modern medicine, when spirit meets science

The Human Touch

The big brown eyes seemed to hold deep wisdom.  Even while I was talking with her mother, six-year-old Gowri’s (name changed) gaze never left my face. She appeared to be assessing me.

“Oh yes, she understands all that we say,” her mother said, “But she doesn’t talk to strangers.”

Throughout her pre-operative evaluation over the next few days, Gowri didn’t say a word to me despite my best efforts to hold a conversation with her.  As a surgical oncologist, my encounters are predominantly with older adults.  Maybe I had lost the knack for connecting with young children.

The day of surgery arrived. Unlike most children I have seen, Gowri was extraordinarily calm. She was sedated by the anesthesiologist in the presence of her mother and taken to the operating theatre. The surgery itself was a little more difficult than usual but all went well and it was over in about two hours.

My anesthesiology colleague was extremely gentle in waking Gowri out of anesthesia.  But as soon as she regained consciousness, she seemed very restless. The nurses tried to calm her down. She held up the little finger of her right hand.  The nurse asked her “Do you feel like peeing, child?” She shook her head.  But she still held up her little finger.

Was her finger hurting? The surgery was on her neck, so why would she show her little finger?  I ran all possible explanations in my head –  Was there any pressure on her hand during surgery? An electrocautery injury? An embolism into an artery supplying her hand? I was standing off to the side, but I came to take a closer look.  She had seen me in my scrubs before and recognized me immediately.  I took her hand to examine it – she immediately clasped her little finger around my own little finger and instantly became calm.

I tried my best but couldn’t examine her hand well in this position. My rational, non-emotional, clinical mind wanted to rule out any issue with her hand. But Gowri seemed to be content now. I kept holding her finger throughout her recovery from anesthesia and during her transfer to the post-operative ward. She had become her old calm self. After some time, we called her mother into the ward to see her.

Teary-eyed and anxious, Gowri’s mother came to her daughter’s bedside. Seeing her mother, Gowri gave a tiny smile. With the mother happily fussing over her, Gowri’s finger relaxed and let my hand go.  Quickly I checked her hand again to make sure all was OK. It was.

All Gowri had wanted was a human touch.

This article was first published on https://drsurajmanjunath.com/the-human-touch/

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

Intuition In Medicine

What is this mysterious inner knowing?

That seems to keep life flowing.

When rationality does not find a way,

Intuition steps in with secrets to say.

The word ‘intuition’ is rarely used in medical terminology. But considering that medicine is both a science and an art, practitioners frequently use their intuition, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not.

Very often, a doctor knows what to expect from a patient the moment they set foot into the clinic. The subtle signals they give out during their consult and their body language speak volumes to an experienced practitioner. This art of assessment is honed over years of experience. Energy healers would probably call this an ‘energy field’ emanated by the patient.

Though medical treatments are evidence-based, they are often required to be delivered in various permutations and combinations, depending on the case being treated. Many decisions – for example, what is a probable diagnosis (and what could be other possible diagnoses), what treatment to give, what not to give, when to give, when to change it, when to stop, when to operate, and when not to operate – are often based on judgment and intuitive decision making.

Many people may not be conscious of the intuition operating in their lives. Nonetheless, it is used by almost everyone in varying degrees.

Excerpt from the chapter ‘Intuition In Everyday Life & Medicine’, When Spirit Meets Science by Dr. Suraj Manjunath.

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

Toughness & Temperaments: Stories From The Operation Theatre

“Good evening Sir!”

Suraj and I were walking towards the hospital car park when I heard some cheerful voices behind me. I turned around and saw two young women and a man passing by. 

The greeting was for Suraj. The three of them walked up to us, smiling.

“Hello! Meet Haripriya, my wife” said Suraj to the three of them. 

They smiled and nodded at me.  

“Meet Savita, Vinod and Nisha,” he said to me, “Savita and Vinod are among our best theatre nurses. They must have assisted me with at least 50 surgeries over the last one year. Nisha joined recently and is training to be a theatre nurse too.”

“That’s wonderful! Nice to meet you all,” I said.

“I’ve seen you often on the residential campus Ma’am,” said Nisha to me, “I live there too.”

“Ahhh, yes! I did think you looked familiar as well,” I replied.

We engaged in small talk for a few minutes and then parted ways. 

A week later, I was waiting for Suraj outside the operation theatre block, when I saw Nisha emerging from the entrance. She was walking hurriedly and had tears in her eyes.

She bumped into a senior nurse on her way out and wiped her tears as she explained something to her solemnly.

“Something seems to be wrong,” I thought to myself, feeling concerned.

A month later, I was on a walk in the residential campus when I ran into Nisha near the gate.

