Mind/Body Connection - Mind/Body Medicine, Part 3
by Michael Braunstein
Do nothing — then rest afterwards.
“We are led to believe a lie when we see with and not through the eye;
Which was born in the night, shall perish in the night,
while the Soul lie sleeping in the light.”
— William Blake
When we take on a body at our birth, we become students of the teaching of the world. It is hard to avoid. The data we take in through our senses becomes the guiding information that we rely on to make judgments. (We were warned about judging, were we not?) Eventually, as we mature, that teaching of the world becomes the primary belief system and we allow it to guide us. Though it is a challenge to resist the sensory teaching system, it is unnecessary to follow. As Blake alludes in the passage above, there is a higher source of guidance.
One example of this higher guidance that we’ve all experienced is what we call “inspiration.” Or is there one among you out there who is willing to claim he has never done anything inspired in his life?
The very word gives an idea of the process involved. The stem of the word is the Latin “spiritus,” or spirit. Inspiration then, means to allow spirit in; allowing spirit to guide. And as we have all experienced, an “inspired” performance, an “inspired” action, an “inspired” decision stands as a cut above. The pedant plods with data and analysis, thought after logical thought. But the inspired, with one lightning flash of inspiration, soars with the wings of spirit.
Oh, Nurse! Got a Snickers? One sunny afternoon I was driving down Pacific Street near Elmwood Park with my friend Catrina. It was low-blood-sugar time of day, you know, around 4 p.m.; when you really need a snack.
“Hey, can I have one of those Snickers bars I put in your purse yesterday? It sounds good,” I said to her.
“Darn. I don’t have ‘em. I gave them away this morning!” she said.
At first I was bummed. Then she described what had happened.
Catrina came out of the grocery store just before noon and on the way to her car saw two little girls, about 10 years old, sitting on the bus bench. Both were upset and the one really crying most was bleeding from a cut on her forehead. Now, Catrina is an R.N. That meant she had completed pretty thorough schooling in what to do in a case of injury like this. She immediately applied direct pressure to the bleeding with some Kleenex from her purse. It hardly helped. The child was nearly hysterical and wasn’t calming down at all.
“Then it was funny,” Catrina said. “I reached in my purse for another Kleenex and, without thinking, just grabbed a Snickers and handed it to her and told her ‘Here, honey. You can have this.’ and she stopped crying right away! She calmed down and I was able to finish with the cut. Her friend had that sort of ‘Me, too?’ look in her eyes and so I gave her the other one. I’m sorry.”
“Sorry?” I said. “That is cool! What a great example of inspiration! You didn’t think about it at all when you grabbed the candy, did you?”
“No,” Catrina said.
“You just did it. Like it popped into your head outta nowhere, right?”
“Yeah,” she said.
“Catrina, that's called inspiration! You were inspired!”
The little girl, beside herself in fear and upset, had been inconsolable. And what was the answer? What healed the situation? A Snickers bar! Answer me this. Exactly where in all the years of intellectual gymnastics associated with college, nursing school, CEU’s and textbook studies did Catrina learn: “With scalp lacerations of 10 year old girls, first give the patient a Snickers bar?” Nowhere! It took opening her purse and, “without thinking,” inspiration just caused her to grab the candy and voila! The crying stopped, the blood pressure came down, platelets started the clotting process, the heart rate became normal and the little girl stopped bleeding. Healing happened. It was an unconscious thought that prompted Catrina. And if we want to take it another level, the day before, for no reason that I know of, I had grabbed the Snickers for Catrina to put in her purse. At the time I hadn’t known why. I just did it.
What really healed the situation was not based in time or in form. It was not a Snickers bar, that was just the implement used. The agent of healing was inspiration. And what guides inspiration? Look at the root of the word again, ok?
Yoda, Yoda, Yoda Inspiration. More powerful and more effective than “book learnin’.” Now bluestocking naysayers, just hold your water. I’m not saying that intellectual knowledge is inconsequential or useless. It is useful. I am saying let inspiration guide the use of it.
One can trivialize that little story and pooh-pooh it and say “So? It was a little cut with a little girl on a bus bench.” And I can spend a few hundred more words telling you about the hugely successful Omaha lawyer who confided in me that the best way he knows to prepare for a major court date is to meditate in the afternoon and “listen to that inner voice” to somehow inspire him. Or I can relate one of the stories my cardiologist friend has told me about letting inspiration guide his treatment of ER patients. At the moment of need, all the intellectual, analytical “knowledge” Catrina had wasn’t worth a hill of beans next to her ability and willingness to be open to inspiration. Practice being open to that ability is what it is all about. The more we open to the ability to connect with that higher mind, the more easily it will come through for us.
Connecting with the inspirational mind won’t always result in an unconventional solution like a Snickers bar. But maybe it will lead to choosing the right herb or the right case law or right medical procedure or diagnosis. That’s the point. You just don’t know. Make that, the little you doesn’t know but the Bigger You does.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker learns from Jedi Master Yoda how he can “use the Force,” that inner guidance a Jedi uses to accomplish miraculous things for good. Luke asks how he will know when he is hearing the Force. Yoda tells him, “You will know! When (your mind is) at peace, when you are calm, passive.”
When we let go of all we think we know, Yoda tells him, then the Force will be easily heard.
It doesn’t matter what one chooses to call this inspirational factor. Pick a term that suits you. “Holy Spirit” works. “The Force,” “intuition,” “Higher Self,” “barking pumpkin;” who cares?
The ability to overcome the limitation of linear or vertical thinking is called diagonal thinking. It is like a “random access mode” for the mind; quantum awareness if you will. And if you are one of those uncomfortable (fearful) with anything other than empiricist nearsightedness, just call it “A Higher Awareness,” the A.H.A. factor. Haven’t you ever just had a feeling of “Aha!”? Well, then go with that if it suits. Holy Spirit is not offended.
To avail ourselves of inspirational help, we must become “as like little children” once again and let go of what we think we know. A fist clenched firmly around a tenet or belief is not open to any higher assistance to land in the open hand. Think about it. The first requirement in learning is a willingness to say, “I don’t know everything.” The highest requirement for learning is to say, “I don’t know anything.” It is the letting go of our fixed beliefs that opens us to inspiration.
In the Bible, one of our better-known healers, Jesus, tells us “These things, and more, so shall you do.” In A Course in Miracles, he reminds us that his ability to heal is the power he has from the Father, (Creator, Source, Force, whatever term you want to use,) and that we have everything he (Jesus) has.
“There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The difference between us now is that I have nothing else,” Jesus tells us on the very first page of the text.
The only difference, Jesus says, is that we are still holding on to the beliefs we hold dear. We are still investing in the world. Letting go of that is what enhances our ability to connect with the inspirational mind.
The silent treatment works. Deepak Chopra’s bestseller, Quantum Healing, describes meditation as the best way to improve our health. Period.
The Dean Ornish Heart Disease Reversal Program, at hospitals nationwide, (once even at Omaha’s Immanuel Heart Institute,) has found that of the four disciplines the program uses to reverse disease, (diet, meditation, yoga, group meetings,) meditation is the most important.
Why? Because meditation is the learned skill of letting the conscious mind be still, allowing the conscious mind to step aside. In meditation we are doing exactly what we need to do: nothing! We need only get out of our own way, let go of our beliefs, still the “barking dog,” and there is an infinite pool of Self-generated knowledge that will guide us unerringly. That is what Yoda, Jesus, the Bible, Chopra etc., etc., are trying to teach us. Let go!
Until another now, be well.