The Forest v The Trees

Stay with me on this one…. Look closely at the picture above. Do you see lots of trees or do you see a forest? Is there a difference between the two things for you? If you were to remove one or even two of the trees, do you really influence the forest? What if you changed the soil: the light, the air and/or the nutrients? Would that have a greater influence? What if instead of a picture of trees, it was a list of “disease conditions” that someone has. Would that change your answers to the above questions?

Often times we treat people and our health like a tree: a single stand-alone tree that is influenced very little by anything else and influences the forest very little. While we can treat one disease or even many diseases, that disease does not define us. We are the forest. Removing one thing may help, it may even greatly help, but does it change the forest? We are whole and complete persons. An influence on one aspect of our lives, emotional, physical, spiritual or mental, has influence on entirety of us. If instead of concentrating on the individual diseases and we concentrated on the whole well-being, would that influence the outcome?

A forest ecologist is able to determine the variety of trees that are on a hill if you only tell him the make up of the soil. The simplicity of trees relates to humans directly. Today, we try to remove ourselves from the soil and our environment, but the soil is everything. Our bark, roots and leaves only get nutrients from the soil. What good is it to treat the bark, if the problem comes from the soil? If we remove symptoms, then the person is considered fine. Yet as soon as the medication is removed the original symptoms come right back. No cure was obtained, just a removal of a symptom. Are we able to treat the whole person? If one has multiple conditions, why try to treat each one, if we are a whole person. Treating the whole person is what changes the condition and the soil. Dr Henry Lindlahr, one of the fathers of Naturopathic medicine, wrote that it is the soil that influences us the most. If you change the soil, you begin to change the person. Simply put: good in, good out. That could mean emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, food, energy, thoughts, relationships, anything and everything. If the soil changes, the forest as a result, has to begin to change. If the soil were unhealthy, the forest would be unhealthy.

Is all of this simplified? Sure, but why not!? We are taught and expect that if we removed some disease symptoms that everything gets better. So we removed one tree from a vast forest. We have not changed what is ultimately the forest. Until we start to see again ourselves as complete, connected, whole people and begin to treat the soil, we should not expect to see changes in our health that are long lasting and curative. A person is not a list of conditions like the trees, rather a whole entity comparable to a vast forest.