A few months ago a very insightful patient was watching my TV slideshow and asked an interesting question. Out of the blue he said “Are you training to be a Buddhist monk?” To be clear, I am not, but I have a lot of respect for their way of life and enjoy a lot of what others might call “monastic pastimes”. Meditation is a regular part of my morning routine as is Tai Chi. I have enrolled in an extended online course on Mindfulness and a lot of my teaching is really centred around the idea of self reflection. And even the changes in my diet to eliminate refined sugar, reduce the intake of unhealthy foods and consume organic food sustainably sourced fits into this picture. I think it is fascinating that a patient who has only spent a total of a few hours in my company can watch a slideshow of previous work and some motivational messages and see that connection between mindfulness and dentistry.
Last night I enjoyed a blissful evening at Powderham Castle which brought together a number of these ideas. Called “An evening of Zen” there was yoga, meditation, Buddhist inspired food and the evening concluded with an outdoor viewing of the film “Walk with me” which features Thich Nhat Hanh who has written many books on mindfulness and meditation.
Apart from my regular Tai Chi class it is rare that I go out in the evenings, preferring to stay at home to enjoy family time. But it was lovely to go to an event that wasn’t dental, yet as described above, the ideas contained within the broad topic of mindfulness really can apply to all of your life. In fact I happened to bump into an old friend last night who is a GP and we chatted at length about how a mindful approach to healthcare really is integral to long term success.
If you want to find out more about mindfulness this would be a good place to start: http://www.drchrisharper.co.uk/blog/book-review-the-miracle-of-mindfulness
Dr Chris Harper