Imagine this happening to you. During the night you hear your dog coughing and the coughing persists the next morning. You take a look at her and she seems to feel ok so you go ahead with your daily activities and plan to come home at lunch and check on her.
During your lunch break you run home and even though she is there to greet you, she starts coughing again. You decide that she needs to be seen. You call the vet, make an appointment for that afternoon and then contact your office and tell them what is happening.
You arrive at the vet and your dog is whisked away by the vet tech to get the weight and temperature. She notes her findings on the chart. You are escorted into the examination room. You are feeling a bit apprehensive, but you have confidence that everything will be fine.
Dr. Whitecoat enters the room and greets you with a smile. “Hello Ms. Jones. How have things been going?” You respond accordingly. “What seems to be happening to your girl?” You begin to describe what you have noticed and what you perceive is going on.
After about 30 seconds, something strange and undetectable starts to happen. You believe that Dr. Whitecoat is listening to your story, but he is not. By then, his mind has started to drift. Depending on his experience, he has already made a tentative diagnosis and has begun to devise a plan to prove what he believes. Instead of listening to your story, he is nodding and hearing, “Blah, blah, blah.” He might believe that your dog has kennel cough. He has already pulled out data from his memory bank. She doesn’t have a fever, she is still eating, she doesn’t appear that sick. It must be kennel cough. I have seen many of these before.
With his assumption, he devises a plan and tells you what he would like to do. He gives a thorough exam, guided by his beliefs that your dog probably has kennel cough. His mind leads him to do things during the exam that will prove that he is correct in solving the problem. He checks her throat, feels her trachea, listens to her chest, etc. Then, he tells you that she likely has kennel cough and will send some medicine home to stop the cough.
If Dr. Whitecoat is a young, inexperienced vet, after about 30 seconds, she starts getting a bit nervous. Her mind starts racing, trying to devise a plan to make an accurate diagnosis. She believes that she is working on behalf of your dog, but her ego-mind has a big role in solving this problem in order to gain confidence in herself. She is no longer is listening to your story. She is three steps ahead of herself and running off into diagnostic land in order to find the cause of the problem.
How does this happen? It appears that the conditioned, intellectual mind will only allow so much input before it starts to respond, according to its conditioning. How many times do you listen to a friend or colleague talk to you about something and before she has finished, your mind is already figuring out how you are going to respond? The problem is that when your mind takes over, you are no longer present with her. Your mind, like the doctors mind, has taken you into an imaginary future that may or may not occur.
Author Daniel Pink, in his wonderful book, A Whole New Mind, discusses research done at several medical hospitals and how doctors respond with their mind during the patient’s evaluation. His research reveals that after about 30 seconds, the intellectual mind has come to a conclusion and started to devise a plan.
Western medical practitioners are educated at their medical/veterinary schools from a perspective that relies heavily on the intellectual, deductive, linear-thinking mind. After many years of intellectual training, their mind becomes a reflection of its perspective and they take this perspective into practice. As time goes by, the conditioned mind, in an effort to make things more efficient, creates an automatic system in order to resolve the problem. The mind gets so conditioned, the doctor doesn’t even know that he is doing this.
Why is this a problem and how is this a factor in dealing with a health care issue? When the clinician’s mind is under the control of the conditioned, intellectual mind, it is not in balance. The intuitive mind, which is an integral part of the mind’s function, is so dominated by the intellectual mind that it no longer plays a role in brain function. The brain/mind works best when it is balanced. The intuitive mind is that part of the mind that does not think linearly. It perceives things from a larger, more holistic perspective. It is the feeling mind. How many times do you get a “feeling” that this is right or not right? It happens all the time. But, when the intellectual mind has taken over, those feeling are not allowed to come to the surface.
If we look at the intellectual mind’s function, we know that it has been created by learning, experience and perspective. It works by getting a bit of information in the present moment, immediately shifting back into its memory file, searching for something that might relate to the problem. Then, when it finds something in the memory, it shifts its perspective to an imaginary future in hopes of solving the problem. This is ok and is a very important part of the thinking process in dealing with health issues. But, it overlooks some vital information; the individual patient. Once the intellect has taken over, the mind is no longer focused on the patient, but a problem that needs to be solved.
The famous medical doctor, Patch Adams, MD, said in a beautiful speech to the medical school that he attended. He said, “As doctors, if we treat the disease, we win some and we lose some. But, if we treat the patient, I guarantee, we will always win.”
It is vitally important that we address all health issues with our pets and ourselves with a balanced mind, focused on solving a problem as well as dealing with the personal issues of the patient. Only the intuitive mind has the ability to know what is best for the individual. Solving a problem or treating a disease will not create healing.
We can only be aware of the intuitive mind’s influence in the present moment and we cannot be in the present moment when your intellectual mind is busy trying to move back and forth from the past into the future. It is the one thing that will absolutely get in the way. The wise clinician is aware of this, but as we know, intelligence is not a synonym for wise.
I worked with a lovely dog a few weeks back. This old fellow had cancer and had a cancerous tumor removed from the abdomen a few weeks prior. He had done remarkably well after the surgery, but suddenly he made a turn for the worse. She returned to her regular vet and had him re-check the dog. He looked for all the probable causes that could happen associated with the cancer and the surgery. Nothing explained why the dog was doing poorly.
When I saw him, he was obviously not well. My mind, like most clinicians hurried to analyze the situation and resolve the problem. Then, I stopped the mind’s busy work and sat back and got quiet. At that time, I slipped into the present moment and was aware of everything going on without my mind’s involvement. I listened to the caretaker. I watched my hands feeling the dog. When thoughts arose, I gave them notice and let them pass. Then, a feeling arose that suggested that his heart was involved. It made no since from my rational mind’s perspective but there was a truth behind it that I could not ignore.
I told the client that I believed her dog’s heart was having a problem. She was surprised because she had been told that her regular veterinarian had taken X-rays of the heart and said it was fine. I listened to the heart and it didn’t sound just right. I told her that I believed her dog had a fluid buildup around his heart, causing stress to the heart. I told her that I had no proof, but that if I was correct, this could be a life-threatening situation. She decided to pursue this course and contacted the heart specialist at the veterinary college. The next day, the cardiologist confirmed that her dog did indeed have a pericardial perfusion and they drained the fluid and the dog responded well to the treatment. Without the treatment, he would have died.
Unfortunately, health care, from a western medicine perspective, creates a system that relies heavily on intellectual thinking and problem solving and ignores the importance of the intuitive mind and its awareness of the individual. It is not likely going to change. As empowered pet caretakers, we need to learn how to tap into our intuitive mind when it comes to our pet’s health. We need to learn techniques in order to quiet the thinking mind and in the quiet space, the intuitive mind will come forth and provide its input. We can become the conduit of that intuitive guidance that most clinicians lack and when we become aware of the larger picture of the health issue, we can give guidance to the intellectual clinician.
When a client says, “I have a feeling that this has to do with that,” most clinicians will hear them and take note. Why? Because that same intuitive guidance in them is also in him. It has just gone to sleep and they have awakened it in him. Don’t forget the power that you have when it comes with knowing your pet. It is the most powerful diagnostic tool that is available and unfortunately, one that is most often overlooked.
One technique that I have used for many years on many of my patients is to turn my attention on the bed just before I go to sleep. I confess to the universal consciousness that I need some help. I ask for guidance or answers that might help the pet. Then, I go to sleep, knowing absolutely that it will come. It might be the next morning when I am in the shower or when I am eating breakfast. When it does come, it will resonate with a truth that is beyond doubt. Give it a try. It will not fail you.
Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think!