When I refer to health, I refer to a manifestation of life that provides balance and harmony, which allows us to all use our fullest potential. Health is a gift: a gift from life.
When we speak about health we are automatically reminded of the physical body. The physical body is only one part of human life. It’s our vehicle; it’s the superficial part, the material part. Illness, which is the absence of health, often starts in the subtle bodies. Illness often begins as an emotional disorder or in mental confusion; sometimes as a spiritual disorder, or even a lack of feeling in life. This can manifest in the physical body through an illness or absence of health. Today our entire health care system is focused solely on treating symptoms and effects, which in turn has created more illnesses. It has created a vicious cycle that is connected to the economy, political issues, and the main spiritual illness: this frantic search for power and profit. We are not working to benefit health—we are working to benefit illness. Just as in my proposal for education, it will not do to simply start from zero. We need to enrich our health system. I propose that we treat the human being in a holistic way, that we understand the importance of integrative care.
I feel that the patient needs to be seen in a whole way, in an integral way. Of course, technology—and even all of these scientific advancements in the area of medicine—plays a role in this. We need to also treat the symptoms, but we can’t only focus on them. We can’t only focus on the illness. We need to see the human as a whole. I feel that the education of doctors needs to be revised. Perhaps we can get inspiration from the therapies of Alexandria, which were integral therapies that also cared for the soul of the human being. It’s the same with some other ancient forms of medicine, like Ayurveda. I feel that we need to unite science with spirituality in the field of medicine. This can be done in the doctor’s training. The doctor can assess the patient as the patient is: a whole being who has a body, a mind, a soul, and who is passing through a crisis. This is often an existential crisis that shows up as an illness. It’s crucial that we unite science with spirituality in this area.
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE ALREADY
In 2014 The ABC Foundation invited The Awaken Love Action Institute to apply it’s methodology to 60 of its HR Department workers. 76 hours of activities were spread out over two and a half months – from October to December. The ABC Foundation maintains 16 institutions in the healthcare field, from clinics, SUS hospitals and colleges which have a total of 16,000 workers. It acts in the areas of the greater ABC of Sao Paulo and in some coastal cities of the state. The Awaken Love Action Institute created the program “Humanizing Heathcare and Interpersonal Relations”.
Practices of caretaking, active listening, the practice of silence, empathy in interpersonal relations, collaborative language, the culture of service in healthcare, self-care and self-responsibility in relationships and in healthcare itself was among the content offered. This was done using individual reflection, dynamics in pairs and small groups.
At the end of our intervention the ABC Foundation polled the participants and found that 98% were satisfied with our approach.