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The Meaning of Disease with Dr. Kim Jobst

In this episode we will be exploring the meaning of disease with Dr. Kim Jobst. Dr. Jobst is an award winning physician and a consultant in integrated medicine dedicated to integration in science, healing, and holistic healthcare.

He was invited by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama to discuss global health and mental wellbeing for mankind in 1991 and in 2013 was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his services to integrated medicine by Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

His mission is to establish and use the science of meaning to serve as a healer of people and nations. Dr. Jobst now co-directs his own private health care practice, Functional Shift Consulting in London, UK.

Visit him: http://www.functionalshift.com/

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • “Disease and health may both be seen as facets of healthy functioning, each necessary for the other, each giving rise to the other. Disease may be thought of as a manifestation of health. It is the healthy response of an organism striving to maintain physical, psychologic and spiritual equilibrium.”
  • “As I went through the whole process it just became more and more evident to me that disease was the result of a certain set of conditions, what we call disease, but those conditions arose in very specific and defined ways and their pathway to healing was inherent in them, first of all and secondly, if one approached them with that mindset they could actually lead to healing without necessarily using toxic drugs or interventions first of all and secondly the people would be more of who they are.

    It was clear to me that disease was serving the evolution of a human being and in that context it has meaning, but what’s critical to the whole way of thinking is that meaning is unique to each person.”

  • “Right now in pursuing the work that I do, every case, every person, every patient, every encounter brings to the floor again that what is happening is happening for a reason. That reason is unique for that person and that, that reason and uniqueness is all about them becoming who they really are — more of who they really are. That it has meaning and that meaning is unique to them.”
  • “Epigenetics is about the fact that we can influence in an inheritable way our genetic makeup in real time, right now. So, when I was at school we were taught that your genes are your genes and you can get mutations, but you can’t really affect your genetic profile in your lifetime. You are born with a certain set of genetic characteristics and that’s what you pass on with or without mutations along the way. We get mutability and variation because we marry other people and reproduce with a different, outside of our own immediate gene pool.”
  • “What is so amazing in the context of thinking of disease as health is realizing that those unique profiles exist to serve somebody to fulfill their highest potential.”
  • “I often say, it’s one of the great paradoxes, we can’t see without a blindspot. Structurally we can’t see without a blindspot. We have a blind spot where the optic nerve goes through back of the eye through the retina and where it goes through the retina there are no cells that can pick up the light and be translated into sight. We actually have to have a blind spot in order to see. In order to deal with the blind spot, we need mirrors and in our life there are many, many, many mirrors.”
  • “Every human being, without exception, has a purpose that is their own. It doesn’t have to be grandiose and huge and global and life-changing so called, not at all, but each person has that and it’s unique to them.

    When we can discover what that is and we can open the fact that it is true for them, then whatever is happening, whatever the challenge is that is happening, is invariably seen to be supporting that — to opening the way to that, to assisting them in that. Even though it may be incredibly painful and what is so interesting is that every single time there is a sense of connection. I can sense a connection with that divine purpose.”

  • “By spiritual I mean, that of which has meaning.”
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Transcript

OSMARA: Welcome to The Metamorphosis Chronicles. I’m Osmara: researcher, writer, certified yoga teacher, and self professed wanderlust. With each new episode I bring inspiring interviews and messages to help you upgrade your mind + body.

In this episode we will be exploring the meaning of disease with Dr. Kim Jobst. Dr. Jobst is an award winning physician and a consultant in integrated medicine dedicated to integration in science, healing, and holistic healthcare.

He was invited by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama to discuss global health and mental wellbeing for mankind in 1991 and in 2013 was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his services to integrated medicine by Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

His mission is to establish and use the science of meaning to serve as a healer of people and nations. Dr. Jobst now co-directs his own private health care practice, Functional Shift Consulting in London, UK.

“Disease and health may both be seen as facets of healthy functioning, each necessary for the other, each giving rise to the other. Disease may be thought of as a manifestation of health. It is the healthy response of an organism striving to maintain physical, psychologic and spiritual equilibrium.”

Great words from Dr. Kim Jobst here from the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine.

Thank you, Kim and welcome!

KIM: It’s really, really lovely to be here. Thank you.

