Healing through Generations

By Steven Hodes, M.D.

Physician to Meta-Physician

Which was the greatest generation? We of post WWII vintage have been told it was our parent’s. Didn’t they survive the Great Depression and fight the last ‘just’ war? Perhaps, but then again, I will maintain that fighting an unjust war [Viet Nam] is even more difficult. Our generation lived through assasinations, the threat of thermonuclear annihilation, race riots and the sexual revolution. But I have tremendous respect for every generation–each has unique traumas for which they can claim ownership. It then becomes their personal and collective challenge to overcome.

Many of my fellow Boomers find ourselves sandwiched between two generations each embroiled in their own chaotic turmoil. Our adult children are seeking to define themselves within a surreal context of extended adolescence. While those of us fortunate enough to have our parents alive are unfortunate enough to witness their progressive deterioration and decline. The remainder of our generation must face the existential truth that we are ‘next in line’ for oblivion. Our role is continuously evolving, constantly on the edge of chaos, bringing alternately understanding and confusion.

Like the Roman god Janus who possessed two faces staring in opposite directions, we, too, find ourselves staring quizzically at each of these generations in need of healing. By this term I mean the ‘whole package’–mind/body/spirit. Does the term ‘spirit’ dismay or annoy the reader? Perhaps you are a hard-core skeptic who rejects any discussion of the spiritual as yesterday’s New Age drivel. Or are you on the opposite side of the spectrum, a born-again believer who trembles with righteous indignation at any thoughts which deviate from your prescribed script?

Perhaps, like me, you came of edge in the 60’s and 70’s admist the termoil of Viet Nam, race riots, assassinations, drugs and the sexual revolution. There was little room for old time religion. Popular news magazines trumpted the ‘death of God’ as the inevitable outcome of rational thought. Even the beginning of the Age of Aquarius, the Hari Krishna movement the their ilk seemed silly and irrelevant to me. After all, science supplied all the answers. Didn’t it?

My schooling and career propelled me along the path of science. I became a physician which confirmed the correctness of all my prior thinking. Still, I carried a fragment of discontinuity within–that religious study degree. Some individuals thought it strange that an atheist would be interested in religion. But I found no such inconsistencey at all. Religion was a universal phenomeon, after all. Even if its premise was misguided.

My subsequent path has led me to re-evaluate everything. I find the universe far more complex yet interconnected than I could have every predicted. Science, rather than disproving spirit, is open to its metaphysical implications of a higher intelligence.

Healing becomes more than merely one’s particular occupation. It can be seen as both a spiritual and practical path for living, perhaps the purpose for existence itself. Correct the imperfections within ourselves, strive to help others along their own path. It becomes the manifestation of the Golden Rule of ‘do unto others’. When we believe we can heal, we live our lives with that consciousness. We become God-like but from a position of humility, not from ego. We are co-creating reality and it is filled with caring and compassion. We find our roles between the generations as a spiritual gift and not a burden at all, for it offers us the opportunity to heal not only our children and parents but ourselves as well.

© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006


Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his daily Blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at www.meta-md.com

Metaphysics and Weight Loss

By Steven E. Hodes, M.D.


Physician to Meta-Physcian

The news is replete with statistics demonstrating the ‘epidemic’ of obesity in our nation. Our obsession with this topic reflects various aspects of our own attitude towards mind/body/spirit. Clearly obesity does represent an enormous risk to one’s health and in this regard it reflects upon not only the individual involved but the financial burden to our health care system. Diabetes, heart disease, stroke are undisputed complications of this condition. Apparently there is new data to implicate obesity as a potent risk for cancer as well. Obese individuals suffer from sudden death as a consequence of cardiac arrhythmias and pulmonary embolism at a rate that far exceeds the general population.

Of course the obesity problem cannot be removed from our culture’s obsession with the perfection of the human form. Media, TV, film, magazines, the internet bombard us constantly with the plastic surgical fix for physical beauty [which assumes a status of ‘unhealthy’ when it becomes obsessional]. The proliferation of gastric bypass procedudres, known as bariatric surgery is astounding as well. What is disturbing is the extent to which we view ourselves as primarily physical beings [ie bodies ] without the mental and spiritual aspects considered as well. Despite our private conversations regarding the ‘beauty’ of someone’s personality or soul it is extremely difficult not to get caught up with society’s obsession with faces and bodies.

