When you become a practitioner you crave perspective. There are a handful of schools teaching, some of them boasting, the answer to how to be the most effective physician and yet the school does not have influence or information on the environment outside of the school environment. Your clients and the place you set up in will have it's own particular story - and you are part of that story. Here is a most welcome book that is an honest portrayal of what working with real live unique humans is about in the modern world with Ayurvedic scripture as background prompts. Dr Welch provides the much needed contemplation that should accompany anyone in the medical field. Her style is always simple and clear and without the fluff of arrogance. There is something so very comforting in having this on my shelf. It's almost 300 pages of "I've got your back."
One of my favourite aspects that Dr Welch presents well is the analysis and dependence (even so of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Practitioners) on the Western study model for seemingly conclusive evidence. It is a bold move as the Ayurvedic industry looks to gain credibility by adopting similar measures to claim "accessibility" as it's primary motive - the idea being that once a client is introduced we can divert their way of thinking more holistically. Dr Welch "studies" studies and the misguided influence they may present on your own prescriptions. It is a sincere check in for us practitioners to determine what we actually do believe in.
Yes this book is mostly focused on the practitioner, however, I recommend it for clients also. A lot of the struggle that clients have is finding the right practitioner. There is an assumption that every practitioner is created equal because they went through the schooling which is not true. Each one of us comes to the party with a set of different qualities environmentally and from ancestor influences as well as that invisible karma energy that keeps us on our toes. We all have a different bedside manner borne from our personality and the mentors we choose to align with. If a client has an idea on how the scriptures observe an effective practitioner it would give the them a focus on the best fit. And concurrently keep the industry accountable.
There is a perception in the market that your doctor or practitioner has it all figured out. There is s stark difference between cocky and a connection to knowing that your path is to help others. Dr Welch is one of the platinum spectrum of doctors I have had the pleasure of experiencing the art of humbleness. She can teach others because she tells of her (supposed) lesser glories - she lets us behind the scenes of her mishaps and how it molded her constantly adjusting perspective. Kudos. That's what makes her so approachable and gives confidence to the practitioner that innately feels the subtle connections of karma in the work. There are no answers here not does she ask you to follow her style. Instead, in true teacher form, she gives insight into her own examples of what the practise with real humans is about. Each point will make you think more deeply into your current habits.
It is a difficult path to become an Ayurvedic practitioner without walking your talk. It's a feedback loop that will soon let you know whether your recommendations carry any weight. This makes it a difficult road but one that can bring you to your own sense of refinement. You get to be on a self-realisation path. Dr Welch speaks from her foundational teaching from her guru, that provided her the Bigger Picture to come back to in her practise. Dr Welch cites that things like physical purification, keeping good company, thinking only good thoughts (about your clients) are but a few of the requirements the scriptures require to be effective. However, in her compassion, and something that could very well be the overriding essence of the book, is her note of the benefit of pursuing purity (or knowledge) as being of benefit, not necessarily being a perfect human being. It's this level of compassion and love of intention in this book that brings the sometimes harsh speaking scriptures into a more accessible and motivating translation.
One of the most profound teachings I took from Dr Welch was the supply chain of herbs. There is a misconception that there are herbs readily available and in abundance for all that ails us, and yet, this is not the case. This is important to know since it is so common to propagate herbs as the fix-all in situations. Ayurveda is unique in that it advises diet and lifestyle as being as important, and according to Dr Welch, more important if only to save the earth's resources. This aspect of the book really ties in the rest of the ideas presented as it makes us think about how we practise in context with the environment around us, and whether by excessively taking from the earth we deplete as we intend to cure.
If you've read the book and would like to share your own perspective please comment below.