Join Ananda as she scours the planet for traditional medicinal and healing practices

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Tibetan Cure

I now sit back in Canada reminiscing about my final - and one of the most meaningful health encounter in India. Dr. Yeshi Dhonden - most commonly referred to as the Dalai Lama's Doctor.

Dr. Dhonden is a world renowned physician, and served the Dalai Lama personally from 1960 to 1980, and yet unlike getting in to see a specialist in Canada, Yeshi Dhonden is very accessible to everyone.

Having come out of a 10 day Vipassan meditation retreat my back was a little troubled and clearly announcing it's presence with pain. It apparently didn't like being subjected to 10 hours of daily sitting. Luckily some friends told me about the Dalai Lama's doctor and that anyone could get in to see him. It was a date!

A few days later a gang of precocious backpackers gathered in the early morning (5am) in the main square of McLeod Ganj. We wandered down the empty streets, urine bottles in hand (one of the Dr's diagnostic tools), until we found the small line up that already began to form at the clinic's front door. At 7am an elderly monk came out and handed out numbers to those waiting patiently in line. A total of 40 numbers are available daily. With our numbers securely in our pockets we went to have an anticipatory breakfast before the clinic officially opened at 8.

With my belly full I returned to the clinic and sat in the waiting room until it was my turn. A wobbly monk would occasionaly come out of the doctor's office and guide people wordlessly down the hall. When my turn came he encouraged me to follow him to a sink. Demonstrated that he wanted me to pour my bottle of pee into his cup, where he whisked it, observed quickly the peculiarities of my morning pee and immediately poured it down the drain. He then guided me into the Doctor's office, sat me down, grabbed my hands and with his fingers observed my pulse. This was Yeshi Dhonden himself. He looked me in the eye and pointed at his back and abdomen. I whole hartedly agreed, yes those are definitely the areas where I need some help.

Another young Doctor in the office served as translator and told me they needed to work on Kidney energy. I was given a prescription written in Tibetan and asked to leave the office but return in a week for further evaluation. The entire visit took about 5 minutes. At the clinic's pharmacy my prescription was filled and I received 4 bags of little brown pellets, to be taken at specific times throughout the day with a glass of warm water. The pellets made up of different herbs look and taste like rabbit turd (I'm assuming, I don't really know what rabbit turd tastes like) whi makes chewing them as instructed a distasteful act, but well worth it.

Within a couple of days my back started to improve as did my energy. I returned to the doc. after taking my pulse he changed one of the herbs and gave me a 2 month supply, sying I should be all better by then.

I've been keeping to the pellet chewing schedule and feeling good about it - I don't even make faces anymore while I down the herbs! I'll let you all know how it goes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Vipassana, Enlightenment in 10 Easy Steps

ok, well maybe not so easy.
I recently finished a 10 day silent Vipassana retreat. It was as pleasant as going through drug rehab and as transformational.

Vipassana is an ancient Buddhist meditation. Today different styles are taught, but the most influential at the moment is S.N. Goenka's version. Goenka, born in Burma, was taught by Burmese monks who claim to have maintained the purity of Buddha's meditation technique for 2 and a half millenia. He has become responsible for the spread of these teachings around the world through his many Vipassana centres (over 100 I believe, and one only an hour from Toronto)

For 10 days I lived like a Buddhist nun. I had to first take refuge in triple gem - a Buddhist Tradition where one takes refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma (the law of nature), and the Sangha (the monastic community). From there we promise to keep 5 precepts:
  1. to abstain from killing any living creature;
  2. to abstain from stealing;
  3. to abstain from all sexual activity;
  4. to abstain from telling lies;
  5. to abstain from all intoxicants.
This was pretty easy since participants are only allowed to communicate with the teachers and Dhamma servers (volunteers there to cater to all your needs), and we were meditating 10 hours a day - not much time for much else other than sleeping and eating.

The first 4 days were spent focusing on the breath in order to sharpen the mind and the lat 6 days focused on the Vipassana technique itself where one focuses on the sensations of the body as a way to connect with the subconscious mind.

Needless to say this was a very challenging process from the very beginning. I had to share a room with 4 other girls- without communicating or making eye contact. It wasn't until the 3rd day that I started to realize who my roomates were. My back was killing me as were my knees and shoulders, and other parts I never knew existed. And to top it all off my mind refused to shut up. I've meditated before I thought to myself - and all other techniques I've used have silenced my mind much better than this.

