Physician Treating Patient

Is the human body like a machine
so when we're ill, a physician treats us
like a mechanic repairing broken parts

or is our body like a plant needing
a gardener's care with sunshine & water
to bring a wilted flower back to life?

Albert Schweitzer confides that physicians
have no real power in curing their patients
but it's nature doing the healing with time.

He could repair skin wounds and broken bones
but when natives complain about jungle fears
Schweitzer sends them to the village witch doctor.

Now I'm at a "Minds & Medicines" seminar
at Stanford listening to Dr. Victoria Sweet
talking about her book God's Hotel

how she went to Laguna Honda Hospital
for two-months and remained for 20 years
practicing slow medicine and patient care.

She learned from the 12th century mystic nun
Hildegard von Bingen about viriditas
"greening power" & brewed her herbs to treat

those patients at Laguna and they got well
because she listened closely to their pains
and problems that speeded up their healing.

She quoted Dr. Francis Peabody's talk
to Harvard students "the secret of the care
of the patient is in caring for the patient."

After her talk, I'm thinking of Buddha
the greatest physician whose 8-Fold Path
ends suffering, that Emptiness brings bliss

that our body is a mysterious miracle—
a sacred shrine, home of the Real Self—
wonder of wonders filled with rainbow light.

        — Peter Y. Chou
            Mountain View, 11-29-2012

Body as Machine

Body as Plant

Body as Rainbow Light
Alex Grey (born 1953)
Heart on Fire (1970)