Getting to the Heart and Soul of Healing

YVES E. PATAK, M.D.

We must change ourselves and not try to change others. It is always about us. And those changes must take place deep within ourselves.

My father was a general practitioner, my mother worked with him as a doctor’s assistant. No wonder their conversations often revolved around medical subjects, and their daily case reviews sparked my general interest in medicine. Thus, I too studied to become a general practitioner. But two years into my practice, I already felt a disquieting frustration with medicine. My daily activities brought a bitter aftertaste of the strictly symptomatic approach to patient care. Whatever pills, prescriptions or injections I gave my patients, I wasn’t healing anyone. It was then, that I stumbled upon Voltaire’s famous and cynical quotation: “The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.” Unfortunately, I believe he’s dead right.

My frustration grew as I noticed that my colleagues didn’t mind the fact we were easing suffering but not healing anyone. As soon as a patient doesn’t recover, we must face the fact that a so-called chronic disease exists. Between the lines we are then conveying the ugly truth that their condition is incurable. It was this realization that compelled me to explore and integrate other methods of healing, hoping that the word “healing” wasn’t simply wishful thinking. On a hunch, I went to Sri Lanka to learn acupuncture from a celebrated guru who had apparently introduced this art to a country with no previous acupuncture tradition. Professor Anton Jayasuriya proved to be a highly enigmatic and fascinating figure. At over seventy years of age, this former chief resident of the department of rheumatology would sit on a plastic chair, waiting for the endless rows of patients coming for his needles. Professor Jayasuriya, who treated all patients for free, both in Kalubowila Hospital and in his private practice in Colombo, always had a word of advice for each and everyone, and he also taught everyone this simple, highly effective breathing exercise:

  1. Take a comfortable position, either sitting or prone.
  2. Breathe in through your nose as deeply as possible without feeling uncomfortable.
  3. Hold your breath for three to five seconds, then exhale.
  4. Exhale through half-closed pursed lips: i.e. exhale very slowly, slowing down your breath with your lips.
  5. With your lungs empty, wait another three to five seconds until you feel like inhaling again.
  6. Repeat this breathing exercise several times until you develop your own rhythm.
  7. Close your eyes and visualize your breath as a white puff of air such as in the wintertime when you can see it  in the cold outdoors.
  8. Visualize yourself inhaling this white cloud through your nose, filling your lungs first and, with every                  subsequent breath, your chest, abdomen, head, limbs and your entire body.
  9. Visualize exhaling this white cloud, watch its shape, its size, if you like play with it, giving it different shapes.
  10. With your eyes still closed, be aware of everything you feel: your body, your breathing, your internal pictures,  the temperature and energy of the air you breathe and everything around you.
  11. Continue this breathing exercise for any length of time until you feel a sense of well-being and relaxation. Every minute of physical and mental relaxation decreases the damaging effects of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Practice this breathing exercise several times each day, whenever you feel tense or stressed. The benefits include:
  • Relaxation, peace of mind and well-being.
  • Induction of a light trance, which can be used for self-hypnosis.
  • Increase of oxygen saturation in the body, which has a favorable effect on every cell in the body and on the self-healing mechanisms.
  • Spiritual exercise to get into a state of now, and to rise above the constant and often obsessive brooding and mind-chatter.

The more I learned, the more I realized that in most cases, true cures come from within.

My stay with this guru brought a decisive turn in my own life, as I witnessed miracle after miracle each and every day. Under the professor’s needles, deaf and dumb children began uttering their first words. Partially paralyzed children who had suffered asphyxia at birth began to stand and walk. Huge goiters that would have been obvious indications for surgery melted away within weeks as a result of hot needle therapy. The bald grew hair and vitiligo patients regained their skin pigmentation. Eventually I began to see behind the curtain. The professor, already in rather poor health back in the year 2000, quite often didn’t hit the perfect acupuncture point, probably due to his failing vision – but it didn’t seem to matter at all. I realized that he kept teaching us to always say yes, and he consistently showed his breathing exercise to everyone. I felt his total confidence in his belief that true healing just happens. In any case, his healing success clearly dwarfed the effects of any Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) I witnessed in the future. Even though the art of TCM is much deeper than the method that the Sri Lankan Professor used, I had just stumbled over my first hot scent: maybe healing wasn’t only about the method, but the consciousness behind the method!

I experienced similar occurrences while working with Dr. Raftis, a Greek general practitioner, who showed me how to combine different styles of acupuncture. The Greek doctor too could delight in the most impressive successes, using YNSA (Yamamoto New Scalp Acupuncture), Su Jok (Korean Hand and Foot Acupuncture) and his own creation, RCCA (Raftis Cheek and Chin Acupuncture). My suspicion grew that some kind of awareness or consciousness behind the method might be the key to true healing.

