Insight India 2016 pushed me out out my comfort zone and challenged me to open my mind. It was an immersion in a distant country with different culture and customs. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to see this part of the world and to feel the impact of how an experience of a different culture changed me. Part of how I felt that was the desire to share it through the podcast format. Anecdotal Evidence has developed into an ongoing discussion about the phenomenon of our health as we experience it.
At the end of the trip I was exhausted and my mind was blown. Brooke and I had 36 hours in New Delhi to recover before embarking on the 38-hour journey back home. Unfortunately New Delhi has the worst air pollution in the world. By the end of the trip the exposure had taken a toll as I was coughing and my clothes were permeated with the smell of burning coal and air toxins. So we decided to bunker down at the Holiday Inn to ride out our time there. It's actually an exceptional hotel, so we quickly found that we'd lucked into a Shangri-la.
Dr. Indu Arora was the leader of our trip and a great yoga teacher who will be the guest of next week's podcast. She is a remarkably dynamic scholar and teacher and I look forward to sharing that conversation next week. But while we were saying our goodbye in New Delhi, she encouraged me that our accidental 36-hour layover in New Delhi had its own purpose. And it felt like that well wish came true.
The Holiday Inn was a welcome place to wind down from a hyper-stimulating journey. And in the bookstore I lucked into finding a complementary book to the trip. The Laws of Medicine is Siddhartha Mukherjee's reflection of his discovery of 3 Laws of Medicine from his experience as an observant physician practicing in Boston. He outlines his 3 Laws as follows:
Law One: A strong intuition is much more powerful than a weak test.
Law Two: "Normals" teach us rules; "outliers" teach us laws.
Law Three: For every perfect medical experiment, there is a perfect human bias.
I took the opportunity to reflect on these laws in the context of my experience as a psychiatrist abroad in India. I recorded these early reflections while watching the sun set over India for the last time, a few hours before our early morning departure back home. The hope was that it would serve as a structure to organize my developing memories of India. I hoped to integrate what I learned on the trip with any eye in mind as to how it would serve my work and my growth back home.
I hope you enjoy these early reflections and that they serve you in your deeper understanding of your own experience.
For the next installment from the series on my recent trip to India, I'd like to share my personal experience with these emotions in Vrindavan.
AE022 - 9 Emotions in Vrindavan
Vrindavan is the ancient Indian city where it's said that the Hindu Lord Krishna spent his childhood days. There are many temples dedicated to Krishna in Vrindavan and we had the opportunity to experience these temples as a place of living sacrament. Devotees crowded into the temple to chant, read sacred texts and leave offerings to the male form Krishna, and the female form Radha.
In our Insight India 2016 trip we had the fortune to experience this city firsthand. Our homework assignment during the trip was to reflect on our experience up to that point through the lens of examining our emotions according to the rasa classification system. I found it to be a useful exercise for exploration and recorded a mini-episode that I'm sharing with you here. The YouTube video for this episode includes the video segment of the recording., showing the numerous monkeys that co-inhabited the ashram where we stayed. This includes one brief clip of a monkey walking right past me as I was recording - fear and wonder captured live!
Looking back on the experience now it's been interesting for me to note how my emotions associated with the experience there have changed in character in various capacities. I think this is a useful metaphor for observing how our emotions change in character with time. Taking the time to tune into the emotional disturbances of the mind gives us an opportunity to use our intelligence to determine what caused these disturbances. It also teaches us pathways for resolving these emotional disturbances based on our previous experiences. These are referred to often in the psychological world as coping skills.
I hope you enjoy the episode. Namaste.