She recognized me immediately and said,

“Hello Ma’am! How are you?”

“I’m good Nisha.” I said, “Are you done for the day?”

“Yes Ma’am,” she said, “I assisted a complex case today. It went on for seven hours.”

“Wow!” I said, “You must have a lot of stamina.”

“Thank you Ma’am,” said Nisha and the expression on her face changed suddenly.

“Being a theatre nurse is tough Ma’am,” she said and paused.

“Yes, I can imagine,” I said, sensing there was more to her statement.

“It’s easy to work with some surgeons, difficult with others,” she went on, “I couldn’t handle the temperaments of some surgeons. So, I gave up last month and moved to ward nursing.”

I listened empathetically.

“However, I love to assist surgeries and thought my passion must be more important than the temperaments of others. So, I decided to switch back to working as a theatre nurse,” she said.

I recalled that day last month when I had seen Nisha in tears.

“Something upsetting must have happened while she was assisting that day,” I thought to myself.

“You’ve taken a good decision Nisha. Your love for you work is what counts most,” I said.

I shared this with Suraj later and asked him if it was really so hard for theatre nurses.

He said, “High pressure situations are commonplace during surgery – unexpected obstacles can show up and theatre nurses have to assist seamlessly. Some surgeons lose their temper when assistants aren’t able to keep up in the operation theatre.”

“Oh I see,” I said, “This high pressure environment must be hard on the surgeons as well as theatre nurses. Isn’t learning to be calm a part of your training? Isn’t it a helpful skill to have when one must perform under pressure?”

“Yes, it is. But it isn’t a formal part of training. It’s all learnt on the job,” he said, “Some people possess these skills naturally, some pick it up along the way and some never do.”

“So, problems with human behaviour and interpersonal skills are common to all professions I guess,” I said.

“Yes, of course,” he said.

I thought to myself that being a nurse must be hard. The work is demanding, while the pay isn’t great. In addition, nurses are required to withstand pressure from multiple ends.

Some months later, I bumped into Nisha again during one of my evening walks. She shared with me excitedly that she had received a good job offer from a reputed hospital in Oman and was relocating shortly.

“That’s very good news. Congratulations Nisha!” I said.

“Thank you Ma’am,” she said, “Thank God I decided to pursue my passion. The work experience I gathered as a theatre nurse here and the recommendation letters I got from several surgeons, including Dr Suraj, helped me get the job.”

“That’s awesome!” I said, feeling truly happy for her, “I wish you the best life has to offer.”

This incident made me reflect on different aspects of life – sensitivity in human beings, ability to stay calm under pressure, and the value of persistence and perseverance.

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

A Message From A Butterfly

I was in a meeting when I had a weird sensation in my head.

It felt like I was conscious of the world around me, yet looking through a haze.

It was a routine school day in 2008. I had just said goodbye to the children in my class and was in a meeting with a co-teacher when these uncomfortable sensations kicked in.

Thankfully, the discussion ended soon and I packed my bag to leave.

I wanted to call Suraj. But I knew he had a long surgery scheduled that day. And unless things got out of hand, I didn’t wish to disturb him while he was operating.   

I headed straight home. I thought eating lunch and resting at home would help me feel better.

But the funny feeling got worse, in spite of being in the comfort of home.

“Something is seriously wrong,” I said to myself.

My mind raced with thoughts and worst-case scenarios popped into my head.

“What if I collapse? There’s no one around to help me! The neighbours are all at work”

“Gosh! What if I die by the time someone realises I need help and takes me to hospital? Oh my God! What do I do now?”

My heart began to pound.

At that moment, I remembered the times during our courtship days when I had waited for Suraj at the hospital. I mostly waited outside the Emergency Room (ER) of the hospital, as it offered comfortable seating under a canopy of trees. Every time I sat there, I observed the activity outside the ER with tremendous interest. I saw cars, auto-rickshaws, and ambulances bringing in sick, unconscious, and injured people every few minutes.

“That’s it!” I said to myself, “The area outside the ER may be the safest place for me to be right now! In case things get worse, I am certain to get some help.”

I sent a text message to Suraj describing what I was going through. I informed him I would be waiting outside the ER until he was free to come and see me.

I rushed to the hospital in fear, praying nothing would happen to me on the way!

I reached safely and found myself a comfortable place to sit underneath the canopy. As I waited, my body was on high alert, ready to run into the ER should my condition deteriorate!

I didn’t get better. But I didn’t get worse either. So, I didn’t feel the need to run in and continued to wait outside!

An hour later, I saw Suraj walking out of the building adjacent to the ER and heaved a sigh of relief.