Now I am not so naive as to dismiss the power of physical beauty. Personally speaking I am as fascinated by the esthetics of a beautiful individual as anyone. One must be aware, however, at how culturally based this notion can be. One can observe how powerfully the media can influence, both consciously and subconciously one’s attitude regarding art or fashion. The same clearly applies to our attitudes about physical beauty. I am quite sure that contemporaries of the 17th century Dutch artist Peter Paul Reubens, who delighted in painting full- figured women, would find contemporary female obsession with being extremely thin to be both unappealng and rather amusing.

Physical beauty need not be dismissed by the spiritually enlightened. Many spiritual traditions acknowledge any form of beauty as a gift from God and there is a Hebrew prayer that can be said upon viewing such an individual. It is the failure to see past the outer veneer of face and form, it is the obsession with the physical at the expense of all else that is so damaging to our sense of being.

Healing is the process by which we attempt to become whole. I have discussed in the blog on the Myth of Healing why this is not totally possible. Still, I applaud the process itself. It may reflect our very purpose for being here in the first place. The challenge of obesity should be seen within this context of the healing process. There may be a multitude number of reasons why someone becomes obese: genetics and metabolic processes certainly cannot be discounted. Yet far and away the cause is excessive caloric intake.

This is not the forum in which to discuss the various diets and dietary fads that exist. Those that ‘work’ for any period of time, however, are based upon behavior modification. Essentially weight gain and loss is astonishingly simple: if calories consumed exceed calories expended there is weight gain. If reduced below caloric expenditure there is weight loss. There are many ways to achieve this state of being. Exercise is clearly beneficial but far and away it is the consumption of calories that is the perpetrator of obesity.

Clearly there are many who are benefiting from bariatric surgery and I do not intend to demean any one individual who is incapable of losing weight by any other means. But in effect, it accomplishes through mechanical means that which the individual cannot or will not do by an act of free will: reduce caloric intake. What has disturbed me greatly, however, is the attitude and comments that I have personally witnessed which actually encourage further caloric intake in order to ‘qualify’ for gastric bypass surgery. Although this is clearly a distortion of rational thought, it does occur.

Now I am by no means an advocate of an ascetic life style. I do not believe it is beneficial on any level of mind/body/spirit to deprive ourselves totally of the pleasures of physical existence. Kabbalistic writings describe man as God’s ‘taste buds in the world’ and, therefore, to deny physical pleasures is to deny God’s access to his own creation.

Obsessive compulsion in any form: from eating, to exercise to any other addictive behaviors are ultimately contrary to healing. The Asian notion of Yin and Yang reflect a balanced approach to existence. The Buddha discovered this 2500 years ago after he abandoned the lifestyle of the extreme ascetic and advocated the ‘middle way’ to Enlightenment.

Our bodies, our sensory pleasures are gifts from Spirit. Still, by having the option to choose our behavior we are challenged to opt for a healthy approach to all aspects of it. To band our stomachs or by-pass them surgically is to regard ourselves as primarily a machine. Alter the anatomy and resolve the problem. The healing approach is to see ourselves as complete only when our minds and emotions as well as our spiritual legacy is taken into account.

Perhaps obesity, like other perceived misfortunes or difficulties in our lives are obstacles for which our souls contracted prior to this incarnation. Our goal, therefore, is not to bemoan our fates or to slip into the role of the victim. This is the road to despiar and probably more ‘comfort’ eating. Neither should we feel overwhelmed by this or any other task. We have the gift of seeing each moment as an opportunity for a new beginning.

In stead, transform our consciousness and observe the healing process unfold. The phrase self-awareness precedes self-repair is well applied to the problem of obesity.

© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006


Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his Blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at www.meta-md.com.

The Truth About the Metaphysical Journey

By Steve E. Hodes, M.D.

