At 5:53 am on January 31st, after 20 months of an intense journey with a Glioblastoma brain tumor and at the young age of 60, my father Dr. David Simon took his last breath and transitioned to the other side.
If you can picture it… my step-mom, my two little sisters, my uncle (his brother), and I literally had our hands on his chest as his soul left his body.
… It was both profoundly peaceful and unbelievably sad at the same time.
Paradox… this is what my father represented, taught, and embraced throughout his entire life.
And this is my tribute to him… a great man that transformed the lives of millions.
My Father Was Known As David Simon M.D.
He was a pioneer.
As a certified Neurologist, he was one of the first western certified doctor in the United States to actively recommend and endorse alternative medicine.
In fact, he established one of the first ever mind-body medicine clinic’s in the mid 80’s and started treating patients with meditation and yoga to lower their high-blood pressure, reduce their stress, and heal quicker.
One of my favorite stories my father used to tell me was about how the Chief of Staff at his hospital came to him secretly and in-private to ask him to teach him meditation to help him lower his cholesterol.
He made him swear not to tell anyone. My dad agreed and gave him the prescription: 20 minutes of meditation per day.
Weeks later as the Chief of Staff was leading a group of new students around the hospital, he saw my dad and screamed at the top of his lungs:
“Their is my guru Dr. Simon! David taught me to meditate and now my cholesterol is 100% back to normal!”
My dad always had a way of inspiring even the most skeptical to take a second look at the things that would inspire them to achieve wholeness…
He had enough of the traditional system
Upon seeing the confining limitations of working within a traditional hospital setting where his mind-body medicine clinic was set up… he decided to leave. That’s when he teamed up with Deepak Chopra to really make some waves.
… And as they say, the rest is history.
Over The Next Two Decades
My father authored and co-authored 12 different books in topics from mind-body medicine, to healing from emotional trauma, to how to achieve lasting love and freedom to reversing the aging process … many of which became best sellers.
Ironically… one of his award winning books “Return To Wholeness” was about a new approach to cancer. Yup… there goes that paradox thing again.
In 1992, he co-founded The Chopra Center for Wellbeing (with Deepak) which went on to transform the lives of millions of people through their courses and certifications. It has been called the “healing mecca of the world.”
He developed a style of meditation called Primordial Sound which to date, has been taught to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
How amazing that something my dad developed is being used my millions of people every single day. It’s almost a little mind-blowing.
He became the M.D. to the celebrities, helping hundreds of the biggest names in the world in just about every industry (movies, music, business, etc) to heal and rejuvenate during their most challenging periods. To respect their privacy, I won’t name any names.
He developed an intensive teacher training certification program to certify hungry consciousness seekers to become Primordial Sound Meditation teachers and created a world-wide network of people spreading this beautiful message and tools of transformation… of which there are now thousands all over the globe.
In essence… my father made the type of impact in the world that many only dream of… And he loved every second of it.
Dad… thank you for being such a shinning example of what’s possible. You have inspired so many to see that it truly is possible to do good and do well.
We Didn’t See It Coming
In June of 2012, he self-diagnosed his own brain tumor.
Yes… you read that right. He SELF-DIAGNOSED his own brain tumor… and from that point forward, our lives changed in a radical way.
Not only did he predict (and warn) his neurosurgeon about a rare neurological disorder called “Alexia without agraphia” where you lose the ability to read yet you can still write if a certain part of the brain is damanged…
… and then watch his fear become a reality after his first brain surgery where he did in fact lose the ability to read even though he could still write (that’s right… he had TWO brain surgery’s)…
But after multiple rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, he was forced to give up his medical license, stop driving, stop acting as CEO of The Chopra Center, and essentially learn to ask for help in just about every area of his life since he couldn’t read, drive, or remember much on his own.
So How Did He Handle It?
In typical David Simon fashion…
With a level of smooth acceptance that almost makes you feel bad about the stupid stuff you worry about every single day.
Not to mention that he was brave enough to allow me and a team of amazing film-makers to create an entire documentary film about him and this whole crazy process.
