As fellow lovers of truth, science, and consciousness, I need your help, my friends. One of the healers I interviewed and studied for my Sacred Medicine book has had her TEDx talk censored by TED, and we need your help broadcasting this "idea worth spreading." Brandy Gillmore, whom I met two years ago and who has since become one of my best friends, was once a person who suffered from such severe neurological pain after an accident that for six years, she was immobilized by the pain, bound to her bed and a wheelchair to get around. She failed all Western medical treatment—narcotics, epidural blocks, etc. Through the unfolding of realizations about how pain, the mind, and healing work, she was able to heal herself (with prayer and Divine support, as well as the power of her own mind) from years of agonizing, debilitating pain.
The Whole Health Medicine Institute, founded in 2013, has mystical roots. After a nudge from Jay Fiset, who suggested to me at an Association of Transformational Leadership meeting that I might create a training program for doctors to invite them into a conscious way of delivering the kind of Whole Health Medicine I practiced in my integrative medicine practice and teaching in my books, my National Public Television specials, and my TEDx talks, I heard a mysterious guiding voice that asked me to sit down at Esalen Institute and take dictation for a letter. The title I was given for the letter read “Calling All Conscious Physicians.” When I asked the voice what I was supposed to do with this letter, the answer I got was “Await further instructions.”
I have two friends who are trying to do beautiful things in the world. One is an ardent environmentalist who really passionately yearns to save the biosphere and protect the planet. The other is a social worker serving abused, abandoned, neglected, traumatized children in a community where most people are hooked on meth. Both carry so much pain in their deeply empathic hearts that their own bodies are suffering. I worry that these two are killing themselves with those broken open, bleeding, service-oriented hearts. Yet, I see in them a painful pattern that leads to unnecessary suffering, one I recognize because I’m still in the process of breaking this pattern myself. Been there can tell going there how to get there. But it’s not easy. Breaking this kind of pattern is like trying to put an octopus to bed. The minute you get two arms tucked quietly under the covers, six more arms of the pattern sneak out!
What does it take to become more tender, open-hearted, and compassionate human beings in a world that trains us to judge, criticize, compare, blame, and shame? How does this evolutionary initiation happen, when one makes the journey from the head to the heart and the heart swells into actions that ease the suffering of others? What does it even mean to be compassionate?
Compassion and its compatriots—empathy, kindness, benevolence, gentleness, tenderness—they have a bad rap, suggesting weakness, passivity, becoming a doormat that other people can take advantage of. And yet, nothing is stronger—simultaneously fierce and feather gentle—than the open heart. Just look what a mother can call upon to protect her child when the child is in danger. Don’t mess with Mama Bear, and don’t mistake unconditional love for weakness. The ultimate strength lies in trusting that the heart can lay bare without getting trampled upon, not because there aren’t unkind people who can stomp across the raw, vulnerable parts of your heart with their dirty boots, but because YOU can become the fierce protector of your own heart without closing it or armoring it off. Because you’ve got your own back, love can flow through you unhindered as you bless the world simply with your presence.