FINDING HEALING & HAPPINESS….

This posting will certainly be less impassioned then my last but perhaps simpler and more useful.  Sometimes the greatest wisdom is in the simplest notions–we just have to be aware and recognize it.

I reading from the research literature on positive psychology, I came upon the discussion on how to increase the happiness of those in the study.  The correlation between all aspects of healing and happiness is unequivocal.

The simple but profound ‘discovery’ was to encourage individuals to perform random acts of kindness. In other words, make someone happy and you will instantly feel better yourself. 

I was immediately reminded of the lyrics [which I Googled ] from Jimmy Durante’s song in the movie Sleepless in Seattle.

Make someone happy
Make just one someone happy,
Make just one heart the heart your sing to
One smile that lights when it nears you
One girl you’re ev’rything to
Fame if you win it,
Comes and goes in a minute
Where’s the real stuff in life to cling to?
Love is the answer
Someone to love is the answer
Once you’ve found her, build your world around her
Make someone happy
Make just one someone happy
And you’ll be happy too

The power of these words is in their truth. Compassion and kindness to every sentient [feeling]  being on the planet is the ultimate prescription for healing.

RESPONSE TO COMMENTS ON COLONIC HYDROTHERAPY

I wanted to respond in this posting to a comment by someone who disagreed with my opinion regarding colonic hydrotherapy.  Her tone was reasonable and respectful of my professional experience. 

She insisted that she had assisted in numerous colonic hydrotherapies [enema therapy] and that the results were remarkable and beneficial to many.

My response is simply this: there is no medical reason that anyone ‘needs’ to undergo this therapy. If they choose to do so and feel better as a result–that is there absolute choice.  Usually there is little toxicity associated with this treatment other than bloating and some anal discomfort.

My main objection is the false impression that this type of therapy is 1] biologically useful, 2] will do anything to re-establish a ‘normal’ bowel function.  It is also based on a faulty naturopathic premise that our bodies become ‘poisoned’ by own own fecal matter.  This is totally false!

Certainly, if there is a bowel perforation for any reason, we can become toxic and potentially die from overwhelming infection [sepsis].  However, our intact bowel mucosa [lining] is fantastically capable of preventing colonic bacteria from entering our bloodstream and causing such a dire medical condition.

I do not apologize for offering sound scientific medical advise.  Although I consider myself a holistic practitioner who incorporates awareness of the mind and spirit in addition to the body, there is no reason to abandon scientific knowledge in this endeavor.

As I noted previously, colonic cleansing can be a natural process which is assisted by additional oral intake of fiber, fluids and exercise to promote bowel motility.  Herbal therapies can be used in cases of difficult or intractable constipation as well.

But I insist that my patients are given the best advice possible–one that does not ignore the wisdom of science about the nature of the human body when it is available to us.

I also reject the attempts of unscrupulous businessmen in the guise of ‘natural healers’  who blanket the internet and TV with infomercials to make money off of the ignorance and fear of the public.

It is time that other responsible individuals speak out against  false advertising and misleading  claims .  In the absence of other voices, the public will assume that these ridiculous assertions are true.

MEDICAL ALERT!!–YOUR COLON IS UNDER ATTACK!!!

I hope this title has attracted your attention. It is tinged with sarcasm and frustration.  As a meta-physician who happens to be a gastroenterologist, I am a strong proponent of holisitc treatment approaches which incorporate the body/mind/spirit treatments.  I am open, as well, to alternative and herbal therapies that work and are safe.

But I am particularly skeptical of those who take advantage of the public's desire to seek such treatments and misrepresent the truth about how our bodies actually work.

Their info-mercials describe a scenario in which pounds of accumulated fecal wastes build up on the walls of the colon, festering and toxic to our health. Their remedy, of course, is to have the public purchase their products which will 'cleanse' the colon and preserve their health.  They also propose these therapies as a method of weight loss.

The truth is that our colons do not build up fecal material over years.  The walls of our bowels do not react like our arterial walls. Having performed thousands of colonoscopies over my career I have NEVER had one patient who described bizarre or unusual fecal 'expulsions' from the colonic cleansing process.

Certainly, constipation is an annoying and uncomfortable condition. Fecal impaction can be dangerous for the elderly as well. But we do not become 'infected' by our own colonic residue.

