Awakening the Healer - And the God - Within
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion

FROM Dr. Michael W. Fox
March 2020

This is the metaphysical aspect of the empathosphere in the quantum field of sentient life: And of the metamorphosis of the narcissistic child into a more caring and compassionate adult, parent, teacher and healer.

“Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. They come to us not knowing that truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work.”
- Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)

Nobel laureate, physician, musician, composer and philosopher Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who advocated reverential respect for all life, alluded to awakening the “physician within” to accomplish effective healing in mind and body. From a traditional, aboriginal perspective and more contemporary spiritual and mystical traditions and rites of initiation, as with the Native American Vision Quest, this awakening is the opening of Self to reality, unfiltered by egocentricity and anthropocentricity. In Hinduism this is breaking through the veil of maya, self-delusion as to the true nature of reality and the reality of revelation in the all-abiding presence of the natural world; Nature: One stupendous whole of which we are an interdependent part in which God is in all and all are in God or Great Spirit: The apprehension of the Universal in the particular and the particular in the Universal, transforming egocentrism into ecocentrism.

For atheistic materialists and instrumental rationalists this existential awakening is evidenced phenomenologically by the animists’ life force or “power of the world as it lives and moves and does its work” ,within and around all beings, to quote Native American Shaman Black Elk. It can be measured in the bioelectrical fields of our brains and bodies and in those of all living organisms, plant, animal and microorganism now endangered by anthropogenic electropollution. It is the Chi of Eastern medicine and yoga’s Kundalini. The Kalahari desert bush people, the !Kung, term for this powerful healing force n/um. Seiki jutsu is the ancient Japanese shamanic art of working with seiki, concentrated life-force energy, for self-healing, revitalization, creativity, and inspiration.

This energy is part of the will to live which Dr. Schweitzer saw as the “doctor within”, a healing energy helping the sick and injured and the dispirited recover. The laying on of hands to transmit this energy has been practiced since time immemorial, often with a religious element of prayer or incantation or a medical element of therapeutic massage as per my books The Healing Touch for Dogs/Cats and acupuncture to stimulate and balance the patient’s bioelectrical field.

Various herbs delivered orally, topically or by inhalation were an integral part of traditional healing and also contemporary human and veterinary holistic medicine. Self-medication with such sources of natural healing along with selective geophagia has been well documented in animals. (See Cindy Engel, Wild Health: Lessons in natural wellness from the animal kingdom. New York. Houghton Mifflin 2002). Coprophagia is one form of self-medication to replenish the gut microbiome, fecal transfer to human and animal patients now being more widely practiced following the long tradition of regurgitated rumen bolus transfer from healthy animals to sickly lambs, kids and calves.

The traditional Chinese medical use of various animal parts such as rhino horn, tiger bones, bear bile and pangolin scales is an animistic and ultimately anthropocentric medical tradition that has helped unleash zoonotic disease like the Corona virus and has intensified the depredation of wildlife, endangering species and contributing to the planetary decline in biodiversity.

Awakening this energy and sustaining it facilitates healing, physically and mentally, boosting the immune, digestive and other somatic systems and organs. Research on affective reactions in dogs have shown some of the neurohormones that are involved in this awakening of the physician within, i.e. internal healing processes, namely oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine.

Losing the will to live is seen in various situations, the context determining the best ways of stimulating this energy or life force. Its depletion especially by fear and insecurity when ill or severely injured can be rectified by the presence of caring loved ones. With wild and some domesticated animals not well socialized and trusting of veterinarians and other care-givers can benefit, as I witnessed time and time again at my wife Deanna Krantz’ animal refuge and veterinary hospital in India, when in the company of another animal who trusted people, and it did not need always to be of their own species. (For details see the book India’s Animals: Helping the Sacred and the Suffering by Deanna Krantz and Michael W. Fox).

A warming. soft blanket in a darkened, quiet place comforts many human and non-human patients, notably dogs who suffer from thunderphobia and others in various stages of recovery or dying. Many animals go away to seek solitude and security before death. Providing analgesics, anxiolytics and euthanasia to patients whose will to live and life force are waning is justifiable where there is associated pain or fear/anxiety which cannot be alleviated by the attending care-givers, such terminal hospice care being practiced more widely in human and veterinary fields.

Some indigenous peoples allude to the wounds that can make a person a Shaman, A community healer. Chief medicine man of the Lakota Sioux, Fools Crow, told me when he was a guest in my home, of ceremonies he performed as a diviner-healer. The awakening of the healer within may involve self-sacrifice to another in loving and caring or be ignited by the various traumas of psychological suffering and physical pain that many of us experience from birth on, from infection, disease and injury to neglect and cruelty as well as witnessing others’ suffering and through our empathy feel their pain and distress. We feel helplessness and despair until we find some path of action to help: To heal and alleviate our own and others’ pain and suffering.

Many people who care for animals and the environment are feeling this way today and veterinarians and those involved in animal and environmental protection are especially vulnerable to suffering despair, depression and can become suicidal because they are on the front lines, along with those humanitarians who are in-field especially in Africa and parts of the Middle East helping some 60 million disenfranchised refugees while others rescue and protect endangered species, their habitats and indigenous peoples, often risking their lives in the process.

When the healer-within is awakened in us all there is an ontogenetic and epigenetic metamorphosis of Homo sapiens into a more empathetic, empowered and compassionate species. Our future security and the fate of the Earth and all who dwell therein, all the glory and wonder of life’s diversity and beauty and wonder from shore to shore and sea to sea, depend upon this metamorphosis as does our immediate economy, health and quality of life. Such a metamorphosis is metanoia, a kind of renunciation and at-onement, not driven guilt, shame or regret but by a rational decision to turn around, face a new direction and see things from a different perspective, especially through the eyes of others in what Martin Buber called the I-Thou relationship. Ethics and morality are derivative of such spiritual communion and agape leading to a more responsive and responsible consciousness and reverential respect for all beings, human and non-human.

Our affinities and love of the natural world and fellow creatures wild and tame are a sustaining source of enthusiasm, the antidote to despair. This term enthusiasm comes from the early 17th century, derived from French enthousiasme, or via late Latin from Greek enthousiasmos, from enthous ‘possessed by a god, inspired’ (based on theos ‘god’).: The God within.

The Climate and Extinction crises are a call for immediate Earth and Self-healing which politicians, industries and consumers can no longer deny, ignore and even justify the status quo of such ecocide and deicide.

Our collective exploitation of this life force, from a theocentric perspective, harms the God within, From the perspective of evidence based human and veterinary medicine, the cause of much suffering and dis-ease is precisely because of our anthropocentric and egocentric conception of reality and of how we should treat other sentient beings: And we and they suffer the consequences.

Empathizing with others can be our opening to feel for others and even experience physically and emotionally their pain and distress. This is the metaphysical aspect of the empathosphere* in the quantum field of sentient life: And of the metamorphosis of the narcissistic child into a more caring and compassionate adult, parent, teacher and healer.

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