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How are you Feeling?

This blog was published on the Medicine and Serge Benhayon blog but I felt to share it here also.  

A simple observation highlights to me the importance of the difference between what we feel and what we think, particularly when it comes to health. The world we live in gives precedence to the intelligence of the mind and/or the brain without taking full cognisance of the intelligence of the body. Thinking and thoughts are associated with the mind/brain and much weight is given to the acquisition of knowledge and information and the cognitive disciplines in education and professional life. In contrast, feelings are often dismissed or ignored or over-ridden. They may be negatively associated with emotions or a so-called ‘emotional person’ or someone being too ‘touchy feely’ as opposed to the rational, logical thinker.  Certainly as a child I was lead to believe that feelings were somewhat irrelevant; I was not encouraged to express what I felt but instead learned the opposite. I thought it was good to be the ‘strong silent’ type who didn’t disclose feelings or personal matters. Everything was always ‘fine’ no matter what was really going on.

Whilst thoughts may appear to arise in the mind, feelings come from the body and are the language of the intelligence of the body. When I do a ward round in the morning, I ask patients “How are you feeling?”not  “What are you thinking?” if I want to know what is going on for them and their wellbeing.

This simple observation clarifies that if we want to know the truth of what is going on in the body and in someone’s health, we ask about how he/she is feeling and respond accordingly.  True intelligence is embodied and feelings are the conveyors of that intelligence.

Yet so little importance is really given to understanding the feeling realm within medicine. Medical training itself is a good way to learn how to ignore and over-ride one’s feelings; we often end up using food, alcohol or excess work to numb ourselves and not feel what is really going on. The onslaught of medical training, the hours of work, the vast amounts of material to be learned, having to deal with exposure to high levels of suffering and trauma of various kinds, results in people hardening to be able to cope. Yet it is a false coping mechanism that leads to over-worked, cynical, burnt-out doctors who have difficulty caring for themselves, never mind their patients.

To provide true care for another we must first provide that care in equal measure to ourselves.

This means listening to and honouring our own feelings about how we feel, being aware of when we are over-working and becoming exhausted. It means taking the time to get a good night’s sleep, to eat healthy nourishing food and to be emotionally aware so that we are not dumping our undealt with anger /rage / aggression /sadness etc on our fellow colleagues and patients.  I rather ignorantly and arrogantly use to think that my angry outbursts were just part of who I was – that I was made that way and people could ‘like it or lump it,’ not realizing that I could take steps to address the root cause of that anger – which had nothing to do with the situation at hand.

I have found that the ability to truly care for myself is something that deepens the more I live it and that there is much more to it than I ever imagined. Indeed, some of my preconceived ideas about what it means to be self-caring have been challenged. For example, there is the general belief that exercise is good for the body irrespective of the nature of the exercise and I have come to realize that aggressive forms of exercise, that push my body harder and harder, are not actually good for it.

Furthermore, I have discovered that the more I truly care for myself, the more I am able to care, both for others and myself. I have also become aware that there are a myriad of ways that can interfere with my ability to care for myself due to my engrained ways of living – yet I know I always have the power to choose that which is truly caring or not. It always seemed easier to care for others than it did myself and indeed some would consider putting others before oneself is the way to live. Alas, that does not lead to true care, for to know what true care is, it must be lived by oneself and then it becomes but a natural expression of who one is and an equality of care is then delivered to all.

Feel free to share your own experiences or comment on anything else that relates to this blog.

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Josh Campbell
    29th January 2013 at 6:16 am

    Thank you for this Eunice. It goes to show that for many life is far to much an intellectual experience but never one of true quality. Its like many are treating life like a video game rather than actually being there in their own fullness and then living life. This would make life so much more enjoyable, fun and harmonious for all if we lived from our bodies and not from our heads.

    with love,

    Josh

  • Reply
    Beverley Brown
    29th January 2013 at 8:15 am

    I find myself pondering what the healthcare system would look like if everyone within it chose to adopt what you are presenting. I have concluded that a patients healing experience would be quickened as they felt listened to, loved and cared for as it would be coming from a point of self care within the medical team. I loved the point you make about on the ward round you ask people how they “feel” and not how they are “thinking” today. A simple yet profound revelation of how we communicate. As you say “True intelligence is embodied and feelings are the conveyors of that intelligence”
    Thank you Eunice

  • Reply
    Dragana Brown
    15th March 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I absolutely LOVE your comment about morning rounds and asking your patients how they are feeling as opposed to what they are thinking (wouldn’t that be funny and wouldn’t they be scratching their heads thinking – the Doc has gone potty :-)). Had me laughing for a long time… You speak such common sense Eunice, yet we don’t really stop to ponder over something as simple as this very real, very true and oh, such funny example.

    The entire article is an absolute pearl Eunice – matches your logo 😉 Thank You.

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