Colon 'cleansing'? Of course we should be conscious of maintaing our bowel movements to the extent that they do not require much effort or are uncomfortable.  This  should be accomplished by increasing our dietary fiber, fluid intake, exercise and occasionally with natural herbal laxatives. But we do not need to 'purchase' expensive therapies or use enema 'hydrotherapy'.

There must be a great deal of money generated by these therapies–otherwise I would not be inundated by numerous spam emails from these companies. 

Defend your colon from such attacks. It will thank you.

THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS–METAPHYSICAL TOOL # 1

Have I gotten your attention with this title? If not, then I never will.

What I have come to realize is that the universal human characteristic to compare oneself with others is the source of much of our metaphysical suffering.

In essence, we need to 1] become aware of this fact and 2] strive to stop doing it!

On the part of those who feel that their life is tremendously blessed: enjoy it, be grateful and keep it to yourself. Bragging is a sign of an underlying uncertainty and insecurity.  It is actually a form of aggression towards others and reflects the need to ‘prove’ your worth to others. It is not a sign of happiness and contentment. And in truth, others will appreciate your modesty, humility and compassion for the rest of humanity who have more overt problems.

Also be aware that EVERYONE has problems of some sort or another. Some are obvious, some not. Some have external signs and signals of distress: loss of job, public disclosure of family or professional difficulties. But even more of us have private problems: interpersonal relationships, mental and emotional turmoil. Some of us are haunted by our past, others obsessed with an unknown future. Outsiders are often unaware of all of this and assume that we have it ‘all’.   

The bottom line is this–life is imperfect….on purpose!  Life is not a competition between you and someone else–but between you and you! Being the best ‘you’ is the goal of the game.

Difficulties, sufferings are inherent in this physical incarnation. Some may reflect karmic choices prior to this incarnation.  They are unknown and unknowable and we should never see misfortune as ‘justified’ based on someone else’s past karma.  This much too complex to understand.

Kabbalists speak of a fractured, incomplete universe in which we are given an opportunity to correct or heal it. This is what is meant by tikkun.

As the late French Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin noted, we are not physical beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.

Inherent in that human experience is to face obstacles and challenge ourselves to deal with them the best we can.

Comparing ourselves with others is irrational and self-defeating. We each have unique and blessed paths to follow. No one else is supposed to deal with your issues, and you are not destined to face theirs.

Looking to those who ‘seem’ to have a better life leads us to jealousy, anger, resentment even hatred. It blocks us from gratitude, peace and enjoying what we do have.  It is self-defeating. It is an abyss of negativity and suffering for us. But it is a trap in which we too easily find ourselves.

On the other hand, seeking to feel better by looking at those who have less is not a spiritual choice either.  Unless we seek to help others, without our own ego issues involved, then we are merely ‘using’ their suffering to help us feel better.  Yet this is karmically corrupt. In effect we are rejoicing in the suffering of others.  It is hollow and self-defeating for all involved.

So let us stop comparing ourselves with others.  We have more than enough challenges in front of us.  We can do more by offering our compassion and love with an open, non-competitive, non-comparing heart.  This is the real ‘secret’ to happiness.

DIGGING FOR THE TRUTH– A Rabbi’s Revelation

There is no doubt that the bulk of extraordinary experiences of awareness [EEAs] that I have heard have resulted from someone overhearing my telling of another’s EEA.

And so the following experience that was shared with me by a patient. The essence of the story is as follows [with poetic license applied]:

My Rabbi was a frequent visitor to Israel and often participated in archaeological digs.  He was a ‘modern’ rabbi and was not particularly interested or open to unusual, paranormal and unexplainable experiences. He was definitely not a proponent of reincarnation. But he described what occurred on one of his ‘digs’.  He was digging in one corner of a cave when he suddenly felt the urge to change his location and to begin digging in another area of the cave.  He found the feeling very bizarre and difficult to explain.  There was no logical reason why he should have abandoned his former site and move to a new one.  As he began digging he came across an ancient soldier’s helmet.  This was an extraordinary find considering that the most common discoveries are small shards of pottery.  As he lifted the helmet into the air it immediately came to him that HE had worn and died wearing this helmet several thousand years before.  The knowledge was so powerful and unsettling that he has never forgotten it.  He has told others about the experience without any  other explanation for the feeling.  He just ‘knows’ that it was his in a past life.

