Here are a few stories from Harvard in the last 24 hours:
A patient I saw last evening: 86 years old with Parkinson’s disease, unable to leave his assisted living quarters for six weeks, unable to visit with his wife in the same building, see his children, or see anyone really. Walking has long been how he has managed his Parkinson’s. Now he can’t do that, and finally, two weeks ago, in the context of his isolation and loneliness, he quit eating and has been declining. He can’t stand the four walls any longer with nothing to do and no one to see. His son said, “The cure is going to kill him; he can’t tolerate not seeing anyone and not being able to move around.” I think he’s right. This seems to be a theme that I’m starting to see.
Another patient (76yr) admitted from the Nursing Home: he and his roommate at the nursing home had been diagnosed with C19 and isolated from everyone else. His roommate died three weeks ago, and the patient is restricted to his room without a TV, telephone, or anything to do. He already has mild dementia; now, he also has both griefs (to the degree that he has awareness and can process such things) and depression and no way to fully comprehend what is going on. He quit eating and has been declining. He, like many others, depends on a vital way of social connections and activities. There are lots of stories like this, and they seem to be invisible stories.
We are now seeing an increasing number of patients admitted to both Good Sam and McLean, who are terrified that they have C19. Sometimes the tests say they have the diagnosis and sometimes the tests are negative (whatever that means). They are freaking out at least to some degree because of the media stories and hype. We need more data on what fear is doing to people.
Has Medicine Become A Fundamentalist Religion?
As Charles Eisenstein said when I asked for his feedback on this list of assumptions, these days, modern medicine behaves more like a fundamentalist religion with doctors as their priests than like true, pure science. “Our culture has a peculiar set of rituals for healing. Anything from outside that ritual system will be rejected as heresy. For something to be a legitimate potion, it must have gone through extensive rituals (called “laboratory research,” “animal trials,” “clinical trials,” and so forth). Those administering these rituals must have gone through multiple initiations (e.g. graduate school, medical school, etc.). They present their findings in a specialized dialect that only the initiated can read (medical journals.) They perform divination too (epidemiological projections). However, just as in the late Middle Ages with Catholicism, this system of ritual has been highly corrupted by profit motives. So we now have an Inquisition to enforce the purity of the cult; hence the crackdown on alternative medicine.”
We see how the public is revering doctors right now, giving their power away to authority figures like Dr. Fauci like he’s a kind of god. Those on the political left laugh and rage at silly and dangerous Donald Trump, while we pedestalize Dr. Fauci as the epitome of grounded, objective science. But are we 100% certain that all scientific experts are objective and pure of heart? Most doctors I know are so good-hearted. We care deeply about our patients, even to the point of loving them. But this does not make us perfect gods or worthy of being pedestalized as holy heroes. Yes, it’s true that front line workers are all in positions where they’ve been drafted to fight a war they never signed up to fight, martyring themselves — and dying of COVID-19 and suicide — in the face of this public health crisis. These same doctors are my clients in the Whole Health Medicine Institute, and I adore them and am grateful for them — and they’re telling me how brutal it is to be on the front lines and how much PTSD it’s causing. Yet the doctors I’m working with are not making assumptions. We are asking good questions together — and questioning everything. Some of these doctors are horrified by what they’re seeing, especially when many realized that ventilators may be killing people who would have survived if they were just given oxygen without mechanical ventilation. It crushes us when we realize that medical intervention is the #3 cause of death in the US when we try so hard to save lives. These doctors are questioning these same assumptions alongside me, as compassionate, ethical, spiritually attuned priests must have done during the Inquisition. Are the doctors like us who are questioning such assumptions about getting excommunicated, or even worse, beheaded?
Science must be objective, free of agenda, without conflict of interests, ego-free, and committed to questioning our assumptions, challenging the status quo, making hypotheses, understanding that we will make mistakes, and then publicly admitting when our hypotheses sometimes turn out to be wrong with humility and understanding that being wrong is part of good science. Doctors and scientists who challenge the dominant narrative must not be written off as quacks or labeled as “pseudoscientists.” Maverick doctors and scientists have always been the ones who make exciting new scientific breakthroughs. We need our mavericks right now- and we need them to ask good questions.
In Case Questioning These Assumptions Scares You
It is too soon to suggest that we understand what is happening. We do not know what is really going on, and to pretend we do is morally questionable. Conspiracy theories are not good science. Neither is fake certainty with political or financial agendas. I know it can be uncomfortable to stay in the place of uncertainty when many are so frightened and even dying. As one sweet woman who touched my heart on Facebook disclosed, “This post is the opposite of The Fear Cure. For my own mental and emotional health, I am going to stop reading news and social media posts that perpetuate fear, while also trying to diligently keep myself safe. It’s confusing and sad. The questions in this post do not move humans towards healing. In my opinion, they create more fear and confusion. You have always been sensitive to your followers, and I appreciate that, but my boundary at this moment in history is to avoid anything that takes away from feeling safe inside my own body.”
I responded to her, saying, “I totally understand if you need to set boundaries around what you consume. Uncertainty does make some people scared. For me personally, right now, I am more scared by people who are pretending to be certain, when we can easily prove they’re lying. The craving for certainty is part of what I’m hoping to heal with posts like this. If we can develop psychologically and spiritually (by healing trauma) we can feel safe in the face of uncertainty — because, to quote The Fear Cure, ‘uncertainty is the gateway to possibility,’ and when you don’t know what the future holds, anything can happen, even miracles!
I just got off the call with my doctors in the Whole Health Medicine Institute, and we were just talking about this — how to help cancer patients who are terrified of getting a CT scan, for example. They have a valid reason to feel fear. They might indeed get bad news from the test. But when we start to trust that there is an organizing intelligence that is conducting a grand symphony of which we are all apart, and if we can quit clinging to certainty and be willing to just let go and flow with the river when it’s in the rapids like it is now — if we can trust that we don’t have to control life, that life is living us — to stop resisting change or uncertainty, there comes a time when uncertainty can even become exciting — because if you don’t know what the future holds, there could be amazing surprise plot twists full of blessings. It’s true that there could also be a pain — but unless you’re willing to go for the ride, you’ll never resolve the mystery that is unfolding for us all.
The key shift comes when we discover the Mystery can be trusted — and at its heart, this Mystery is benevolent. Call it God, call it the Universe, call if Self or Inner Pilot Light- if you can “let go and let God” — not in a passive way but in a fully surrendered way, if action is needed and you feel certain, you will be guided — and will trust that action. Sending love. I hope that comforted rather than scared you. It was my intention to offer comfort.”
So…let us be humble in our not knowing, for in the space between stories, in this place of uncertainty, when we don’t know what the future holds, anything can happen — even miracles.