Advice to My Patients

Guest Author


TIM FIOR, MD

Dr. Timothy Fior has been practicing family medicine in the Chicagoland area since 1988. He is a founding partner in the Center for Integral Health, and a member of the adjunct faculty at National University of the Health Sciences, Lombard, Illinois. A longtime lactovegetarian, Dr. Fior has been meditating for more than 30 years.

Why am I here? What’s the meaning of life? And what’s the point of life if we’re all going to die anyway? Does God exist, and if so, how can we communicate with Him? These are all questions that occurred to me early in life.

In seventh grade, I had a teacher with an interest in Eastern religions, which he shared with me and others in the class. For the first time, when looking at these teachings about spirituality, life began to make sense. Also, for the first time I recognized the need for guidance from a mentor who was well versed in the subject. This led me to a study of parapsychology and, eventually, meditation.

While in college, I went to a meditation seminar taught by a PhD from a well-recognized parapsychology organization. He put us into meditation, and when he brought us out, one of the attendees asked what it meant that he had seen a bright white light inside. The teacher didn’t know what to say. That’s when I learned that just because someone has a PhD, it doesn’t mean they are also proficient in esoteric, spiritual knowledge. So, I kept meditating on my own.

I had always wanted to help people, and when the time came to settle on a career, I decided to apply to medical school. Medical school is quite stressful. I noticed there was one classmate who was always smiling, and we eventually became fast friends. I learned that he was a meditator and had a spiritual teacher, Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj. I realized this might be the person with the esoteric knowledge I was looking for. When his teacher was visiting the West from India, my friend and I drove to Montreal to meet him. That’s when I knew I had found the teacher I’d been looking for.

While attending spiritual programs in Chicago, I met Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj’s son Rajinder Singh. In 1989, when Sant Darshan Singh Ji passed on, it came as no surprise to me that Sant Rajinder Singh Ji took on the role of spiritual Master and head of Science of Spirituality. He has been expertly guiding me and many other spiritual seekers ever since.

Meditation as a tool for healing

I’ve been in family practice now for over 30 years. Meditation is something I recommend to patients if I see they are open to it. But only one group of people benefit from meditation: those who actually do it and not just talk or think about it. Everyone who tries it tells me it helps them develop inner peace. It can also help with reducing pain and anxiety.

In a sense, meditation is a panacea for the stresses of modern life. I find it always delivers, no matter the patients’ condition, when they put in the effort.

Meditation also helps in developing compassion. The importance of compassion in medicine became clear to me when I developed a life-threatening illness after a trip abroad. While I lay in my hospital bed, not knowing if I would live or die, the main thing that mattered to me when medical personnel came into the room was whether or not they cared. Luckily both my doctors were very caring individuals. Scientific studies have shown that meditation helps those who practice it to be more compassionate (Gutierrez 2016, Bond 2013, Erogul 2014).

Right now, with everything going on in the world, we need tools like meditation to help us all develop more compassion. Regular and expert meditators actually experience less stress and more compassion. In fact, the more we meditate accurately, the greater the stress reduction, and the more compassion we develop.

One area I have first-hand experience with is the striking effect meditation has on blood pressure. When I am treating people with hypertension, I personally take their blood pressure two to three times and often find the last reading is the lowest. However, if a patient is a meditator, I ask them to meditate after a high reading. On retaking their blood pressure, in less than a minute it is lower—sometimes by 10-20 mm Hg or more.

Meditation is for all ages

I taught a meditation class at a retirement center a few years back and found that some of the seniors who attended had amazing experiences while meditating.

I hear a lot at work about the stresses that many experience in their lives. I find that with regular meditation, stress has far less of an effect on me and enables me to focus on helping my patients. If I didn’t meditate, I wouldn’t be able to do the work I do. And if I meditate less on some days, I notice that work-related stress has more of an effect on me.

In medicine, we are generally taught that for most medications, the larger the dose the larger the effect—but also the more possibilities of negative side effects. With meditation it’s the opposite: the larger the dose the more beneficial the effects, and all side effects are positive.

The more we meditate, the more we can deal with stress and the more compassion we have. So, let’s not wait, let’s meditate!

 

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