Thursday, April 16, 2015

Perform action without regard for the fruits of action. -Bhagavad Gita

Being "well centered" allows for a tolerance to the forks in the road.  There will always be decisions to make on the journey to a summit.  Of course you have to commit to a summit to begin with.  At the Chopra Center's Yoga Teacher Training we are taught to live our purpose in life.  Sometimes it will be obvious- what we were put on the earth for; other times it will take journey to find it.  Either way, if we have connected with that ever lasting energy of nature/the universe, our time on the path will be effortless.  The difference between investing hours of our lives to a project vs effortless ease in living in the moment is light years apart.  It is not the belief that you don't care but more of accepting the next fork in the road as part of the journey.  Both ways of seeing a goal will get you to a summit but the latter will get you there with less expression of disease and disability.

When CEO's come to see me for "check ups", most are educated, well read and have embraced problem solving skills that have launched them into the current state of "success".  The question I have is if in their "success", are they feeling fulfilled.  Most are missing something inside although they are surrounded by material reminders of their journey.  No question that it's cool to have expensive stuff that only a few humans will ever glimpse, but how long will deep happiness last holding onto that temporary object.  ('s more of a caution to note when the interval between requiring the next object shortens-red flags should go up!).  I remember my guru saying "we buy things we don't need with money we don't have to please people we don't like".   I don't expect patients to take a life of celibacy but I do believe that neutralizing objective reward with a practice of contemplation will keep one foot in the real world but the important foot will be connected to a sense of oneness.  If you haven't taken a yoga class taught by a good healer then you probably can't fathom the value of silent mindfulness.  There is usually an aha moment with people that sit down with the intention to remain in quiet for some time.  I teach my guy patients (males are very visual and can comprehend a concept better with data/facts) that relaxation and spirituality can best be demonstrated by the "floating on a cloud" feeling you exude during the first few days of coming back from vacation/nature.  You can see it in the blogs and post of people back from vacation.  Energy in words, actions, attitude for a few days.  That is the serotonin high on a trip that started when you unplugged and just learned to be in the moment.  The high is usually maintained with just a shared thought, story or reflection on feeling really good.  When people feel good serotonin and oxytocin are released into the blood stream.  These feel good hormones help little RNA/DNA, white blood cells, digestive system, brain tissue do what their dharma (purpose in life) was programed for-survival and continued existence.  When every cell is working efficiently, people feel creative, fast problem solvers, have great sleep, and appear emotionally attractive during the serotonin high.  The sense of ecstasy can be reproduced even without being in Punta Cana or Yosemite or with friends and family.  But it takes practice, regular practice to be able to reproduce that state of happiness without having to fly across a continent.  The more you practice the deeper you get in a shorter amount of time.  After a while you end up not caring about time because during your regular practice, the serotonin and oxytocin secreted by all 3 trillion cells of your body work with maximum efficiency in the "sanctuary of time" you create.   When the factory is buzzing, you product is good!

Science has tried to reproduce the feeling with SSRI's (Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Effexor...) medicines to synthetically increase serotonin.  They work for the worst cases of mood disturbance but usually mild to moderate depression gets the same amount of a bump in serotonin with meditation, St Johns Wort, sunshine and counseling.  What I have experienced is when you're doing what you were born for, time stands still, serotonin is endless, your investment in any action is infinitely rewarded.  In the journey to my summit, I used to question if all of my efforts of burning up time would be worth it to accomplish a goal.  I was always focused on the goal and it made me insatiably anxious that I was "burning up daylight" and possibly going down the wrong path.  My aha moment was attending a seminar at Harvard by the author of the Relaxation Response.  I realized that there were other doctors that were "great listeners" both their own cellular intuition and the patient's ailments.  Herb Benson showed me that there was validity to mindfulness, energy based medicine and the idea of letting go and trusting in some unseen "pull" that guides you to fulfill dreams.

So picture the Steve Jobs of the world, setting a summit, launching on the journey and staying unshakable in the moment of decision making at their fork in the road. Then imagine the CEO that seems financially successful but looks stressed, unapproachable, and unhealthy with some form of substance abuse.  (I don't name anyone but you can probably think of someone in an executive or managerial position that may be great at what s/he does but also looks 20 years older than his highschool classmates ).  Initially it seems counter intuitive to let go of a dream but I think back to what Deepak taught me-detaching yourself from the outcome doesn't mean you dont care, it just means being open to when "something" will happen and knowing the next step to take.  Think of it this way:

                                          -you can hold tight on the stick and chase the carrot


                  -you can throw the carrot into the abyss before your journey trusting you will find it again