In this episode I sift through the anthology of conversations and reflect on what I've learned from the podcast. A special thank you to all of our guests; I'm filled with gratitude for this experience and I hope this provides a little inspiration for 2017 and beyond. Well wishes and many blessings. Daniel Johnson, MD
Thanks for checking out Anecdotal Evidence. I'm very excited to share this week's episode with Bhante UJotika Bhivamsa. Bhante is a Buddhist monk who teaches meditation at Serenity Insight Meditation Center here in Asheville. He is originally from Burma where he was raised in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. He has dedicated his life to learning, practicing and teaching meditation. It was a great privilege to get a chance to sit down with him for a conversation.
Here in the west we are just beginning to understand and value the meditative arts. But to Buddhists, this has been the foundation of their approach to life for thousands of years. This experience is passed on through Buddhist monasteries, where Bhante spent much of his formative years. It requires total devotion and dedication to the practice to complete the training. It is a great blessing that Bhante has joined our community to share what he has learned.
Hello and Happy Labor Day!
As we embark on another change in seasons, I hope you've enjoyed your summer and are looking forward to fall.
The last few episodes of the podcast have been dedicated to my experiences from Insight India 2016. This trip was founded and led by Indu Arora. We traveled to several cities in India to learn from great teachers of Ayurveda and Yoga, and to experience these disciplines still alive in modern practice. As discussed in these last few episodes, the total experience was a challenge to my whole being - humbling, and yet rich with learning and discovery.
For this episode I am honored to have had the opportunity to sit down for a conversation with Indu. My partner Brooke first met Indu in her Ayurveda wellness program here in Asheville. She was greatly inspired by her teachings and shared some of her lectures with me. I found her teachings of the yogic philosophy of Samkhya to be very fresh to my ears. This was interesting, but moreover I was inspired at how much the system resonates with my intuition about the mind/body connection. And specifically, Indu's teaching seems to strike notes of deep truth. This is what led us to join in her trip to India, to learn more .
I am so privileged that Indu granted me an hour to sit down with her for a conversation. I was able to ask her questions about the nature of the mind and the body, and how we can approach our life with an organizational framework of understanding. She responded to each of them with great knowledge and wisdom. Some of the words may be new to the listener, and I encourage deeper investigation into the concepts she discusses. The include the experience of yoga, the philosophy of Samkhya, the process of opening up to our deeper self. She answered all of my questions with directness, pointing to the great mysteries of life and yet acknowledging that the discovery of these is an ever-deepening process of growing in awareness. And she is able to do all of this with a warmth and contagious joy!
AE024 - Indu Arora - Wake Up to Your Self
With all of that being said, if you are new to the Ayurvedic tradition, I think Indu's approach is a great place to start. And it is a model that I highly encourage further investigation. Her website is a great place to start. She has recently published a beautiful book about Mudra that I would highly recommend for those interested in investigating the mind-body connection.
We had a lovely conversation that I've reflected on a great deal over the past few months. I am honored to share this with you and I hope you enjoy our conversation.
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.
The second lecture from Siddhartha Krishna given to the Insight India 2016 group. This lecture was given on March 21, 2016 in Rishikesh, India. Siddhartha elaborates on how technology affects the future of yoga and expounds on Vedic philosophy.
Recording on the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh, India March 22, 2016. In this episode I shared what the first portion of our trip was like, and serves as an introduction to the whole experience of Insight India. Specifically I share how our group was introduced to the intricate symbolism and meaning of Indian culture, and how learning of the Hindu mythology provides a framework for a deeper understanding of the science of yoga. This was my jumping off point of the trip and I hope you enjoy it.
I spoke with Julyan Davis the Asheville painter about "Murder Ballads," his series of works bringing light to Southern tragedies. He shares how his personal experience with family legacy has guided him in his journey from England across America.
In this episode I detail what I've learned from recent conversations with guests. In particular I focus on the relationship of faith and healing and explore the value of the word, "participation." Finally, in a sad note, I take a few moments to reflect on the life of Edgar Mitchell, one of my heroes and inspirations for the podcast. He passed on February 4th, 2016 and will be dearly missed.
