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Dr. Fred Hui

Helping People Achieve Balance in Life

Medical Post In Search of Serenity

MEDICAL POST

VOLUME 36, NO. 39, November 21, 2000 

With a busy practice in a busy city, a Toronto                                  doctor has found a way to maintain tranquillity

By Nikki McManus 

     Not all doctors’ diversions are of the cliffhanging, daredevil, adventurous type. Indeed, they may be spiritual. Such is the case for Toronto’s Dr. Frederick Hui who seeks to harness the power of meditation to bring tranquility and calm into his life.

     This practitioner, who was recently appointed a lecturer at the University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine, has a twice-daily prescription for himself with lifetime repeats: each morning and evening, he devotes himself to a 20-minute meditation regimen. The slight 47-year-old doctor was born in Hong Kong where, he notes, East meets West and the principles of yin and yang comfortably coexist. In 1973, he immigrated to Canada to further his medical studies at U of T. He spent his early years in and out of hospitals. Plagued by chronic asthma and eczema, he couldn’t pursue the sports and hobbies enjoyed by his classmates. He grew up with physical pain. “(As a result) I remember, even in Grade 4, I thought of nothing else than either being a doctor, ambulance driver or a nurse,” he recalls.

     He became fascinated with meditation while in his 20s. He talked to others about their methods, took classes in transcendental meditation and learned Qi Kong, a Chinese energy healing method, from a master. Eventually he refined and synthesized all that amassed learning to design his own mix-and-match philosophy.

     Dr. Hui now has this discipline down to such a fine art that he can “disappear” into his mind at any place and at any time. “You could sit me at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor (streets in downtown Toronto) at rush hour and I could meditate,” he says with a laugh. And he certainly acknowledges its aid “in getting through medical school stress-free (and) having renewed energy at the end of the day.” But he admits that meditating in his small, but exquisite, Japanese garden adds that extra fillip of enjoyment—a natural extension of the overall tranquillity he seeks.

     “When you walk in here, if you’re talking loudly, you notice that (your voice) becomes quieter —you have to quiet down. It’s the nature, the minimalism.” This communion with nature offers a transitional state for the physician: “Having a moment in which you just return your body wavelength back into the rhythm of nature. “It brings back serenity,” he says. “It’s like hitting a tuning fork outside your body in a low, relaxing, tone. Your body vibrates in unison with this outside energetic. You tune your body to get back into the same wavelength with that vibration. One of the beauties of a Japanese garden when seeking nature is that it needn’t be grandiose, he says. “It can be (created) in a very small space, on a tiny apartment balcony. Everything can be in miniature. It’s just a place where you can get back into your own little world.” Dr. Hui brings this wisdom to his patients—many of whom have adopted his philosophy and principles in their own lives.

     Meditation is integral to the stress-management course he teaches at Centennial College. He also uses it to help treat patients suffering stress-related illnesses. “The beauty of meditation is that no matter how much turmoil your life is in there is always a niche, a corner in which you can seek refuge. Once you set a program (you can achieve) that peaceful feeling Š You can carry that and go anywhere—even if it’s just back into your own world.”                                                              ———-Nikki McManus is a Toronto writer. 

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