Meditation in the Life of a Health Professional

How should one lead a life with the promises it holds and turbulences it generates? Follow your heart, has always been the answer of wisdom. How can we do it? It seems to be a major question.
When it comes to the life of a health professional, this question takes on a greater importance as it involves not only dealing with one’s own life but also the lives of many people whose situation is entrusted to our care. It takes a great emotional strength on the part of the care provider to provide a care of excellence. In the process of striving for it, if we do not take care of our inner state of poise, it is very likely that we may end up with what is called a “Burnout”.

Burnout may manifest as emotional exhaustion, loss of empathy, cynicism, feeling of lack of personal accomplishment etc., Close to half of doctors and nurses are found to have this phenomenon of Burnout according to studies.

Is there a way out? Is there a solution? Research studies report various ways of tackling this burnout and stress.

In my opinion, the heart is the key to our own inner treasure and utilizing the resources of the heart, one can cope better with ups and downs of life in a more serene way. We often look for solution to our problems outside of ourselves. If the solution or the source of solution is inside, one has to look for it within and explore it more.

Unlocking our inner qualities of the heart such as kindness, empathy, care and tolerance is the surest means to energize oneself and equip oneself to face the emotional demands of our professional lives.

With this as a background, we are planning to start a study at WellSpan York Hospital in the next few weeks with residents, faculty members and nurses to evaluate the effect of Heartfulness Meditation on Burnout/Stress and Telomere length. We intend to measure these parameters before and after the 12 week study period. The practice involves meditating on the heart supposing the source of light inside is attracting one self from within.

From a scientific point, I have questioned practices of meditation in the past and even made fun of it at times. But when I felt the changes myself, my opinion changed into a personal conviction. As the saying goes “Proof of the pudding lies in eating”.

In conclusion, I feel meditation is a wonderful tool to open up the inner treasure of the wisdom of the heart and refine our intellect for us to lead a life with its challenges in a state of inner equanimity. The guidance of one’s heart and utilization of a refined intellect can act as two wings of a bird to help us soar higher and higher.

Jayaram R.Thimmapuram, MD

Jayaram R. Thimmapuram, MD, an accomplished physician and researcher, specializes in the practice and teaching of Internal Medicine at WellSpan York Hospital, York PA. He practices and instructs residents and staff in heart-centered meditation.

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