• Call: (65) 6287 6268

Posts classified under: 2009

Spititual Medicine (Part I)

Philip Incao, M.D.

Lightly Edited by Ashyea

Dr. Philip Incao has more than 40 years of experience in medical practice. Since 1972, he adopted Anthroposophical Medicine as the approach in his work with patients. At Crestone, Colorado, U.S. in June 2007, Dr. Incao gave 2 lectures to the participants of Lapis Lazuli Light workshop. The following is an extract from the transcript of the lectures.

I will say what I felt is most important for the world, for our time and for the work we all need to do. Before we can even understand what the immune system is, we need to talk about the more fundamental things. I would like to say a little bit about how I began this kind of work that I do.

When I was in high school and in college, my motivation and my desire was to understand what a human being is. So I wanted to study human biology, physiology and medicine, and to work towards healing human illnesses. I thought that by going to medical school, I would learn the mystery of human being.

Despite attending one of the leading medical schools in this country, in New York City, I didn’t learn anything about the mystery of the human being. I was only taught that human being is a sophisticated machine. So after medical school, after becoming a doctor, I continue my search and I found the spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner. I found a different kind of medicine that is based on that spiritual science.

The modern medical science that the whole world, East and West, considers as the only medical science is based on two assumptions.

The first assumption is Materialism. This assumption states that all activities, all energies, and all consciousness in the human body are generated by the matter of the body.

And the second assumption is Reductionism. This assumption says that in order to understand any activity or function in the body, you must dissect the body into its smallest parts – to the cells and molecules. And the smaller rules the larger. Reductionism says that everything in the body is determined by the cellular and molecular mechanisms at that level. Reductionism says “as below, so above.”

These two assumptions – Materialism and Reductionism – are not that old. Although Materialism and Reductionism were prepared for a long time before its coming, they only began about 400 or 500 years ago in the west, in the late 15th century. These assumptions were introduced and developed with the scientific revolution in the west at the time of Galileo and Isaac Newton and many other scientists, and was developed stronger since then.

But these assumptions are not proven.

Science never considers trying to prove them because for the modern scientific mind, there is no other way to think seriously or scientifically about anything in the world, except through the thinking modality that’s based on Reductionism and Materialism.

We are all very strongly influenced by this kind of thinking. We are all taught in the school that we are determined by our DNAs, our molecules, our cells and so on. Many of us tend to think that it’s our physical body that makes everything happens in us. It makes our thoughts happen, our feelings happen, and our will happens. But in truth, our physical body, with all the molecules and cells, is an instrument, just like a violin. Violin is an instrument for beautiful music. If it’s broken, there will be no music. If the violin is well designed in a good condition, it can have beautiful music. But you can dissect a violin right down to the cells in the wood that makes it, and you will not find the music there.

Just as a violin cannot make music all by itself; in the same way, the physical body does not create thinking, feeling and willing by itself. Violin must be played by a musician who has knowledge and skill. And our physical body is played upon by our higher bodies where all the knowledge and skills live. So, physical body is the instrument. Quoting Dr Mitchell May, “The healing came from etheric body. Etheric body heals the physical body.” You could also call the etheric body the Life body. I think in ancient Chinese medicine, the Chi is pretty much the same thing as etheric body.

All healing comes down from the Spirit; the Etheric body is directed by the Spirit and Soul which are, so to speak, above it. And all thinking, feeling and willing come down from these three higher members and are manifested in the physical body. All by itself, the physical body is a corpse. It’s a corpse when etheric body leaves and when we die. But almost every scientist in the world assumes that it’s our physical body that somehow generates thinking, feeling, willing, healing and consciousness. Actually all the scientists know these too but they only know it when they are sleeping.

In sleep, the Spirit and Soul, the two higher members, breathe out from us and live for few hours in the spiritual world. It’s only the physical and etheric bodies that stay on the bed. During sleep, our Spirit and Soul are busy and active in the spiritual world. Sometimes these activities are reflected in our dreams. So in sleep, even the most materialistic and reductionistic scientist experiences the spiritual world. When the scientist wakes up, the soul and spirit come back down into etheric and physical body, and he totally forgets that he was in the spiritual world. And I forget it, too. Most of us forget it when we wake up. When we wake up, our spirit and soul fall back down into the physical body, but they are not able to maintain their full power.

