Why matters! It’s a great question that can help guide us toward conscious living and Conscious Health and Healthcare.
Why are we, as doctors, more inclined to prescribe pills and diagnostic or therapeutic interventions than to search for a root cause? Why are we, as patients, inclined to prefer that approach?
Why can medical doctors like me find gainful employment with a six-figure salary and benefits while my massage therapist, chiropractor, yoga therapist, and acupuncturist colleagues generally cannot?
Why are 4,000 or 6,000 years of practices like Ayurveda, the “science of life” in India, or traditional East Asian medicine, like acupuncture and herbs, not considered evidence-based in the same way conclusions derived from the scientific method are considered evidence?
Why do we think we can see and prove everything about our existence and the cosmos when they are so vast?
Why does your ZIP Code predict your health outcomes in the US?
Why does a black man in the US live 10 years less on average than a white woman?
Why are housing and schools still so segregated more than 50 years after the civil rights movement? Why don’t so many of my brothers and sisters notice persistent segregation? Why do people in the US exhibit collective amnesia, living in isolation from people with lived experiences of institutionalized racism and systemic inequities?
In my nearly 50 years of living in this country, I see how hard we strive to reach our goals – whether that means feeding our children and keeping a roof over our heads, or getting the home, promotion, or good life we seek. I don’t see us stop often to ask why… What am I striving for, and why?
I grew up as an economically privileged daughter of physician parents, in an all-white neighborhood in Bryan, Texas. I experienced systemic racism as a brown girl with a culture that is ‘othered’ -and exoticized. I had the blessing to experience food, joy, love, and service as my medicine. I witnessed the medical-industrial complex and the broken – utterly broken –healthcare system in the US being driven by profit motives focused on sickness rather than health. And, because I ask why a lot, I strive to share and embody Conscious Health and Healthcare. For me, it’s a way of moving through the world knowing ourselves to be more than our bodies. Each of us is a soul with a body, not a body with a soul. It isn’t related to any specific religion. It’s simply about being rooted in the very existence of life. Beyond that, conscious living means asking why –at school, at church, at work, and at home. Be curious and questioning when you are with your parents, your teachers, your health care providers, your elders, and your youngsters.
Asking why may seem disruptive. It may be perceived as disrespectful. Use your judgment. Sometimes you might do so quietly within yourself. Sometimes you may do it out loud. It depends on the cultural context. If we all asked why and then sat with wonder, if we were willing to acknowledge how often we don’t have the answers, if we could do all of this with equanimity, curiosity, and humility, I believe we would approach one another in a way that embodies the essence of love that we all share.
If there is anger, frustration, hurt, it’s important that we address these emotions as well – either through contemplative practices, individual therapy, restorative circles, etc. There are so many ways to address any disruptions to well-being, whether the cause is on the individual level or on a systemic level. In conscious living and conscious health and healthcare, we each bear the responsibility to address our emotions and our experience of the world without placing the burden on others.
We invite you to be a part of our Conscious Health and Healthcare movement, to help us break the mold and build a better one.