OSMARA: Thank you so much. So, I’m very excited to have you on because you have quite a revolutionary perspective on the role that disease plays in our lives as individuals and as a whole, as a collective. How did you get started on this journey? How did you come across this body of knowledge and this body of work that is yours?

KIM: Actually, it’s a lovely question. I actually think as I reflect on it now with you that it really goes back a long way. It goes back, pretty well back to the beginning of my life as I reflect on it. I think to the … in the simplest way, when I was little I use to think a lot about everything being a manifestation of God, of The Divine, of whatever someone believes that to be and if God is love and love is God then that must mean that disease and suffering, conflict and war, all the different things that challenge us human beings are in fact a manifestation of love.

If that’s the case then there must be a much deeper purpose to disease and suffering and I had a number of challenges in my own life, personally to me as a child and also in my family, that awakened me to what was happening when people were in the middle of it and what happened after.

That lead to me initially just questioning and pondering it and eventually I was kind of dragged kicking and screaming into medicine, or rather pushed as a result
of a series of experiences when I had finished school because I really didn’t want to commit to those years of training and that long pathway.

As I went through the whole process it just became more and more evident to me that disease was the result of a certain set of conditions, what we call disease, but those conditions arose in very specific and defined ways and their pathway to healing was inherent in them, first of all and secondly, if one approached them with that mindset they could actually lead to healing without necessarily using toxic drugs or interventions first of all and secondly the people would be more of who they are.

It was clear to me that disease was serving the evolution of a human being and in that context it has meaning, but what’s critical to the whole way of thinking is that meaning is unique to each person.

OSMARA: I love that. So, you mentioned that you had challenges yourself from an early age. What happened? What was your story?

KIM: So, the first … I suppose in a way I’m going to … maybe challenging from the very beginning, my first challenge was my birth which was not an easy one as I have worked through the course of my life I’ve had recollections of that experience and what took place in me as a result of it which lead to a very specific, excessive experiences and connection, connection to my own life, my own source of life.

Subsequently as a child I was born in Africa and we came to England when I was five or six and on arriving in England I had my first experience of asthma and I use to get that on a recurrent basis and not be able to breathe and I was one of the first children that got to try Ventolin, which was kind of a miraculous experience, but also to have the experience of fighting for my breath and what would trigger it and how I could find my way into releasing it.

Subsequently that leading me into macrobiotics and my mother, you know really being concerned of her developing teenager who couldn’t breathe properly and she wanted to help me do something with that. So, I began a journey through macrobiotics that was extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary. It brought me into contact with the whole notion of oriental diagnosis and oriental medicine and I got to meet a man who, you know in his approach to me was using pulse and tongue and feeling my body in certain ways and who I knew, knew me better than myself at that moment, which is an extraordinary moment and so different to what I experienced in hospitals in orthodox medicine.

There were other challenges. I had an accident which really crucified my sacroiliac joint and again there was the orthodox world wanted to operate on my back and I remember being told that I would be a crippled by the age of 21 and meeting, first of all, a very gentle osteopath and then the Alexander technique through two of Alexander’s people and again a revolution saved my life. An absolute revolution.

OSMARA: What exactly is the Alexander technique?

KIM: So, the Alexander technique was something developed by Alexander who was an opera singer and who lost his voice, it was inexplicable, and he lost his voice and nobody really knew what had happened and he was determined to try and get it back. He started to work on himself in front of a mirror and discovered that the way in which he related to his body and the way in which he moved within his body would have a very significant impact on his entire sense of self and he got his voice back, but he didn’t go back into opera singing.

He decided that he would teach what he discovered. It’s a beautiful, very gentle way of helping people to align the muscular system, hugely beneficial and used by a lot of musicians. So, for me it was seminal.

OSMARA: So, throughout your life from very early on, it’s the timeless hero’s journey tale at the same time, whatever we perceive as a challenge or whatever we perceive as a void or missing in our experience, usually is what becomes the portal of what we deem most valuable and most important in our lives. So, I think that’s a really brilliant story of how you had a very close relationship with the meaning of disease from early on.

KIM: Oh, yes, it’s true. It’s absolutely true because when my back injury occurred I was part of the England Youth Rowing Squad at the time and you know, I wanted to perform and to succeed and of course I couldn’t. I stopped literally dead in my tracks from one day to the next I could no longer train. I couldn’t move properly and I had to engage in this journey to find recovery.

