As I mentioned in my last post, during the days leading up to Christmas in 2008 I was becoming inspired by the spiritual message at the Cyberspace Ashram. I started making small life changes, but on the day before Christmas Break I decided my clinic billing policy must change too. I had adopted a rather harsh policy of chasing after "out of pocket" payers and sending them to collections. It was only a small part of the business income, yet I caused people so much suffering. It no longer made sense. I asked my staff to forgive all debts and in the future people would only pay out of pocket if they wanted to.
At home I questioned the way I disciplined my children. I really couldn't justify much of the grief I caused with my new perspective of the Universe. However my sudden change in parenting started to cause friction in the marriage as my wife was made to feel like the "bad guy". I started to see that these changes were beautiful and I must continue to improve in grander ways. I also realized my wife needs to know what I doing soon because it is going to start impacting her.
On the evening of December 23rd I could only sleep 2 hours. My heart was soaring as my body sent me the strong message "you are on the right path". That evening I decided to take an "all or nothing" approach to my spiritual path. I knew that the values of honesty, transparency, selflessness, generosity, self discipline, simplicity and living with in my means were not just rules to be followed, but instead ways in which to experience sheer joy in this lifetime. At that moment I felt that I could not seriously accomplish those values practicing medicine or living in that enormous home. It was extreme (and fanatical) but I made up my mind that night to quit my job, move out of that home, find a simple job where I could be totally honest and devote my entire life to loving every situation. I imagined becoming a farmer or a carpenter and living in a small home in the country. I knew deep in my heart that the Universe would provide what I needed and that I would be growing the greatest gift possible for my children... a living example of how to foster love. I also suspected my wife would not be able to appreciate my perspective (in fact I did not expect anyone to). But I was determined to take complete responsibility for my thoughts, words and actions. I would always be available for my family, but would not force them to live any particular way. It is hard for me to describe how I had the resolve to stand my ground on such a radical change. But when your mind body and soul all agree on something the experience creates such a deep knowing you are unshakable. It can not be described or rationalized.
So I decided I must tell my wife. But how and when? By this time is was four am on Christmas Eve morning. I was lying in my kids' bed hoping to sleep easier there, yet my body and mind were alive with the buzz of love. It occurred to me that telling my wife now would allow her to cope with the news while the kids slept. Yet it was too unfair to wake her up in the middle of the night and drop a life changing bomb like that. With in seconds of having the desire to tell her... my wife found me!! She had woken up at that same moment and noticed me missing in bed! She asked what I was doing awake... and I told her.
The bomb had been dropped. I had not contemplated the reaction from all those family and friends close to me. As my parents and brothers learned of my intent there was a mix of wonder, concern and frank disapproval. They recognized that something powerful was happening (on Christmas Eve of all days), yet their logical minds couldn't make sense out of it. There were many genuine concerns, but an argument could not materialize because my resolve was so strong I had nothing to defend.
That next night after I finally fell asleep, I had a vivid dream. I recall being face to face with another person. I could not make out his details, but only saw the silhouette of a person whose body shimmered with light. Even though I couldn't see who it was, deep down I knew him and his presence made me vibrate with happiness. He asked me what I wished for. I hesitated and then heard an answer come from deep inside.... FREEDOM. It was the absolute perfect answer. I could have never thought of it, yet it seemed to come straight from the core of my being. The moment it was uttered, I felt myself spun like a top. Although I was spinning, I was also aware of a part of me that was spacious, grounded and still. I felt my whole being start to float upwards and it was associated with a near inner climax. Just before it could reach the peak I was jolted out of this dream by my daughter. I had been sleeping next to her and she had forcefully kicked me in her sleep. I felt as if I had a taste of Heaven, but that unfinished business here on earth had called me back.
From that moment I was filled with a natural high. My chest felt like it glowed and radiated a powerful warmth. Everything I saw held a magical quality. Despite the turmoil I was surrounded by... I was enveloped by a strong loving aura. I felt God's presence! My pager seemed to be affected by this energy shift. The LCD readout turned to "Greek" and every time I changed the batteries it would work until I put it on my hip again! My children, nieces and nephews were magnetized to me. I had never experienced an attraction of kids like this. They would just find me in the room and sit on my lap. Several of them commented on the depth of my eyes. This "love buzz" lasted continuously for ten straight days.
I returned to seeing patients in the hospital during that time and had a deep connection with them. I realized that I could find a way to practice medicine spiritually... I just didn't know exactly how. Over those ten days I offered to take my spiritual path more gradually so as to allow my family to join me. We would just simplify our lives, reduce our belongings and get out of debt. Temporarily their concern waned.