The human predicament of suffering, and the suffering of all creatures is a part of nature’s design. All things are given birth and will eventually decay and die. All of us will form attachments that we will someday have to let go of.


Regardless of this fact our species is generating a great deal of extra suffering for ourselves and most other life forms on earth. The suffering we generate from our tendencies toward greed and pollution is purely and simply a disease of our consciousness, and conscience. It is a common lack of capacity to feel a sense of love and responsibility for others and other life forms. Or at the least it is a lack of capacity to willingly experience discomfort in order to stand up for what we know should be the standard of a conscious caring human being.


From the perspective of holistic medicine this is not due to a lack of brain tissue or some other physical or biologically structural issue. Our crisis, andour planetary crisis may instead be considered a crisis of consciousness.


Consciousness can be a vague term but here refers to varying levels of awareness and capacity to understand and work in harmony with the laws of our natural world. For example three-year-old child has a very limited perspective of the interdependence of species of the connection between it being night-time as a result of the earth spinning. They simply do not have that level of understanding yet.


It is also rare that a 3 year old child will experience a natural desire to share with others, or feel compassion for one who is suffering. The can feel desire, fear, sorrow, and other emotions but certain parts of their human potential have simply not yet developed.


The current trend of our species, despite our many scientific insights, is similar to a child that has been raised to understand it’s world in a very limited way. We live in a type of dark ages that is fueled by materialism. Materialism, much like Hinduism, Atheism, or Buddhism is a type of worldview through which it’s participants (knowing or unknowingly) see and relate to the world in a common way.


In some ways I think that we need to learn from some of the ancient traditions of healing such as Ayurveda and Indigenous Medicine or Chinese Medicine the way children need to learn from their parents. Though our parents may not carry the cutting edge perspectives that youth do, and they are themselves a bit limited in their view, they do carry a wisdom that comes with age.


Of course a common finding in all traditions is thatthings change – yet nothing is actually new under the sun. We may see nature in different ways, use different language and means of understanding it, but nature and her laws remain steady. Our modern scientific insights are beginning to touch on fundamental truths that have been understood by ancient cultures for a very long time.




In both medicine and physics we are now learning that the physical world we see is supported by mathematics, vibrations, codes, and so on – not unlike computers. In holistic philosophy we find the ancient hermetic idea of “as above so below.” This is referring to patterns that exist within patterns in away that we now refer to as fractals. Fractals are patterns which scientists and mathematicians have found in nature that repeat themselves on varying scales.


An obvious somewhat crude example of this is when we look as a molecule with it’s orbiting electrons and protons, and then look at the moon around the earth, earth around the sun, sun around the center of the milky way and so on. The same similarity of patterns can be seen in the relation to the human body and the planet itself. This is why holistic healers perceive the body as an ecosystem and not a machine.


Another key finding for us modern humans that ancient cultures have known for centuries is that all of creation is vibrations or “sounds” which appear to be real and solid to the eye. Our obsession with materialism is literally dissolving as our technology evolves and we begin to see further in to the nature.


We now know through the study of cyamatics (how sound waves generates form and function) and other forms of science that vibrations literally give animation to matter. Every emotional state, thought, disease process, plant essence, etc. has a vibrational signature. In other words sound waves, light waves, thought waves, and so on are all generating the world we see.


In spiritual traditions such as Christianity, the teaching is that “in the beginning was the word,” and for the Hindu the foundation of all of creation is the primordial sound of OM. For Native Americans the Great Spirit lives in all things an all things and are in some way alive. This is why animism demands that we treat nature as a living being, and extension of ourselves and not a lifeless and exploitable object.

This also explains why so many cultures have used singing and certain sound instruments in order to carry out their healing process. As these words are being written, our modern medical and cultural model is transitioning from a fixation on chemicals and surgery to one using light, sound, and the intentional directing of thought and emotion.


End part one

Robert has written over thirty books on herbs and mushrooms. Robert has been a student of plant medicine for nearly 40 years, including 18 years as a clinical herbalist. He is an assistant clinical professor in the faculty of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta.




Chad Cornell, Master Herbalist. has been passionately studying and practicing natural healing methods for the past 25 years.  He is well steeped in the traditions of both Eastern and Western Herbalism as well as other long standing methods of natural healing and is actively involved in educating audiences ranging from children to university medical students, school teachers to nature retreat groups. 

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