Yup… that’s what the Simon family does while dealing with a brain tumor… produce a full-length documentary to help others who might be suffering during intense times and unexpected situation. What an amazing man he was…
You can see it here: http://returntowholeness.com/
I thought long and hard about else to say about him…
And I realized that the greatest gift I could give to him is to pass along his wisdom and teachings with the world. Because that was my dad’s dharma (purpose)… to help others. And he did it day in and day out for his entire life.
So here are some of the greatest lessons I learned from my father, the one and only Dr. David Simon. May his knowledge pass through me and live on through you…
David Simon Life Lesson #1: Don’t waste energy or hold onto things that do not serve you.
Life is filled with experiences that can hurt you, make you feel bad, or cause you pain.
But my dad would always tell us: “Do not to allow that energy to linger. Let it go. Don’t waste your precious life energy holding onto things that don’t serve you.”
I learned from dad that it’s always a choice. You can choose to make yourself miserable and continue to perpetuate an old story… or you can decide that it’s more painful to “hold on” and instead decide to let go… which always leads to more freedom and joy.
David Simon Life Lesson #2: You deserve to be happy and loved.
My dad always used to ask the question: “Does god want you to be happy?” And of course, whether you believe in god or not, it would be pretty hard to imagine that god wanted you to be miserable so the answer was always yes.
Because my dad also believed that every person on this planet deserved to be happy and to experience love… No matter how turbulent their past was or how many times they had been hurt before.
It’s funny… but I can’t tell you how many times I heard him say this to people, “you deserve to be happy”, and for the first time in their lives… they believed it.
It was like a light would switch on and they would say: “This super important man is telling me that I can be happy and loved… so it must be true.”
And then their entire reality would shift… Poof, just like that.
My father had this impeccable way of penetrating your insecurity and doubt with such precision that you literally couldn’t hide behind it any more. It was truly amazing and unique…
David Simon Life Lesson #3: You have a unique path.
My dad loved talking about “Dharma” – which loosely translates to life purpose in the Vedic traditions.
Why? Because he always deeply believed that everyone on the planet had a unique expression – something they were brought here to do that is completely and totally yours – and that when you pay close attention to what that is and then find the courage to declare it – that is when your life becomes a magical ride.
But he always warned us… dharma (purpose) is not about power, status, or accomplishment. It is about what you love. What feels easy and fun to you. What genuinely serves others.
“You can be totally in your dharma as a trash man, or as a mom, or doing nothing” he used to say. “Because if that is what you love, and that is where time feels timeless, than that is what you are meant to be doing and that is your purpose for the moment.”
He helped thousands of people stop trying to be something they weren’t and start living an authentic life full of potential and wonder. That is how I learned to so boldly go after what I want and not apologize for being who I am.
Again, it was so amazing to watch him “give permission” to people who had been fighting against their own identity about what they think they “should be” for decades… and to see how fast people would shift into doing what they loved and being who they truly wanted to be in the world.
What a gift… to allow us all to be a little more authentic to who we really are. Thank you dad for inspiring so many to find their true purpose.
This is one piece of your legacy I will definitely carry on for you.
I’m sure more lessons and memories will come in the days and months to follow
But now it’s time to plan a remembrance service, console my family, take my own time to grieve, and determine what’s next for my own path.
Losing the man I respect the most in my life has been a real blow. But I know the soul never dies and in some ways, I feel closer to him right now than ever before.
So even though he is not here with us in the physical form, I can feel his presence, energy, and wisdom very strongly in my heart. And I will carry his fire with me throughout every step of my journey moving forward.
If you have any stories of my father
I’d be so grateful to hear them below. Please share.
How did my dad inspire you? What did you learn from him? How did you shift the direction of your life?
During this time of remembrance, it’s nice to celebrate all the amazing things he did. So please let me know if you have anything to contribute here. I’m also grateful for your kind wishes and sweet words.
And as always, thanks for being a loyal member of this tribe. I hope this little tribute made a difference in your life today and inspired you to give a little more, be a little more loving, and live your life a little more fully.
And dad, I want to thank you for bringing me into this world, inspiring me with your leadership and vision, and being such an amazing friend, role model, and mentor to me. I will never forget you and do everything in my power to carry on your legacy…