But soon I realized that was the point - to get all the daydreams out of your system so you could focus on the more important work ahead. Everyday I considered leaving. I thought I'll just wait one more meditation and one more discussion and then I'll leave. For the whole term I almost ran away it felt so unbearable. But at the same time my mind began to open up. I started understanding how I'm the cause of my own suffering. Really grasping the understanding not just knowing this intellectually. It's changed how I react to external stimuli. I'm more aware and less negative.

The other incredible thing is that you start to notice all these negativities clearing out of your system. You are able to observe them arise and depart without reacting and creating more negative energy.

However this process really aggravated my back and knees. Staying now in the hills of Bagshu just north of McLeod Ganj and Dharmasala it's been tough walking up the steep hills. But I have discovered the next step in my healing journey -so stayed tuned and I will further elaborate.

Also according to Goenka one should not practice Vipassana and Reiki. He says you have to choose one or the other or risk going crazy. If anyone knows anything about this or has an opinion please leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Conclusion and an Interesting Twist

I know you're all holding your breath wanting to know about the Basti or enema expeience. Well needless to say it wasn't pleasant and I'm really hoping that something good and worthwhile will come from this.

My first colon piercing experience involved only half a cup of oil. Let me just say that since water and oil don't mix well together flushing it down the toilet is nearly impossible. The next morning 1 whole litre of this brown looking herbal concoction was slowly poured into me. It felt warm and hmmm... like it didn't belong there. After a half hour on the toilet and a cold shower, I thought I was going to be fine when my stomach and abdomen started complaining. The cramps that ensued had me in tears. And I was filled with sadness and anger. Old energy blocks apparently dissolving away into the porcelain bowl.

I repeated this 2 step process one more time. Do I feel clean? Not really sure. Do I feel healthier. Umm no. My blood pressure dropped dramaticaly, and I was extremely tired, and I lost a couple of kilos (in muscle I think).

According to Vijay I need to build up from here - see it as a new beginning. Well my hopes are up and I'll let you all know how I'm doing when I get home.

And now for something completely different:
Vision school update.

I feel like a drop out. Today Jose and I went to an optometrist. I was tired of straining my eyes from not being able to see with the reduced prescription (both eyes were seeing different things) I was given at the school For Perfect Eyesight. And lo and behold my prescription is right back to where it was before I started the program. Perhaps it's because I neglected my eye exercises, perhaps the faulty prescription I was wearing was straining my eyes, or perhaps my vision never improved at all and I was duped!

But Jose's improvement has held so far. It can't be a hoax. And a good friend managed to improve her eyesight through similar methods a whoppin 3 points! So despite this horrible blow I commit myself to trying again. (Maybe Salima will share her eye improving techniques with me).

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The treatment continues

This has certainly been a trip.

After the treatment of Ilakizhi (I believe that's what the brutal herbal beating is called) I felt exhausted. After 3 days my blood pressure dropped and all I wanted to do was hang out in bed. I did manage a walk on the beach at sunset however.

Then I began a new treatment, just in time for my birthday. After my daily massage I started a 4 day course of Kativasthi. While I lie on my back a damn of gram (chickpea) flour is created on my back. It's meant to act like a reservoir to hold oil in place. Then warm medicated oil was continuously poured onto my back and removed. This feels great. I often fall asleep. With thi snew treatment my energy has increased, I've been feeling light and active. Yoga and meditation seem to come more easily, yesterday I didn't even take my regular afternoon escape from the heat nap!

Tomorrow however starts the scary part - the first in a round of enemas (don't know how I feel about exposing my bum to a woman in a sari armed with a sharp weapon). They tell me they're going to put a litre of medicated oil into my colon, then give me some kind of massage after which I will pay my respects to the porcelain God.


well for those of you interested in more you can check out Ammrita Kerala Ayurvedic which is where I'm taking this treatment.

My next posting I will provide a more in depth discussion of Ayurveda - what's the point and Ayurveda, why, what, and huh? As well as an update on my enema experience

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Diving into Ayurveda

OK. So I'm doing it. I'm diving head first into a treatment plan that I'm a tad skeptical about, however I will try it with an open mind.

