“Which part do you disagree with? The steps in the proof? Or the conclusion? If you agree with every step of the argument, but the conclusion leaves you angry or uncomfortable, it might be time to reconsider your worldview, not reject the argument.”
— Seth Godin
How are you doing with your paradigm shift?
I’m a MICH-trained homeopath and I thought I was doing just fine with mine… until I wrote the draft for this article.
My article was going to be about giving THEM — the nay-sayers, the non-believers, the doubters of this world, the ones who see healing as an outside-in phenomenon — more information about how wrong THEY are in their discrediting of homeopathy and other holistic health practices. I was coming from “I’m right in my thinking, I hold the truth, and I’m going to let THEM know how wrong THEY are” … that is, until I realized that I was myself approaching this very issue from the outside-in, and that the fact that I had been triggered meant that my own paradigm shift wasn’t complete. I realized I was putting all my attention on the sawdust in my neighbor’s eye while ignoring the branch in my own eye. I almost choked on this humble pie and felt very alone in my shift.
My own paradigm shift started when I was a teenager. I had been sick since childhood, very sick at times, with allergies and asthma, which moved on to hives and hay fever, and eventually to irritable bowel syndrome and depression. I was given new medications as my symptoms moved from one part of my body to another and as they got louder and louder. Sometimes the medications worked, and other times they didn’t, but even when they worked I never felt totally healthy and I kept thinking that there had to be another way.
Going from Outside-In to Inside-Out
Discovering there was another way of seeing health, this inside-out paradigm, was a life-changer for me. My mother had for a long time picked up that there was a link between recent emotional events and my getting sick, but mentioning this to doctors was met with dismissal. The inside-out made sense of this, though.
A bit of background: In the outside-in approach to health, the living organism is seen as acting or reacting in a defective manner, as if the symptoms absolutely need to be removed or alleviated, taken in another direction. So “anti” medicines are brought in: anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, anti-depressants, etc. These suppress whatever is being expressed and this is considered good, although other symptoms then pop up, which are also addressed with more medication, and so on. This approach was developed on the battlefields of the great wars. Now, the battlefield is in our body where the body plays both sides: the body and the disease. If we kill the disease, we kill the body. This is a very limited way of thinking.
What this approach is ignoring is that these symptoms are produced by the organism in its struggle to regain the perfect coherence required to maintain the delicate balance and synchronous timing of all its millions of processes. If anything, it requires assistance in re-establishing that coherence on a very subtle level, not on the much grosser level of the chemical imbalances associated with the symptoms.
The inside-out approach to health, on the other hand, means seeing the living organism as having an inner intelligence, a vital force, whose language is its signs and symptoms. What if we saw the difference between me now, living, and me a second later, dead, as the immaterial life force that is absent the instant I am dead? What if understanding what that life force is communicating to us was the key to health? What if that is what needs to be addressed when we are sick, are un-well, have dis-ease? The inside-out provides this bigger picture, this bigger understanding, this bigger container.
Do you see health as an outside-in phenomenon? If so, then what is it in the way western medicine is practiced today that makes you feel secure, that makes you convinced that this way comes from an understanding of everything in the body? What would it take for you to recognize the vital force, the soul, that invisible immaterial part of us as being real, more real than the material, physical parts? As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Seeing health this way is a radical paradigm shift indeed and one that can be difficult to make. I have much empathy for anyone resisting making this shift. It can be a challenge, within ourselves and with the people around us. It’s like taking a huge leap. (For more on this, read Judyann’s recent article Let Go in the Mindful Mondays series.) We can be certain we’ve made that leap… until we’re triggered, shaken in our foundation.
My own experience on this paradigm shift is one of feeling like I’m the only one on that path, that everyone else thinks I’ve gone nuts, that I’m not being reasonable or practical, that I won’t have support, that I’m a dreamer, that my point of view isn’t credible. This can be very unsettling and cause much doubt to seep in.
Daring to Disagree
The challenge here is holding a different space for myself. It’s going from an oppositional right-wrong point of view, where I feel like I have to win against opponents, to being in a space where I no longer have to hold that. It’s about holding a bigger picture to ground myself so that what others think doesn’t shake me so much.
My way of grounding myself is learning from open-minded people who share their innovative ideas, who dialogue with life to see what the possibilities are, who hold a bigger understanding than only what we can currently see, touch and measure, who trust in what works even if why it works can’t yet be explained fully. So, other than at MICH, I get my inspiration from Brian Johnson’s Philosophers Notes which draw on Eastern and ancient philosophy, and from contemporaries such as Derek Sivers (Weird or Just Different, and How to Start a Movement), John Lloyd (An Inventory of the Invisible), and Margaret Heffernan (Dare to Disagree).
Also grounding for me is knowing that this paradigm shift is part of a world-wide movement called the Cultural Creatives, the biggest growing market share (80 million Cultural Creatives in the United States and 120 million in Europe), and another one called LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability), made up of people looking for something other than big bucks trying to sell to them, who want to know what alternatives exist and how they can feel more solid in what they believe while allowing others to have their opinions.
And here I was, thinking I was all alone!
Janik Tremblay – DHom
With an interest in nutrition, holism and business, Janik is a MICH-trained homeopath with a family-oriented practice. To learn more about Janik, visit her profile page in our Professional Directory or click here to read more posts by Janik.