I vaguely remember the first commute to medical school. The rushing wind sweeping my hair back, a joyous exhiliration as I rode my bicycle towards my “new life”.
This might have been the peak of moment of joy in my medical career. As I nestled my bottom into the plastic chair of the new university building, a tension crept unbeknown to me through my nervous system and started the process of freezing my brain and personality. I have to say- this was evidently probably NOT the experience the others were having. But I attribute this portrayal as a rising symptom of anxiety and deep rooted doubt I was feeling about my career choice.
Fast forward 7 years or so. And already 2 years of non-doctoring have passed (relatively speaking) blissfully.
My own dear father said to me “the biggest decisions make themselves”. Although I toiled within the process, looking back I realised it feels like the truth. And now I slowly permit myself to live in a world where saying “feels like” can lead you to a healing state.
I reckon the crux of what was missing for me, was a sense of real integrity in understanding “root cause”. I had already started suspecting this was the case as I bumbled my way haphazardly through my pharmacology degree. Its not that I was not up to the task, it’s just that when things are not explained in a reasonable manner, then it is very difficult to muster up conviction. Maybe it was a bit of the emperors new clothes syndrome. But I was a child asking “why” and then when no answer came I sort of made myself do the work the best I could.
‘Nidana’ is one of the central principles in Ayurvedic therapy. It is a word that not only describes the root cause but the process of seeking it, understanding it and even trialling treatment.
When you understand the root cause, you can do all manner of things to help the situation. Remove the root cause, strengthen and detoxify the system to cope with it or even digest it fully. Use wisdom not to further fan the flames of the fire.
Even hearing that this concept was somewhere somehow, not only mentioned but furthermore mapped out in detailed principles, and practical application, has been like a weight lifted off me, like the pictures in the house are suddenly straight again.
I am sure I caught myself saying for years even perhaps before becoming a medical student – that I felt the concept of Allopathy had a flaw – and this being the “polyfiller approach”. And I enjoy as much as the next person filling in the gauged out holes from my dodgy wall fixtures. But when the wall is crumbling, being leaned on by the masses who have no clue how to hold up their own wall. (Lets say the wall is a metaphor either for one individuals health or for the health service as a hole). Well then at some stage unless you take a look at why the heck the wall is crumbling, then you’ll just be left with a big collapsing blob.
Ayurveda is about empowerment, wisdom of the doctor and responsiblity and understanding of the patient, its restoring the connection to natures immense healing capacity and even more to our own inner nature.