Physician to Metaphysician

The metaphysical journey is never simple or straightforward.

Life leads us into seemingly blind cul-de-sacs, endless featureless vistas, unrecognizable terrain. We often feel that we are eternally lost, even hopelessly so. Why are we here? Is this the result of blind, mindless wanderings? Could there be a purpose to these diversions, these dead-ends? Can we actually learn by being lost? Can we transform fear into an adventure in learning? Can these side excursions actually be opportunities for exploration and growth?

Perhaps we need to be aware of these possibilities. I return to the notion that self-awareness precedes self-repair. We need to appreciate the possibilities of choosing how we feel about our lives, our situations.

We can choose to view life’s difficulties, vicissitudes as challenges for which our souls may have contracted prior to this incarnation. (Of course this raises the question of reincarnation, to be explored in a future blog). But IF we can choose to recognize the probability or at least possibility that there is a higher purpose to our lives, we can proceed with an entirely different attitude about the events in which we are players.

We may even be able to view life as necessarily requiring our rising to and overcoming various assaults to our sense of fairness or peace. If we have incarnated in this ‘vale of tears’ than perhaps our souls accepted these challenges, however irrational they now appear to us, as advanced courses in overcoming adversity for the eventual purpose of spiritual advancement.

Such an approach to life is actually a choice. I would have never believed that statement in the past.

In fact I clearly recall my first exposure to Kabbalistic thought in 1995 during a series of lectures at a private home in Monmouth Country New Jersey. The speaker was a young bearded rabbi , Rabbi Stern of the Orthodox Lubavither sect. His very presence among less observant Jews was rather suprising in the first place. This was actually in the pre-Madonna publicity days when Kabbalah was still regarded as highly secretive and reserved for middle-aged males of advanced spiritual study and development.

There was an obvious agenda in his very presence. It was not to convince us to become more observant. It was, however, to reveal Kabbalistic concepts. The ‘time’ was right, he stated rather clearly, to reveal the wisdom of Kabbalah to the entire world. One of his stories involved his relationship to an older rabbi who was his mentor.

He recalled how Rabbi Jacobson ‘floated’ into the library one evening when he was struggling with the esoteric doctrines of Kabbalah and asked him if ‘he wanted to reach his highest destiny’. ‘Of course’, he replied, ‘who wouldn’t want that?’ Rabbi Jacobson then proceeded to state that we all have the free will to ‘choose what we want to believe’. His analogy was a gallery of paintings in which we all could choose to take home a painting and live with it for a while to see how we liked it. Reality was like that, a choice.

Now I was rather confused and frankly annoyed by this entire story. What could this nonsense possibly mean? How could one ‘choose’ what they wanted to believe? To me there was either reality or there was illusion. My skepticism was powerfully influenced by the school of ‘seeing is believing’. Reality was determined by our sensory experience of the universe, nothing more. We were passive players in the chaos of existence. Random events assaulted our fragile sense of security. Any sense or notion otherwise was strictly delusional. It was understandable that we live in fear of the next assault on our very being. Evil ruled the world. Besides, I thought, why would a Rabbi be involved in such ‘New Age’ relativistic thinking anyway?

Fortunately I did not lose my tapes of Rabbi Stern’s classes. A few years later, after my metaphysical journey began in earnest, I revisited those tapes and found them to be quite profound and meaningful. I have come to absolutely believe that we are capable of choosing our picture of reality, our paradigm, if you will. This is not an act of delusion at all. Free will is our greatest gift. It is the only power we have in the face of adversity. We can choose how we view our lives. As long as it does not lead us into vulerability or do us harm, as long as we retain our underlying open-minded pragmatic skepticism, we will come to understand the power of that image.

Wasn’t it true that different people viewed their own lives with varying degrees of peace and joy? Why could some perservere despite obvious tragedy and not seem depressed while others existed in a constant state of worry, confusion and illness despite what appeared to be much less difficult lives?

I began to see that very paradox in my patient’s attitudes toward their own lives and diseases. I saw it among personal contacts and family members as well. We do have the power, the free will, to choose to see our lives as having a higher purpose. We may choose to see adversity as a challenge and opportunity rather than a punishment. We may choose to never give up on the struggle to overcome our darkest fears. We may choose to find meaning within the context of adversity.