Arriving to Goa felt like the weight of the world was sliding of my shoulders. The warm sea air (noticeably cooler than the scorching heat of Tamil Nadu), the palm trees swaying in the breeze and the portuguese architecture gracing the tropical landsape. Ahhh heaven. I spent 2 months here 5 years ago, but I was bracing myself knowing that the tourism industry, always predominant, had exploded. Especially in my cherished Arambol, a formerly sleepy little fishing village now grown beyond recognition.

Our first planned stop was Candolim. An old friend (Vijay) opened a gorgeous Ayurvedic clinic here, and we thought to stop for a brief hello, a couple of days and then head down to my old haunt Arambol. Vijay treated Jose and I to some free massages, steam baths, and facials. And I was hooked by the luxury of it. Vijay also has a way with words and he convinced me to stay for a treatment. After contemplating his offer I accepted.

I have to admit this mode of medicine is a bit bizzare and often uncomfortable. I had experienced some basic massages - but the first day of treatment was something else.

I met with the Ayurvedic Doctor who told me very little. I had to fish everything out of him. He took my pulse and I asked him to explain what he found. He said I'm Vatta Pitta. A blend of 2 doshas. In Ayurveda there are 3 Doshas - Vatta, Kappa, and Pitta. Each a constitution having it's own quirks and tendencies. I will get more info on the specifics and add it to future postings.

Anyways I'm starting with a treatment to remove excess Vatta. 4 women pund me with linen bundles filled with piping hot herbs, while a 5th woman prepares fresh bundles as the temperature of the beating must remain constant. This is done while I'm contorted into 7 different positions. Some comfortable, some not. This process lasts around an hour. After which I'm so stinky that even after a shower my boyfriend won't come near me! This follows a wonderful Ayurvedic massage performed by 2 people (I will describe this further soon).

After the brutal pounding I am guided into a "steam bath", which looks like a medeival torture device - a big box with a hole for my head. I sit there for 15 minutes while steam medicated with a combination of herbs is piped into the box. This feels almost unbearable after all the previous treatment. But the facial I get after makes up for it.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A week in a Homeopathic Hospital

So we arrived in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu in southern India. I was given a wonderful contact, Dr. Gnanasambandam (try saying that 3 times fast), president of the homeopathic association of Tamil Nadu and editor of Homeo Times. Within minutes he had me connected with a local Homeopathic hospital and with a Doctor willing to have me observe at his clinic.

I packed my things and was sent to a small homeopathic college and hospital in what felt like the industrial outskirts of Chennai. Jose and I were given a dingy room that had previously belonged to the principal of the school, and clearly hadn't been cleaned in years. The power was frequently out which meant our ceiling fans couldn't keep the sweltering, suffocating heat at bay. And to top it off the water had a tendency to stop running and we were given a bucket of murky brown water instead of the sometimes clear running tap water.

I was lectured by the Director of the college on proper homeopathic practice. Without knowing anything about me he explained that I knew nothing of this fine art and then explained the actual mechanics of how remedies work. He explained that humans have millions of undiscovered batteries in our bodies and that a well chosen homeopathic remedy would recharge these batteries. He didn't mean this as a metaphor but rather a concrete magically charged micro battery in every cell. I asked him if he meant mitochondria and he said this was still something that science had not discovered. He then gave me a few books to read on the subject. Turns out he wrote them himself. I was told that at this college and hospital I would gain insight into the true art of Homeopathic prescribing and taking the entire case into account.

Well I was deeply disappointed. After spending a morning in their out patient department I was amazed that they had any success at all. "This woman has a thyroid problem since her husband died and she craves salt - that means she needs Nat-mur" I saw about 100 cases and a total of 10 different remedies being prescribed over and over again.

The students were using shredded copies of Murphy's repertory. They would have to fish around the room for different chapters of the book. And with these facilities they are treating everything from cancer to tuberculosis. I talked about this with some students and they expressed disappointment at the lack of depth in their education. I promised to send some books.

I should also add that the women working at the school treated us with love and respect. Always on hand if we needed anything, always bringing us food and water, and cleaning up after us. I really appreciated their warmth and hospitality.

So instead of spending a month here, I made a donation to the school and asked them to purchase books with the money (for any of you who participated in the Make-Yer-Own Film Fest your money has been donated here), and Jose and I got on a plane and made our way to Goa.

And here we are now, enjoying a quiet moderately secluded beach. I am beginning Ayurvedic Treatment which I will log about regularly.

love and light to all

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's a Miracle! I can See!