From his smile, I knew he had read my text message. But I was surprised he didn’t look one bit anxious.

Cool as a cucumber, he came up to me and said, “Did you take your medicine this morning?”

I was on a course of medication for a suspected bacterial throat infection.

I said, “Yes.”

“Did you take the correct pill?” he said.

“Yes. I suppose so,” I said, feeling bewildered, “But why do you ask?”

He checked my pulse and said, “I’ll tell you. Come on, let’s go home.”

I was shocked to hear this and said angrily, “What? I’ve been feeling awful! Something is terribly wrong. I am not going anywhere until I am evaluated thoroughly and declared fine!”

“You ARE fine. I am telling you” he said, “Come on.”

I was frustrated. I felt like he wasn’t taking my symptoms seriously.

I insisted, “How can you dismiss my problem so casually? Don’t you believe me when I say I am seriously unwell?”

“You are NOT seriously unwell. Let’s go home,” he said reassuringly.

I wasn’t convinced but I was left with no choice but to go home.

Once we were home, he checked on the medicines I had been prescribed and waved them at me.

“This is the culprit,” he said.

“What do you mean?” I said, going closer.

“You’ve taken the wrong pill this morning,” he went on, pointing at a strip of pills, “This one was supposed to be taken just once last night. Remember?”

“And this other one was for the morning,” he said, pointing at another strip, “You’ve missed this and taken a second dose of last night’s pill. That’s why the funny feeling in your head.”

When I inspected the medicine, I saw for myself that I had made a mistake. I had been in a hurry that morning and ended up being reckless.

“Oh,” I said, feeling relieved despite my irritation, ”Is that all?”

“Yes,” he said, “Go, get some sleep. You’ll be fine when you wake up.”

I decided not to second guess my symptoms anymore and to trust him instead.  I followed his simple advice and slept soundly for a good two hours.

And sure enough, when I awoke, the unease had disappeared!

My vision was clear and my head felt normal.

I walked out of my room and saw Suraj in the kitchen.

“So, how are you?” he said, looking amused.

“I’m feeling fine,” I said and smiled.

“You’re just in time. I am making tea. Would you like some?” he said.

“Oh yes! I’d love some. Thank you,” I said.

As we sipped tea in the balcony, I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t trust you when you said there was nothing wrong with me. It’s just that I was so scared. I’ve never experienced something like this before and I thought something was seriously off.”

“It’s alright. I understand,” he said.

“But tell me,” I said, “How were you so certain that nothing was wrong?”

“Well, I know your medical background – healthy young woman, no underlying health issues, pulse was fine, face wasn’t flushed, just recovering from an infection, on a pill to decongest the throat, which in excess doses can have unpleasant side effects and multiple other observations of a similar nature. Often, medical evaluation happens in a fraction of a second, especially when we know the patient well.”

“I see. That’s pretty remarkable,” I said, nodding my head, “I didn’t know evaluation could be that quick!”

“Medicine is not just a science,” he said and smiled, “It’s an art too.”

“Yes. Makes sense,” I said.

At that moment, I noticed a yellow butterfly sitting on a potted plant near my feet.

To me, the butterfly is symbolic of lightness, positive change, and transformation.

I knew I had something to learn from this incident.

I whispered to the soul of the butterfly, “What message do you bring, beautiful soul?”

And I heard in my heart –

“Release the need to be in control always. Allow others to take the lead when necessary and trust the path that they show. Lighten your load. Life is built on trust, dear one.”  

This is an image of a surgery in a blog post on emotional intelligence and sensitivity by Haripriya Suraj, Reiki Master
energy medicine, modern medicine, pregnancy loss

When All You Need Is An Angel

“Something’s wrong,” said the radiologist, sounding alarmed as she moved the ultrasound scanner over my womb.

My heart almost skipped a beat.

“I see a problem with the foetus,” she went on.

Seeing how anxious she was, my heart began to beat even faster.

Suraj, being a doctor, and her colleague, the radiologist explained something to him using medical terminology and told us to go meet my obstetrician immediately.

I was disturbed by how the radiologist had panicked. She probably didn’t realise that her panicking would rub off negatively on me.

I said to Suraj, “Is that how bad news is conveyed to a patient? Isn’t there a more professional and sensitive way to do so?”

But there was no time to discuss this, as the medical problem at hand needed more attention than my inner turmoil at that moment.

The obstetrician checked on me, and while I was still in the examination area behind a curtain, she returned to her desk and began to explain the problem to Suraj.

By then I had had enough!

I was really angry.

“Suraj may be a doctor and the baby’s father. But I am your patient and I am carrying the baby. So, doctor, I have every right to be part of this conversation and to hear from you directly about what is going on here!” I blurted out angrily in my mind.

