Conversation with Sadhguru at Duke University
The most recent installation of the In Conversation With The Mystic series took place at Duke University Medical Center on May 5th. Sadhguru was joined by Dr. Tracy Gaudet of the United States Veteran’s Health Administration for an Experiential Symposium on Optimal Health and Wellbeing.
The afternoon began with a thought-provoking presentation by Dr. Mitchell Krucoff on “Spirituality and Intangible Human Healing Capacities: The Future of High Tech Medicine.” Dr. Krucoff is Professor of Medicine/Cardiology and an Interventional Cardiologist at Duke University Medical Center, internationally recognized for his pioneering research in several areas including complementary therapies in patients with heart disease.
Dr. Krucoff’s presentation outlined his research which is laying the groundwork to illuminate the role of spirituality in medical practice. The MANTRA Study Project, which Dr. Krucoff directs, is working to examine the impact of noetic therapies – including intercessory prayer, music, imagery and touch therapy – on patients with heart disease.
Sadhguru then took the floor along with Dr. Tracy Gaudet, the Director of the Unites States Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation. Dr. Gaudet is the former Executive Director of Duke Integrative Medicine, where she pioneered the opening of a state-of-the-art healthcare facility dedicated to the transformation of medicine through the exploration of new models of whole-person health care.
Throughout the conversation, Dr. Gaudet asked insightful questions stemming from her depiction of the current state of healthcare in the US, from theory and treatment paradigms, to health education reform, as well as the mental and emotional health of soldiers and veterans.
Dr. Gaudet’s first question centered on shifting the fundamental model of medical care from an “attack mode” of disease treatment to a marriage of prevention and treatment. Medicine in the West, Sadhguru elaborated, originated from the treatment of infectious disease, which must be treated as an invasion. However, the majority of ailments and disease today are self-created, stemming from food and lifestyle choices, as well as stress and anxiety. The ideal, Sadhguru explained, would be a system which looked at the total wellbeing of a person. He related that in yoga, health is nurtured through the purification of the 5 elements in a person.
A later question from Dr. Gaudet addressed the high suicide rate among recent veterans, often suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The situation is so dire that it has become, in Dr. Gaudet’s words, an “issue of national security” as the number of veteran suicides is far exceeding the number of casualties from combat. Sadhguru and Dr. Gaudet discussed methods of better preparing soldiers for the extreme situations of combats through tools as simple as a phone app.
Sadhguru gave the attendees an experiential glimpse of these simple tools by leading them through a meditative process called Isha Kriya, which supports increased mental clarity and creates distance from mental and physical suffering.
After the meditation, the conversation was opened up for audience questions. During this time, several Duke faculty in attendance expressed their support in continuing the spirit and direction of the conversation, agreeing with Dr. Gaudet that the event marks just the beginning of necessary change and progress.