Asking Big Questions

Asking Big Questions
      We are living in a time like none other right now. A most divided time – there is a huge chasm yawning between world views. It’s a most disturbing time. Families sharply divided in their personally held stances. It’s so so painful. Why?  Well, there are new precedents being created almost daily concerning our health. About our right to choose what we put in our bodies. About what is “good” and suddenly, inexplicably “necessary” for our children. And ultimately about hidden risks versus questionable benefits of brand new untested procedures, where there are no long term studies whatsoever to prove safety. The key questions are about recent allopathic health/sickness protocols and Medical Bioethics. Are we safe? And who takes responsibility if we are not? If there is untoward fallout of these new genetically modifying practices? Well, in a nutshell – you do. There is nowhere else to turn if you may unexpectedly be in need. Even great need. Yes, you can admit yourself to urgent or hospital care, but no one else will pay your medical bills, nope, no health insurance will kick in. You’re on your own. And that’s a deeply sobering thought on every level.
      Let’s take a moment and look at: What are the six principles of Medical Bioethics?
Non-maleficence. Beneficence. Autonomy. Justice. Confidentiality. Truth-telling.
Let those 6 words really sink in. Sit with them for awhile. Really make their acquaintance.  Feel into their significance. And look up those first two if you’re not sure exactly what they mean. Because it’s important that you know exactly what they mean.
      How does the medical profession stand on these principles in today’s world?
I’d like to tell you a little story if I may…
      My dad, Dr. Bernard Towers was a highly esteemed Professor Emeritus Of Medicine at Jesus College, Cambridge, England. After many years there he took the great opportunity to move to America and become a highly esteemed Professor of Anatomy and Pediatrics at UCLA School of Medicine. He later did research and discovered a part of the lung he named the “Pneumon”.  After writing hundreds of scientific papers and contributing articles to many books, plus writing three books of his own, he got more and more interested in Medical Ethics. Yes, he was an eclectic physician, philosopher, theologist and humanitarian with a great curiosity and love for the miracle of life on this planet. He headed up the prototype of UCLA’s Department of Medical Ethics back in the 1970’s. It was called the “UCLA Medicine and Society Forum”.
      Every week or two he would choose a provocative, challenging Bioethics topic, and handpick a motley group of experts from pertinent yet diverse walks of life to discuss it. Such as a medical Doctor, a Priest, A Philosopher, A Social Studies Teacher, A History Teacher and perhaps an atheist Artist. He would moderate. Can you imagine?! I spent many a summer day as a teenager (while dad was working) studying the videos of these immensely interesting, stimulating debates on such subjects as euthanasia, abortion, appropriate use of donor organs, living wills etc. etc. The hours I spent studying these issues were fascinating to me and these panelists were quite brilliant as they argued their viewpoints with great passion AND civility. (Dad made sure about the civility part). It was all so eye opening, and it got me thinking…. a LOT.
      Later, Dad also developed the Department of Psychoneuroimmunology with his best friend, Norman Cousins, of “Anatomy of an Illness” fame. He became enthralled with the mind-body-consciousness connection and we both really loved discussing this endlessly over the years to come. He finally retired after 30 years of a stellar career and devoted service at UCLA School of Medicine, having taught in the fields of Anatomy, Pediatrics, Bioethics, Research and Psychoneuroimmunology. At the end of his time there he confided to me that he was deeply concerned about the direction medicine was going in. That it was “all about money now” ie: getting grants, mostly from pharmaceutical companies, to perform specific research studies… (to hopefully find specific outcomes). It was no longer about what he signed up for. He was bitterly disappointed, feeling deeply betrayed by the values now purported, in no uncertain terms, by the University. Betrayed in his lifelong love of medicine.
      My father went on to develop a private practice in Beverly Hills, developing techniques of hypnotherapy and guided imagery for cancer patients specifically, helping them find ways to narrate their own magical hero’s journey back to health. It was beautiful work, and I always felt this was his way to finally marry his left and right brain, his head and his heart, bringing in his highly sensitive, artistic, musical self to his healing work. (He paid for his college tuition in medicine by being a very accomplished jazz trumpet player in various bands in England, but put it all aside for his career as a Doctor.)
      After wondering about becoming an MD like my dad, I decided not to follow his footsteps and go into the field of Allopathic Medicine, but to learn and teach about Natural Medicine instead. This was due to a great extent to witnessing my mother become addicted to pharmaceutical drugs over many years, and losing her mind and her life as a result. I am so glad about my clear decision and have never regretted it for an instant. Here I am 40 years later, having studied the efficacy of many healing modalities, and still incredibly passionate about the subject of true health and wellness!!! My internal compass continually guides me from the core engrained value of “First, do no harm”. Non-maleficence. Yes, that very first principle of Medical Bioethics! It’s so vitally important.
      Today we must ask ourselves some deep and challenging questions about where the allopathic medical model is taking us. I have to admit I am extremely sobered and troubled by what I see unfolding rapidly before our eyes. I always wondered if this was a possibility, but always hoped fervently that it would not become a probability. This flagrant disregard for those six ethical principles. The world has been rapidly turned upside down, with no regard for the rich natural sciences of the global ancient practices of Medicine. The wisdom of the ages and how it applies to the human body. The honouring of the science of epigenetics and how true that is… how our genes and our cells morph and change according to the environment they are in. The basic principles of how magically and brilliantly our immune systems work in relationship to the world, including threats, that we live in concert with. The incredible orchestration of life itself and how we are interdependent with everything around us. How our lives are all a part of the continual dance of life, the music of life. Fundamentally, we must take seriously the fact that we are personally responsible for learning about how to protect, manage and cultivate our own health, and the health of our children. And then continually practice the art of wellbeing day by day. Let’s get to it shall we?
      Oh and by the way, my father ended up being super proud of my global work in promoting energy medicine, saying at the end of his life “Julie, you are light years ahead of me in medicine!” I owe my relentless passion for the truth to him… thanks Dad! 

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