Today I was bestowed with the fortunate oppurtunity to visit Anatomical Enlightenment, a cadaver lab devoted to the education of health practioners of all sorts on human anatomy.
Cadavers??!! Am I kidding? No.
Yes, it sounds a bit freaky at first, but considering how important the function and structure the human body is to general health and integrative healing, coupled with the fact that I might not ever get another chance, I decided to take part in lab.
Our intstructor, Todd, had 5 cadavers, in various stages of dissection. All the bodies were part of the donor program at the University of Colorado, in which the deceased ( when alive and well) had enrolled and dedicated their body to education, by choice.
Smelly though it was, we got hands on experience, (literally) with all parts of the human anatomy. Livers, kidneys, ovaries, tendons, nerves and more.
I didn't know exactly what to expect to see when I arrived, and of course, it was nothing like ER with lots of fluids, blood and guts. The enbalmed bodies were ...COMPLETELY... devoid of life. For a student of vitalism like me, I think it was particularly poignant to understand that the body is only so much flesh and bone. Not much different than a chicken that you're getting ready to eat...except much less fresh, and less edible. The important thing to remember, as Paul Bergner said, is that Life is something MORE than just our body. Sure there are physiological processes that go on, but what is it that makes us alive, rather than dead? That SPARK is what the holistic, vitalist healer is setting out to work with. We aren't trying to manipulate biochemicals or force organs to preform certain processes...we are concerned with supporting the vital spark of life that animates and intelligently infuses the body with life and function. We support nutrition as the basis for a healthy, functioning body. And we serve as assistants to the incredibly amazing anima called LIFE. A healer cannot force anything in the body and achieve true healing. A doctor may remove a diseased organ, or perscribe a chemical drug, but really he is just relieving symptoms of LIFE, symptoms that LIFE has designed in order to regain balance. Removing an organ hardly ever IMPROVES the vitality and overall health of an individual, though it may relieve to a certain degree, suffering and pain. But the easing of pain is JUST one aspect of healing....true healing is so much more. We want to restore vitality to a person, and to do so, we must support and ease the efforts of LIFE to preform the processes it knows how to do.
We saw an 85 yr old woman's ovaries, which were incredibly swollen with golf ball size cysts, and how the pericardium, lungs, diaphram, liver, stomach and intesines are all connected, literally. The tissues are all connected one to another, and each time you take a breath, your lungs fill, your dipahram stretches, and the heart, the liver, the kidneys and the intestines rock back and forth within the body. Each breath effects every organ in your body...think on that. LIFE is intimately connected witht the breath...down to the very cells of our structural organs. So take a deep breath, and feel LIFE within you, wonderous, intelligent and inspirited LIFE.
Sure, dead bodies are a bit gross....but it only makes me value even more the miracle that LIFE, that living really is. I don't want to waste a moment of it or take it for granted.