There was a critical moment in working with the Alexander teachers, a glorious woman called Gene Robertson who I will be grateful to for the whole rest of my life. When I experienced everything align in my body being and the critical thing about that was the realization that every single thought that I had affected all of my body.

I actually sensed it, felt it, knew it and it was on that particular day when she said to me, “You know, I wanted to be an actor at that point” and she came from a family of actors and she said, “We don’t need actors, we really need people who can bridge these worlds and I wonder if that’s something for you to think about.” That went in so deep.

I knew that I didn’t want to be an Alexander teacher, but that was really when the notion of medicine was seeded and then I fought against it for a long time.

OSMARA: Why did you fight against it?

KIM: Well, it was actually very simple. I know two particular streams, one was that I wanted to work with my father. I just wanted to work with my father and be close to him and get to know him and he seemed to be very alone in his business. He worked in agricultural services. The other was that I’ve had enough of school and enough of exams and I didn’t want to have to embark on a seven year course to become a junior doctor and then on that whole path.

It was like a nightmare, the whole idea. Although I had done very well in school, I was pretty successful in doing examinations, I had enough and I left school, did well. I was actually offered to do medicine in Cambridge at Cambridge University and turned it down and went off to ranch in the United States in Canada and it was while I was ranching that I had a kind of, I had a very profound experience in which I knew beyond any shadow of doubt that I had to do this, I had to do medicine.

It was a knowing so powerful that I turned my horse around. We were herding cattle, went back to the ranch house and I said, “We’re leaving, I’ve got to go back to England,” which I did and then it was a whole long story, you know, of how I eventually got to do medicine and here I am talking to you 40 years later.

OSMARA: That’s great. So, you got into medicine and you, I mean obviously you have an ability to tap into your intuitive nature and to hear it because I think we all have an intuitive side, but not many of us learn to go with it. Yours seems like it was very, very strong, very, very loud with getting your attention.

KIM: Well, I love that. Yes, maybe it seems that way because that’s how I tell the story. You need to remember that I had consistently avoided it until it was so loud that I couldn’t.

OSMARA: Yeah, that tends to happen.

KIM: It does and I think throughout my life there have been those promptings and I’m good at ignoring them too.

OSMARA: Well, I think that we all have a little of both in us, correct?

KIM: There’s no doubt about to that. What is brought to my mind, when you say it though, is my intuition is incredibly sensitive when I’m consulting, when I’m in this world, when I’m working with this material.

OSMARA: Yes, so, I think right before we got on this call you were mentioning you had a really interesting session with a patient today right before we got on?

KIM: Yes, yes. I was talking about, this is the early impression of order, what I call now, The Divine Order, The Divine Magnificence. It was something that I use to refer to quite for myself as The Divine Magnificence and you and I both know that Dr. DeMartini was one of the defining moments for me when I very, very first met John and he referred to The Divine Magnificence and I thought, “Oh, my God — there’s someone else who calls it the same thing.”

For me, the Divine Magnificence is the order, it is the incredible and I mean incredible, it is the incredible complexity of the order and the precision of which everything is actually set up. So, right now in pursuing the work that I do, every case, every person, every patient, every encounter brings to the floor again that what is happening is happening for a reason. That reason is unique for that person and that, that reason and uniqueness is all about them becoming who they really are — more of who they really are.

That it has meaning and that meaning is unique to them. So, right now I’m beginning to see it through people’s genetic predispositions. We are living at a time where we not only have the old Mendelian genetics, but we have epigenetics and everybody and his dog are getting onto the bandwagon of epigenetics.

OSMARA: Right and for those that don’t know what epigenetics is, can you just quickly give a definition of it?

KIM: Yeah, I mean in the simplest sense, epigenetics is about the fact that we can influence in an inheritable way our genetic makeup in real time, right now. So, when I was at school we were taught that your genes are your genes and you can get mutations, but you can’t really affect your genetic profile in your lifetime. You are born with a certain set of genetic characteristics and that’s what you pass on with or without mutations along the way. We get mutability and variation because we marry other people and reproduce with a different, outside of our own immediate gene pool.

