This past Tuesday, a local icon and a world renowned physician, author, speaker and healer, sadly passed away. Diagnosed with brain cancer 20 months ago, Dr. David Simon continued to pursue his inspirational work at the Chopra Center here in San Diego up until his last moments. In 1996, David co-founded the Chopra Center for Wellbeing with his colleague and mind-body healing expert, Deepak Chopra, M.D. Together, they have expanded people’s understanding of the true meaning of health, helping thousands of people throughout the world experience the healing benefits of Ayurveda, meditation, and yoga. David Simon taught us many lessons and there is no question he followed his Dharma.
I have a very lasting memory of an extremely powerful experience I shared with Dr. Simon a few years ago at a Chopra Center Event called Seduction of Spirit. The moment occured during an exercises which included several hundred participants gathered on the beach in Marco Island, Florida. Music was playing, waves were crashing in the background, the breeze coming off the water and onto our faces as we all held hands. We were all connected, all one.
During this exercise we were asked to walk with our hands joined and look into the eyes of the person who is in front of you as they pass before you. Initially, it felt strange, slightly uncomfortable. I was asking myself, why is this so uncomfortable? I interact and connect with people everyday. As I continued to follow the line of over 300 people serpentining hand-in-hand and in unison I continued to feel a bit awkward. Then it happened. A break in the chain caused the flow of the exercise to come to a complete stop. Music still playing, waves and breezes still pulsating, I anticipated even more awkwardness as I met eye-to-eye with yet another stranger and now at a standstill. When I look across from me - who do I see? None other than David Simon. Panic now trumped awkwardness. Out of 300 people, the one person I get as my partner was the creator of the entire event (not to mention one of the foremost pioneers in the field of mind/body medicine). He looked into my eyes and I into his and after a couple involuntary blinks any and all feeling of panic or discomfort is washed away. I suddenly felt and understood the lesson. I felt the human connection throughout my physical and spiritual body. My new feeling of complete calm and peace helped me realized why I initially felt so uncomfortable. I was looking AT my friends on the beach but I was not look WITHIN them.
After about 30 seconds, the line began to move again. But 30 seconds is all it took. I continued on with the exercise no longer feeling any discomfort but with a feeling of excitement at the prospect of "seeing" more and more people in our chain. The exercise, ever-heightened by David Simon's kind and enlighteneing gaze, made an enormous impact on my life. It helped me gain the understanding that we are all one. Our suffering, joys, love, challenges and journeys are all one. WOW! Jai! I have never been the same since that moment. I know that there are millions of others out there who have been transformed by having Dr. David Simon in their life in one way or another and I feel extremely priviledged to be one of them.
Here is a beautiful tribute to celebrate the life and love of our leader and teacher Dr. David Simon.