But I didn’t wish to make a scene. So, I just announced I was feeling anxious and joined her at the desk.

It’s not like I couldn’t hear what was being said on the other side of the curtain. So I never could understand why the obstetrician chose to speak only with Suraj.

When l went into labour, another traumatic episode commenced.

While I struggled in pain, I could hear the nurses laughing and chatting away in the adjacent room. They came in only when they had to check if everything was progressing alright, medically speaking. They may have been used to seeing labouring women day and night, but to the women in pain, labour is not an everyday occurrence. What I most needed at that time was for someone to comfort me a bit, more so because the baby wouldn’t make it.

The only positive in this situation was that my endangered life was saved through timely intervention – thanks to advances in modern medicine and to the skill of all the treating doctors. They may not have been the best at connecting to the ‘human’ in me but they were certainly competent otherwise. And I shall remain forever grateful for that.

When the ordeal was done and I woke up the next morning, I saw a kind young face peering down at me. She was dressed in white and I realised she was a nurse. She adjusted my blanket, stroked my forehead, and comforted me with a few kind words. And I thought to myself, “Here comes an Angel. I really needed to meet one. I wish you had been here last night. But I’m happy to meet you nonetheless. Thank you, God!”

A year after this incident, I landed in the hospital again – this time for the surgical removal of a mole on my face.

This growth on the skin was harmless and I could have just let it be. However, I chose to have it removed.

The surgery was a minor one performed by a senior plastic surgeon under local anaesthesia.

For this super simple procedure, I wasn’t expecting the surgeon to explain much to me or for anyone to comfort me during the surgery! However, this experience turned out to be diametrically opposite to the pregnancy.

This surgeon overlooked the fact that Suraj was present during the consultation and that the two of them were colleagues. He gave me my rightful place as the patient and took enough time to explain the treatment plan to me in layman’s terms.

On the day of the surgery, he walked into the operation theatre with a warm smile – not just for me but for all the staff waiting to assist him.

His calm demeanour put me at ease instantly.

He spoke to me gently and went to great lengths to ensure I was comfortable throughout the procedure. He spoke with much respect and dignity to the theatre nurses and to all the other staff too.

And I was like, “Wow! What a lovely energy! Life is strange though. I could have sailed through this cosmetic procedure without any reassurance. Neither am I afraid, nor in pain or shock. Yet, here is someone going out of his way to keep me comfortable. I needed mental and emotional support during the nightmarish pregnancy and labour. But except for that kind nurse I briefly interacted with, no one in that team was equipped to give it. I wish this gem of a plastic surgeon was a radiologist and obstetrician too! If I had someone like this on my case last year, it would have made that challenge way easier to get through.”

Some people seem to innately know how to connect to the ‘human’ in others, while others need to learn these skills.

The energy someone radiates makes a huge difference – at least to people like me.

I don’t expect life to be all roses but when we encounter thorns, having an Angel around certainly makes the thorns hurt less.

This is an image of a pill and a palm in an article on Modern Medicine & Reiki for Hypertension & Diabetes by Haripriya Suraj, Reiki Master
modern medicine, reiki, when spirit meets science

Modern Medicine & Reiki For Diabetes & Hypertension

“Modern medicine is not advanced enough. It can’t cure my diabetes and hypertension,” she complained.

I was lost for words when she made this statement.

An aunt of mine came to me for a Reiki session way back in 2015.

She was overweight.

She ate unhealthy and processed foods every other day.

She hardly moved her body, forget exercise.

Even after being diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes, she didn’t make any effort to adopt healthier lifestyle measures.

And she expected that modern medicine should be advanced enough to cure her!

Talk about not taking responsibility for our own lives and choices.

She looked at Suraj and went on, “You are a doctor. Tell me why I should take medicine for hypertension or diabetes? I am never going to be cured. Isn’t it so? So, what is the point in me popping all those pills every day?”

Suraj said, “Aunty, the medicine may not be able to cure the disease at the moment. But it does help prevent the potential complications of the disease – heart disease, kidney failure, gangrene to name a few. Isn’t that good enough reason for you to take it?”

“But along with the medicine, you also have to be mindful of your lifestyle. The two go hand in hand,” he went on.

She made a smug face and nodded, almost like it was Suraj’s fault modern medicine didn’t have an easy cure for her yet!

And then, she said to me, “Haripriya, please do something with your Reiki. Please cure me of these troubles.”

I said, “Aunty, I can support you with Reiki. But you will have to take your pills properly and adopt whatever lifestyle measures have been advised to you. Energy needs to flow freely within the body Aunty, and I can’t make it happen without your active involvement in the process. Reiki can help you connect to your body. So, making positive changes to your lifestyle may feel easier.”