So, you are thinking, what do we ‘do’ with this story, this information? Well, it is a powerful bit of evidence to support the contention that we do experience many lifetimes.  Is it ‘proof’ of reincarnation?  Probably not, but when added to the other bits of ‘evidence’ it makes a compelling argument for it’s metaphysical reality.

And if so, than we may very well understand the reason that life is so difficult for so many of us.  Each individual lifetime may be a ‘survival weekend’ in the grand scheme of a multitude of lives. And reincarnation fits the notion of karma better than any other metaphysical ‘system’.

Karma represents our willed choices, reincarnation gives us the opportunity to correct, and grow by offering us additional lifetimes and therefore chances to make such choices.

  Does this awareness ease the suffering of any one lifetime?  I believe so.  It can contribute to a sense of purpose behind our problems and a motivation to make the best choices possible.

MAN-MADE RELIGION

Does it shock any reader of my blog to read my opinion that ALL religions are man-made?  It shouldn’t be.  I have been a student of religion, all religions since my undergraduate days at Franklin & Marshall College.

Each and every religion has, if carefully and historically studied,  changed and evolved over the centuries.  That is not a bad thing.  It is just the truth. This truth,  however, may be extremely upsetting to members of each and every religion since they believe that they are ‘God’s’ representative on this planet and that their religion perfectly reflects the wishes of the Deity.

It is this passionate belief in the correctness of their religious belief at the expense of any other belief that has resulted in wars, persecutions, genocides–the dark and horrendous legacy of organized religion.

Yet, this is not the ‘fault’ of religion–merely the tendency of human beings to use religion for their own ‘unspiritual’ desires.  Seeking power, control, manipulation, scape-goating, they have used the name [s] of God or gods to create true evil in the world.

All religions emerge from a beautiful spiritual truth.  They are founded upon mystical experiences and all proclaim the same basic spiritual values.

And still, religion can offer its members necessary, healing rituals for all of life’s rites of passage [birth, passage into adulthood, marriage, death].  It can offer a sense of shared values and community. But it is in this sense of community that the seeds of evil are planted.

The innate tendency to form ‘tribal’ units by definition separates people from each other.  Fear and paranoia quickly widen the rift between ‘them’ and ‘us’ and the grounds for disaster are sown.

If we could only realize that religion should be regarded as the tool for spiritual growth, rather than the goal itself, we might be more open to accepting the interpretations of others as their tool.

Religions are like languages.   Like languages they have historical and geographic roots. Like languages, they are only the tools of ideas about deeper truth.

  They are man-made and we need to accept that truth.

AWAKENING TO IMPERFECTION—Medical Malpractice

The Buddhist notion of imperfection is crucial to its metaphysical understanding of the nature of reality. We are all imperfect, but exist in this physical form as an opportunity to gain awareness through experiencing our imperfect natures and moving forward in our journey.

Unfortunately, our tolerance for imperfection is severely limited by our judicial system which encourages punitive reprisals for medical ‘mistakes’.

Physicians are, unfortunately, human beings. Their efforts are for the most part aimed at assisting and aiding other human beings. Their efforts are, for the most part, driven by a deep, unflinching desire to offer compassionate care to their patients.

When errors occur, when their imperfect natures manifest themselves, the response of our society is to severely punish the physician who ‘commits’ an error in the performance of his/her duties.  There is an insidious and pernicious implication of intent in such proceedings.

If any physician intentionally injures another human being, then they should face the full measure of criminal justice.  But…

There is no compassion for the provider who is imperfect. The judicial system rewards those who accuse the physician of malpractice with an implicit attitude that these acts were committed with malevolent intention.

Our legal system rewards this attitude. It is not only unconscionable but contrary to what we know about our human nature.

When the inevitable errors in judgment unfortunately occur. The response of society should be to convene a panel of experts to assure a swift and fair adjudication of all and any complaints.  The right to sue is a fundamental American right.

What must be changed is the system which drags physicians into court, has them attempt to explain to a panel of intelligent but otherwise ordinary citizens, the medical thinking that went on within any one case.  This is hardly a jury of their peers.  No non-physician is capable of assessing the intricacies of many of the medical judgments that take place within a patient/doctor relationship.

What’s worse, a jury is  called upon to evaluate the conflicting testimony of medical professionals.  This is clearly not an appropriate, fair or spiritual manner in which to judge such cases.