I have just completed a week at The School For Perfect Eyesight in Pondichery, Tamil Nadu.In only one little week of eye exercises and not wearing my glasses (a terrifying prospect in a city where you have no idea where you're going and you can't tell if that's a cow, a rickshaw, or an elephant coming towards you) I have reduced my prescription by 0.5 in each eye and completely reduced the cylindrical deviation to normal.

Impossible you think? Well I am living proof. Let me tell you all about it. We arrived at the school. A beautiful colonial building which is a part of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondichery. Within minutes our eye sight was being checked. Jose apparently was mildly crosseyed (not that I ever noticed) and my eyes went in the opposite direction. Who knew! No one ever pointed this out to me before!We were given a set of exercises to perform right away - 2 times a day for the next week.

The first torture I had to endure was horrific - a drop of honey in each eye while I swayed my body in the sun! I recommend no one try this - it burns like a mofo. (lucky Jose only had to put saline solution in his eyes). The other exercises were much simpler and even enjoyable. Playing with a tennis ball, reading itty bitty print in candle light, and looking at all kinds of charts.Who would've thought! After such a simple workout my eyes would actually improved, and I would have no problem walking the strange streets of Pondichery blind. And even though we cheated for 2 days (renting a scooter and going to visit nearby Auroville
(which is a whole adventure onto itself) and thus wearing our spectacles the whole day) We both improved our vision significantly.

Another Allopathic myth busted. My optometrist (as lovely as he is) could be out of a job. And what does this cost you ask? Well besides the flight to India, the $3 a day for accomodation and the $3 a day for food and the occasional beer - we're talking nothing but what your own generous heart wishes to donate. And as we left we each receive a cute little package with an eye cup for washing our eyes, eye charts, an eye patch, and some sweet tasty honey (for my tea of course).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Yoga Therapy part deux

To continue from the previous post:

After performing Karma Yoga, which consisted of sanding down the very rusty door to the studio and then priming it (I know you're all thinking I'm a sucker doing manual labour for free) we got to rest. This meant doing Suddoku puzzles. Then another dose of Asana practice and then dinner. We're starving by this time.

Afterwards we received a good dose of Satsang - or a lecture on spirituality to stimulate our minds. This was followed by an evening meditation and then bedtime. Needless to say they kept us busy.

But what was the point of all this???
As I said before the goal is to find self realization. Am I any closer to such a lofty goal, I have no idea. But I certainly deepened my meditation practice and somehow appear to be needing less sleep. A big achievement in my books.

Another big goal is healing and promoting health through balancing the mind and the body. Asanas are used to strengthen the body and keep in flexible - keeping the stiffness and deterioration of age at bay. According to my teacher Harilal it is a treatment for everything from diabetes and arthritis to asthma - all diseases originating in the mind. Through meditation one gains an understanding of the mind and hence these illnesses disapear.

In yoga therapy one is given specific exercises to practice. Both physical asanas as well as mental exercises. Also one receives internal cleansing protocols. Most of which I find nasty - like pouring water through the nose or cleaning the stomach by swallowing a cloth. Anyone out there ready to experiment with such things and let me know how it goes?

The name of the Ashram is Arsha Yoga Gurukulam. It is located in Idduki in the western Ghats of Kerala. I don't have their website but I promise to post it soon. The magnificent and knowledgable hosts are Harilal and his disciple Sudarsh. I highly recommend this beutiful, tranquil place. Just watch out for the ants and spiders.

Currently Jose and I are in Pondichery Tamil Nadu working on our eyesight. This place is incredible and we're both blown away by the results. For all the delicious details stay tuned to the next edition.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Yoga Therapy, shhhhh part one

Most of us have heard of Yoga, or even dabbled in a few classes. We know it's a set of postures that you do to increase strength, flexibility, and endurance. We these great Yogis in ridiculous pretzels and we hope one day to reach these heights of flexibility and hell it might improve your sex life.

But Asana (posture) practice is not even the tip of the ice berg when it comes to Yoga. It is merely an aid in calming the mind and strengthening the body for meditation. Self realization is the ultimate goal of this all encompassing practice and lifestyle.

