when spirit meets science

Which Energy Healing Modality Is Best?

Recently, I read an article that discussed the differences between the energy healing practices of Reiki and Pranic Healing and concluded that Pranic Healing is a better practice of the two.

From the article, it seemed like the author was trained in Pranic Healing but also had sufficient knowledge about Reiki. It also felt like the author was biased and wanted to put forth the message that Pranic Healing is the better of the two modalities.

The core argument presented in favour of Pranic Healing was –

Reiki is taught differently by different teachers, depending on the lineage they are part of plus the personal expertise and experience they bring to their teaching, whereas Pranic Healing follows a standard format and all teachers teach it the same way (exactly the way their Grandmaster taught). The expertise of individual teachers is secondary. The point being made was that this makes Pranic Healing more scientific and Reiki less scientific.

I am not an expert in science. So, I checked with experts in conventional science if the point presented in the article is valid from a scientific perspective. It was immediately dismissed. They said it doesn’t matter if individual teachers teach whatever each wants to or if a group of people follow the exact teachings of one particular teacher. Neither approach makes it ‘scientific.’

If you want to label a practice ‘scientific,’ it must be based on universal scientific principles – how rigorously a practice has been tested, its effects documented, and if there is a worldwide standard for its application. If you board an aircraft, there is no doubt anywhere in the world about its ability to take off and fly. You cannot get into one and not be sure about its capacity to do its job. Or, you must be able to ascertain with accuracy the extent to which a specific mechanism or practice could work. That’s how thorough research must be in order for something to be pronounced ‘standardized and scientific.’

Also, one person’s testing and documentation are not sufficient. Research efforts must be reproducible across the world and must meet several parameters before a practice can be termed ‘scientific’ in the true sense.

I was happy to know that the argument didn’t carry weight because I felt it is unfair to compare healing practices when the reasoning itself is flawed.

Personally, I feel it is best that energy healers not compare healing practices. Or at least not make casual statements about other therapies without knowing in depth about how a practice works. Each therapy is unique in its own way.

Can fruits be better than vegetables? It doesn’t make sense to compare them because they each meet different needs.

Secondly, what energy healers mean by ‘scientific’ is radically different from the principles that conventional science is based on. Unless we can achieve a deeper understanding of ‘scientific’ and apply our practices based on that understanding, it may be best not to bring science into the equation at all. Saying one energy healing practice is more scientific than another is not accurate and can even be misleading.

These practices are gifts that help to bring wellness, peace, love, light and higher consciousness to the world. The mechanism of their working can be mysterious and not necessarily logical. Maybe a day will come when the value offered by such intuitive practices will meet the value offered by conventional science and together they will bring enhanced benefit. Until then, let’s enjoy the mystery. Let’s use these gifts to complement the gifts offered by conventional science and make the world a happier place!

self love, when spirit meets science

Life Lessons From ‘Jab We Met’ : Self-Love

“Mein Apni Favourite Hoon.”

These are words from the Bollywood movie ‘Jab We Met’ released in 2007.

The year 2007 was pivotal in launching me on a new path. Apart from the healing modalities I explored, the movie ‘Jab We Met’ also played a role in healing my heart and my life.

Geet, a vibrant young woman, is all set on building the life of her dreams. She dares to reach for the stars and is absolutely in love with her life. On a train journey, she bumps into a young man Aditya. Aditya is on the exact opposite vibration as Geet. Having lived through several challenging situations, he is at a point where he has no zest for life.

Eventually, Geet’s vivaciousness and positivity rub off on him.

And at one point he says, “Tum Apne Aap Ko Bahut Pasand Karti Hon Na?” (You love yourself so very much, don’t you?”)

And Geet says, “Mein Apni Favourite Hoon!” ( My favourite person is me!”)

The concept of self-love was new to me back then. I had just begun reading about the healing benefits of loving oneself. But watching this movie made the concept a whole lot clearer!

When I learned to love myself, I found that-

  1. My strengths and positive qualities received a boost, paving the way for success in different aspects of life.
  2. I was able to view my negatives as areas of growth and not as something ‘wrong with me.’ (as many of us are conditioned to believe about ourselves). This shift is necessary for one to experience high levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. If your inner critic constantly tells you that you aren’t good enough or that something is wrong with you, achieving your highest potential can become more difficult than it needs to be.
  3. I expected only the best for myself and believed it was possible to achieve whatever I set my mind and heart on. I wasn’t ready to settle for anything less than the vibration I was on!
  4. When I eventually ran into the love of my life the same year, I was already in love with myself. I didn’t need his love to complete me. Suraj was also complete and centered within himself. So, we were free to share our love and completeness with each other – the beginnings of a journey towards unconditional love!

This gem of a movie offers many valuable lessons for life. More in future posts!

reiki, when spirit meets science

Of Magical Hands & Magical Lands

Once upon a time, there existed a land of immense beauty and magic.

The land was abundant with a variety of plants and trees.

The air was pure, the water pristine and the earth rich.