She gave me a smug look too.

I could almost hear her thoughts, “What a good-for-nothing couple! Neither can do anything to cure me!”

After she left, I said to Suraj, ” I’m sorry if she annoyed you.”

He said, “It’s alright. We are used to people having unreasonable expectations of doctors and medicine.”

I said, “Isn’t it the same for Reiki? My hands can’t do anything when someone isn’t willing to lift their own finger to take charge of their life!”

Our answers obviously did not convince her. She never returned for Reiki.

Four years passed. In 2019, she was diagnosed with kidney failure and landed in the ICU.

Her family told us she eventually stopped taking her medicines and switched to a form of alternative medicine. Those medicines helped with certain health conditions, but they couldn’t keep hypertension and diabetes under control. As a result, the disease progressed and wreaked havoc on her kidneys. The extent of damage to her body was so high that she needed to be on even more modern medication to keep it functioning.

We were sorry she was having a hard time. What made it worse was the fact that the progression of the disease could have easily been prevented, had she been willing to view it through a different lens.

Some incidents in life are hard to digest. But I guess everyone has the right to create their destiny – even when that means bringing misery to oneself.

In such situations, all we can do is pray for people and wish them well.

energy medicine, modern medicine, when spirit meets science

The Unfolding Of When Spirit Meets Science

As I meditated on a cold winter morning in December 2018, I felt a gentle tingling in the region of my third eye.

I took a deep breath and knew something was unfolding.

An image of a book appeared in my vision, “When Spirit Meets Science.”

I was at an energy healing conference earlier that month. Some speakers at the conference expressed that their work will not be accepted in the mainstream, because unlike modern medicine, which is rigorously tested and documented, their success stories are mostly based on anecdotes.

When I shared this with Suraj, he said research and documentation are not restricted to modern medicine. They are open to everyone in the world. He even offered to teach interested healers about how they can take up research projects to support and validate their work.

I was contemplating how best this initiative could be taken forward. And I received my answer in meditation – “Write a book.”

I knew I could only write one half of this book. I needed an expert in science and research to write the other half. I wasn’t sure if Suraj, with his busy schedule, would feel like taking up more work. But I took a chance and asked him anyway. He agreed immediately!

I then shared this idea with Reiki Rays, a global platform for Reiki teachers and practitioners and asked if they would publish it. They immediately agreed too.

I felt very grateful. I believe when the Universe gives you an idea, it also gives you the support you need to accomplish it.

And thus began this book, which was completed in less than a month. It felt like the content just flowed and all we had to do was pen it down.

Our own journey through the realms of spirit and science, both as individuals and as a couple, certainly made the process of co-creating this book a breeze!

The book is divided into three parts.

Part 1: Intuitive Ms. Feminine & Rational Mr. Masculine

Part 2 : Science In Alternative Therapies – An Evidence Based Approach

Part 3 : Empowered Medicine

Here’s a peek into Part 1 of this book. The chapter titles below give a fair idea of how our journey unfolded and of how we managed to blend two contrasting paths into one.

Part 1: Intuitive Ms. Feminine & Rational Mr. Masculine

The Seed Of Reiki – The Seed Of Science

When Reiki Comes Knocking At The Door – Medicine Calling

The Magic Of New Beginnings – The Logic Of New Beginnings

A Peek Into The World Of Physical Science & Rationality – A Peek Into The World Of Spirit

Conflicting Stories Lead to Inner Dilemmas – Conflicting Stories Lead to Inner Turmoil

Is It Reiki Vs Modern Medicine?

Modern Medicine To The Rescue – Comfort In Reiki

Year 2012

Reiki Takes Centre Stage – Intuition In Everyday Life & Medicine

Unconditional Love: The Merging Of The Rational Masculine & Intuitive Feminine

We both were perfectly happy in our own little worlds and often clashed over the contrast presented by the opposite world until life gradually revealed to us that –

  1. There is beauty and value on both sides of the coin. In the context of this book, the two sides are Energy Healing & Modern Medcine.
  2. Subjectivity is one kind of strength while objectivity is another. Obective studies help to achieve widespread acceptance and application, especially when one wants to apply energy based therapies to attain specific medical outcomes. It also lends more credibility to one’s work. At the same time, everything in life cannot be objective. Feelings and perspectives count too. Wisdom lies in knowing when to be subjective and when to be objective, or when to be a combination of both.
  3. Being different from each other is no obstacle to the blossoming of unconditional love in a romantic partnership. Love comes first. Everything else is secondary.
  4. Differences between partners can bring them closer together. While each partner honours their core strength, they also learn to integrate the opposite polarity that the other reflects. This makes them stronger as individuals and closer as a couple.
  5. Unconditional love is freeing and liberating. Once you reach this state, all struggle dissipates. Only love remains. And this elevated love creates whole new possibilities.

