The Liver - Sensing the Quality of Foods

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By: Philip Incao, M.D.

Anthroposophical medicine teaches that, interwoven with the chemical and metabolic processes of the liver which modern science has discovered, is a sens­ing function.

The constitution of our liver ex­presses itself in our food preferences, tastes, and cravings. If our liver is healthy then we prefer food and drink of high quality. One all-important function of the liver is to perceive the forces, or energies, in everything we take into our bodies. Is our food full of energy from sun, stars, earth, moon and planets? Or, has it more of the energies of chemical fertilizers and pesticides? How food is grown, pro­cessed, preserved and cooked surely also affects its balance of forces. Food even bears the stamp of the soul energies of the farmer or gardener and, of course, of the cook.

The healthy liver is able to mediate our spirit's intention into inner and outer activity and, as a sense organ, it selects food substances which leave us free rather than substances which influ­ence our soul with their own nature.

A healthy animal, foraging for its food, will use its liver-sense organ to choose wisely. It instinctively selects foods containing the forces the animal needs. The newborn baby has this sense but less acutely, and the sense is soon overshadowed by the growing child's individual food likes and dislikes. These seem to express themselves very strongly in children today, no doubt because they are such individualized souls.

Animals don't become anorexic, nor obese, nor addicted by themselves. These are specifically human problems which relate to individual soul development and destiny. The problem of substance abuse is recognized by some today as a soul problem. What is the particular quality of a substance which makes it liable to be abused? Quite simply, it is its ability to impart a feeling to us when we consume that substance. Our soul takes on a mood, which comes from the substance ingested and not from our own individual spirit.

A healthy soul loves to be active, and a healthy soul will seek the motive for its activity from its own guiding spirit. Such activity creates a good feeling in the soul as its 'by-product', so to speak. Thus we could characterize the great numbers of substance abuse and addiction prob­lems today as a yearning for inner activity that takes the wrong direction, that has lost the spirit's guidance. The healthy liver is able to mediate our spirit's intention into inner and outer activity and, as a sense organ, it selects food substances which leave us free rather than substances which influence our soul with their own nature.

That addictions like alcoholism af­fect the liver and may destroy it, is well known. Less known is the fact that it is the defective sensing function of the liver in the first place, which leads to alcoholism or to other substance abuse problems. This defective sensing of the liver is a destiny problem, and the "wrong" substances chosen by such a defective liver lead to a worsening state of health until a crisis point is reached. At such a crisis point, we painfully confront our illness and have an opportunity to choose healing. Healing entails the well-known "detox" in which the liver is cleansed of the physical poisons which clouded its sensing ability. But such a detox leads to healing only when the soul detoxes itself of the moral and spiritual poison which befogged it. Every genuine healing en­tails a change, a growth in consciousness. This is in full agreement with the philoso­phy of the 12-Step Program, which has become the most common and most effective healing path for the many substance abuse problems of our time. In all of these problems, the liver in its function as bridge between spirit and deed, and between sat­isfaction and need, craves healing.

Dr. Incao is a general practitioner in Harlemville, NY.


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