Jill Holden shares An Excerpt from the Book: How Can I Help? in The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter, issue Number 56, Spring 2007:
An excerpt from the book: How Can I Help? by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman – Publisher: New York – Knopf 1985, as submitted by Jill Holden
After a moment the woman rests back upon her pillow. From time to time she raises her head to look at the strange figure above her, then sinks back once more. I cannot see their hands joined in a correspondence that is exclusive, intimate, his fingertips receiving the voice of her sick body through the rhythm and throb she offers at her wrist. All at once I am envious – not of him, not of Yeshi Dhonden for his gift of beauty and holiness, but of her. I want to be held like that, touched so, received. And I know that I, who have palpated a hundred thousand pulses, have not felt a single one.
At last Yeshi Dhonden straightens, gently places the woman’s hand upon the bed, and steps back. The interpreter produces a small wooden bowl and two sticks. Yeshi Dhonden pours a portion of the urine specimen and proceeds to whip the liquid with the two sticks. This he does for several minutes until a foam is raised. Then, bowing above the bowl, he inhales the odor three times. He sets down the bowl and turns to leave. All this while, he has not uttered a single word.
As he nears the door, the woman raises her head and calls out to him in a voice that is urgent and serene. “Thank you, doctor,” she says, and touches with her other hand the place he had held on her wrist, as though to recapture something that had visited there. Yeshi Dhonden turns back for a moment to gaze at her, then steps into the corridor. Rounds are at an end.
We are seated once more in the conference room. Yeshi Dhonden speaks now for the first time, in soft Tibetan sounds that I have never heard before. He has barely begun when the young interpreter begins to translate, the two voices continuing in tandem – a bilingual fugue, the one chasing the other. It is like the chanting of monks. He speaks of winds coursing through the body of the woman, currents that break against barriers, eddying. These vortices are in her blood, he says. The last spendings of an imperfect heart. Between the chambers of the heart, long, long before she was born, a wind had come and blown open a deep gate that must never be opened. Through it charge the full waters of her river, as the mountain stream cascades in the springtime, battering, knocking loose the land, and flooding her breath. Thus he speaks, and now he is silent.
“May we now have the diagnosis?” a professor asks.
The host of these rounds, the man who knows, answers.
“Congenital heart disease,” he says. “Interventricular septal defect, with resultant heart failure.”
A gateway in the heart, I think. That must not be opened. Through it charge the full waters that flood her breath. So! Here then is the doctor listening to the sounds of the body to which the rest of us are deaf. He is more than doctor. He is priest.
I know…I know…the doctor to the gods is pure knowledge, pure healing. The doctor to man stumbles, must often wound; his patient must die, as must he.
Now and then it happens, as I make my own rounds, that I hear the sounds of his voice, like an ancient Buddhist prayer, its meaning long since forgotten, only the music remaining. Then a jubilation possesses me, and I feel myself touched by something divine.
Thank you, Jill.
Thank you, Ram Dass.
Thank you, Paul Gorman.
Thank you, Yeshi Dhonden.
Thank you, Mary.
Thank you, David.
Gassho, Namaste, Blessings
All issues of The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter are available at http://www.jsjinc.net.