Epigenetics, it’s … I remember even at school saying, “I don’t think this is right. I’m absolutely certain that we can change our genetic makeup in our lifetime.” Initially that was poo pooed and now we are in a situation where we absolutely know that we change our genetic makeup in no time and the implications of that are absolutely enormous, but the beauty now … as a result of what we are doing at the moment and the sophistication of the technology, we are seeing that people have genetic predispositions to certain forms of nutrition and nutritional metabolism by chemistry and that, that affects our health in a number of different ways, our health and our hormonal status.

What is so amazing in the context of thinking of disease as health is realizing that those unique profiles exist to serve somebody to fulfill their highest potential. Now, let me just let that land. It’s not as though it’s an affliction, so in this particular person that I was working with this morning, what she has been struggling with is energy and clarity and her ability to see through what it is that she wants to do in her life.

She’s a very talented and capable person and there have been all kinds of things that have been done and interventions and investigations, but actually now we are realizing that she has a hormonal profile that is predisposed by her genetic makeup and that genetic makeup means that she has to live in a certain way to address those problems. In living that way she gets to fulfill what it is that she really wants to do — it’s fascinating.

I’m seeing this … the last half a dozen people that I’ve seen, who’ve had this kind of nutritional predisposition that actually that disposition serves them. Again, it’s kind of confronting to say that because the popular conception is that if I’ve got a genetic “defect” and some of my enzymes are only working at 50% compared to what the others are working at then there’s something wrong with me.

I don’t see it that way, I truly don’t see it that way. That 50% deficit, let’s say for argument sake means that I need to look after my B-Vitamin status, that means that I need to eat in a certain way, that means that I need to take care of myself with certain forms of supplementation, that means that I need to attend to my metabolism in a certain way, my body, my physiology.

Guess what? When you actually take the time to find out what it is that you want to do in this life, you find that all of those things will help you to do that.

OSMARA: That’s so powerful.

KIM: It’s amazing. I mean, it is amazing, it’s breathtakingly beautiful when you realize so I can be in the sense a little colorful and unashamedly so you realize that so deep is the love of the creation itself that it’s even willing to give you that specific structural underpinning to support your function. I mean, that’s amazing.

OSMARA: You know, I actually did have Dr. DeMartini here for the first episode and he did mention that Loving Matrix like you said full of intelligence and he gave story after story of how our charges and our emotional triggers and our perceived voids and what’s missing they’re actually there, just like you’re saying in the context of disease, they’re actually there … it’s like we are taken care of. They’re there to lead us back home, so to speak … back home to ourselves.

The premise of the Metamorphosis Chronicles and the premise of the whole show is transformation and how do we go from a reactive slave that is a product of our environment to that of a sovereign creator. I think you’re just so beautifully illustrating this in the realm of health and wellness and disease.

Disease is a manifestation of health and you know that’s why I am really excited to have you on the show because it completely flips the script of how we perceive whatever feedback our body is giving us at any given time.

KIM: That’s absolutely right, it flips the script and that’s why it’s so challenging, but when you’re … I mean it’s challenging, it’s challenging to the person who is in that situation. God knows it’s been challenging enough to me. It’s also challenging to the therapist or for whoever is involved in the therapeutic process because somebody comes … I’m working with somebody at the moment with cancer to suggest that the cancer is a healthy response in their lives. That’s never easy.

I think, you know, I’ve been asked recently a number of times why I haven’t spoken about this more. I haven’t because in some respects they can be seen as disrespectful if people are very wedded to a particular way of working with things. I’m beginning to also experience and see more and more that the notion that this is an actual healthy response — the notion that my disease is here to help me can be so helpful.

Alright, so what is it about? How do I find out about that? How do I relate to it? Who can help me to do that? You know yourself that there’s no blind spot bigger and deeper than your own.

OSMARA: Definitely, of course.

KIM: I often say, it’s one of the great paradoxes, we can’t see without a blindspot. Structurally we can’t see without a blindspot. We have a blind spot where the optic nerve goes through back of the eye through the retina and where it goes through the retina there are no cells that can pick up the light and be translated into sight. We actually have to have a blind spot in order to see.

In order to deal with the blind spot, we need mirrors and in our life there are many, many, many mirrors.