We forget because the spirit and soul come too deeply into the physical brain and the physical body. And the sprit and soul are overwhelmed and overshadowed by the very strong physical, earthy forces of the physical body and brain. The cause of materialistic thinking is that we are too deeply incarnated into our physical brain and body. The full knowledge and power of the spirit and soul are not conveyed to the physical brain and the physical body. It wasn’t always that way but today we are all too deeply incarnated. This is the human destiny of the time we now live in.

All the right and healthy spiritual practices for the right and healthy progress of the human soul are designed to gradually loosen our etheric body from our physical body. When our etheric is loosened and pulled up out of our physical body, it can become aware of our spiritual, soul and the universal spirit. The American Henry David Sorrel, in the 19th century, once said, “I never met a man who is fully awake, how could I look him in the eyes?” None of us is fully awake. As Mitchell May said, we have our true self and we have our personal self. We live in our personal self most of the times.

To be fully awake means that the spirit in us is fully in touch with the spirit in the universe. But the spirit in us also needs to be fully in touch with practical reality on earth. The spirit in us needs to be able to fully master and rule over the lower forces that stream up into us through our physical body.


Sometimes it takes a shock to wake us up.

A severe illness or accident can loosen the tight grip that our physical body has on our etheric body. That’s what happened with Mitchell May. It is always very difficult and painful but in the long run, it is a blessing. It is a blessing that our destiny or our karma leads us into such. We wouldn’t choose it ourselves.

Modern science doesn’t realize that today, human consciousness is not the same as it used to be. Today, we perceive and experience the world very differently from the way our ancestors did 5000 years ago. In the last 5000 years, human consciousness and perception has evolved and rapidly changed. In the Hindu tradition, this is called the Kali Yuga – 5000 years of darkness.

I learned about the Kali Yuga from the research of Rudolf Steiner. According to him, the Kali Yuga began in 3101 B.C. and ended in 1899. The human mind was sinking into materialism. Later I found out that in the Ayurveda tradition, the dates are a little different and the Kali Yuga will be over soon. (200 years or so does not made that much difference over 5000). Rudolf Steiner said that he was not permitted from the spiritual world to speak about spiritual knowledge until after the end of the Kali Yuga. So he began teaching in 1900.

His mission in his teaching was to help human civilization move in this direction (i.e. spiritual awakening). But for something that has been moving in the same direction for 5000 years, it’s not easy to turn it around. There is a great tendency right now to be moving in this direction. There is a great tension building between the forces that want to go that way (i.e. the forces of materialism) and the forces that want to go this way (i.e. spiritual awareness).

Before the Kali Yuga and still in the early days of Kali Yuga, human being lived between heaven and earth in a way that is very different from the way we live now. The human being back in those ancient times was naturally spiritual, naturally clairvoyant. In our previous incarnations, we were all clairvoyant. The forces of the spiritual world were very powerful and it influenced us very much. We were not very deeply incarnated into our bodies. Our spirit and soul were not deeply into our physical bodies; instead, they were more of living outside of our bodies in the spiritual world. We walked lightly on the earth and the power was in the spiritual world. That was ancient times. The forces of the earth in ancient times did not influence us so strongly.

Today, the forces of the earth are much stronger. And the human being is much more deeply incarnated. The forces of the spiritual world are not as strong as they used to be. We are now naturally earthy, naturally materialistic. The power now is no longer in the spiritual world but in the human spirit. That is why the Kali Yuga was necessary. It was a necessary evolution so that that the human spirit could be totally free. It may not be total political freedom in the world yet but we are all capable in our human spirit to think whatever we want.


We are free to think and free to choose.

The human being did not have that freedom in ancient times because they were directed from the spiritual world. They were not free in themselves. We had to suffer a separation from the spiritual world in order to become free. Now we can choose to reconnect with the spiritual world. We can choose to go this way or we can choose to go that way. This is the way the modern science with materialism and reductionism seems to want to go (that is, downward).

