Mindful Medical Work

I have recently returned to working as a general medical practitioner. In doing so, I have benefItted from the teachings of Thay in the following ways: I do some form of walking meditation while going from one room to the other. My office has two doors leading to the room where I meet the patient. On my side of the door, I have taped a small drawing of a smiling face that reminds me to take three mindful breaths before going through the door, and maybe even to smile. This helps me be more aware of the attitude I have towards the patient, and I can be more present when I meet the patient. Trying to be aware of the Buddha-nature of each patient- whether she be a beautiful girl with a sore throat, or a chronic, foul-smelling alcoholic coming for the Xth time to have help detoxifying-is a great help in my daily work.

The working situation has also shown me that the doors of my heart are not as open as I might think. I am often more concerned with my own comfort and needs than with the needs of the patients and co-workers. In realizing this, I try to breathe and smile so as not to create a battlefield within myself.

Jorgen Hannibal Helsinge, Denmark

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