In order to delve further into the art and science of Yoga Jose and I fled to the Western Ghats (mountains in Kerala) to spend time in an ashram dedicated to the study of yoga. Our program included pranayama, asanas, karma yoga, meditation, and mind calming meals. We lived with a mildly regimented schedule. Waking up at 6:45 to head up to the yoga hall or, weather permitting, the hill with a spectacular view of Idduki lake and wildlife reserve. Here we practiced early morning Pranayama - or breathing meditation. Pranayama actually means controlling the prana or energy (also known as chi)/ If you can control your breath you control the energy system of your body. This was also followed by what was always an intensely deep meditation - finished with a rewarding view of lake, mountains and forest.

We then got to relish a warm cup of tea before heading back up the hill to the yoga studio for Asana practice. Unlike Yoga classes I've taken in the west our asana practice involved more rest than anything. After ever posture we would rest on our backs in corpse pose for several minutes before continuing.

Following our morning calisthenics we got to eat breakfast which like our other daily meal consisted mostly of rice with some mild curries. nothing too stimulating to the taste buds or the mind. From there we usually took a small a break before heading back up the hill to perform karma Yoga. The idea is that by performing unpaid labour, or I mean selfless work for the sake of working at your best and looking for perfection, you will come closer to enlightenment or self realization.

and what is enlightenment? and what does yoga have to do with healing - stay tuned for the next edition of holistic nomad (to be updated in the next couple of days)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Brush with Ayurveda

So much has happened since this next story, that it feels like a far off memory, even if it was only a week ago.

While in a small beach resort called Varkala, I had the opportunity to check out one of the therapies in South India's traditional medicine Ayurveda. It's history was first documented in the Rig Veda - one of the holy Vedic Indian texts dating to around 3000BC. Apparently the oldest Indo-European text in existence. Ayurveda is probably the oldest existant medical tradition in the world. And it has become one of the primary tourist attractions in Varkala.

Varkala has over 46 ayurvedic clinics and hospitals, so after a long day riding on a scooter through the rough backroads of Kerala I decided to see if an ayurvedic massage would do me some good.

I had just come from the beach as I walked through the door of the clinic looking for the Doctor. I had read all about her, she had been practising for about 10 years and had been an attending physician at several hospitals. So I asked for a massage. she told me what I would get, I negotiated the price with her and she guided me to a small room with a massage table that looked more like an instrument of torture. With a hole for the face, and a cross bar on which to rest the arms. (earlier that day we had come across a more traditional table made of wood, hmmm comfy. I'll post a pic of it soon).

I was then instructed to get naked - and there I was standing in my birthday suit with the door wide open (there goes any sense of Indian modesty). Her assistant then tied a little loin cloth to me - a g-string loin cloth who's point I guess was to protect (just barely) my tender parts. The doctor then stepped out the door and the assistant began to vigurously scrub my head with copious amounts of oil. I was then instructed to lay down and the rubbing of my entire body begun. Nothing was missed not even a butt cheek.

However I felt the massage was rough, I could feel the rough skin on the hands of the masseur. I even felt littel bits of grainy skin coming off on me - yuck! I even complained to the Doc. who said I was the first ever to complain of such things.

I was given a warm bucket shower. I then went to my room in the guest house and noticed my feet were still covered in sand from the beach. Oops! I rushed bak to the clinic and apologized profusely - explaining the roughness must have been from the left over sand. My apology was warmly accepted with a hug. No hard feelings!

I do have to say I felt great! My neck was loose and every muscle was content. Many foreigners silike this type of massage however because of the huge amounts of oil used (it took 2 days of washing for my hair to stop like I was from the cast of Grease) and it's not the deep tissue massage that we are used to. the point of ayurvedic massage is to stimulate and sooth the nervouse system. An I have to say it really does work.

Next post I'll talk about the hugging Amma's Ashram.

Tomorrow we're heading to an Ashram in the middle of the Keralan mountains for Yoga and good tea.

Love n light

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dr. Sunil Anand in Ottawa

Behavioral disorders in children and chronic pathology in adults

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Dr. Sunil Anand

Over 20 years experience as a practitioner. Hon. Professor at D.S. Homeopathic medical college, Pune, India.

Ottawa, Canada

May 12nd & 13rd, 2007

A close associate of Dr. Rajan Sankaran. Sunil is an articulate and masterful teacher as well as a delightful and warm person.

