The Healer Looked At My Face & Said
"So You Like Raw Tomatoes!"
She was a sweet and tiny little lady from India, reported to be a healer, giving a lecture at Harvard University. I had gone to see her because I had a medical condition no one could either diagnose or relieve. It had been going on for a few months. I wanted to see if there was anything she could do for me.
I had woken up one morning and to find I was unable to lift myself out of bed. There was a tremendous pain in my hip and side. My middle section, particularly from the top of my left hip down several inches to the center front of my leg front felt extremely tight and painful. I was baffled. I hadn't done any extreme physical activity the day before or recently. I was in pretty good shape in fact, and had been playing a lot of tennis. But I hadn't played for a couple of days. This was unlike any physical feeling I'd had before.
But it really was tight; for some reason I couldn't explain, my body had stiffened up. The best thing seemed to be to try to get loose again. We lived right by a rails-to-trails walking path so I worked my way out of bed, into clothes and headed out. I walked but things weren't getting better. In fact, after a while I realized I was getting into trouble. I was in a lot of pain and my hip was getting more tight. I didn't even know if I could get back home. I did, but it was a tough go. And when I got there I fell back into bed. I was there for weeks.
It was a mystery, but I guessed it would straighten itself out soon. Wrong. It just kept up. And I absolutely could not do any physical exercise. I remember when I finally started moving around a little again, I moved a few bricks it the back yard and afterward I thought it might kill me. There continued to be a lot of pain and extreme tightness. While it was worst around my left hip at the front, the tightness extended around my entire midsection and up through my back.
I had signed up to go back to school to an executive MBA program that was going to start in January. The problem began right around Halloween. As the weeks went by it became more and more questionable whether I would be able to go to the school program. When I did get around I was using a cane.
Along the way I saw all kinds of medical practicioners - western mainstream and alternative. No one could understand what was going on. Acupuncture seem to give me some relief, but it wasn't actually fixing the problem. As the date for school approached I decided to accelerate the healing effort, and went for a pretty intense series of acupucture treatments. It helped. I gained enough mobility to decide that I could work on my MBA. Luckily I met a genial fellow-student who lugged the multiple heavy books we all got for me. There was no chance I could manage it myself. (Joe and his wife Meri remain good friends.)
But the problem remained. So when I heard about the Indian healer called Sri Chakravarti and that she was going to talk at Harvard, I made plans to attend. We were told that she would give a talk and then would pick a few people from the audience to work with. I was of course hoping that I would be one of those she worked with.
The evening of the presentation came. Sri was introduced and entered the room. It was a small Harvard lecture hall, with chairs running up in front of the presentation area. When Sri came in I experienced something very special. She was filled with an extraordinary and beautiful energy. I immediately felt differently. I felt very lucky just to be there with her. Suddenly I didn't care if I was one she called on or not. I was happy just to see her and hear her.
She spoke a bit. She sparkled and was buoyant and joyful. I think she spoke a little about Ayurvedic medicine and her experiences.
She started calling a few people to come up one at a time. Those who were interested had submitted their names earlier and they were drawing a few names. One woman went up and Sri started grabbing her blouse and saying "Do you wash this? Do you wash your clothes?" The woman was taken back, but said "Of course I do!" Sri said: "Then why don't you wash your insides? It's much more important than your clothes!" Every patient was told that they needed to drink more water.
My name was called. I walked slowly down to Sri. She looked up at me and with a giant grin said: "So you like raw tomatoes, huh?" Stunned, I answered "I just quit." She giggled and had me lie down on a treatment table. As she started poking me she said raw onions were part of the problem too.
I did - and do now - grow vegetables in an organic garden. Nothing is more tasty than a fresh-picked garden tomato, particularly one you've grown yourself. That year I had a monster tomato crop. I was having a slice of tomato on a English muffin in the morning, tomato sandwiches for lunch, salsa for appetizers and snacks - and for dinners home-made tomato sauce, chili, and every variation of serving tomato you can think of. Of course I made lots of salads with fresh ingredients from my garden - including onion and tomato. I had lunch out a few times a week too, and when I did I almost always ate at an Indian restaurant where I started with papadum bread with -- you guessed it, raw onion and tomato.
Okay, I can admit it now. I am a tomatoholic. Just writing this makes me feel like a fool. But at the time I was just loving the fresh food and thinking "what could be better than fresh organic produce from my own garden?" Well I guess the answer is obvious enough - a more varied diet of organic vegetables.
Sri had me lay down on my face and poked at my back - causing me considerable pain - which seemed to cause her just to giggle more. She asked if my back was worse in the morning or at the end of the day. I said in the morning. Okay, she said, that means it isn't from your physical activity during the day. She pushed into my kidneys and I howled. She giggled. She had me sit up and showed me the acupressure point to push on my foot every day to treat the kidneys. As she did this she applied a lot of pressure just there. I howled. Sri explained that the tightness and hardness of my kidneys were leading directly to the tension and tightness of my pelvic girdle.
She told me that the excessive amount of oxilic acid I was intaking through raw tomatoes and raw onions was hardening my kidneys. I needed to stop eating them and start drinking a lot more water. She also told me to heat gravel, wrap it in a cloth and sit with my back against it every day.
I did all of these things. Every night when I studied, I put the hot rocks behind me, and pushed on the spot on my feet. One of the results was lighting my chair on fire, but most of the outcomes were more positive. I slowly but noticably and steadily improved. Not eating tomatoes was hard for me. But you know pain - the greatest motivator of all.
I also visited a local place that taught me more about Ayurveda, and helped me further improve my diet. (Tomatoes weren't the only thing I was doing wrong, but let's not go into that.) I healed. After years of no raw tomatoes, then some with very few, I am now able to eat them like a normal person. That is a great source of joy for me. Writing this is a good reminder for me as the tomatoes in my garden are coming in.
Of course you no doubt already see the point that my problem came from an excess of one type of food. Tomatoes are very good for you - in reasonable quantity. Many now believe that they help keep prostates healthy. Lycopene in tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant. And tomatoes deliver many other nutrients.
But too much of a good thing isn't a good thing anymore. Please get yourself a good water purifier, so that the water you're drinking is itself healthy - and drink more water!
Thank you Sri.
To your health everyone. Timothy