So let us truly embrace the wisdom of the awareness that imperfection is inherent in our nature.  Let us show compassion to each other in this regard and allow this attitude to transform the present system of adjudicating medical malpractice cases.

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“UNCLE RYAN BLEW THEM OUT…..”–AN ADC

Readers of my blog &/or book understand the significance of the extraordinary experiences of awareness [EEA] such as near-death experiences [NDE], after-death communications [ADC], medium and psychic encounters for my personal metaphysical journey.
Essentially they have been the ‘fuel’ that has continuously propelled me to explore the nature of reality.

I would like to share the latest which I heard about several days ago. Keep in mind the notion of the CQ [credibility quotient] when reading or listening to any such experiences.  Who is the person relating them? Are they believable? Is their any motivation to fabricate any of it?  In nearly all cases, the answers will lead you to take in these experiences as completely real and true.

The following comes from a woman who I have worked with for several years.  She passes the CQ with flying colors.  I have changed the names and edited the story but the basic metaphysical concepts remain true.

My grandson Ryan is five now.  He was named after his father’s brother who died tragically in a car accident when he was 18. Ryan’s paternal grandmother would not allow her other grandson’s to be named Ryan but by the time ‘my’ Ryan was born, she was ready to accept the name.
My Ryan was born with a cleft palate which was repaired and he was always told that his uncle Ryan had ‘kissed’ him there and that’s how it happened.  He always spoke of his uncle as if he ‘knew’ him.  It was surprising to hear him speak so much of the uncle he had never met.   He also seemed to possess many of his uncle Ryan’s personality traits as I was told.

Now Ryan’s grandfather was having a birthday celebration and had his children and grandchildren around him.  Several attempts to light the candles on the cake were unsuccessful. There was no wind or obvious reason.  He even questioned his wife whether they were ‘trick’ candles. Which of course operate exactly the opposite–you can’t blow them out.

After several attempts, my grandson Ryan spontaneously smiled, shook his head back and forth and said…."Uncle Ryan SAID he was gonna blow the candles out!".   He repeated it in a sing-song way and smiled knowingly.

His grandfather began to tear-up and said, ‘that’s the best birthday present I could ever hope for’.

DEFENSIVE ‘DRIVING’

How often do we respond to criticism or accusations by becoming ‘reactive’ and lashing out at our critics?  It seems as if this is a natural reaction to a perceived affront or attack. 

It is a response that we wear like a bullet-proof vest except that it doesn’t protect us against our feelings at all. It is like the counter-attack of a wounded animal. It is meant to strike back at the source of our pain.

Do we feel ‘better’ after we attack those who we perceive as ‘attacking’ us? Hardly.  We may feel completely justified in our response, yet the result is that we are shaken by both experiences–the ‘attack’ and the ‘response’.

We suffer because we experience the mental as well as the physical reactions to confrontation. The stronger the ‘threat’ the more vigorous the response. 

Yet what determines how and how strongly we react?  It originates from our own mind, our own thoughts, our own feelings of guilt, perhaps.  We may secretlyl agree with our attacker–we should or could have done something different.

Perhaps we should have been more ‘sensitive’ at a time when we were not. Perhaps we were too preoccupied with our own thoughts and situation to have done something more compassionate and loving.

We somehow ‘hurt’ the other person first–then they reacted in order to hurt us.  Although our actions may have been unintentional, their’s was intentional.  There are karmic differences, but in each case the perception of ‘hurt’ came from within the individual themselves.

There are situations in which we can fend off an ‘attack’ by ignoring it, excusing the attacker as being insecure or too defensive themselves. There are times in which we realize that we might very well learn something from their response.  Perhaps we can learn to be more sensitive to others.

One of the most powerful defenses against an attack is to agree with the attacker. This may actually confuse and distress them. We can apologize for our unintentional actions. We can apologize to the extent that the attacker is made to feel that they are, perhaps, too sensitive or ‘needy’ and should re-evaluate their own responses as well.

Perhaps the next time we are ‘attacked’ we can take a breath and not respond immediately. Perhaps we can allow the initial reactivity to slowly drain away. Perhaps we can put ourselves in the place of the other before we react to them.Perhaps we can break the cycle of escalating emotions before it begins. 

None of this is easy–our defensive nature is genetically programmed for survival. Yet we might find that the path of compassion is ultimately healing for all involved.