"The best use of a physician's knowledge is to teach patients how to heal themselves." ~Dr. David Simon
An Expanded Vision of Health and Healing
As a medical student and young physician, David Simon explored a wide variety of healing traditions, searching for alternatives to the prevailing medical model that he found extremely disappointing and limiting. In his book The Wisdom of Healing, David recalled, “At times I was deeply demoralized that the notion of human beings as fully conscious, spiritually aware creations had been totally lost from the medical model of life and health.”
As David studied the ancient wisdom traditions of India, Tibet, and China, he was encouraged by the way in which they combined the concept of body, mind, and spirit into a definition of a health as something more than just the absence of disease, but as a state of wellbeing and vitality. David’s first exposure to an Ayurvedic physician was to have a profound impact on his personal life and career. David describes meeting this gentle vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor), whose kind-hearted, open nature seemed to inspire the trust of his patients, who were then able to share their deepest concerns and get the most benefit from their visit.
David was struck by how the vaidya’s own presence seemed to be the most powerful aspect of his therapy. “More than an expert on health, he seemed to be a living representative of a healthy person, balanced in body, mind, and spirit. In this man, I saw the possibility that a physician could be more than a technical master of pathology – a doctor could guide his patients to health through his actions, words, and being,” David wrote.
Deeply drawn to the wisdom of Ayurveda, David ultimately became a recognized expert in this 5,000-year-old healing system, including its sister science, yoga.
The Creation of the Chopra Center
In 1996, David co-founded the Chopra Center for Wellbeing with his colleague and mind-body healing expert, Deepak Chopra, M.D. Their shared vision was to create a beautiful, nurturing center where people could experience a truly holistic approach to health and wellbeing, combining the best in modern Western medicine with the wisdom of Eastern healing traditions.
David served as the CEO and Medical Director of the Chopra Center and was the driving force in the development and implementation of the Center’s signature programs, workshops, and retreats. Creating Perfect Health
One of the signature programs David and Deepak developed is Perfect Health, a 6- or 10-day healing and renewal immersion that continues to draw guests from throughout the world. For many years, David offered individual mind-body medical consultations to Perfect Health guests and taught a variety of classes on Ayurveda, conscious communication, emotional healing, and other wellness topics. His gentle spirit, penetrating insight, and vast knowledge helped many people restore their health and transform their lives.
David was committed to authenticity, and he embodied what he taught, meditating regularly, practicing yoga, and living an Ayurvedic lifestyle.
Journey into Healing
When the Chopra Center first opened its doors, there were few U.S. venues where physicians and other Western-trained healthcare providers could learn about complementary medicine and Eastern healing practices. More than a decade ago, David and Deepak created the Journey into Healing workshop to share their explorations and findings with likeminded health care professionals and anyone interested in their own health. Journey into Healing is now accredited by U.C. San Diego’s Medical School, offering continuing education credits for those in the medical field, and it continues to be one of the Center’s most popular foundational workshops.
In addition to leading programs and events, David wanted to reach out to a broader community of people who were unable to visit the Chopra Center in California but sought guidance and information about mind-body healing. He frequently appeared as a guest on radio and TV, and he wrote a regular “Ask Dr. Simon” column on chopra.com, responding to the many questions people sent in about a broad variety of healing topics.
To help meet the growing demand for information on mind-body health, the Healing Wisdom blog was developed, with articles, tips, and news from the Chopra Center’s entire medical staff and master instructors of Ayurveda/Perfect Health.