An Emerging Model for Health and Healing

An Emerging Model for Health and Healing

Adapted from the Preface to Consciousness & Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind-Body Medicine

Centuries ago, adventurers exploring the frontiers of our planet discovered, again and again, that they lived in a wider world than previously assumed. During this period, the art of map-making made tremendous strides. Fictitious lines of latitude and longitude became as important to navigators as the force of currents and the direction of winds. Perceptions of the world changed as new tools were discovered and new ideas unfolded.

More recently, the quest to understand the universe and our place in it follows a similar pushing of boundaries with its own inventive map-making. New maps are being made to reflect new discoveries: The universe now appears, if not infinite, at least infinitely complex. Astonishing scientific advances have been made in our mastery of the outer world—we have seen astronauts walk on the moon, collected data about the physical structure of Jupiter, invented a computer chess champion named Deep Blue, and cloned a sheep named Dolly. Such advances are displays of humankind’s generative ability to transform physical reality.

Yet this primary focus of modern science on the objective, material world has come at a cost—frequently obscuring what is meaningful and valuable in human experience. Since the rise of modern science, Western culture has assumed a separation between consciousness and matter, between mind and body, between human and nature, between spirituality and science. These dualisms, deeply troublesome for science and philosophy, were also incorporated into the historical development of Western medicine.

For essays on this topic by Deepak Chopra, Larry Dossyey, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dean Ornish, Candace Pert, Rachel Naomi Remen, Ken Wilber and more, see Consciousness & Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind-Body Medicine book and companion DVD.