Last week I had the incredible honour of being part of a group that served as Chiropractic Doctors in the San Nirankari Samagan in New Delhi, India. Over the course of three days the 60 doctors saw to an estimated 11 000 people.
The San Nirankari is a spiritual movement that started in 1929. What they teach is that although there were many differences in the various religions and communities around the world, what we fundamentally believe in is the same. They focus on this truth instead of the rituals and dogmas that separate the religions and belief systems. From that started this movement of peace and love. Twice a year, around 1 and a half million people from all over India meet to live as one family in a very organised and clean camp. Huge kitchens and cafeterias are erected to cook for everyone and there are also makeshift hospitals, dispensaries and in the past couple of years there has also been a Chiropractic section.
Every morning we arrived at the Chiropractic tent where hundreds of people were already lined up… on our last day people were waiting for 3 hours in the baking sun. This meant that we had to move with incredible purpose and efficiency to make sure that everyone could be seen. Everyone had a brief history taken by volunteers and then listened to a health talk (one of our team members gave around 80 each day) following that they could then come into the tent to be seen by a chiropractor assisted by a translator. The Chiropractors would also do rounds to the hospital and non-ambulatory (the Indians very sweetly names it ‘specially-abled’) tents to attend to the people that could not come to us.
Over the course of three days we saw incredible things happen. For the most part we did not know much about the person we were adjusting in front of us, except what our chiropractic examination and palpation skills revealed.
Many people came in saying that they had back pain or neck pain but may have neglected to tell us, for example, that they were deaf; we soon learned that it was not about what they were telling us but more about what their bodies were telling us. Once in a while someone would come in with a walking aid of some sort and then walk off, unaided, after their adjustment. A couple of people came in to let us know that their hearing returned. I saw countless disabled children being carried into the tent, some of them had phenomenal changes over the few days that we were there. But for the most part we had no idea how that one adjustment impacted the life of the person we saw to.
This was such a powerful reminder of what I see in practice daily. Even if we take a comprehensive history and perform the best exam, we still don’t know exactly what a persons body is doing deep inside. As most of us know, there are so many processes that our body works through all the time and most of the time we are not even aware of it. The most important part is to remove the interference to your bodies innate ability to heal and miracles happen!
2. We are more alike than we are different.
We couldn’t help but being touched by the mission and the people around us. The custom at the mission is to greet another by touching their feet, in essence, bowing down, not to the other person, but the spirit inside the other person. This, among other things, created such a feeling of unity and ‘sameness’. Most of the people we adjusted are not used to being touched by someone not wearing gloves, and I must admit, at first I wondered if I would be comfortable with that as well. What surprised me most is that did not bother me at all. Somehow, those people became my people and I found myself unable to take breaks or rest much, knowing that there were people in line, waiting to be seen. Most of the women were dressed in the most beautiful sari’s and I felt that I was adjusting in a sea of colour for most of the day.
The whole experience left me with a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude not only for my life back in Amsterdam, where there is clean air and fresh water. Grateful that there are movements like the San Nirankari in the world that holds such a strong vision of uniting humanity and extremely grateful that my life has led me to be part of something like this. I am more than ever, grateful that I am a Chiropractor and that I get to help people in such a natural in loving way every day.