The whole purpose and meaning of Rudolf Steiner spiritual science is to enable the human being to go this way (ie. upward). This direction (up) is the freedom for the human being to live in balance between heaven (spiritual world) and earth. This direction (down) either denies the spiritual world or says the only purpose of the spiritual world is to make us richer on earth. This way (down) is leading to the destruction of the environment and of the earth because we no longer love the earth as a being that is related to us. In ancient times, it would be inconceivable not to love the earth as a spiritual being related to us. This direction (down) means the destruction of the environment and of the earth, and the attachment of the human being to the earth.

Everything that I have been saying so far and everything that I will say are based on my understanding of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science and my own experience and being a medical doctor for 40 years.

Steiner’s spiritual science is based on his spiritual research. Though it’s not based on the ancient wisdom, it very often confirms and validates the latter. Anthroposophy or spiritual science is first and foremost a science because it is based on observation and thinking. Steiner’s power of observation and thinking were very, very advanced and evolved. He always said that anyone with a healthy mind, heart and will could, through practice, develop the sense organs to perceive the spirit and become clairvoyant.

There are two kinds of clairvoyance. There is a clairvoyance that we all had in our previous incarnations during this time and before this time. Sometimes even today, there are people who are born and who bring with them in modern time some of that old clairvoyance. We can call it a kind of residual clairvoyance.

Then at evolution, the more we learn to think with reason, logic and independence, the more we lost the old clairvoyance. The residual clairvoyance doesn’t help us very much if you happen to have it. It even misleads us. Steiner used to say that there are as many ways of being wrong in the spiritual world as there are in the physical world.

The whole purpose of the Kali Yuga was to help human being to develop rational, logical, and independent free thinking. This kind of thinking is directed by our spirit and is based on our physical brain and our physical body. If it is not just based on the brain and body but directed by the forces of our physical brain and body, then it becomes materialistic thinking. But logical, rational and scientific thinking does not have to be materialistic and reductionistic.

For a right and healthy progress of our spirit and soul (conscious soul), we first need to strengthen and transform our thinking in a rational and scientific way. We also need to free our thinking from the tight grasp of our physical brain and body. When our thinking is less based on the physical brain and more on the etheric brain, then it becomes full of imagination. When the thinking can begin to wake up the etheric heart, (when our thinking is more based on our etheric heart) then our thinking becomes inspired. When our thinking is based on the etheric fire that lives in the belly, then it becomes intuitive.


We really think with our whole body, not just with our brain.

As we strengthen and elevate our thinking into imagination of the head, inspiration of the heart and intuition of our gut, we develop a right and healthy clairvoyance. The bedrock foundation and prerequisite for a healthy clairvoyance is a rational, penetrating and discerning power of logical thinking – using the physical brain in our head, but directed by our spirit.

Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science is a path of knowledge. He always said that we would never figure out how to make the earth, the environment and our civilization healthier without the knowledge of the spirit. Many years ago, the American president Lyndon Johnson said, “It’s not doing what’s right that’s the problem; it’s not knowing what’s right that’s the problem.”


Knowledge that does not include the spirit can never solve any practical problem.

There is another very important requirement for a healthy spiritual development of clairvoyance. That is, for every step we make in spiritual and knowledge development, we need to make 3 steps in moral development. Because in developing ourselves spiritually, we are refining our soul. When we refine a metal of silver or gold, we extract gold out. What’s left below is the slag. Whenever we develop a stronger brighter light within us, we also create a darker shadow. We must be morally prepared to master the shadow side of us that is liberated by spiritual development.

The teachers in ancient India spoke of the veil of Maya. This veil or curtain was the limit, the boundary of everything that could be perceived with the physical senses. It was the normal physical reality that we all perceive. But they said that this physical reality was an illusion. It was Maya. They taught that the true reality was the spiritual world which was behind the veil of Maya.

In ancient times, there were temples and mystery schools throughout the ancient world where high priests and priestesses guided the pupils in their spiritual development, in their path of initiation. There were very definite carefully prescribed steps on the path to spiritual enlightenment. It was a path of knowledge of the spiritual. One of the final steps was when the pupil broke through the veil of Maya and was on the other side, in the spiritual world.