…Sunil Anand gave a beautiful lecture about remedies from the Silver Series. It was beautiful to see how he handled the cases. There was no forcing needed. A great learning experience - Jan Scholten

…Sunil carefully guides those studying with him through the most important features of the case and brings the analysis all together in a way that is very easy to understand and yet very profound – Murray Feldman

Price: Before and on April 15th: $375

After April 15th: $425

(Group discounts available)

Also available ongoing video course & study circle based on kingdom classification method(a.k.a Sankaran’s method) in Ottawa

For registration and further details contact:

Anshev B. Bhardwejj:

(613) 523-0582

Catching Up, Allopathy vs. Natural Medicine

it's 9:15pm in the Keralan heat as I sit in a dingy internet cafe writing on a sticky keyboard. We're in a small city called Kollam (or Quilam) where one can hire a boat and go explore the backwaters of Kerala. The bakwaters are a series of rivers, canals and lakes that connect a significant part of the state.

We began our journey into Kerala in Trivandrum - nearing the southernmost tip of India. We arrived by plane from Bombay - that an adventure in itself. Though we planed to quickly move through the city and head to the beach, we got stuck with dis-ease. Jose had a bad case of Delhi belly (or maybe Pune belly). He was so dehydrated that we finally decided that yes the hospital was an appropriate place to go. After struggling to find a rickshaw driver who understood the word hopital we made it to Govindras hospital. A lovely place set in a Colonial House. Within seconds of paying 50 rupees for a hospital card we got to see the Dr. He looked at Jose's tongue at declared that he was dehydrated and prescribed and I.V. right away.

The nurse led us to an open area of the hotel, i mean hospital, where Jose was able to commune with nature as he recieved inter venous nourishment, while I lay down on the bed next to him. 2 hours later the water back in his system we go to see the Dr. as we're about to get discharged Jose, to my horror, passes out into the Doctor's arms. More I.V. the Doc declares. 2 hours later we're discharged with probiotics, rehydration solution, and a bottle for a stool culture. I was amazed, they didn't try to give him a single drug, treated him with respect using only natural forms of medicine. That and a dose of homeopathic Sulfur from me.

That morning I awoke with a painful kink in my neck. For me the doc at the hospital prescribed muscle relaxants. Next thing I know I feel weak and dizzy, and by evening I have a fever and I'm delirious. We all the hospital and they tell me I have a viral fever, if I need to come in the morning I should. I guided Jose through my Homeopathic computer program and we came to the remedy Aconite (I was terrified, my neck hurt, and i had a nasty fever). That calmed me down a great deal. Then the intense headache started, I got insatiably thirsty and every movement was an agonizing ordeal. I took a dose of Bryonia - a remedy that has helped me many times in the past. By morning I was weak but able to rest and eat. The next morning we both had enough strength or the one hour train journey to Varkala.

I think the drugs the Doctor gave me may have made me sick or at the least didn't help my neck in the least, while homeopathy got me through the night. I also met several people in the last few days who suffered from bad fevers for several days and were given antibiotics by medical professionals. Hurray for alternative medicine. Next time I'll talk about my Ayurvedic experience in Varkala - now it's time for bed.

Monday, February 12, 2007

OSHO Tales of a Madman

Jose and I have both joined a robe wearing, mad dancing, cathartic releasing, hugging and laughing, crazy cult. Ok so I became a card carrying member a long time ago, but this time I brought along another victim!

The Osho Ashram continues to grow in ways I'm not so supportive of, but at the same time the loving essence of a brilliant teacher still remains, and those on a spiritual quest can begin here. It's a great place to learn the language and teachings of spiritual masters from around the world. From Jesus to Mahavaira, Hasidism to Buddhism - you will find all these at Osho's commune (now commercially known as a Meditation Resort).

Is healing to be found here? Absolutely. As long as you have the money to come and stay for an extended period of time. If this is available to you than there is a lot to learn, and many opportunities to connect with meditation and spirituality both of which are inextricably linked to health and healing. When we find awareness disease is no longer necessary. Illness is a signal that something is amiss, but when we're fully aware, fully awakened the warning light is not required. There is a growing amount of medical evicence to confirm this ancient knowledge. Click here to read about it on the BBC, or click here to read about what NCAM has to say about it.