OSMARA: You are just so hitting it on the nerve. Episode 2 of this first season is where I talk about blind spots and the opportunity that we have to see what feedback life is giving us in any particular life area through mirrors, through that feedback whether it be another person or it be, you know Dr. DeMartini talks about the different levels of feedback in terms of physiological, social, and what not.

I just love that you’re saying… that in order for us to see we need blind spots.

KIM: It’s very challenging when you’re in the middle of it, when you’re in the middle of a problem, when you’re in the middle of a challenge, when you’re in the middle of suffering — it’s very challenging. Almost invariably, the issue is sensitive and will take up to confronting a taboo in one form or another.

It needs courage, it does need courage. I don’t blame anybody who says, “I don’t care what you’re saying Dr. Jobst, I want a pill, give me a pill.” I don’t do that anymore, it’s just not what I do anymore. I work with those who want and realize that this is important to them.

I’m not saying in my work that you don’t, if you’ve got a malignancy, that you eschew chemotherapy or surgery. I’m not saying that at all. I’m really not interested in a polarized war. What is fascinating to me and more and more deeply so is that each human being knows for themselves. They have their own intuitive knowing of what they want to do.

There are some that I see, and I don’t see many people, I see people in great depths. At this point there are some who just want to take what calls a natural approach, they don’t want have any chemotherapy or whatever it might be and there are others who are very, very clear that they want to do both and they want a middle path.

I just listen to them and then we navigate that and it’s, you know an extraordinary process and an absolute privilege to do it.

OSMARA: I think when people are … just the fact that your body is giving you that feedback and when we come from, let’s say the old versus the new paradigm for the sake of this conversation we will call this disease of meaning as the new paradigm and the old paradigm which is what you’re saying and I mentioned in the quote earlier — it’s something not working, something attacking us, something we have to attack back.

I think when that happens and it could easily be viewed as the body is shutting down as opposed to the body giving feedback and that, you’re absolutely right, can be a very scary thing and it could be a very dark night of the soul moment.

KIM:
Oh, without question.

OSMARA: How do you, working with so many patients, how do you see their process of navigating through it?

KIM: Alright, so, it’s a lovely question and you put that beautifully. That’s a really heart opening question, Osmara. The greatest privilege that I have in this work is to be a conduit for that divine order. So, it’s one of the greatest privileges when someone is in that space because it offers me an opportunity first of all to be present to it and to listen and then to assist in opening, opening that space for them to hear what they’re trying to tell themselves.

Now, how do I do that? What has become clear to me is that every human being, without exception, it’s interesting because it’s not often that someone can say never and ever, but there are certain things that one can actually say that about and this is one of them. Every human being, without exception, has a purpose that is their own. It doesn’t have to be grandiose and huge and global and life-changing so called, not at all, but each person has that and it’s unique to them.

When we can discover what that is and we can open the fact that it is true for them, then whatever is happening, whatever the challenge is that is happening, is invariably seen to be supporting that — to opening the way to that, to assisting them in that. Even though it may be incredibly painful and what is so interesting is that every single time there is a sense of connection. I can sense a connection with that divine purpose.

I use the word divine because it is an order, an intelligence, and I’m sure that Dr. DeMartini would have touched on this. It’s where we all are united, ultimately. It is an order and it is a purpose. This is not about some religious construct. This is scientific law, it’s a fact. When we touch it, when we experience it, when it touches us there is a different experience physiologically and psychologically and spiritually. By spiritual I mean, that of which has meaning.

In the midst of pain another human being touches that and the physiology changes. Now, that may be a passage out of life into death, it may be the passage that opens into new life — that is unique to them too. That is their decision and that is none of my business. My business is to support that which is not to say that the body and the physiology and the tests and stuff aren’t important. Of course they are. The body is like a car, you’ve got to look after it, but inside the car is the driver. We have this extraordinary driver who is connected — if that makes sense?

OSMARA: That does make sense. I want to talk about death because you have a different view of looking at it as well and most of us fear death. Most of us have an attachment to not losing our loved ones or to an inversion. You seem to have a different perspective. Can you touch on that a little bit more?

KIM: Yeah, I did a job … so before I went into medicine I said to you that I was dragged in kicking and screaming. I mean one of the reasons was that I just didn’t want to do any more exams and I had had enough of all of that, but I had another reason and that was that I had a notion that is was wrong to cut up a body and I knew that by doing medicine I would have to do dissections for my anatomy.

