- Dr. Leslie Deems, DACM, LAc.
When one speaks to operating in their highest potential I think of living in balance and harmony within oneself and with nature. What does it mean to live and create from a place of balance in ones life and how do we do it? We all know that the body is constantly striving for homeostasis. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, homeostasis is considered “any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival. If homeostasis is successful, life continues; if unsuccessful, disaster or death ensues” (Enclyclopaedia Britannica, 2018). What if we expanded the idea of homeostasis to include more than just physiological processes?
Physiological actions in the body, although very valuable in that they work to keep us alive, are not the only operating system to providing for a rightful balance. I would argue that in order to create the kind of balance that most of us practitioners aspire to, it is essential to address underlying unconscious bias. As much as we would like to think of ourselves as clear and void of all bias, the truth is, that we all have underlying bias working in the background, or foreground, in our lives. The various predispositions and prejudices that we hold can exist on a level that we are not aware of, dictating our decision making processes and defining perspective. Some of our unconscious biases work to protect us and end up serving us in a positive way. Other biases further prejudice and separation within our relationships with friends, family, acquaintances, and with people in our neighborhoods, communities, and cities. Working as a primary care provider puts me in contact with many different types of people. It stands to reason that these unconscious biases could be operating in a way that affects my relationships with my patients.
If these unconscious biases are favorable, then the person, or in this case a patient, essentially benefits, but if the existing biases are unfavorable, the patient, as well as practitioner, suffers unnecessarily. If our intention as practitioners is to operate in our highest potential in our work as well as in own lives in general, then we must, address these unconscious biases. How we go about uncovering bias is through deeper self-discovery and exploration. Delving further into self, or peeling back the layers, can be explored through a committed practice of meditation. Further expansion both mentally and physically is possible with mediation. Mediation lends itself to developing a deeper awareness of self and surroundings and arguably facilitates a process that can help us to evolve past unconscious bias. Rumi said in one of his poems, “You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.” Meditation has the potential to help us “fly” past or above our limited view points.
Once we begin to bring more awareness to our lives, our biases that have been lurking in the unconscious start to either reveal themselves to the conscious mind for exploration or simply disappear. Through daily meditation and the dissolving of bias we naturally initiate ourselves toward inclusion. This opening of self lends itself to embracing diversity of culture, race, religion, and ethnicity, while spontaneously exposing us to differences. In my own life, I feel as though there is continual opportunity for growth, movement, and change through self-awareness practices. With a daily focus and commitment to my personal meditation practice, I connect to my higher self which then brings about profound shifts within me and, therefore, also in my private practice. This naturally encourages a gentle movement toward reaching my goals and living in my highest potential.
Encyclopedia Britannica. (2018). Homeostasis. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/ science/homeostasis.
Rumi, J.: (1995 ). The essential Rumi: the new expanded edition. (C. Barks, J. Moyne, Trans.). New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.