This is an image of medicines and a heart in an article on "Can Modern Medicine Be Holistic?" by Haripriya Suraj, Reiki Master
energy medicine, modern medicine, reiki, when spirit meets science

Can Modern Medicine Be Holistic?

Can Modern Medicine be holistic?

I often contemplated this question after I became a Reiki practitioner.

From infancy to adulthood, I was cared for by a kind and gentle family physician Dr. Vasudev. His prescriptions were also as gentle as him! For symptomatic relief, he often prescribed paracetamol – a very mild and safe drug. And thanks to the body’s innate healing mechanism, the most common infections I got as a child healed on their own.

Dr.Vasudev prescribed antibiotics only when indicated. Over the two decades that I consulted him, he must have prescribed antibiotics a maximum of three times!

In my early twenties, Reiki came into my life.

I came down with the flu right after my Reiki training class.

My temperature was very high. However, in the Reiki class, we were told to avoid modern medicines since Reiki was considered holistic healing.

After struggling with fever and extreme fatigue for a couple of days, I told my teacher I couldn’t take it anymore and took paracetamol to support myself.

Once I got better, I began contemplating the meaning of ‘holistic.’

Sure, I practice Reiki now. But does that mean I must not take modern medicines when required?

This question gave birth to an internal struggle and I was determined to find an answer. Every time I remembered Dr. Vasudev, I felt there was absolutely nothing wrong even if I chose to take modern medicines. I wasn’t popping them for pleasure! I took them only when I genuinely needed them.

The Universe must have heard my cry. Less than a month later, I crossed paths with Suraj.

When I looked into his eyes for the first time, I recognised a hidden light. He felt very familiar and my heart skipped a beat. I didn’t know yet that he was a doctor.

I told the Universe, “Looks like I found my soulmate! Universe, please tell me my intuition is correct.”

And the Universe whispered, “Wait and watch.”

When Suraj revealed he is a surgeon, my eyes almost popped out of my head!

“This sure is no coincidence,” I thought.

In spite of our contrasting backgrounds, we clicked.

Our subsequent union in marriage answered my question – “Can Modern Medicine be holistic?”

I soon saw that much like Dr. Vasudev, Suraj’s prescriptions were also very gentle. The drug he recommended most often was paracetamol too.

He prescribed an antibiotic for me just once. This was for a suspected bacterial infection, where the use of antibiotics was indicated. In the fourteen years that we have been together, I have needed antibiotics just once and he not even once!

He has told me repeatedly, “Most minor infections resolve on their own, irrespective of whether you choose to take medicine or not. In such cases, medicine is primarily for symptomatic relief. “

On the same note, he insisted, ” But if it’s a major infection or other health condition that requires your body to take external medical support, don’t you dare tell me you will not take it! I don’t care if you are a Reiki practitioner. Go ahead and do all the Reiki you want. But if your body genuinely needs support, I am not going to allow you to take any risks and you will take whatever treatment is required.”

And I was like, “Wow! You actually are another Dr. Vasudev!”

In our co-authored book “When Spirit Meets Science,” Suraj writes “Allowing the body to heal naturally when it can is a sign of strength while turning to external support when it cannot is a sign of wisdom.”

When I had episodes of acid reflux after our second baby arrived and my lifestyle took a hit, he didn’t tell me to blindly pop antacids!

He said antacids were only a temporary solution (I confess I took them when symptoms were severe).

He pointed out exactly where I was going wrong in my eating habits and asked me to become more mindful.

This advice made me reflect on my eating. I realised I was stuffing myself with food for emotional reasons! I worked on addressing my emotions and became more mindful in my eating. This made a positive difference to the health of my gut. This approach requires more effort than just popping an antacid and feeling fine right away. But in my particular case of acid reflux, this was the holistic way towards long-term healing.

Seeing my husband practice medicine ( not just with me but also with his own patients) gave me the conviction that modern medicine can also be ‘holistic.’

On the rare occasions that Suraj prescribes a medical treatment, I know in my bones that if he is recommending it, then I (or anyone in our family) ought not to think twice about it.

And when he says, “Just give it time. The body will heal itself,” I know that’s perfect advice too, and take it easy.

Reiki is present for me either way – calming, balancing, and softly supporting the remarkable human body in its process of healing!