I was afraid of death. It was thanks to my grandmother and her death that, which happened actually all around the time that I was going into medicine, that I realized that the body was the vehicle. Although it is absolutely integral and inseparable, but the life that is a human being is not the body, per say — there’s more.

Suddenly therefore the door opened and it was okay. I actually started the whole process in good faith that I would find something because the impulse to do it was so strong. Then I had later on in my years of a junior doctor, I did a job in Oxford where I worked out that I almost had an average of a death a day to deal with.

It was extraordinary and that meant that I got to be with a lot of people dying and I had gone into it with the idea that well really life is life and when we die there is nothing else. I came out of that job absolutely certain that death is not the end. I don’t want to sort of put it in any ‘foofidoof’ term, I don’t pretend to know what it is or how it all works. I have moments of great insight, but I am absolutely certain that death is not the end of life.

The transition can happen in many ways and from my experience, and it’s limited experience and I’m just one person, but at the moment of death something extraordinary happens. There is a knowing that happens and I think that knowing and that union with something is immensely significant.

I’m not afraid of it and I’m not afraid of talking about it and that’s incredibly important in my work because so many people are and it’s incredibly reassuring for them when that, when they can discuss it openly. I don’t say that my view is right or wrong. There are plenty that I look after for whom life is life and when they die that’s it and I’m not there to judge that. They will have whatever experience they have when they die.

What is also remarkable and empowering is that if one is not afraid to face the fact, it’s a fact that you’re going to die and I’m going to die, I’m not going to win and I don’t know how to at this point, but it’s a fact. So, in the context of that fact I get to see my life with more clarity and that’s really important. Sometimes that’s what enables somebody to see why they’re ill, what’s happening because it’s there as a wake up call and sometimes dramatic decisions are taken that totally turn a life on its head. Other times it’s been very clear to me that somebody in meeting that inevitably, there is a piece that descends and it’s okay to go.

OSMARA: What would you say for those listeners who are not the ones that are getting that bodily feedback through disease, but they have loved ones and are watching their loved ones go through their own process of what we just described here? How would someone best support, best be there for a loved one during a time like this?

KIM: Well, of course, just like with any symptom or disease, it’s meaning is unique to the person and to the situation and this process is unique to each person and each situation. My advice has been and has always been to be as open and honest as possible. If there are issues to face or to discuss, do so, but be sensitive because sometimes it’s kind of, and the person will tell you — the one that is dying — will in some way give clues and signs of what they do and don’t want to know.

In my experience, I remember writing down once as a result of practicing it, the truth may hurt, but it heals. Of course when you think about the meaning of healing is, you know the word healing is to make whole and although truth is ultimately relative, your truth and my truth may not be the same, but it’s your truth in this moment and my truth may be my truth in this moment.

It’s interesting, you know, because the Chinese have no single word for it because they recognize that the truth that is in the moment may not be the truth that is in the next moment because the truth in this moment has an impact on that moment. Things are changing all the time, in real time and in multiple dimensions.

That’s why sometimes we see miraculous healings. They happen, they exists, I’ve experienced them and I’m sure you’ve experienced them. They happen and exist because when the tissue, when the whatever it is that’s happening has served its purpose then of course it’s not needed anymore and it can go away. Sometimes it doesn’t go away because actually it is part of the path.

Now, these are challenging things to say, I’m well aware of that. Does that answer your question? I feel as if there’s something else more specific behind your question.

OSMARA: I’m just thinking of the suffering and perceived suffering of seeing a loved one go through a particular disease or what not and my question I guess stems because we see so many people around us getting diagnosed with cancer. So many of us have the depression or the mood disorders or the neurodegenerative disorders, autoimmune.

There’s so much happening out there that I see in the collective that nowadays one way or another, whether it’s six-degrees of separation or two-degrees of separation, you hear about it. Someone comes to mind, I really didn’t even know him personally. He was the older brother of a friend of a friend and when I heard that he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, he was in his early 30’s, mid 30’s, and it just happened really quickly. Although I didn’t know him, I was still touched by his story. He had gotten married recently and all of these things.