My favourite meditation at the Ashram, is the evening meditation, also known as white robe (becaues everyone must come in dressed in a white robe). This provides the best opportunity to hear and see (on video of course) Osho. It combines the best of Osho's teachings and meditations: dancing, giberish, satsang, silent sitting, and most of all celebration Osho was very adamant about life being a cause for celebration. Here is what seems to me a great unbiased article from Wikipedia you can make up your own mind. But the one thing I can say is Osho taught people to find joy in life, to let go of their hang-ups and concentrate on the most important things. For the religious and political establishment this was considered was sacrilege, and immorality. Explore your sexuality with love and awareness, meditate, find the truth for yourself, be kind, radiate love, stand up for what you believe in, don't follow societal construction if you do not agree with them, work to bring awareness to the world. Universal teachings that to me work towards global healing.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Picture Dilema

Ok, some pictures are up! (didn't I mention the batteries for my camera need to be recharged every day?) So thanks to Jose's photographic prowess I've posted a few pics. Just scroll down and you'll see them along the side bar.

Cambia, todo Cambia

Things That Change, Things That Stay the Same:
As a week in Pune comes to an end there have been many changes I’ve noticed in this old home of mine. Everything changes – nothing remains the same, and that is truly evident in this place, even after only 5 years.

I notice many of the people who I regularly interacted with still toiling away at their same old jobs. Like the guy at the German Bakery who says he's been there for 15yrs. And I run across people all over the place who seem to remember me. I find this insane considering the amount of foreigners who come through this town – how is it that I’ve been so memorable? It’s been incredible to connect with good friends from another lifetime. It feels like people around me are confirming my past life, and that my experiences here were not just figments of an over active imagination. Something you begin to believe when there is no context for your past. The magical world I once experienced is overwhelming me again.

Pune is a mystical place. Many Gurus have based themselves here, and I believe that there is a reason for this. It seems to be one of those energetically powerful places. Things here really do happen as they should. Thoughts materialize rapidly here, energy is tangible, and trust is any easy thing to find.

However this paradise is transforming, it doesn’t attract the same people anymore. People now come here to seek their fortunes, to find work in the IT industry – and slowly the city is becoming a web of traffic. Honking, engines, touts, beggars, and loud, random, indeterminate noises from a myriad of construction sites interrupt that peaceful easy feeling.

Tibetan Prayer Bowls:
I never paid much attention to this new movement of using the viibrational power of prayer bowls for healing. Jose and I happened to venture into a shop selling a variety of Tibetan goodies. The shopkeeper insisted on putting a prayer bowl on my head and knocking it (to Jose's exited yelps of "hit it harder") – and WOW, the vibrations reverberated down my spine through my entire body. The vibrations produced a different state of mind in me, quiet, aware and joyful. The next day as I walked past the same store I decided to go in and give it another try. After a succession of 3 different prayer bowls I was flying – the perma-smile on my face lasted for hours.

Maybe there is something to this, something worth further exploration. I have heard of different sound and vibration therapies including the use of didjeridoos on different parts of the body. In reiki we talk of the attunements increasing your vibrational frequency, in the Indian chakra system every energy centre has a sound and vibrational frequency associated with it. And even Rajan Sankaran a well respected Homeopath conducted homeopathic provings on different India Ragas.

Does this mean that any sound will affect change or be used as a vehicle to healing? Will different sounds activate different parts of you body, mind, and soul? I welcome your comments and suggestions.

This One's For The Homeopaths:

I’ve had the great opportunity of observing for the last week in Dr. Sunil Anand’s. He sets an extraordinary example of how to use Sankaranian thought and methodology. He has a developed a deep understanding of how to find core sensations within a case, and then to recognize that sensation within the right remedy.

On my first day at the clinic I got to observe an amazing case of mansanilla. The patient came in complaining of anal fissures. He had a very logical way about him – even within his proffesion as a computer programmer. He drew pictures that reflected order, and to me took the form of a crystal. However when the patient spoke about the drawings he experienced them as disorder – he talked about how his illness affected his ability to be a social and respected person. He said that he felt like he had hit a wall and there was no logical way to break through. I saw what I obviously thought were mineral themes. Dr. Anand was able to show me the deeper level that I was ignoring – there was a clear sensation in the case. The patient talked of feeling bound, chained down, his picture actually resembled a box being chained down. The key sensation in the Euphorbiaceae family. He spoke of being afraid as a child of the dark – that something would come and take him away to another world. A key rubric in the remedy Mancinella is delusion that he will be taken away by the devil. And as the Dr. continued to explain the case clearly fell into place. So much to learn and every day demonstrates how little I know.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

no ricksha, no one rupee, no balloon, no magnets, no problem!