Such an attitude is the necessary first step towards joy and healing.

© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006


Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his daily Blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at www.meta-md.com.

Healing through Happiness

By Steven E. Hodes, M.D.


Physician to Meta-Physician

If sadness can be the source of enlightened healing, then surely happiness can.

In STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS by Daniel Gilbert, a popular professor of psychology at Harvard , Gilbert describes a plethora of ways and means by which the average person creates their own sense of reality from amongst the fragments of their lives.

This form of ‘spinning’ can take a series of circumstances which might appear to an outsider as extremely negative and demoralizing. Yet the affected individual might just choose to regard these events as temporary road blocks which may very well serve to inspire them to 1] re-empower their skills, 2] direct them along a somewhat different path, 3] totally alter their life’s journey. Any one of these options can leave the individual full of energy and hope for the future. A similar set of circumstances, however, could totally depress and demoralize a different individual.

Tailoring our reaction to life’s events is a theme of the NLP [neurolinquistic programming] group. Although I am far from an expert on their positions and methods, I do know that they also emphasize changing the language by which we characterize events in our lives. Words and phrases are powerful signals to our conscious as well as unconscious minds. Seeing ourselves as failures, victims, or losers in life’s game merely reinforces and exacerbates the negative energy which can only cripple us further. It is unproductive, to say the least.

Depressives may believe that their reaction to life’s events are more ‘rational’ than the deluded optimist. Yet ultimately, who is correct? It may very well be that all personal impressions of ourselves and our lives are fabricated anyway. Have you met individuals who regard themselves as unattractive or uninteresting yet who you have found to be the opposite? Even more common are those who project an impression of self-confidence that may seem disproportionate or even unwarranted. You may have noticed that the self-confident individual usually attains their goals more often than the ‘underachiever’.

Also be cognizant of the fact that we may or may not share the goals and aspirations of our fellow man. A series of life circumstances might be regarded as an abject failure to someone driven to accumulate money and fame. To another, these same set of circumstances perhaps associated with a loving family and friends but with less material success may be viewed as highly successful and joyous.

I have noted previously that self-awareness precedes self-repair . And by that statement I mean that we have to become familiar with the nature of reality and our role within the spiritual universe before we can assist in our own healing. In the context of this particular blog it should become obvious that a joyous, positive self-awareness will be far more effective in healing than the opposite. Joy is a positive stimulant of our body’s inherent healing properties. We will likewise attract more enriching human emotional responses from others as well.

Is there a point, however, where self-delusion is harmful and counterproductive to healing? Clearly, someone who has outrageous, irrational and unwarranted opinions of themselves will be regarded as a fool by those around them. Declaring oneself a candidate for the Olympic games with no reasonable chance of success is clearly a waste of time. Declaring oneself on the path to a Nobel Prize in physics for a high school dropout may be equally delusional. Reality checks and periodic feedback from others is crucial in order to validate our highest opinions of ourselves. This does not mean that we rely soley on the opinion of others. Obviously, that contradicts the strong self-reliance and self-awareness concept.

So perhaps the most reasonable approach to life is this: seek the highest level of optimism which allows us to heal our wounds. Choose happiness whenever possible since this is clearly the state of being which fills our hearts and minds with healing energy. Be aware of our chosen path and if there is a persistent lack of progress towards whatever our self-proclaimed goals, be willing to modify and re-visit those goals. Altering or re-directing our energies does not have to be seen as failure.

Gilbert seems to regard unhappy people as having ‘a more accurate view of reality’. I disagree. Afterall, whose opinion is that anyway? Yours, mine or his?

© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006


Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his daily Blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at www.meta-md.com.

Healing Through Sadness

By Steven E. Hodes, M.D.

