I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this year’s Fourfold Path to Healing conference in Baltimore this past weekend. It was my second year; last year I flew to San Francisco to attend and exhibit. This year, I was asked to teach a day of pre-conference cooking classes and make pate’ for 200 or so people for the opening reception Friday night. I also exhibited and helped to be sure the food functions went smoothly, that is, WAPF style.
Here and there I was able to catch bits of Dr. Tom Cowan’s lectures, 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there, and those bits made the conference worth it for me. Here’s why, and why I love this conference.
The Fourfold conference is based on the book of the same title, which Dr Cowan is the primary author. The other two authors are Sally Fallon (now Morell) and Jaimen McMillan. The book talks about just what the title says: what Dr Cowan believes are the four paths to healing-nutrition, therapeutics, movement and meditation, and the conference is built on the same. Participants have the opportunity to go deep in three of the paths with one of the authors…you guessed it: Sally talks about nutrition, Jaimen does Spatial Dynamics, and Tom therapeutics. To me, meditation, aka spirituality infuses the whole thing. That’s the point here, folks. The one that just thrills me to my core… Here is a medical doctor, looking at and talking about health, healing, wellness and dis-ease in the body through the lens of spirit. The lens he uses is called “anthroposophy“, which was brought forward by Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900s.
How cool is it that a MD is looking at the human body and what goes wrong with it and what goes right with it through the lens of spirit? Very cool. The only thing that is cooler is that 200 or so people came to hear him. And I was one of them.
Dr Cowan looks at patterns as he endeavors to discern what is going on with each patient. He encourages us to use “macroscopes”, not microscopes. He has no use for minutiae. Dr Cowan knows that the clues and the answers will be found in the big picture. This is why he asks his patients to tell him their story. In the story lies the clues to why particular symptoms are showing up in the body. When was the last time your MD asked you to tell your story?!
The lens or metaphor that Dr Cowan used was the Threefold plant. He likened the human to a plant, divided onto 3 sections-head or flowers, middle or stem and bottom or roots. (Here’s where I encourage you to read the book and get more information for yourself; remember, I was running in and out and coordinating food and caught bits and pieces. May this interpretation pique your interest and lead you to seek more. I do not claim that I “got it all” folks. This is my best rendering. :)) By looking at the characteristics of the symptoms and where they showed up, one could determine which plant remedies (often homeopathics) would help guide the person through the symptoms to relief. One thing that struck a truth chord for me was Dr Cowan’s statement that if acute symptoms are allowed to run their course, they will not turn into chronic symptoms. When was the last time you let a fever or pneumonia (the body’s cure for asthma) run its course?
Dr Cowan also talked about the Fourfold human. Unfortunately for me, I missed the beginning of the session but what I did hear was fascinating, and made so much sense. I am eager to learn more. I look forward to finding my Fourfold book and reading it cover to cover. If you are looking for a new (though based on an old-anthroposophy) way of looking at the human body, the human being, and well-being, I encourage you get a copy and do the same!
FYI, Dr Cowan is available for phone consultations if you are not in the San Francisco area. He also offers his own Community Supported Healthcare program. Check it out!!