A Little Bit About Me

I have been on something of a “healing rebellion” for many years now.  When I first started medical school, I thought I would learn how to help people heal.  Instead, I was taught how to treat illness.  Although treating illness is a necessary part of helping people to heal, I felt like focusing only on treatment missed the big picture.  This made my medical education seem lacking, because some days I thought western medicine was missing the whole point.

My frustration about the lack of emphasis on healing in medicine nearly drove me away entirely.  After I graduated from medical school, I wanted to hide the degree.  The last thing I wanted was for someone to call me “doctor”.  Without including the concept of healing, this just didn’t seem to be a helping profession.

Giving myself a year to think this all over, I lived out of a van, built customized furniture, meditated and wrote.  When I ran out of money, I picked up lifeguarding jobs and taught children to swim.  I traveled to Peru, climbed mountains and explored the jungle.  While in the jungle, I found my way to an isolated tribe and met a Shaman.

The Shaman did not trust me.  I had the wrong look, smell and attitude.  I was required to join a ceremonial circle and drink a green frothy liquid from a carved wooden bowl.  I was closely observed as I started hallucinating colorful fish leaping out of the ground.

The Shaman taught me how to sense when it was safe to swim in the river – when the piranha would not attack.  He taught me that all things are united and that energy flows through it all.  He showed me how he could direct the flow of energy to result in healing. His ability to transcend ordinary reality and bring healing energy to a sufferer was fascinating and amazingly effective.

Though his skill was way beyond my ability, he taught me to pay better attention to suffering and to realize that healing comes from within the sufferer.

The Shaman’s lessons complemented stories I was taught as a child, like the Seneca (American Indian) creation myth along and other stories of spirit healing.  I had been taught early on to honor the connection between all things and to understand that all is unified by a great power.  As a young man, I spent time in longhouses, corn festivals and sweat lodges.  I accepted the fact that the fundamental process of healing was not well understood or described by western medicine.  I knew that my calling was to serve the greater power of healing.  I just didn’t know how to get there.

When I had first gone into the jungle, I took along a few medical supplies.  I later disclosed this to the Shaman along with the news that I had gone to medical school.

Seeing that my supplies included some medicine that could eradicate intestinal parasites, the Shaman became excited.  Children were dying from infections that his shamanic healings could not cure.  He gratefully accepted my gift of medicine.

At that moment, everything fell into place.  Medicine could be a healing practice when done and timed properly.  It could be woven into a larger healing plan that could work with the individual’s innate capacity to heal.

I returned from the jungle with a new perspective.  I had ended my very short career as a doctor and began my long career as a healer.

Psychiatry appealed to me because it seeks to help the mind, the most interesting part of being human, though also the source of so much of our pain.  I hoped that in psychiatry I could learn how to help.  I also was hopeful that my healing outlook would be tolerated by what seemed a relatively open-minded field of medicine.

My hopes proved well founded.  In my psychiatry studies, the professors tolerated and even took an interest in my perspective.  I had the green light to move ahead.

I soon realized, however, that if I were to help others to heal their minds, I would have to heal my own.  If I didn’t resolve my own issues, I could pollute and derail the healing of others.  I understood the meaning of the phrase, “Healer, heal thyself”.

There was plenty about me that needed to be healed.  I had scars on my skin from the physical violence I had endured in my youth, and scars on my spirit from childhood adversity.  I took on the project of healing for my own good as well as for the good of those who would come to me for help.

When you read in the pages of this book about the practices of enhancing and guiding healing, know that I have personally experienced most of them.  I have bared my soul to many who have touched me deeply and have helped me immensely.  Although I have not taken medication, I know now that there were times when it would have made my journey safer, easier and faster.

My own healing journey has been painful, comforting, arduous and wonderful.  It has successfully delivered me to a stage of comfort and confidence.  It has shown me that healing is possible.

The many people who have come to see me in my practice over the years have taught me that the human spirit is strong, resilient and capable of finding its way to wellness.  With courage and perseverance, I trust that you will find your way as well.  My deeply held hope is that Mind Easing will make your healing journey safer, more direct and more effective.  I’ve written this book because it matters very much to me that others might find their way out of the darkness and into the light.