The humans who lived there co-existed in harmony with plants, animals and all of nature.

They knew they were dependent on plants and animals for their survival and had a deep reverence for them. They cared well for them and received nourishment from them with utmost gratitude.

These humans also knew that they were the more intelligent among all the species they co-existed with. They knew they could put their intelligence to use in constructive or destructive ways.

They were conscious of the ‘Web Of Energy’ that runs through all of existence. They knew they were connected to everything in creation – mineral, plant, insect, bird, animal, air, water, earth, sun, star, planet and galaxy.  

They were very in tune with the life force energy flowing through their beings. They viewed their hands as ‘Healing Hands’ and used them as instruments to offer comfort to those in distress.

Their connection to the warm pulse of the life force flowing through their palms served their growth and evolution in more ways than one – it brought wellness and energy to their physical bodies and made their minds more productive. It also opened their hearts and brought joy to their souls. These humans learnt to put their intelligence to best use and the vibration of their land rose higher and higher. Anyone coming there felt an instant sense of peace, ease and calm.

It’s not that darkness didn’t exist on this beautiful land. It did. However, these humans had mastered the art of alchemy. They accepted darkness when it showed up. They knew how to transform darkness – both within and around them – into something higher.

As a result, the vibration of the land was always on the higher side. Life flourished. Boundaries dissolved. Peace prevailed. Love ruled.

Dear Reiki Healers, does this story ring a bell deep within your heart?

This is the power of the energy you feel flowing through your palms each day!

We each have the power to choose how we wish to use this energy in the current time.

If we wish to weave realities like the one that existed on that magical land far far away, we must make the most constructive use of this energy!

reiki, when spirit meets science

The Gift Of Reiki For Plants

One of the best things about being a Reiki practitioner is that you get to share the gift of Reiki not just with humans but also with plants and animals.

The practice of offering Reiki to plants has shifted my relationship with them.

The plants in my little garden are no more just a slice of nature adorning my space. They are living beings that I feel a lot of love for.

I feel so very grateful for their healing presence in my space. Looking at them and being amidst them gives me comfort and peace.

I express my gratitude for their presence by offering Reiki and love to them!

Connecting to another living being purely through love, without having to say a word, is a soul-stirring experience indeed!

when spirit meets science

Healing Fear: Success Story

As a child, I grew up hearing many ghost stories. Ghosts were a very real phenomenon to many in my family and some of them claimed to have had many encounters with ghosts. They spoke of ghosts like it was something to be petrified of – never mind even if it was the ghost of a departed loved one!

I was so sensitive I absorbed every word they spoke about ghosts and all the fear they felt. As a result, I grew very anxious. When my paternal grandmother passed on, I couldn’t sleep through the nights in peace. I woke up trembling in fear, thinking I would suddenly see her ghost! I pulled my blanket over my head and shut my eyes tight. That’s what all the people who told me ghost stories did when they sensed ghosts were around!

When I began my Reiki training, I felt there was certainly more to us than the physical body, and that the energetic essence of a person remains after physical death. But fearing it didn’t feel like the right thing to do. However, I had absorbed so much fear already that it wasn’t easy to just shake it all off.

Some years later, when I introduced Suraj to my family, one of the first questions they asked him was, “You see death at close quarters almost every day. You certainly must have had some encounters with ghosts in hospitals?”

And he said, “Not even once! During my post-graduate training, I often spent nights in the medical college hospital. Facilities were rather poor back then. So, there were instances that required me to sleep in a tiny room beside the mortuary! But not once did I run into any ghost.”

My family seemed a bit disappointed to know this but I heaved a sigh of relief!

Thank God, I had finally met someone who wasn’t interested in entertaining unnecessary fear.

When I shared my fears with Suraj, he said, “Let’s assume ghosts exist. Even if one appears before you, what actually is there to be afraid of? Why assume it’s ‘evil’ and out to get you?” he said.

“And how in the world is covering yourself with a blanket going to help? If a spirit can hang around in a physical dimension, penetrating a blanket to reach its target should be no impossible feat for it!” he went on.

I burst out laughing when I heard this!

“Yeah. That’s some good logic,” I said.

“If my grandmother’s ghost appeared before me, I would be more than happy to converse with her. I would view it as another chance to interact with someone I loved. Why believe it’s an experience to fear? Think about it.” he said.

Over the years, Suraj’s fearlessness combined with my own personal experiences with energy work helped me overcome the fear of ghosts.

Recently, we were at a family get-together when the same old ghost stories came up for discussion! However, nothing anyone said had an impact on me. Every word moved right through me, without evoking any sense of fear or anxiety.

I quickly closed my eyes and told myself, “I have healed, fully and completely. Thank you.”

On our way back home, I said to Suraj, ” Apart from my work in Reiki, your fearlessness and sound logic played a huge role in healing my fear. Thank you for being my healer!”

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.

reiki, when spirit meets science

Reiki: Magic Minus The Flamboyance

Oh, beautiful Reiki

Of rainbow colours bright.

