Ants and bees – a metaphor

This is an email I received today and I’m putting it on the blog because I like it and what it has to say to all of us. It’s by Madyson Taylor and comes from the Daily Om:

“We can learn a lot from watching ants and bees living in community and working for the greater good.

When we see ants and bees out in the world, we often see just one, but this belies the reality of their situation. More than any other species, ants and bees function as parts of a whole. They cannot and do not survive as individuals; they survive as members of a group, and the group’s survival is the implicit goal of each individual’s life. There is no concept of life outside the group, so even to use the word individual is somewhat misleading. Often, humans, on the other hand, strongly value individuality and often negatively associate ants and bees with a lack of independence. And yet, if we look closer at these amazing creatures, we can learn valuable lessons about how much we can achieve when we band together with others to work for a higher purpose.

Most ants and bees have highly specified roles within their communities, some of which are biologically dictated, and they work within the confines of their roles without complaint, never wishing to be something other than what they are. In this way, they symbolize self-knowledge and humility. They also display selfless service as they work for the common good. In many ways, they are like the individual cells of one body, living and dying as necessary to preserve the integrity of the whole body, not to protect themselves as individuals. In this way, ants personify the ability to see beyond one’s small self to one’s place within the greater whole, and the ability to serve this whole selflessly.

Ants and bees can inspire us to fully own what we have to offer and to put it to use in the pursuit of a goal that will benefit all of humanity, whether it be raising consciousness about the environment, feeding the hungry, or raising a happy child. Each one of us has certain talents we were born with, as well as skills we have acquired. When we apply these gifts, knowing that we are one part of a greater organism working to better the whole world, we honour and implement the wisdom of ants and bees.”

About water

I read a lot of books about health issues and how to look and feel better. A lot of them are about diet and there is a lot of conflicting advice. It can make giving advice to patients a bit problematic because as knowledge and books pile up so some things I have read get discarded and some are retained. It does become apparent that in many instances there is an agenda. Many books and articles are written on the basis of “it worked for me therefore it must be right, and if this is right then everything else is wrong.”
In the end I go with personal experience and suggest to my patients that they do the same thing. I rarely recommend a food supplement or practice I have not used myself.
However there are some things that are basic to health. Hydration is one of those. It is essential to drink enough water for the body to be able to function as it should.
Quite a while ago I read a book, “The Body’s Many Cries for Water” by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, an Iranian doctor, on this theme. It does make for compelling reading. But personal experience is always the most convincing. Years ago, while I was at college, I made a visit to a chiropractor who was recommended by a friend. He clicked my back and it felt better but he also told me to drink lots of water for the next 24 hours. I did and I couldn’t believe how much better I felt in every way. I had more energy, felt more alert, more balanced emotionally and I actually was aware of feeling happier. I was astonished that just drinking more water could have such an effect.
The book recommends drinking 2 litres of plain water every day. If it’s very warm, drink more. If you are wanting to lose weight or help an existing health problem you should probably drink more. In this cold weather drinking cold water is not inviting but you can just take the edge of it by adding a tiny bit of hot water.
As with every change, do it gradually. If you are drinking very little at the moment, increase the amount over a couple of weeks or so. Give your body time to get used to it.
Another marvellous book on water, and quite different, is “The Hidden Messages in Water” by Masaru Emoto. He has been doing research on water for many years. He found that water from unpolluted and natural sources, such as springs, forms beautiful crystals. But water that is polluted or treated with chlorine is unable to form crystals. This is the water that most of us drink every day.
Water has a memory: homoeopathy is based on this principle. When exposed to loving words water also forms these crystals. Bearing in mind that the human body is largely made up of water, this is important. It makes a difference what we say to each other and to ourselves. I highly recommend this book. It is truly original.