Over the years, I have discovered that both allopathic physicians and alternative practitioners tend to discount anything that doesn’t fit into their vision of life. “What is not allowed to be, does not happen” is the dogma shared by too many – because anything else would be frightening and disturbing. It became my quest to look for methods, mindsets and energies that have a true potential to heal, not just to mellow humankind’s suffering symptomatically. The more I learned, the more I realized that in most cases, true cures come from within. I talked to and worked with healers, always finding that most healers see themselves as a vessel whose sole purpose is to let the godly force flow through them so it can reach the patient. Having adapted my own hypnotherapy and acupuncture methods to a more intuitive style than in previous years, I often had a similar impression. The more I just go with the flow, or follow my instinct, the better the results.

Another modality I have applied is Family Systemic Constellation therapy, a trans-generational, therapeutic intervention with roots in family systems therapy, existential-phenomenology, and the ancestor reverence of the South African Zulus.

Although the Family Constellation process is sanctioned by family therapy associations in Europe and is being integrated by thousands of licensed practitioners worldwide, the work is virtually unknown in the United States. Family Constellation therapy often results in a fascinating dual effect: not only do the attendees feel an instant psychological uplift, but frequently there will be clear changes in the outside world, such as in people who are linked to the attendees problem but who have no clue that the said person is engaged in a Systemic Constellation therapy, will exhibit new behavior. For example, some attendees relate that people who had been shunning them for years suddenly called them and exhibited an attitude that seemed unusually warm and friendly.

In Hypnotherapy, I often witness amazing phenomena. By changing their inner reality, people clearly transform their outer reality in an amazing way. A similar change can occur through EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique): by reaching our mind’s emotional center, we can clear old, negative programs and experience the rapid improvement of our psychological and physical health.

Both hypnosis and EFT suggest that with our Western thinking-patterns and lifestyles, we’re very much stuck in the brain’s left hemisphere, the realm of rationality, analytic thinking and the ego. By opening the door to the right hemisphere, we enter a world that seems to host not only our true inner world, an ocean of feelings, but also some kind of mental Internet that seems to be able to get in touch with everything. If there is indeed a morphogenetic field that connects everything with everything and modern quantum physics seems to be on the verge of proving exactly that – then the brain’s right hemisphere is the key to that field.

One of the most promising and inspiring philosophies both for our personal health and the planet’s well-being is the Hawaiian Huna method called Ho’oponopono. For a Western mind, it is one of the greatest challenges to accept the shamanistic key ideology: We are 100% responsible for everything. No exceptions. It is a philosophy that is way beyond our stimulus and response, action and reaction principles. The Huna mentality teaches us that everyone is the projector of their reality, and everything we experience is the screen we project our internal programs onto. These collective programs and memories are quite often detrimental.

We don’t need to ask why it is this way; we can just accept that our sole purpose is to clean away those harmful programs that bring hate, fear, disharmony and disease into the world.

Four simple sentences help us to constantly clear away whatever problem we perceive: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” Using these sentences can override and erase the eternal compulsive flow of unwanted/negative thoughts, and clear away old negative memories and programming. Ever since my patients – those who are mentally and emotionally open to trying the unthinkable – practice Ho’oponopono, they notice that all aspects of their life just get better: health, relationships, personal circumstances, everything. The use of this simple mantra helps us to cancel our brooding and incessant thinking, which is not only unpleasant, but probably responsible in large part for our dis-eases. Our mind, or rather our ego, is relentlessly sowing bad seeds, until we have to harvest what we unknowingly have sowed. I also suggest to my clients that they integrate into their daily life a shamanistic attitude, to consider that everything is alive; to try to feel that virtually everything is consciousness, not dead matter or only energy. This approach has brought many people a new connectedness with everything, which in return eliminates an often chronic feeling of loneliness and craving for love. I encourage everybody to become lovers of everything. To love, love, love, as was demonstrated by Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, the most prominent representative of this shamanistic view, when he healed a whole ward of mentally ill and violent people with the conscious application of Ho’oponopono. To practice love at all times instead of worrying or trying to control people and events. To practice love in spite of our rational mind telling us that such customs are esoteric, non-scientific and therefore useless.

The lesson becomes clearer and clearer. Allopathic medicine remains the technology of first choice in life threatening situations or to alleviate serious pain or other symptoms until nature cures the disease or we gain time to find a proper cure. True healing though is strongly linked to our belief and our inner reality. There probably is no such thing as one true reality. To improve our ability to believe, to get rid of harmful programs and memories, we must learn to get in touch with our brain’s right hemisphere – the part of us that probably holds the key to amazing healing and transformative powers. To free ourselves from rigid old concepts we must know about the human ego, which will try with all its might to keep us in the hamster wheel of eternal problems, away from any true change of perspective. We must not forget that this ego is just as clever as we are, and that it will use all of our wits to keep us stuck in the real world of trouble and hardship!

Maybe the astrologists are right. Maybe the new Age of Aquarius will bring one piece of enlightenment to humankind: that it’s all about “personal responsibility.” We must change ourselves and not try to change others. It is always about us. And those changes must take place deep within ourselves. It’s not the ego that will heal us, but the love and compassion that resides in our hearts.

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