It just reminds you that we don’t escape it and like you said, we don’t escape death and I really like your take on disease being specific to that person, what that means to you. So, maybe let’s touch on that a little more. Let’s clarify the disease of meaning for each individual.

KIM: So, we sit right now in exploring this in a paradoxical situation because on the one hand there is a wish to generalize and on the other is to serve that it is individual. So, if we take 10 asthma cases for example and we line up 10 people they may all have similar degrees of respiratory distress and they all may be using similar kinds of medication or non medication or whatever it may be, but they may be compromised similarly.

If one really goes into what it’s about for them, there will be certain parameters that are common. You know you can use Louise Hay’s dictionary, which I believe wasn’t actually hers, but John’s (Demartini) in the beginning anyway, and you can look them up and people can look up dictionaries of symptoms or whatever.

That may take you some of the way, but each person’s story is unique. The moment that they develop the condition, the way in which the condition developed, the circumstances that were operative at that particular moment, the family history, the genetic history — all these things contribute to the evolution of that symptom and then that symptom, because it occurs only at certain, in certain conditions at certain times, has meaning that is unique to that person.

I can give you a very good example; I had a young man who I was working with at one point in a different context and he said to me, “You know, I think your stuff is bullshit, but I like hearing you talk about it.” I said, “Well maybe one day you’ll get to try it out.” He was a highly, highly, highly intelligent young man and then he developed neck pain, really quite nasty neck pain and he went to see a chiropractor and they brought temporary relief. Then he went to see an osteopath and he had some massage and finally one day he said to me, “I’ve got this neck pain, can I test you out on it.”

Part of me was excited about the possibility and another part of me was like, “Oh my god, here we go.” What was interesting was that we did engage and I did what I do, I established something about what he was really here to do or at least what he felt it and then I asked him about what had really happened.

We found our way back to actually what he felt was inside it and it went back, it was extraordinary, it went back … he was in sales and he would interview people quite carefully to find out whether they were appropriate for the courses that he was selling and it went back to a moment in that pain when he tried to push something in a particular way that led to a particular reaction in that particular client and he didn’t feel good about it and he just thought this was a real pain in the neck.

Now this is so bloody obvious in one sense, but actually what was really important was not that this was a pain in the neck, it was his perception of his behavior in that moment trying to push something and manipulate the situation, manipulate the situation, that disturbed him. Now, I was as surprised as him because in that moment it had released. Once he had seen it and how it had served him, what it was about, and what he did not want to behave like that, the pain in the neck left, he got his movement back and he could go back to playing basketball.

Now, that was as striking to him as it was to me because I had no conception when we started what that might be and I would have been the first to say to him, you know there’s a great chiropractor somewhere, go and have a look and have a see. So, that’s how it works and it may sound simple when we talk about it here, but it isn’t always simple.

What’s contained in the tissue, what the tissue or the organ or the system is helping us with or bringing to our attention, it may be difficult to find that out. Each person is different.

Migraine is another classic example. Yes you can treat it to a degree with some of the pharmaceuticals that we have at our disposal and yes you can treat it to a degree with musculoskeletal intervention or nutritional intervention or meditation or visualization or yoga or whatever else you may be able to make an impact, but most of the times you find these things come back. Sometimes you can do an acupuncture or any one of those things and you nail it, but most of the time that isn’t the case because it’s serving something else.

OSMARA: That’s so brilliant. It’s a natural feedback mechanism and I get what you’re saying about it being person specific because it is our perception like you said. Truth is only truth in the eyes being seen. I love that. Now, what is your take on, let’s say in traditional Chinese medicine, the view that we hold grief in the lungs, anger in the liver … that sort of thing?

KIM: Well, my first dive into this world other than my direct experiences as a child and my encounter with hermiophropy as a child was in traditional Chinese medicine and when I was still a medical student I met a rather eccentric and unusual acupuncturist called Barry Polunsky who was a glorious human being. He set up a small school in the UK, he’s dead now, and he started to teach a very small group of us and I was one of them. I use to sneak out of medical school in secret and go and learn with him.

I found those notions incredibly helpful. I found the Shen and the co-cycles, that you know are articulated at the core of traditional Chinese medicine incredibly helpful. I use to go back to the wards and I would see my patients with liver disease and kidney disease or lung disease or whatever that might be and I’d test it out.