Caroline shares with me how she was drawn to a career as a Presbyterian minister, and the continuing journey she has led her to Chinese medicine as well. She shares what she has learned from these very different disciplines - including how they may complement each other.
Hello and thanks for checking out Anecdotal Evidence!
Cricket Greer, MA, LPCA, LMBT has been involved with the healing arts for 26 years. She presently works in the fields of counseling and massage. In psychotherapy she draws most heavily from relational psychoanalytic, psychodynamic, humanistic, transpersonal, and somatic approaches. She works with couples and individuals who struggle with anxiety, depression, self-harm, relationship issues, addiction, grief, and life transitions.
In our conversation she shares how she draws from her life experiences and her diversity in training to her current practice. I really enjoyed talking to her and hope you enjoy our conversation!
Eddie LeShure is a senior teacher of mindfulness meditation in Asheville. And in today's episode he shares an incredible story of overcoming adversity in harrowing circumstances. Fortunately it's more than just an anecdote - it shaped his healing path.
In today's episode Eddie tells the story of how he was in the Attica state prison in New York during the prison riot of 1971. The experience was truly harrowing as 39 people were killed after the National Guard ended the riot by opening fire on the inmates and their hostages.
Although Eddie survived the experience, the trauma of it shaped his life for years to come. He shares how he was able to heal through the immense alienation and suffering caused by being present for such a tragedy. Furthermore, he takes us beyond the story and the anecdote of the event to the lessons he's learned from it and how he's grown. A fascinating conversation, I hope you enjoy it.
00:03:35 Dairy Farm Life
00:16:25 Hard Lessons
00:30:54 Higher Education in Attica
00:39:09 In the Hole... Inside a Riot
00:50:41 Learning Meditation in the Aftermath
01:04:42 Alone in the High Desert of New Mexico
01:23:37 Digging into our Nature
01:33:15 Embrace it and it will Pass
Taking care of women is the passion of Saraswati Markus for over 20 years as a Chinese medicine gynecologist and Daoyogini. At Asheville’s Nourishing Life Center of Health, she describes the platform of healing as resonance with her students and patients. She explores the intersection where health meets consciousness. We met for a conversation earlier this year in which she details what she's learned.
00:05:16 Virginia Roots
00:17:45 Finding a Goldmine
00:24:49 Yoga is Yoga Therapy
00:34:44 Absorption Moments
00:42:43 Openings of the Heart
00:51:19 Sounds of My Own True Name
01:01:27 Emerging Happens
01:08:18 Women's Health
A recap of the beginning of the Anecdotal Evidence podcast, the purpose and origins of the idea, the first 8 episodes and a preview of what's to come.
In our conversation Lewis shares some of his interesting experiences which began with a difficult childhood experience growing up in South Florida. From there he served in the army band during the Vietnam War, edited numerous magazines, ran marathons, taught elementary school - and even designed a New York Times Crossword. We dedicate the largest part of the conversation to discussing how he found yoga and what it has taught him over the years. A kind and warm soul, Lewis teaches out of joy - and it shows in this heartfelt conversation.
In our conversation from summer 2015, Vishnu talks about his travels coast to coast in America and abroad. His curiosity followed his heart, which led him to live in the ashram at Mount Madonna and study a deep curriculum in yoga and the Vedic studies. The passion of a young man seeking spirtual fulfillment took him all the way to India where he lived as a Saddhu before falling ill and returning home. There he discovered more about his true nature, and directed his passion for the healing arts to a life as an Ayurvedic practitioner. He shares how this lifestyle is accessible to all and how it can always lead to a greater state of total health.
Daniel Nevins is an accomplished Asheville visual artist. He has been recognized for his abstract work, but most recently has completed 42 paintings depicting the story of the Torah. In this conversation he reflects upon his earliest memory and how his artistic work is shaped by his spiritual views.