Health in relation to body~mind~earth~solar system-spirit
The Law of Thermodynamics teaches that “energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is transformed.” Then to study health, we need to expand the concept of holistic from body~mind~spirit to include earth and solar system. Everything on our planet and beyond, transforms energies, there is always an exchange of energies providing vital life force to the ‘whole’. There is both a need and a reason for our human participation in this.
Without the fragile, thin layer of soil on our planet, there can be no life on earth. The soil is alive with microbes, invertebrates, fungal networks all working to provide energy for other life forms in return for receiving sugars, phosphorus and other vital nutrients. A plant provides food, but it would be dead food without the mycelium helping the plant to extend its roots out into the soil to draw in more nutrients and moisture. In return, the plant gives the mycelium sugar. The nutrients are taken up into the plant, but they do not become vital until the plant receives sunlight and only then through photosynthesis do the plant and nutrients become vital life force for the animals and humans who consume it.
So the question is how and to what quality do we transform energy and for what purpose? In trying to answer this question, we may find the key to vital health and longevity. Oriental medicine has never separated human from nature as we see in the Taoist concept that “Man stands between Heaven and Earth”, receiving heavenly qi to manifest on earth. To understand this ‘bigger’ picture, one can look at a small piece of the picture, our own personal health, or the health of our garden through the perspective of the Five Elements. Then we can consider where we stand in relation to this reciprocal maintaining of all life; how to cultivate the right relationship to great nature, other living beings and toward ourselves. This needs to be seen by each of us and understood collectively.
I trained at the London College of Traditional Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine receiving my licentiate in 1999. I have a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and post graduate training in Five Element Acupuncture and Food Energetics. I trained with Penny Brohn Cancer Care supporting people living with cancer with acupuncture, relaxation techniques and Mindfulness meditation. I did a 7 year study on acupuncture and Mindfulness for people living with Parkinson’s Disease which proved to make a positive improvement in the quality of day to day living. I have been teaching Five Elements and Food Energetics to help people understand their own unique pattern of physiological and emotional health and to understand that food is medicine.
I first studied natural medicine, Mindfulness meditation and conscious ecology at Sherborne House in Gloucestershire, UK in 1973~74. Sherborne House was a fourth way International Academy for Continuous Education under J.G.Bennett, Director of the Institute for the Comparative Study of History, Philosophy and the Sciences. J.G.Bennett is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the holistic movement and an educationalist ahead of his time about what he called Reciprocal Maintenance, climate change, biodiversity and the higher intelligence of nature, our planet and solar system.
At Sherborne I learned the practice of Mindfulness meditation from Samdach Vira Dharmawara Bellong Mahathera, doctor and monk of the Thai Forest tradition. A Cambodian monk, he was active in getting many people out of Cambodia during the regime of Pol Pot, bringing them to England and then on to California where he stayed with his people until his death at a youthful 112 years old!
I teach mindfulness as I was taught by Bhante, at the College for Continuing Education in Gibraltar. I also teach mindfulness one to one, mindfulness in parenting and on retreat at La Almoraima, a 17th century convent/ rural hotel in the province of Cadiz, Spain. I also teach Mindfulness meditation via Skype which does provide a very private space and personal experience.
In March 2019 I will begin a series of courses on Human and Planetary Ecology at OmVed Gardens in Highgate, London. OmVed provides a a unique creative space between people and nature, an exhibition space and a food hub within its own private five acre site of gardens. Run by award winning executive green chef and advocate of the UN World Food Programme, Arthur Potts Dawson, the food hub collaborates with the Chef’s Manifesto developing a better food system to feed the world.
To me, and I make an analogy taken from permaculture, OmVed Gardens is like a ‘wild corridor’ in the centre of London where there is not only biodiversity of nature, but of people with a diversity of knowledge and experience that they have made their own from out on the edge, or wild zone. They pass through this corridor sharing and seeding ideas for the benefit of human and planetary ecology as do the biodiversity of organisms that journey through the wild corridor of a garden, seeding themselves, feeding and transforming energies for the benefit of life itself.