It was fascinating when you took the medical history and you looked at the different things that people had suffered with in their life and low and behold you’d find that very often it followed that cycle. So, I have huge respect for it. I think there’s a great deal to be learned from those systems. I’m certain that what the Chinese call liver and what the Chinese call lung, for example, is not what we call liver and lung. It includes the organ of the liver and the lung, but what they refer to as a lung is a function, what they refer to as liver is function and our organ is part of that function.

So, in fact I’ve written a bit about it, Osmara. I submitted a paper when there was this huge review of the use of the acupuncture needle and the safety or otherwise of Acupuncture in the United States. The acupuncture needle up until 1995-96 was regarded as a medical device and could not be used without the supervision of a doctor. There were lots of people therefore practicing illegally, but that’s what its status was.

There was a very big review done which in 1995 ended up with being declassified as such so that acupuncture could be done and used legally throughout the United States by non-medics and I submitted some of the evidence for that. One of the parts of that paper deals with just this at the very beginning of it that there is more to these concepts, there is more to … there is a lot in them, in my opinion, that could inform our own biomedical scientific view.

OSMARA: That’s so interesting how it all just merges together. You talk about the tissue, the organs and the muscle, but you know the basic unit is the cell and cells do have their own consciousness — don’t they?

KIM: Well, the interesting thing is single cells can’t really function out of the confines of the body. If you take a single cell and you stick it on the table, it dies.

OSMARA: Right, it needs the collective.

KIM: Yeah. I don’t often say this, but we don’t even know how to manage a molecular reaction let alone the functions of a cell and beyond the functions of the cell, you know the tissue and organ in the body, I mean it is absolutely extraordinary. So, consciousness which must be our next great big frontier is made manifest in time and space through physical and nonphysical matter by means that we really have no conception of.

It expresses itself in the plethora of molecular and cellular differentiation that we see all about us. So, yes, I would say that each cell in a way has it’s own consciousness just as each human being has its own consciousness. You have your own consciousness and I have mine in as much as we perceive each other to be different, but when we go deep into the metaphysical then that differentiation begins to dissolve — doesn’t it?

OSMARA: Definitely, the lines get blurred … the lines get blurred. So, Kim you are based in London, UK, do you treat patients only based in the UK? How would it work for someone that would be interested in working with you?

KIM: I love to work with people on Skype and on the telephone, we can do a lot. Obviously seeing somebody so that one can do a physical examination needs a face to face consultation and of course that at the moment I do in London. When I travel sometimes I will see people wherever I am traveling to, but because everything is unique to the person there is a vast amount that we can do on Skype or on the phone.

OSMARA: That’s wonderful. So essentially you see patients all over the world?

KIM: Absolutely and I love to do that. I absolutely love to do that.

OSMARA: Where could they find out more about your work?

KIM: Well, we have a website such as it is as a moment, functionalshift.com which is very simple and about to go some transformation and that will give contact details. My PA is Lisa Fisher and she is always there to pick up messages and to speak to people on the phone. People can email me at adminfunctionalshift.com. On Facebook, I’m there — we have a page, Diseases of Meaning, that people can visit.

OSMARA: We will go ahead and put all these URL’s on the page for them to take a look at afterwards.

KIM: That will be super and I suspect that they can also reach me through you.

OSMARA: Yep.

KIM: I hope we will do a lot more together.

OSMARA: This has been very, very lovely. For those of you that want to know more about Diseases of Meaning check out the blog on osmara.com. We will have a wonderful excerpt from that article I quoted earlier. Kim this has been, this has been great. Thank you so much for your insight.

KIM: Well, it has been a real pleasure. Thank you for asking me.

OSMARA: Really powerful stuff.

KIM: Bless you.

OSMARA: Take care and until next time everybody, thank you so much.

Again, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you wanting to upgrade your mind + body with me.

And if you enjoyed this episode make sure you subscribe for future ones over at osmara.com/podcast. I’m grateful for and love personally seeing your feedback and your comments, and your shares and your tags so be sure to drop me a line on Facebook, or Instagram. I appreciate every single one of you listening. If you got something valuable from today’s episode share with someone you love. Till next time, this is Osmara and you’ve just listened to The Metamorphosis Chronicles.

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