Throughout our lives, certain things impact our vision and values in a major way. I’ve had a couple of those, one in medical school, and one many years later on a black diamond.
In 2009, the day after a grueling anesthesia call night, I suffered a severe concussion while snowboarding. This led to significant amnesia, visions of strawberry fields, and Tweety birds dancing around my head for three days – with residual effects lasting three weeks before resolution and being cleared for work in the operating room.
As an immediate result of the concussion, I experienced a dramatic and sudden release from my normal patterns of habitual thought and action. While my brain rested from the trauma, my heart took charge and inspired me to see the world differently. Everywhere and everything pulsated energy in the form of love and light. The incessant wheel of habit suddenly ground to a halt.
I strolled out the emergency room door laughing and giggling like a child again, causing my wife to remark how happy and light I had suddenly become. This was certainly not the norm for our doctor!
At that point, I had spent years in the Halls of Medicine practicing the “standard of care”. I saw treatments revolving around alleviating signs and symptoms. We produced care plans from a reactionary perspective rather than a proactive stance. The life of a doctor focused on “fixing” the patients just enough for them to find the exit door. We offered no further intention toward optimizing that patient’s potential for peak states of health and vitality.
Most people today are on the wheel of stress, using caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and processed food to keep the daily grind in motion. They fear that if the wheel stops, their way of life and livelihood may come to a screeching halt. I began contemplating how medicine using both Eastern and Western principles could help these silent suffers break the wheel of habit. I reasoned that if I could integrate Eastern and Western medicine based on sound fundamentals that complemented each other, I could help break my patients’ habitual cycles thereby lowering their chronic disease risk.
A concussion allowed for a temporary suspension of my own wheel, empowering me to see beyond “routine.” Fortunately, not everyone needs a concussion to see straight. My lucky bang to the head knocked me off the treadmill of conventional thought/response and allowed me to begin laying down the fundamentals of how I would use wisdom gained through my injury to help my patients who might be stuck in the muck.
After this “happy” head injury, I discerned that the highest, most noble medicine must serve the body, mind, and soul. The body must become physically fit for the journey. The agitated mind should be calmed, like a rider reigning in a nervous horse, not by force but through intuitive understanding. Ultimately, the physically fit body and calm, centered mind then draw up the Kundalini energy hibernating at the base of the spine. With proper balance among mind, body, and soul, the individual then breaks the wheels of habit and circumstance, looking up to recognize themselves in the light.