Physician to Meta-Physician

Sadness seems to defy the very notion of healing. Rather, all spiritual traditions point to a state of joy as essential in order to approach the Divine. Enlightenment is always pictured as a smiling Buddha, an ecstatic Saint. Kabbalistic and Hindu writings share similar notions that one should not leave one’s abode without donning a smile. To do so is to impose your negative energy on others as well as to doubt the ultimate goodness of the creation. The Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism noted that the transmission of joy through the act of smiling is such a profound spiritual act as to justify one’s entire incarnation in this lifetime.

Healing means, ‘to make whole’ and sadness seems to render one fragmented and frustrated. Sadness seems to weaken us, as if someone has tapped our vital energy and allowed it to dissipate. So, one may justly ask, how can healing occur through sadness? Precisely, I maintain, because sadness offers an enormous challenge to our sense of self. Precisely because it threatens to jolt us from a state of joyous equililbrium. Precisely because it forces us to explore our inner fears and to repair them. That is why healing through sadness is so powerful.

It is easy to smile when the sun is shining, all our plans seem blessed and we feel loved and protected. When we fear failure, disappointment, lonelieness we pull back within a shell known in Kabbalistic terms as klippot. Of course, the irony is that this act only further isolates us from the love of others as well as the self-love which can liberate us from sadness and fear. Our mission, therefore, is to tear open these restraints, to ‘raise Holy Sparks’ in the parlance of the Kabbalist. What greater challenge is there than to find light bound under layers of protecting darkness.

Recognize that these challenges are necessary and ultimately redemptive. Healing or tikkun becomes our soul’s mission in this world. It is a challenge to find joy, to liberate ourselves from behind self-imposed shells of protection.

Rejecting sadness becomes, therefore, an act of choice, of pure will, not of reasoned logic. To do so may seem to some as an act of delusion, or irrational ‘spinning’ of one’s life’s events. Yet the ultimate purpose is to recast reality in a manner that will allow us to break out of these chains of despair and to heal. How could Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl create a philosophy of psychotherapy, logotherapy in which the most horrendous of human degredation could be overcome through the act of will. How could such an individual ever smile, ever find one ounce of joy in existence? The fact that he chose to defy extermination through love and joy was Frankl’s response.

Spiritual thinkers have always acknowledged that the greatest achievement is to achieve holiness from the depths of darkness. Overcoming sadness recognizes this transformation. It is the ultimate form of healing.

© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006


Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his Blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at www.meta-md.com.

Ask Dr. Steve

Dear Dr. Steve –

I am wondering if you think there is a metaphysical cause or counterpart for every gastroenterological condition? Are some conditions simply random, or caused by hereditary?

— Curious

Dear Curious –

Is there a metaphysical cause for every gastrointestinal symptom? Again this addresses the fascinating mind/body nature of all of us. When we come to realize that our thoughts and emotions directly impact on every organ of our bodies via circulating protein peptides, we cannot help but understand this connection.

This does not mean that conventional treatments for ulcers, cancer, gastric bacteria, colitis, diverticulitis, bleeding, Crohn’s disease and other conditions should be deferred. However it is important to realize that the GI tract contains as many neurons [nerve cells] as the entire spinal cord. I tell my patient that their ‘brain in the gut’ may respond to stresses that do not even reach their conscious minds.

Although stress may not be the ’cause’ of all these conditions, they are clearly made worse and healing is delayed by our emotional mind. The longer I stay in clinical practice, the more attuned I become to my patient’s emotional issues. I cannot adequately treat them without their own awareness of these truths.

© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006

Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at www.meta-md.com.

Ask Dr. Steve

Dear Dr. Steve —


I find that my stomach hurts when I am around certain people and sometimes I feel nauseous when I enter certain places, like a mall or certain homes. I wonder, is it really a physical reaction or is it psychosomatic. How can I tell the difference and how can I stop it from happening?


– Aching

Deat Aching –

Your question about abdominal discomfort and even nausea which seems centered around certain individuals and places is quite common. I always recommend considering a predominantly ‘physical’ cause for symptoms before delving into the ‘metaphysical’ simply because they can be dealt with more directly.

Consider there may be some chemical cleaner, disinfectant or allergen present in the air that might affect you in this way. More likely, however, there is a mind/body issue that needs to be addressed.

