The Causeway Between Treating and Healing


This excellent guest post is written by Dr. Ryan Chamberlin who joined our faculty earlier this year. Stay tuned for his upcoming classes at The Wellspring School, drawing upon both ancient wisdom and cutting-edge research.

As far as I can tell, my high school chemistry teacher was wrong only twice. He was a remarkable man, but his mistakes were enduring.

His first error was self-evident. It occurred while he was chemistry student in high school. Evidently, when combined in incorrect proportions, Potassium Nitrate and Sulfur mix poorly together. He blew his arm off, burnt down his school, and performed the rest of his chemistry experiments with a metal hook in the space his hand used to occupy.


Though no fault of his own, his second mistake permeated deeper, and affected hordes of dermally challenged teens. He indoctrinated generations into the official scientific party line of the day, an archaic postulate of science that turned out to be fatally flawed. His message, like that of those who taught him, was non-negotiable: Other than atoms and chemistry, nothing in the universe exists. Life is chemistry, and chemistry is life. Because of our respect for him we absorbed the mantra completely, and later went on to apply it widely in our professional lives.

Guided by the “living better through chemistry” slogan, we had little choice but to believe there was just one place the processes of life could be manipulated. It was the space where the person’s biochemistry, and our pharmacology, collided with obvious effect. And it worked out well… for a while.

We engineered the most potent steroids, refined natures opiates until they were addictive after the first dose, and created arsenals of chemical sledgehammers; any single one of which could serve as a treatment for many aliments.

With them we ventured out into the world and started clubbing diseases like they were going out of style. Because as you know, when you’re a hammer…

The Problem

Our misadventures led to the discovery of two irreconcilable difficulties: Clubbing disease at the biochemical level almost always left a residue of side effects. Yet at the same time, the approach was much too effective, fast acting, and profitable to abandon. This locked today’s conventional medicine into an instant gratification spiral, one that it cannot, or will not, reach beyond.

Nowadays, even non-scientists sense the outdated nature of this 19th century atomic model. At current few still believe the foundation of the universe is anchored in a matrix of tangible matter. Recent discoveries in the existence of dark energy and dark matter only fuel this growing disbelief.


Einstein tried remedying the illusion of matter long ago; but for the pharmaceutical companies, the smart money was on ignoring him.

In the end we recognized an inalienable truth: by the time a disease process extends beyond its energetic origin, and manifests within a person’s molecular biology, it could only be managed. Rarely could it be cured. And while this does not hold true for some diseases, infections or cancer for instance, it means medicine has settled on treating or managing common diseases, not eradicating them.

Universal Structure

The Tao Te Ching isn’t on Oprah’s list of favorite books, but it should be. Laying out the structure and inner workings of the universe, it’s as relevant today as it was 2600 years ago. Present day Quantum Theory is essentially its recapitulation into modern scientific language. I read it when I was sixteen, and it so completely described the behavior of both people, and the universe, that my understanding of nature was good for another twenty years.


At the risk of inaccurate paraphrasing, the work says that there are at least two steps preceding the incarnation of matter: First, from a place without location, and beyond possible characterization, something arises into our world that is neither illusory nor non-illusory. Second, part of this “something” is perceptible to us in the form of what is often described as a sort of energy field; though that’s an abstract description at best. Most important, it reminds us that we can never know what the Tao, or nature of reality really is. We can only know it as far as we can experience it. Because ultimately the Tao is us, and an object can never really know itself.

The existence of this energy source, and its tendency to dependently arise from an imperceptible void was recognized by most ancient cultures; where it was named differently according to their regional customs and understanding. Its discovery occurred spontaneously throughout the world, because people have always been able to perceive the Tao’s presence… if only subconsciously.

The Japanese called it KI, the Chinese Qi, but both understood why it could never be intellectually grasped. They realized that for something to be known, there would need to be both a subject that knows, and an object that’s known. As life is the manifestation of this force, a life form cannot be both its own subject, and its own object. This paradox was never seen as being problematic, because while it can’t be known, it most certainly can be experienced. Over time its efficacy and tangibility auto-authenticated its existence and clinical utility.

Treating vs. Healing

This is where a remarkable insight into true healing occurs. If you want to influence a disease process before it manifests as bio-molecular breakdown, you’ll have to do so at its energetic interface. This is the domain between its departure from the void, and its condensation into matter.


There is a lot of room in this space, and while manipulation at this level does not require an intellectual understanding of its nature, it does require a knowing that can only come from the experiencing of it.

Working with Qi is an experiential endeavor. Ultimately, it can be the only way a nefarious malady can be intercepted before it takes foothold in the atomic world. And should it have taken purchase, the only place where universal energy can be transmuted at its root.

Manipulation of Qi might be the only path by which genuine healing is possible. It’s certainly the causeway separating those that seek to cure, from those that are content to manage.

In your studies over the next year, be mindful of the path you’re taking. And remember that in health care, not all roads lead to the same Rome.


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