This image depicts a healing between energy medicine & modern medicine in an article by Haripriya Suraj, Reiki Master, in her blog 'When Spirit Meets Science'
energy medicine, modern medicine, reiki, when spirit meets science

Energy Medicine & Modern Medicine: A Soul-Stirring Conversation

A pleasant evening in November 2017.

The living room reverberated with sounds of laughter.

The aroma of savories and freshly brewed tea wafted through the air.

The happy party included-

Sanjay, a cardiac surgeon, and his wife Sheela, a psychologist.

Tara, a Reiki healer, and her husband Karan, an architect.

My husband Suraj, a cancer surgeon, and I, a Reiki healer.

We had just moved into a new home and chose to celebrate by having some of our good friends over.

It was a relaxed atmosphere. Tara began to talk about a client of hers – a man with a heart ailment who was receiving Reiki sessions from her.

She believed this story would be of special interest to our cardiac surgeon pal Sanjay.

She said, “Guys, you know what? I have a 68-year-old client. He was diagnosed with multiple blocks in the heart and has been coming to me for Reiki. And now he is completely cured.”

Her husband Karan joined in and said supportively, ” Oh yeah! Tara has given her heart and soul to this case.”

Sanjay reciprocated by nodding his head and listening with interest. So did the rest of us.

Sanjay said, “That’s interesting Tara. Did he receive any other treatment too?”

“Yes he did,” said Tara, “He underwent an angiogram following which a cardiac bypass surgery was also done.”

The expression on Sanjay’s face changed suddenly and I caught him flashing a bewildered glance at Suraj.

A flustered-looking Sheela spoke next, “Tara, then how can you say it was Reiki that cured him?”

My heart began to pound. I knew that engaging in this conversation would take all of us to a very uncomfortable place, where our differences could come in the way of our friendship! Besides, I was in no mood for unpleasant exchanges.

Tara looked a bit shaken up.

Sensing his wife’s discomfort, Karan took over for her.

“Actually, what she meant was…” started Karan, when sensitive Sanjay spoke up and changed the topic gently.

He allowed Tara to have her moment.

Tara and Karan left soon after and goodbyes were exchanged amicably.

I was relieved when they left.

I wanted to make sure everything was alright and said to Sanjay immediately,

“Sanjay, I’m sorry if Tara’s story made you uncomfortable.”

He laughed and said, “Hey! Don’t worry.”

Suraj laughed too and said, “Doctors are used to this stuff. Aren’t we Sanjay?”

Sanjay smiled. So did I.

Sanjay heaved a sigh and went on, “But help me here Haripriya. Tara didn’t mention her client took conventional medical treatment until I asked. Somebody else listening to her story will simply assume that Reiki alone cured his heart condition. Can’t such statements be open to misinterpretation?”

I understood where he was coming from.

“I see what you mean Sanjay,” I said.

“What she said felt like Reiki was the force that cured him and surgery was just incidental,” continued Suraj, “If her client also believes the same, I wonder why he would even opt to have surgery.”

“I guess I have no answers,” I said.

Sheela still seemed troubled and pitched in “Sanjay often asks these difficult questions Haripriya. And to be honest, I have come to ponder them too. Why do some people hesitate to acknowledge the role conventional medicine plays in their healing, while they don’t think twice about giving ALL credit to alternative therapies or to themselves?

“You have a point, Sheela,” I said, “Being energy healers, this is something Tara and I ought to contemplate.”

The evening ended on a pleasant note. But the conversation left a deep impact on me.

I love and cherish my energy healer friends. However, I decided I had to stick with whatever felt fair and valid.

As I reflected on our conversation, I deduced the following-

We opt for conventional medical treatment only when we see some value in it, irrespective of whether we acknowledge this value or not.

Why would anyone bother to go under a surgeon’s knife or to swallow pills with potential side effects unless they know deep down that it is going to benefit them?

And if conventional treatment is helping them, why the reluctance to acknowledge the role it played in healing them?

Does this acknowledgment make us lesser healers or human beings?

We are healers, not magicians!

Healing doesn’t always mean curing physical illnesses. It means bringing body, mind, emotions, and spirit into a state of harmony and balance.

Every system of healing plays a different role. Wisdom lies in knowing how to apply the strengths of each system for maximum benefit, rather than set one up against the other.

I brainstormed this topic for days on end with Suraj until I truly understood how those in the medical community feel when people approach them for help but behave like the medical intervention meant nothing at all!

Some months later, Tara and I had a private conversation. I shared my new insights on health and healing with her. I wasn’t sure how she would respond. Thankfully, she understood and nodded. She looked at me with a soft new light in her eyes. We hugged tight, knowing we had reached a new milestone together.

A sunny afternoon in April 2018.

