Medicine as a Journey:
Nurturing the spiritual development of physicians as healers
Is medicine a calling? For millennia the role of the physician or healer has been recognized as something special—a role afforded respect and bearing great responsibility. This has stood as a unique task within the community, not just because of the special training and mentoring required, but because work at the threshold of illness and health challenges us on multiple levels. We are asked to continually renew our sense of reverence for the special connection created when we accompany a patient through the illness process. We are challenged to discover the deeper meanings of illness; to find personal practices for self-renewal; and to re-kindle the will to heal. Long after the book learning of medicine is done, these practices nurture and sustain us. Through meditative practice, through affirming that transformation can come through illness, through strengthening our moral perception, Anthroposophic Medicine offers a path of development for the heart of the healer.
For introductory material related to the process of self-development:
Read a classic piece, Overcoming Nervousness, by Rudolf Steiner. Can be found, along with three other key lectures, in Anthroposophy in Everyday Life. Steinerbooks, 1995.
Explore the introductory chapter from a guide to working with our ordinary capacities, which provides steps toward greater presence and creativity through a series of simple meditative exercises. Excepted from: Lipson, Michael. Stairway of Surprise: Six Steps to a Creative Life. Great Barrington, MA: Anthroposophic Press, 2002.
Suggestions for more in-depth reading:
In Chapter 1 of this foundational volume, the founders of Anthroposophic Medicine outline a path for the renewal of science and knowledge: Steiner, Rudolf and Wegman, Ita. Fundamentals of Therapy. Mercury Press, bilingual edition, newly translated by C. van Tellingen. Also available as Extending Practical Medicine. Rudolf Steiner Press, AR Meuss, translator.
Overview of the meditative life guided by the world’s great teachers, from Steiner to Goethe to the sages of Asia.
“A glistening gem of a book.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Zajonc, Arthur. Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love. Lindesfarne Books, 2009.
“How much practical time do we usually devote to the general art of being human?” Developing our moral and cognitive faculties. Kuehlewind Georg. From Normal to Healthy: Paths to the Liberation of Consciousness. Lindesfarne Press, 1988.
Developing attention and presence, for seeing the world in new ways. An example of how anthroposophic insights can be brought into the realm of social theory and new forms of leadership. Scharmer, C. Otto. Theory U. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009.
A "breviary" for the anthroposophic medical movement. Here, a collection of the core meditations given by Rudolf Steiner for medical work and study. Excerpted, with permission, from Michaela Glöckler, Rolf Heine (Ed.): Führungsfragen und Arbeitsformen in der
anthroposophisch-medizinischen Bewegung. Verlag am Goetheanum 2015, p. 209-221
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