"I, too, think that life is constantly showing us the holy nature of the world. And medicine is a front-row seat on life. You get to see spirit in action, no matter what your religion is. Most doctors recognize this. Few doctors have not experienced what they would call holy moments in their work, moments of awe, moments when they have known themselves to be in the presence of something larger than themselves, be it courage or love or mystery."
Dr. Rachel Remen
Unfortunately, medicine, the healing arts has been turned into a corporate enterprise, a mercenary business which is about making money rather than bringing comfort to the sick, and healing to suffering and terrified spirits. Many people are called to medicine, to healing and care, because they realize that "somehow they belong in places of need and trouble" and Dr. Remen puts it in her essay "Exposing The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Medicine" in the book entitled, The Life Of Meaning, edited by Bob Abernathy and William Bole. Dr. Remen goes on to say:
"The great majority of those I have asked say that they were under fifteen when they first realized that they moved toward the unmet needs of living things with an intent to make a difference. So medical expertise is only the most recent set of tools with which they have responded to the needs of the life around them. And their intent to make a difference in the life around them - their service impulse - has been a way of life for them, long before they were experts, from the time that they were very young. We are in this work not because of what we know, but because of who we are." p. 27 - 28
With the corporate take over of medicine, the motivations for providing care have changed and it is no longer about the service but about the money, and medicine in no longer an honorable profession but a "career" or a job and the spiritual fulfillment and satisfaction has been supplanted by avarice and materialism. For those attracted to medicine as a way of service, this has been very stressful. Dr. Remen notes:
"But I think the real crisis in medicine is a spiritual crisis, a crisis of integrity. It has to do with a system, an infrastructure, that makes it difficult for people to live by their life values, to relate to people in ways that are compassionate because of economic or time pressures and the policies that come from them. It makes people unable to practice their service according to the best they know, not just scientifically, but also spiritually. When you separate people from their values that they have held closely from their early childhood, they lose their sense of meaning, integrity, and commitment. They feel helpless. They become cynical and depressed and hostile. Our medicine is only as good as the peple who practice it. In one generation it is possible to destroy the lineage of the profession that has endured for thousands of years. The lineage survives only as long as the innate values of those who practice the profession. p.28
It is important to those who would insure the transmission of the best of the professions of medicine, the healing arts, and human service to stand up to the corporate values that objectify human bodies as merely physical entities and to disregard the human capacities of love, respect, dignity, caring and compassion. Dr. Remen says,
"I think that the spiritual core of medicine is at risk at this moment. We could demean this work and become biological technicians, but that's not what medicine is about; it's never been what medicine is about. Medicine is not a work of science, it is a work of service, and service is a special kind of love." p. 29