Friday, October 3, 2008

Peace Begins with Me


Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len reminded me recently that his teacher Morrnah Simeona, the kahuna who updated the ancient Hawaiian problem-solving practice of ho'oponopono, kept a sign upon her desk.

"Peace Begins with Me," it said.

People came to Morrnah from all over for various kinds of healing, especially spiritual; she was also expert in massage.

She was apparently very relaxed about all this, and was even known to fall asleep during training seminars. She went about her business, practicing the inner peace conveyed by her desk sign. She also got results.

This kind of calmness sometimes eludes me. People come to doctors hoping for some kind of relief. So I get anxious when they're suffering; I feel both their pain and and the need to relieve it.

Morrnah probably cared a great deal for others, or she wouldn't have made herself available to them. But she also taught that getting too wound up in others' pain makes one useless as a healer.

In my own case, the danger can be that I measure myself by the amount of relief patients seem to get through my efforts. Then the session becomes more about me than them -- leading to sure failure on my part to comprehend their suffering in the first place. This is not my intention.

I was sharing this dilemma with Bill Mann LAc, one of my homeopathic teachers in San Diego. Classical homeopathy is a 200-year-old system of medicine that stimulates patients' own healing capacities from within, using medicines that are specifically tailored for their suffering.

It can be challenging to find a remedy that catalyzes someone's healing process. A person could need any of 3000-4000 or so proven remedies, or possibly one that hasn't been prepared yet. Finding this requires absolute care and attentiveness in listening to the other.

With Bill, I was bemoaning my limitations in the face of people's problems. Years of medical training inculcate shame and guilt in most physicians when we don't deliver cures. I was definitely feeling it.

With his usual candor and wisdom Bill replied:

"Get yourself out of the picture for one. One's healing (your patient) is not about you. You have tools and use them---the rest is just a way to harm yourself (that self talk)--it is also a waste of energy. It can also be an opportunity to see what is in your own way.

One's healing is one's own healing. Never forget this---you in yourself can offer little---even when you think you are offering your kindness or sympathy, it does little to ameliorate what sits before you most often. (nothing wrong with being kind or caring).

Apply your science the best you can. You can do it extremely well---I have no doubt.

Relax, and let the other see for themselves who they are and what is not them. This can be done--by being very quiet. Let them see for themselves. Only one can heal the self, the one within."

This is as much true for my patients as it is for myself. Done well, classical homeopathy allows one's truth to emerge; the self becomes stronger and more resilient on all levels. Maintaining the quiet needed with others can be very difficult for me, since I so want to be useful. I realized that my very need to be useful prevents my being so.

It's all a part of my ongoing studies with California Center for Homeopathic Education. Dealing with one's own self can be much trickier than learning the remedies and methods of homeopathy.

Another of my homeopathic teachers, Dr. Rajan Sankaran, echoes this need for quiet and allowing the patient to come forward. In the beginning of his book, Sensation Refined (2007), he quotes Sheng-yen in how one should listen:

"Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, and the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you."

The process of healing is relentless, if we simply allow it. I can't help but wonder if Morrnah wouldn't have liked Bill and Rajan a lot. She might like them so much and feel so very peaceful, she'd fall asleep at their seminars. :-)

Peace Begins with me,
Pam

3 comments:

South Africa - Ho'oponopono said...

Hi Pam,
Thank you for sharing your "doctor's" insight regarding this this very important issue of "Peace begins with Me".
What brings me much relief is realizing that I am only aware of such a tiny fraction of what is really going on around me, and that in fact, I really have no clue of what is really going on.
A great book to read about this topic is Tor Norretandes: "The User Illusion".
I hightly encourage you to study this book, and in it, you will find fascinating information to share with your fellow doctors regarding this topic.
I am so greatful the Ho'oponopono has led me to realize all of this, and now I know that I can only assist others, by first be being at peace with myself.
Keep up the great posts!
Kind regards,
Saul Maraney
Johannesburg, South Africa
www.hooponoponosimplified.com

Pam Pappas MD said...

Thanks, Saul.

I've been reading Norretranders' book, but am not finished with it yet. It's very helpful for anyone looking for a 'scientific basis' to some of Ho'oponopono's precepts.

Thanks for your contributions!
Pam

Proud Poppa said...

Dear Pam, I saw your Tweet "A post I'm reliving at the moment" yesterday and I remember this post so well! This time its message sank deeper and awakened me and so I have been cleaning. Cleaning continued during the night and in my dreams and I awakened with words I needed to hear. Thank you so much for following your heart and posting that tweet. Bill's words, "Get yourself out of the picture..." and your words, "I realized that my very need to be useful prevents my being so" were just what I needed to "hear".

Love and Blessings,

Jimmy