Regarding any particular individual: Ambivalent feelings, past hurts, perhaps even feelings of guilt can affect us physically and the gastrointestinal tract is uniquely sensitive to these issues. Consider your relationship with this individual and perhaps take these physical manifestations as a sign that you need to deal with them in some other manner.

I do believe we perceive ‘energy’ in subconscious ways. A physical location may affect us by virtue of sounds, lights, arrangement of open spaces versus buildings, crowds of people etc. I believe many mall are designed with the intention of fostering a relaxing energetic atmosphere which, of course, will encourage you to buy more product. It is something of Feng Shui for malls that encourages the “chi” (energy) to work in their favor. However, we are all unique beings who respond as such. Perhaps it is time to find a different mall?

© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006


Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his Blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at www.meta-md.com.

Ask Dr. Steve

Dear Dr. Steve —


When I have a massage or a healing treatment, I find myself burping afterwards — sometimes a lot. Can’t seem to control the little noises that rise from my gut like bubbles. My massage therapist says it is “a release.” Any ideas of why this is happening?


– Michael

Dear Michael-

Your question regarding gastrointestinal ‘noises’ is extremely common. Usually, there is no cause for alarm when this occurs. It may be embarrassing but often reflects the admixture of intestinal fluids and gases which are normal.

It is true that certain individuals are more ‘sensitive’ to these normal conditions. Clearly, certain foods, however, do produce more gas and this would add to the situation. Burping after a massage may, indeed, be a sign that you have become more relaxed. Continuous burping, or eructation as it is known, however, is usually an opposite sign. Anxiety can cause some to swallow air, known as ‘aerophagia’ and the belching is a release of this air.

It can become a vicious cycle when the belching causes the patient to become concerned over some physical illness. There are cases, however, when ulcers can be the cause of belching and, if persistent, a gastroenterologist should be consulted.

Sincerely, Dr. Steve

© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006


Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at www.meta-md.com.

A Blessing for Our Journey

Let us vow to remember
the causes of suffering and
to practice an end to suffering.
I shall accept all that I cannot change
and let my heart be broken.
May we be gentle
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to bear witness
to the wholeness of life,
reallizing the completeness
of each and everything.
Embracing our differences,
I shall know myself as you,
and you as myself.
May we serve each other
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to open ourselves
to the abundance of life.
Freely giving and receiving,
I shall care for you,
for the trees and stars,
as treasures of my very own.
May we be grateful
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to forgive all hurt,
caused by ourselves and others,
and to never condone hurtful ways.
Being responsible for my actions,
I shall free myself and you.
Will you free me, too?
May we be kind
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to remember that all that appears will disappear.
In the midst of uncertainty,
I shall sow love.
Here! Now! I call to you:
Let us together live
The Great Peace that we are.
May we give no fear
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

— Sen Sei Wendy Egyoku Nakao

From Physician to Meta-Physician

A noted gastroenterologist and Mind/Body/Spirit Medicine specialist shares his journey from physician to meta-physician.

By Steven E. Hodes, MD

Physician to Meta-Physician

I was trained to be a physician, not a healer.

That statement may seem confusing or self-contradictory to the average citizen. After all, aren’t physicians by definition healers? At first glance the answer would seem, yes. At this stage in my career, however, I realize that the two terms are not interchangeable at all. My personal journey from physician to meta-physician has been over 25 years in the making.

As a product of the traditional approach to medicine, I was trained to view the patient as a machine; a machine suffering from some undisclosed mechanical failure. My goal was to be the best diagnostician possible, to identify the defective organ or organ system, with the goal of prescribing the appropriate tests and subsequent medication to treat and hopefully cure the patient.

Of course, I was aware, on some level, that the patient had other dimensions to their being; one that included their personal, emotional even spiritual side. Yet rarely, in all my medical training, did any of these factors rise to the level of my conscious awareness. It has only been within the last few years of my medical career that I have come to the profound realization that I have not been a healer at all. To heal means to ‘make whole’ and in the process of becoming aware, I changed. The Greek prefix ‘meta’ signifies transformation.

I became a “meta-physician.”

Continue reading From Physician to Meta-Physician