To break through into the spiritual world, the pupil had to go out of his body. The spirit and soul would go out of his physical body but they would not fall asleep. We go out our physical body every night, but we don’t remember it. And in breaking through the veil of Maya, the spirit or the ego of the pupil expanded into the universal spirit which was its true home. In this process of expanding and almost dissolving his spirit into the universal spirit, the pupil experienced indescribable bliss. It was an indescribable love.

That was the ancient form of initiation, especially in the East. It was based on a love for the world and it engendered a greater love for the world. At a certain time in our history, I believe it was after the Kali Yuga had begun, Rudolf Steiner described that the teachers from the East began to travel to the West. These teachers began to teach a different form of initiation. It was an inner path.

On the inner path, the pupil came up against another veil, another boundary within his own soul. That boundary is the inner limit of all of our consciousness, thoughts, feelings and memories. Rudolf Steiner called it the memory mirror. It mirrors back to you but you can’t see behind it. Behind that mirror is the darkness of our unconscious soul life – all the unconscious drives and impulses that Freud and Jung and other psychologists wrote about.

On the inner path of initiation that began to be taught in the West during the Kali Yuga, the pupil was assisted in breaking through his inner soul boundary, his memory mirror. But when he broke through, his spirit or his Ego did not expand; instead it contracted. He did not experience indescribable bliss, or love; instead he experienced indescribable fear.

The pupil was assisted to stand up to that fear and to overcome that fear. In doing so, the pupil contracted, strengthened and toughened his spirit. And this is the path of initiation that we are all walking in our modern age. It is a path that will require us to experience and overcome the fearful darkness in our own soul. By overcoming that darkness in our own soul, it will help us to heal ourselves and will help us to heal the illnesses in the world and in our global society. That soul darkness that lies deeper than that our consciousness can reach is the source of all human illnesses. It is also the source of all social illnesses.

If this inner path had truly been followed all the way through to its end in the West, it would have led to a true spiritual science – something similar to Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science. However, at a certain point in western history, the teachers and leaders of this inner path, who remained totally behind the scenes of outer civilization, lost their courage or they became decadent. And the knowledge of the spiritual treasure that lives in the fearful inner darkness of the human soul began to fade. In many myths and legends, this fact is illustrated by the dragon that guards the treasure. The dragon’s cave is the unconscious part of our soul. The treasure that the dragon is guarding is the spiritual knowledge that lives in that part of our soul. In other traditions, it is called the guardian of the thresholds.

However, teachers of the inner path lost their courage, lost their strength to fully penetrate to the spiritual treasure that could have really made a much healthier civilization, instead of the materialistic and destructive civilization we have today. Instead of developing a spiritual science, our western civilization has developed a materialistic and reductionistic science. Our modern science which rules the world today denies the inner reality of the human spirit. It also denies the outer reality of the universal spirit.

Steiner said that the purpose of spiritual science was to lead the spirit of human being to connect with the spirit in the universe. However, one thing that this science could not fully deny and could not fully erase was the fear that was the prevailing mood of the inner path. This fear still lives unconsciously in all modern science, most strongly of all in modern medicine.

Our modern medicine, which now rules the whole world, is totally fear-based. It is based on an ignorant fear of the true meaning of illness. It is based on an ignorant fear of illness and death. In a conference in India, a Tibetan doctor said, “All illnesses have three causes. The first cause is ignorance, the second is attachment, and the third, a lack of love.”


Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science, which is both an inner path and an outer path, is based on love for the world.


It is based on a loving, all-consuming interest in wanting to understand and know the world and the deeper knowledge of human being, in order to serve the world and other human beings.

I wish to end this lecture with this verse:

Seek real practical life,

but seek it in a way that does not blind you to the spirit working in it.

Seek the spirit,

but not with spiritual lust,

not out of spiritual egoism,

but seek it so that you can apply it selflessly in practical life in the material world.


Apply the ancient words:

“The spirit is never without matter; matter never without spirit”

In such a way that you say to yourselves, “We will do all things in the material world in the light of the spirit that it may enkindle warmth for our practical deeds.”


Rudolf Steiner

GA 297, Page 116f 

Please look out for 2nd installment of this transcript in next issue.

Further reading:

For articles by Dr. Philip Incao, please visit www.philipincao.com

For works by Dr. Rudolf Steiner, please visit www.rsarchive.org