I believe that medicine’s potential is much more than the version we see in the world today. A doctor should be an educator with the goal of bringing patients to a place of deeper understanding of who they are in the world. To me, medicine is ultimately about self-empowerment through self-knowledge and growth.
In the wake of this week’s newest list of tragedies and the ongoing turmoil and uncertainty we see week after week, and the apocalyptic-like content that makes us wonder about sustaining, my first thought is this:
It is ok.
We are ok. We are doing ok. Even though it is very imperfect, we have a future.
We can be here.
We can be home here.
It’s nasty and raw in places, but not everywhere. It’s not broken.
It’s actually unfolding in a way that’s remarkably suited for our development.
Clearly, the modern world challenges us relentlessly. The pace is astounding, and it needs our best effort. Of course, we should get very busy navigating it all.
How can we cope? Where do we focus?
Three things come to mind.
1. It’s too noisy. Turn down the volume.
We will never escape the noise, both inner and outer noise. We aren’t supposed to escape it, we need to be in it, but turn it down. Way down. Being in it doesn’t mean letting it crush us. Limit your exposures.
A recent study this spring implicates noise pollution as an important cause of heart attacks.
So, we can deduce that silence is a powerful preventative medicine.Treat it like a daily medicine.
There is enough on our plate. Let’s reject the invitation to worry about all the scenarios that could be developing. Monkeypox, resurgent viruses acting strangely, the latest covid modeling; you might as well throw Zika back in there and why not spontaneous combustion while you are at it? Turn it down.
Focus on what you can control. Let healthy habits be part of your coping plan, limit your toxic exposures.
Additionally, create more and more of a quiet zone and sit in it everyday… because your inner world is your most fruitful place of action.
Need convincing that your inner world is crucial? On many levels the outer world simply reflects our collective inner state. Without inner peace we can never have peace in the world. Self-acceptance is a critical first step to being able to accept the world. Accepting the world is what brings inner peace. And remember peace is not the avoidance of conflict, it’s responding to conflict calmly. The noise makes us frantic. So, turning down the volume fits, doesn’t it?
2. Next: What do you put in that silence?
Speaking of intangible, potent and safe medicine such as silence, let’s keep going. A little more can be said on training your inner environment.Let me comment on a primary mental state that is needs our nurturing:
To wonder is a special state of being. Interest and awe and wonder open up worlds. It’s the portal state to discovering the part of the world that we don’t know. Wonder is the first step to learning; it’s the first in the terrific trio of:
Wondering, learning, and delighting in the discovery.
To wonder is expansive. Its stimulating. It’s enlightening. The inner life opens up. Creative thinking is encouraged.
Look how this following poem places wonder at the top of the list of 4 attributes that leads us on our path. And not just any wonder, but to wonder at beauty!
To Wonder at Beauty
To wonder at beauty Stand guard over truth Look up to the noble Resolve on the good.
This leadeth us truly To purpose in living To right in our doing, To peace in our thinking
And teaches us trust In the workings of God, In all that there is In the widths of the world, In the depths of the soul.
Most importantly, wonder must be cultivated — sought out, nurtured and practiced. Meet you at tonight’s sunset?
3. What to not let in!
To help make my point about the invisible indicators of health and wellness, the potent invisible medicines, I want mention the opposite of wonder.
The opposite of wonder closes us down. It is the inner state that disconnects us from the world around. It stagnates our thinking and makes us susceptible to being controlled. It takes away creativity. The opposite of wonder is fear.
This an inner state that makes us ill.
Fear is understandable; it’s a sign of the times. We know fear. It lives in us. It comes with the terrain. We are clearly attracted in a way to that which scares us, maybe for no other reason than for the sake of preparedness. But, fear can be used to manipulate. We must reject it. We are learners. Our first step is our hard work to confront fear.
Take Monkeypox, for example. When an elected officials tell us we should be concerned about (aka in fear of) monkeypox, as happened this week, I say I disagree. Only a world that’s habituated to fear would condone that. The facts set the record straight:
it’s only spread through intimate contact
it’s contagious profile is quite low; there’s no pre-symptomatic spread, the infected have indications that they are contagious
its potential to cause severe illness is low
For these reasons it very has low potential to be a significant problem. It’s objectively not worth fearing. Educate and prepare but don’t fear.
Being positive is not being dishonest. It’s true the darkness is readily apparent and as plain as day. But there’s always light. Always. And it doesn’t take much light to make a big difference.
With gratitude, and appreciation of your daily striving.