently done under the cover of science and humanitarian ends. Just like colonization, the predictable end result has been the degradation and outright destruction of traditional culture, values, customs and medicine to the point of virtual extinction.

An embodiment of the medicine

At this point, there are many more consumers than producers. It doesn’t take a PhD in mathematics to understand that this cannot continue for long. We’re consuming global resources at massively non-sustainable rates, and it’s creating a desert of life on the land, sea and air that we share.

What’s the payback for becoming co-authors of the sixth mass extinction?

Is this what happened to our dreams and aspirations of becoming healers? Let's do something to become a part of the solution rather than being a part of the problem.

Practitioners of traditional medicines have a rightful place to stand at the forefront of this solution. Who else is going to teach people how to live in greater connection with natural forces and more sustainably? Who else does the public look to to fulfill this role?

Medicine embodies the values and beliefs of the cultural group that creates and uses it. As a healer, your community is watching you as an emissary between worlds, as someone who can transmit wholesome and effective values and laws. Your community is watching the actions you take and the moves you make. It’s watching how you’re treating people and how you’re an embodiment of the medicine you practice.

Or not.

Partnering to promote health

The UN states that we have a maximum of ten years in which we can preserve an envelope for biodiversity on Earth. That does not mean that we start thinking and discussing what to do in nine years and ten or eleven months.

We want to begin our work on all of this now, or else we’ll wait around to get stunned, perhaps fatally, by the next epic global health event. For now it’s so much easier to just coast along, literally minding our own business, telling ourselves that the crises in the world don’t have anything to do with us and that somebody else will solve them.

Maybe it’s time for us to understand that our survival isn’t just about how much money we have in the bank, but about the people around us and the communities we serve.

What if we partnered with businesses that promote health in our communities, like sustainable organic agriculture?

Reframing medicine

What would happen if we started measuring things differently?

We all have different understandings and beliefs around global warming and the environment, but maybe some of us we can at least agree that it isn’t OK to continue polluting and toxifying our environment. How much pollution is acceptable? As with so many issues in our world today, when we set our metrics to absurd levels, it frames an absurd argument that can only have a predictably absurd outcome. We’ve been framing death of the planet and all of its life forms as our metric in the same way that we frame death of the individual as our metric in the health care system. Perhaps it’s time to recalibrate.

There’s a substantial grey area between life and death that we could sensibly label ‘quality of life.’ It would also be very easy to quantify a quality of life metric. We might even be able to apply this same metric to the rest of non-human life on our planet. And to avoid decades of senseless discussions and debate, let’s take it as a given that pollution does not add to our quality of life, so let’s set the optimal amount of pollution at zero.

What if the Italians were in charge of creating our new metrics? What would they use as a measure? Quality of life.

How can we set a different stage to measure the issues of the health of our bodies and of our planet? Maybe we could get real and start measuring things that are more meaningful than death and planetary extinction, ones that would give us a little more cushion before it’s game over.

How can we reframe medicine to increase our quality of life? And to regenerate life?

What kind of meaningful collaborations could medicine make with other sectors of society that would advance our cause of increasing our quality of life?

What world is our medicine promoting?

Traditional farming practices are going extinct even faster than the cultures, languages and medicines they are bound together with. We need to make a substantial move to address the diminishment and toxification of our clinical resources, especially when it comes to our herbs, our physical medicines. It’s long past time to be critical of our sources and take a stand for higher quality standards, testing and transparency while supporting traditional regenerative agricultural practices at the same time. Let’s do it now.

Our patients become inspired when we show them how our medicine is promoting more than their well-being, but is also creating a cascade of positive effects for society and the environment through the products we use and all of the people in our supply chain.

Ratcheting up

How are you building sincere trust with your community? How are you demonstrating the power and integrity it’s going to take to get your community through what is now on the horizon and coming in fast? How are you promoting regeneration of the earth and its citizens with your practice? Don’t make your community guess. Your offering needs to be more than a trendy token for an in-vogue cause photo-opped for social media.

When people were desperate in the Covid scenario, what did you have to offer them? This was and is such a tricky time because of many factors including personal safety and completely ambiguous and ever-changing institutional mandates that often fly in the face of any medical insight or wisdom. The sustained eclipse of reason that is our national health policy hasn’t made the situation any easier.

The healers who come up with solutions for their communities are the ones who will be in the best positions moving ‘forward’ as we face a future filled with the disasters we have designed and implemented for the last several decades. Each time we ratchet up in the eyes of our community, we’re adding to our resilience in the community.

Reshaping our future

As practitioners, we want to start asking ourselves what can we do for our medicine, more than what can our medicine do for us. Some people outside the realm of traditional medicine are taking all the steps they need to begin populating Mars in the next decade. What are we going to accomplish with and for traditional medicines in this decade that is at that level of magnitude?

We have the power to reframe the future of medicine into something that is more inclusive, effective and regenerative. Through medicine, we can and will reshape what our future can become.

This is what healers have always done for their societies. We lay down the foundations, the rules and the laws. Then we help everybody stay on track. When society goes off track, so does its future.

Collaboration and the new traditional medicines

It’s time to share our stories and our visions with each other, our patients and our communities. This will inspire them and strengthen and invigorate us at the same time.

Realize that you make a consequential positive impact on our world every day that you work using traditional medicine. You are living proof that viable and healthier alternatives exist and that we can use them in completely practical ways to improve our lives and the world around us.

These times are testing how useful traditional medicines really are. In a sense, we’re being asked to do two things at once: stand in and practice what we know, and at the same time apply what we know to what is happening right now in front of us.

No single medicine system has all the answers. This seems and probably should be obvious, but the remarkable thing is that so many medical systems precisely claim that they do have all the answers.

Nobody has all the answers. I might have some, you might have some others and that guy over there might have some that neither of us has. So we collaborate our way into the new traditional medicines and into the future. And when nobody has the answer to something yet, we get curious, creative and inventive.

Tradition doesn’t preclude creativity. It depends on it.

The best healers tend to be incredibly creative and innovative people. They are geniuses because they can come up with solutions that nobody else can. That’s why I tell my students to become Min Jie, Clever Heroes, to become master practitioners of the art of medicine. That’s why our school is called the Min Jie school.

An ever-expanding circle of benefits

What are the coalitions we need to build to make this new vision happen?

We allow ourselves to be guided by the vision. We work with each other, take responsibility and move it forward in the real world, allowing all of our visions to coalesce and carry us forward.

Who are the people that hold a stake in this vision? Anybody who really wants to improve the quality of life and the regeneration of life through supporting cultural and medical diversity. Anybody who wants to get our world back on track from what it has become.

Maybe we can use cooperation like the big boys do, meaning we share in the work and its rewards. Maybe we can bring more and more people into the circle of benefits.

What would most benefit us all? Please let me know your vision.