What a wonder you are,

Though nowhere in sight!

This little poem is from the first chapter of our book ‘When Spirit Meets Science.’

My first encounter with Reiki happened when I was a child. I was playing with a friend at her home when I saw her mother standing beside a plant, with her palms over it, eyes closed and keenly focused.

When I asked my friend what was going on, she told me her mother was practicing something called ‘Reiki’ and sending good energy to the plants.

This scene struck a chord deep within me. It felt very natural to me that someone should be doing this.

“Wow! How nice to be able to send good energy to a plant,” I thought to myself.

I believe a Reiki seed was gently planted in my consciousness that day.

Little did I know back then that this act of sending and sharing ‘good energy’ would become my purpose in life one day.

Around a decade later, in the year 2007, Reiki came into my life.

And this time around, it came in like a whirlwind.

I developed a strong calling to experience Reiki.

I was in a difficult phase in life and each day was a struggle. My soul pushed me to expand and to connect to something much larger than the ‘human struggling me.’

And Reiki training helped me achieve this connection successfully.

Soon after the training, life began to flow – whatever wasn’t working well for me made its way out of my life and positive new circumstances took birth, almost as if by magic.

Synchronicity kicked in and re-arranged my life, one step at a time.

I just took whatever practical action I had to take at each step and thereafter surrendered to an ‘Intelligence’ much bigger than me, trusting that everything I needed would come to me.

And it did. Even beyond my wildest expectations.

And if someone asks what the logic behind this magic is, I cannot answer – for Reiki is not concrete.

It cannot be seen or measured.

Its many possible effects are best experienced.

To me, Reiki is a subtle sweet force that works silently, offers support on different levels, and pushes you to become more of who you are.

Reiki is magical, without appearing flamboyant.

And this magic, which has been the very foundation of my growth and success, inspired me to begin the book with a poem dedicated to Reiki.

Thank you Reiki for everything you do for me and for everyone whose lives you touch!

when spirit meets science

The Logic & Magic of Energy Healing

“I want to avoid surgery for my knee. Please do something so I can heal without surgery.”

“My blood sugar is sky-high. Please bring it down with Reiki.”

‘My mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Please make the tumor go away.”

In the past, I often felt stuck when clients placed medical healing requests before me.

I knew several people in the Reiki community who confidently told clients that they could heal all kinds of health conditions – right from sprained ankles to cancer. Having many friends in both energy healing as well as medical circles, I have often been a part of heated discussions and debates. When the energy healing community made medical claims and the medical community asked for evidence, the former was either not able to produce any, or the evidence they shared inevitably had many loopholes and could easily be dismissed.

As a result, I avoided taking up requests for healing of medical issues and felt frustrated when people approached me with such requests.

One day, Suraj said to me.

“What are you afraid of? All you have to be is authentic. Then neither will you feel frustrated nor will your clients.”

“What do you mean?” I said

“Can you say for sure if Reiki or any other energy healing modality can cure broken bones and cancerous tumors? You’ve trained in Reiki and also tried so many other modalities,” he said.

“Well, I personally can’t say for sure,” I said, “There are many anecdotal accounts of course. But I can’t say anything for sure.”

“My take is this -” said Suraj, “When it’s a question of another person’s health and well-being, just stick to sharing whatever you know for sure, especially if a regular medical solution is available to them. Until you know better, don’t offer medical solutions based on guesswork, hypotheses, hearsay, or possibilities. Tell people only what you know for certain, whether it’s about Reiki or other forms of energy healing.”

“Reiki helps to relax the body, calm the mind, and connects you to your soul. It helps you feel supported and inspires you to stay positive through challenges. Gosh! Reminds me of how comforted and energized I feel when I give myself Reiki,” I uttered in delight

“Perfect!” he said, “So, this is what you should be telling people without hesitation or fear. That’s enough value in itself, without having to cure any disease! Trust me, people will appreciate your honesty. When they see you being authentic, no one will insist that you must cure their wobbly knee or aggressive cancer. When they know what to expect, they are also happy and you are also happy.”

‘But you know, energy healing is so much more than just feeling happy or calm,” I said, “Through energy-based work, I have experienced a lot of life’s magic, synchronicity, and some really good stuff. Wasn’t Reiki a primary force behind my synchronistic meeting with you too? I may never have met you if not for Reiki,”

“Of course,” said Suraj, ‘Your clients may also discover the magical aspects of energy healing should they choose to practice it as sincerely as you do. However, it may surprise them in ways unique to them. Let the ‘magic’ be their discovery, not your promise. Magic is more fun when it is found rather than sought. What say?”

“Absolutely!” I said, feeling like a load had been lifted off my chest.

Now, I tell people clearly that Reiki is not a substitute for medical treatment. I do take up medical cases but offer Reiki only as supportive care.

When friends and clients share positive feedback on how Reiki brought ease to their journey, my soul is satisfied. I take pride in the fact that Reiki has such a lot to offer in itself, without the added pressure to deliver medical outcomes. Reiki is indeed a gift.