I know I know, it's been a long time and the pics I promised have not appeared! but I promise some nice things to look at before the end of the week.

We're now ssettling down in Pune for the next couple of weeks so I hope to have more time for this blogging thing (I have to admit the infinitely slow connections are a bit of a detraction)

So on the health front: it's been 10 days since my reflexology and Su Jok treatment and my knees and back have responded after only 1 treatment. My knees have been completely pain free and my back has given little hastle - especially considering long train excursions and carrying an ever increasing load (somehow my backpack keeps getting heavier - could this be correlated with shopping?) This seems like something I need to learn and explore further.

In the meantime Jose and I have visited Udaipur - home of octopussy! No one here will let you forget that this classic Bond movie was filmed on location in Udaipur. It is a majestic city on the shores of a quiet lake - and provided much more atmosphere than little touristy Pushkar. We left after 5 peaceful days to attack the crowds and the wallas in the sprawling metropolis of Mumbai.

In Mumbai I visited the Shree Mumbadevi Homeopathic hospital. What an amazing institution! A complete hospital with every department imaginable from a gynaecology department to a rheumatology department. There were even 2 women that had gone into labour waiting to give birth. And they tell me around 80% of all patients are treated homeoapthically. Here life and death situations are treated using homeopathic remedies with full confidence - something Homeopaths in the Western world can learn a great deal from.

There is even a government sponsored research department that for the last 10 years has been focusing on the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and have found success with patients returning to a viral load of zero! I filmed some scenes in the hospital and will have them up on the site at some point (even if it's only after I return)

One thing I've really enjoyed in India is that when I tell people what I do they nod and call me Doctor. Nobody asks what Homeopathy is, and nobody doubts whether it works. Even the tourists, like this French woman I met who works for big pharma and was carrying around her vials of Boiron remedies. People know and have embraced Homeopathy, though there are still many misconceptions about it. Many think that it is only for chronic illness and can be of no help in serious acute conditions - but my time at the Homeopathic Hospital has proven them wrong.

And now I find myself in Pune, home of the famous and indeed infamous Osho Ashram. What was once a true place for meditation, awareness, and hence healing, (and maybe I'll go and check it out once again to see if it's still true to its roots). Tomorrow I begin my internship with Dr. Sunil Anand and I'm sure I will have lots to report.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Technical Difficulties

As to be expected it is taking us a long time to get our electronic devices running. To begin with the adaptors we purchased at Europe bound under good proffesional advice, don't actually work in India, or they kind of do if you want to plug in a refrigerator! So after shorting out our hotel with such a device we began the search for an Indian adaptor. After much searching and deliberation we purchased an adaptor with a fuse... but it didn't seen to actually hold the plug in place - and hence the search continued. We finally found an unfused one and we're risking our devises to India's electrical system.

Now with lots of juice to power the cameras and computer we find that the devices aren't recognized by the computer, and it may take longer than anticipated to get the show on the road. So in the meantime I will fascinate you with pictures and tales and you'll have to let your imagination do the walking.

we're currently in Pushkar, one of the holiest cities in India - it is the only place to have a temple dedicated to the God Brahma - a being cursed to having no one worship him for having cheated on his wife - a warning to all you men out there!!

For all your amusement and my own sense of curiosity I visited a local reflexologist. After explaining he could cure my back problem in 5 minutes he began the very painful "massage" of my feet using a variety of instruments. I cought all this on video and promise to post it as soon as possible. He introduced me to a Koean technique that similarly to reflexology claims it can clear blockages in the energetic system by attaching pressure and seeds or magnets to corresponding parts of the hands and feet.

For the next day my back felt just as bad and even a bit worse than it had for days. I'm not sure as to whether his cure did much at all. Though I do admit that today my back feels more at ease - and I feel ready to conquer the local bus to the nearbye town of Ajmer for a little site seeing.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

One week and Counting

At this time next week I plan to be crammed into a plane flying somewhere over the Atlantic, flipping through chanels on my personal in-flight television (cross my fingers that there is such a thing on this flight).

And yet here I sit amidst my messy bedroom wondering how it will all sort itself out in time, but we all know it will.

Passport..... check
Visa..... check
1st night reservation... check
freaked out parents... check
laundrey..... um that can wait