About humanity

It’s Sunday morning. I thought I would buy a newspaper and catch up on all the awful things that are currently happening around the world, particularly in the Middle East.
I’m not a journalist, I’m not a political commentator, I’m not a historian but I hope I’m a human being. I have a heart and I feel empathy and horror when I see other human beings in distress. And a lot of human beings are in distress. Almost certainly a lot of human beings are in distress of varying degrees all the time. But it seems as if the world stage is fully taken up with human beings in distress, and that includes the other human beings who are causing the distress, having themselves their own particular distress.
It’s ghastly watching or reading the news. I look at the headlines and pick a paper, usually The Independent. Then I open the paper or turn the television on with trepidation; how awful is it going to be? How many people have died or been injured in horrible circumstances? Who is going to their aid? Is anyone going to their aid?
Politicians are not, generally, in the business of humanitarian aid, for all their words to that effect. Politicians are in the business of looking after their own interests. Hence the humanitarian disaster that is Syria goes on, and on. The humanitarian disaster playing out in Gaza, on a smaller scale than Syria, thank God, has been eclipsed (conveniently?) by another humanitarian disaster happening in Iraq. And the Ukraine is in there somewhere too, and Mr Putin… But this time, in Iraq, we see David Cameron and Barack Obama jumping up to denounce this particular disaster and dropping a few bombs, which they hope are strategically placed and then saying to the world and each other, okay, that’s sorted now. Nothing more needed there. How would they feel, I wonder, if they were to spend a few days, or even hours, walking in the shoes of a Yazidi, or a Palestinian, or a Syrian refugee. Or even a few days in the shoes of an ISIS warrior, to have some insight into their particular view of their reality, as in the suggestion of the unknown North American Indian: to paraphrase – you cannot judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.
However, there are a few little lights going on in a few places, in a few people’s hearts. As follows:
Robert Fisk writing in The Independent on 26 July under the heading, “What if it had been 35 Palestinian dead, and 800 Israeli?” goes on to say, within the article, “Impunity is the word that comes to mind…..Because – and this has been creeping up on me for years – we don’t care so much about the Palestinians, do we?”
Jon Snow, reporting on Channel 4 News, from Gaza a couple of weeks ago, and visibly moved by what he was witnessing and reporting on, made a You Tube video expressing his concern and his emotional response to the devastation and destruction he saw. It has now been watched by over a million people.
The Independent on Sunday, 17 August, included an article informing us that the United Nations top humanitarian official in the Middle East “issued an impassioned appeal for a new deal for Gaza to end the ‘collective punishment’ of its 1.8 million inhabitants imposed by Israel’s seven-year blockade of the territory”.
In the same paper the Comment article is by Sir Richard Shirreff, until recently the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe. He expresses his opinion on the “spineless lack of leadership…” and says, about what’s happening in Iraq, “If the right thing must be done, then have the guts to do it, irrespective of focus groups”.
It still comes from the heart and is concerned with what is happening to other human beings, expressing empathy as well as frustration.
News reporting is including emotion, which it must when what is being reported is obviously having a huge emotional impact on the reporter and the readers and viewers. This is a human response to human suffering and distress. We empathise and this is essential because if we do not, then we are lost. Our humanity,that which makes us human, is lost.
It was not always so, and some journalists argue that news reporting should be “straight” so that those receiving the news can make up their own minds. But a report, such as Robert Fisk’s or a video like Jon Snow’s are not necessarily putting forward a point of view which is intended to manipulate or persuade their readers and viewers. They are pointing out and standing up for something that is patently obvious and to ignore it, to not acknowledge it, would be impossible, if not actually morally wrong. They are pointing at suffering. An emotional response is not the same as a point of view.
A few days ago I watched “The Pianist” on television. It is the story of what happened to the Jews in Warsaw in the second world war, told through the eyes of a pianist who escaped the deportations to the concentration camps and somehow survived to tell the tale. I wondered how much the Israeli aggression and bullying comes from repressed anger and humiliation at what happened to them then. A political “peace” and “solution” means nothing and indeed will not work if there is no possible peace, which must include forgiveness, in the hearts of any side in any conflict.
If you start looking, and I have, evidence of emotion, feelings of indignation, empathy, compassion, is there. It takes a change of perspective to see it and it is the only thing we have to give us hope for something better than what we are currently witnessing in so many places – the execution of power over others at any cost.
It is our emotions that make us human, that give us the quality of humanity. Carolyn Myss, an American medical intuitive and writer says this, “Emotions tell the truth. If we open ourselves to feel what others are feeling, we then must either act on that input or consciously act against it, thereby denying our own emotional experience. This is valid both in terms of how we interact within our personal lives and how we interact in the larger, impersonal area of our institutions. Consider that we go to great lengths to keep emotional input out of business, politics, government and other major decision-making institutions. We are, as a whole, not prepared to respond to the emotional input of other people and of the other kingdoms of life.”
This was written in 1999 in “Creation of Health”, co-authored with Dr Norman Shealy. Fifteen years later emotions are creeping in, as above, and personally I think this is good thing. Without them we can never learn to feel compassion and without compassion and forgiveness and hope nothing will change.