INTEGRAL, HOLISTIC MEDECINE EXPERT.
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness? If, in our heart, we still cling to anything –anger, anxiety or possessions- we cannot be free.” – Thích Nhât Hahn
“Know from the rivers in clefst and crevices: those in small channels flow noisily, the great flow silent. Whatever is not full makes noise. Whatever is full, is quiet”.– The Buddha (Sutta Nipata)
“Health is the greatest gift. Contentment is the greatest wealth. A trusted friend is the best relative. Liberated mind is the greatest bliss”. – The Buddha (Dhammapada, verse 204)
“By living deeply in the present moment we can understand the past bette rand we can prepare for a better future”.- Thích Nhât Hahn
Although trained in traditional Western medicine, my first experiences with a more holistic approach of body, mind and spirit were refreshing and eye-opening.
During my PhD training in advanced neuroimaging (i.e. imaging in of the brain with fast and complex imaging methods e.g. to visualize brain activity during active tasks or mental processes), I came to realize to what extent the brain an unexplored area is. This scientific work gave me satisfaction in helping others, but for myself, I looked for more. Due to several events in my personal life, I was forced to dig deeper into myself and discovered a desire for peace, unity and tranquility. This led me to the discovery of Ashtanga yoga, a dynamic form of yoga. It was the combination of concentration and physical effort, this integration of the mind, body and soul, which brings, upon today, rest, relaxation and reflection. This has turned into a life philosophy.
The brain is the seat of the mind and spirit and connects these entities with the body, through the breath. A popular quote in the Yoga Suttas, an ancient, Indian, medieval text on the tradition of yoga, states the following: “When the breath is in motion, the mind is in motion. The breath being without motion, the mind becomes motionless”. The breath, mind and body work together, as they are inseparable.
When approaching reality through the immediate physicality of the body, the senses and breath, one can skip right around religious, cultural and national prejudice. Removing all ideas and concepts is, according to Buddhism, the secret in order for the truth to have a chance to reveal itself. Our relationships and our beliefs about the world have a direct effect on the sensations in our body, that link into emotion and perception. Observing sensation closely through the breath allows the deconditioning of the mind of habitual patterns of response and association with those same sensations and feelings.
A deconditioned mind is the basis to have the best change to be successful to rethink oneself. We usually discover a lot more in the silent space between thoughts, than through all the interpretations, ideas and views that our mind generates.