Searching to Know Health and Healing

Blake Myers is currently a student at Bastyr University in the Naturopathic Medicine program, set to graduate in June 2014. He graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor's degree in Biology in 2010. His interests lie in holding onto and living the foundations of the naturopathic philosophy and the wisdom of our ancestors. Myers strives to share that practical and philosophical wisdom with those seeking his guidance, support, and perspective. His goal is to continually evolve in his understanding of medicine and the realities of the Universe in which we belong through experiencing those realities. He shares his blog articles to give a perspective into his journey as a student and the dynamic process of growth on that path. This journey for him is an attempt to better know medicine, what it means to be a healer, and how to belong to the Earth again.

One of the biggest questions for myself as a student and as a future practitioner is, “What is health?” Tied very closely to this is “What is healing?” At the end of the day, shouldn't I understand what it is I'm really trying to cultivate and support in others and myself? I have come to believe healing is simply the path towards health, which can take many roads.

I remember learning the concept in undergraduate chemistry, how a reaction has a starting product, A, and an ending product, E. You can get to E by going A-B-C-D-E. But in many cases you can go something like A-C-D-E, or other various combinations depending on the reaction. Another similar analogy is going from point A to point B on a map. There are tens to possibly hundreds of different ways you could get to point B. One would be fastest. One would be the most scenic. One would be the most traffic, and so on. This is very much like how I'm beginning to see the healing process. There are multiple approaches to getting to the end goal of greater health. The art comes in to play by being able to listen to what the individual wants and needs, what the body says it wants/needs, and knowing the limits of the process. I'm reminded by the travel analogy that the fastest way there may not always be the best. We may miss out on some beauty and life experience that only comes on the path that is a little slower, more scenic, and takes us to new places within ourselves.

A teacher asked me recently, “What we are trying to do with our patients?” Essentially, what is health? My answer was helping people to live happy, purposeful lives. I almost included to live a long life as well. But on reflection of that, long life seems an almost secondary goal. I would rather live a short but happy and purposeful life than a long, unhappy one without purpose. Hopefully though, we are striving for all three. Through true purpose and joy in our existence I believe we cultivate the health that facilitates a long life.

As practitioners of medicine and healing, it is of the highest importance to explore what is happiness and purpose for those coming to us for guidance, as well as for ourselves. Only through curiosity and indifference to our agendas for clients can we truly begin to understand their spirit and core values.

The path of healing and the seat of health lie in our abilities to sit in the company of spirit and impose neither judgment nor control. Sounds like a life's work…