Our group met again – this time for lunch at Sanjay’s farm.

“So, Tara, how is your client doing?” asked Sanjay, as he handed her a glass of lemonade.

“Who?” said Tara

“The person with the heart condition you treated. Remember you talked about him last time?” said Sanjay smiling.

“Oh yes! He’s doing great. Well, surgery successfully treated his heart. I told you he was coming to me for Reiki treatments. And he loved them. But after recovering from surgery, he trained in Reiki. He now practices it independently. He says Reiki practice helps him stay strong and balanced. He also told me Reiki helped him discover a hidden gift in his illness and he was super thrilled about it!”

“Good for him!” said Sanjay.

“He needs to be on lifelong medication for his heart though,” went on Tara, “Ok Guys, what I am about to share now may sound crazy. But please bear with me because I soooo want to share it.”

“Go on,” said Sheela and listened intently.

I suppressed a giggle. I was certain Sheela was getting ready for another confrontation!

“He also finds great delight in infusing his pills with Reiki before popping them!” burst out Tara with childlike excitement in her voice.

And with that revelation, bellows of laughter echoed through the room!

“Doesn’t sound crazy to me at all. Now, that’s called taking modern medicine to a whole new level!” exclaimed Sanjay.

My heart was at peace.

Every system had taken its rightful place.

Every healer was honored for the gifts they brought.

I winked at Suraj and whispered under my breath “Blessed be the world of healing!”

healing pregnancy loss in a blog post by Haripriya Suraj in When Spirit Meets Science
energy medicine, modern medicine, personal, pregnancy loss, when spirit meets science

Reaching Out To Babies In Heaven

The loss of a pregnancy, no matter how early or late it occurs, can be a devastating blow to the mother and father. This post is dedicated to all women and men who have lost their children to complications in pregnancy or birth, or even later in life.

You are not alone. Your pain is valid. Pregnancy loss may be a relatively common occurrence but that doesn’t make it any less painful. Acknowledging your pain is the first step to healing it.

When you get a positive pregnancy test, you assume a little human being will land in your arms at the end of nine months. Rarely do you imagine that something could go horribly wrong midway and that the baby won’t make it.

Our first child, baby angel Siri, left this planet even before she could take birth. I developed life-threatening pre-eclampsia during the latter part of pregnancy. This condition halted the growth of the baby and put my own life at risk too.

Thanks to advances in medicine and timely intervention, doctors managed to save my life. However, we had to let the baby go.

I grieved the loss of Siri for years. I experienced episodes of anger, blame, inadequacy, frustration, and helplessness.

On the physical level, I couldn’t understand (and still don’t) why a young and perfectly healthy woman like myself had to develop a random life-threatening condition. On the soul level though, I believe there was a higher reason for this incident.

To some extent, I am able to intuitively decipher the reason behind this seemingly unfortunate incident but I have not found all the pieces of the puzzle yet. It feels like there are way too many pieces and I am waiting for all of them to fit together and reveal the complete picture to me.

I trust I will find my answer one day when I am fully ready to know, understand and accept it.

It took me several years to come to some acceptance of Siri’s loss. By the Grace of the Divine, we are now blessed with two beautiful children and I love them with all my heart.

Along with my two incarnated angels, I will always love and honour Siri as one of our offspring. I didn’t get to hold her in my arms. But that doesn’t change the fact that she was our first baby.

When I give Siri her rightful place within the family, I find that my love for my other two children multiplies.

Siri may not be here in physical form but I often sense her presence on the energetic level. I cannot offer a logical explanation for this because energy doesn’t always work in logical ways. Many experiences in life have to be taken on trust. I prefer to enjoy such moments for what they offer, minus the analysis.

On this anniversary of her transitioning to the higher planes, I felt inspired to pen down a heartfelt note-

Dearest Baby Angel Siri,

The time we spent together was brief. I wish things had been different. I wish I could have held you and nurtured you.

Our separation seems to have been part of a higher plan. My mind doesn’t understand it but my soul knows there is more to this separation than just pain and misery. I trust that when the time is right, the ‘human me’ will manage to retrieve the answers to my burning questions from the ‘soul me.’

I choose to clear all subconscious and unconscious energy distortions behind this occurrence with the beautiful words of Ho’oponopono-

I am sorry

Please forgive me

I love you

Thank you

I trust these words will transform all pain – hidden and otherwise – and bring healing to you, me, and all involved.

I will always love you from the bottom of my heart. I pray that you are free and happy, wherever you are.

And we will meet again, somewhere across time and space…

This time in the best of circumstances, in accordance with divine will and in perfect divine timing.

This is my promise to you, little one…

Love

Mama