Identifying the tools we’ve been given to crack open our misinterpretations and misunderstandings so that we may evolve into a new awareness.
Early in my career, I practiced medicine in Florida where I would occasionally cover for another doctor who did rounds at a local hospice center. As you probably know hospice care is where terminally ill people usually spend the last months of their lives. In most cases, hospice patients tend to be elderly, but not always.
During my shift one day, I met a patient who was suffering from a very aggressive form of pancreatic cancer. He enjoyed my company and as time went by, I looked forward to checking in on him, as well. As we became friends, I learned that he had been the curator of a natural history museum for decades before becoming sick and I was amazed to see that he lived for seven more years, well beyond his prognosis. I believe that had to do in equal parts to his physical treatments, as well as the companionship and love he felt from our meetings.
Some time after he passed away I was contacted by his daughter. She told me her father had left me something in his will and that it was being sent. I couldn’t imagine what it was. When I finally opened the box, I was staring at a very strange, round stone. It was the size of a ripe mango with one side chipped away creating a smooth edge as sharp as a razor. The description included identified this as an authentic uniface lateral margin hand axe excavated in an archaeological dig in Africa. It was several thousand years old. As I read on, I learned that indigenous tribes used the axe to break open the skulls of the dead and consume the brain. While just the thought of that gave me goosebumps, I understood the necessity of it. I know from my academic studies that ancient civilizations would often consume the brains of the dead for sustenance, avoiding the diseased muscle and organs; the brain is encased in a sterile chamber that protects it from such infection. It’s incredible that the ancients intuitively knew this. What they couldn’t have known is that through using the axe to consume the brain, they were causing their own brains to grow and expand. This simple practice of consuming the brain alone was the catalyst for the greatly increased intelligence of the human species and a giant leap in its evolution.
The gift made me appreciate how our brains, and what goes on inside them, actually nourishes us and drives our personal evolution, too. Perhaps it’s the very things we identify as negative, like depression and anxieties, that are sharpening our consciousness. They’re the tools we’ve been given to crack open our misinterpretations and misunderstandings about ourselves so that we may evolve into a new awareness. Our emotional and psychological challenges aren’t problems to be avoided, but tools we can consciously use to reshape the way we think. It doesn’t happen overnight. Like creating a hand axe, it takes time, but each experience shaves another chip off the edge of your old self, making the new spirit you’re fashioning sharper and more effective.
In the same way we wince at the idea of eating a human brain, we tend to flinch when it comes to dealing with the problems of the mind. To openly admit that we struggle with anxieties and depression is to label ourselves as “broken” in some fundamental way. That’s taboo. So, we opt to turn away and dampen our awareness with mood stabilizing drugs. I’m not against medical intervention for the seriously, mentally ill, but I do feel that it’s become far too easy to mute these important messages with a prescription. When we do that, we blunt the very tools we’ve been given to further our own advancement. If we have the courage to be active participants in the most unsavory experiences of our lives, we’ll hasten our personal evolution, and become the most powerful tool for change in our own lives.
Dr. Habib Sadeghi is the co-founder of Be Hive of Healing, an integrative health center based in Los Angeles. He provides revolutionary healing protocols in integrative, osteopathic, anthroposophical, environmental, and family medicine, as well as clinical pharmacology. He served as an attending Physician and Clinical Facilitator at UCLA-SM Medical Center and is currently a Clinical Instructor of Family Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences. Dr. Sadeghi is a regular contributor to Goop, CNN, BBC News and TEDx. He is the author of Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss, as well as the foreword to Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good, and is the publisher of the health and well-being journal, MegaZEN.