We are in what could be called a crisis
Today the United States,which manufactures most antidepressants,
accounts for two-thirds of their prescriptions. Growing numbers of Americans find that
smoothing the edges and staying unconscious—with one of the
thirty different types of antidepressants on the market—is an ever easier
path. According to Charles Barber’s book, Comfortably Numb:
How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation, the number of prescriptions
filled for antidepressants in the United States is rising steadily (from
227 million in 2006 to 264 million in 20112), and although prescriptions
for antidepressants used to be disseminated strictly by
psychiatrists, it’s increasingly true that family doctors, not mental
health professionals, now routinely prescribe these drugs to patients.
That’s not accidental. According to Barber, pharmaceutical companies
spend roughly $25,000 per year per doctor tracking what each
physician nationwide prescribes, a bit of data mining that helps Big
Pharma maintain pinpoint precision on what the best markets are
and how to better shape their messages. Meanwhile, even though
more and more of us are seeing just how dire the problems are,
nobody seems to know how to get us out of the mess we have gotten
ourselves into on our planet.
Rather than sleeping, it’s time for us to
awaken to the challenges…
…the promises, the responsibilities, and the exciting opportunities
that await us. We not only have to wake up, we also have to
open our eyes wide to what is happening to our planet, our country,
our cities, our neighborhoods, and—inevitably—our bodies. One of
the purposes of this book is to outline the steps to that awakening—
through a somewhat different lens, one that not only acknowledges
the problems we face as twenty-first century beings but also offers a
new way of looking at the solutions they require.
Why? Because for all that’s wrong, there is also much that’s
right. This companion truth—that we can undo this great harm we
have all contributed to—is also part of our birthright as earthlings.
Our real nature is to find a way to share and live in community, not
just to compete. Andy Lipkis, president and founder of Tree People,
a nonprofit that rescues and rebuilds decimated landscapes, says that
research shows that T cell counts, the immune system boosters in
our bodies, rise when people volunteer and help.
We are designed to reach out and lend a hand.
— Andy Lipkis
It is one of the legacies of being human. Helping is a creative act
that creates a feedback loop. Creative energy is spiritual energy, and
those energies feed the longing for connection to one another that
plagues our hearts. It all goes back, as the Dalai Lama suggests, to
our starving hearts.
Want proof? Point to yourself. Seriously, take a moment and do
this physically. Did you point to your stomach? Your head? Probably
not. Most people point to their chests, the homestead of the heart.
We all know where we live. And Earth Calling is all about how to
excavate your way back to that vital core of your being.
This distancing is not just physical, because we are more than
mere bodies. We are also spiritual beings, energy beings, with aspects
that are invisible but quite real. Anyone who has ever studied a martial
art or been treated with acupuncture knows about the energy
meridians in the body, how heat can be concentrated and drawn
through the body, focused for healing or even combat.
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