See One, Do One, Teach One!

This was the maxim in medical school when learning procedures. The second you learn and do, go and teach someone else. In the scheme of things, it would be beneficial to recognize that any level of knowledge or wisdom you have will always pale in comparison to the level of knowledge or wisdom that is possible. That means that even when you are recognized as an “expert,” if you think you are, you probably don’t realize how much there is to know. With that being said – we are all amateurs in the scheme of wisdom, so when you learn something of value, you should experiment with that wisdom, and then teach it and not feel like you are unqualified. Don’t be an armchair genius who read and then spews forth his knowledge. My teacher of blessed memory, Gerald (Jerry) Epstein, MD use to say, before saying anything, say to yourself “What do I myself truly know about what I am about to say?” Have you experimented with this knowledge or are you just repeating it? Once you have experimented with it or experienced it, then you should teach it. The act of teaching is a way of exercising your will in a beneficial fashion.

Jerry would often talk about the “5 dark currents of will” (which was explained by a Catholic mystic by the name of Valentin Tomberg): those being the desire to be great, to take, to keep, to hold on to at the expense of other and to advance at the expense of others. Jerry listed the remedy for “advancing at the expense of others” is to teach.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe would often tell people with no background in studying sacred texts that once they learned something deeply, they should immediately share it with someone else. Those who have done teaching know that the benefits of teaching are almost always more impactful on the teacher than the student as the ancient sage Rabbi Chanina said “I have learned much from my teachers and even more from my friends, but from my students I have learned more than from all of them.

What are you withholding? Or worse, what are you holding back at the expense of others when it comes to real wisdom? Or on the other hand, think you don’t have anything to teach? Well you are wrong. Very, very, wrong! You will be doing yourself a favor to share what you “truly know about” something in your life with someone else.

 

Layers of Unwellness

On Sunday, we emailed out a survey to people on our email list asking them about their health challenges. What we received was very upsetting. What I was hoping for was to identify within our list a general trend in answers that would allow me to cater my education to help them. Instead, what we found were people who were truly desperate and needing help in multiple areas.

The problems we found were financial, multiple health problems, polypharmacy (people on numerous medications), addictions, people still healing from severe trauma, and other problems that would require serious professional support.

In my medical practice, there is always one thing that can start someone on the process of healing and sometimes it is not even ostensibly related to their health. Sometimes, getting one aspect of their life handled helps with getting their health in order. Direct person to person, one can make so much change in someone’s life. The future however I believe is the proper support with experts of various kinds helping.

Kudo’s to Dean Ornish, MD who has an integrated program that has been approved for reimbursement by Medicare and an expanding number of insurance companies. While the diet wars rage on, where Dr. Ornish is often maligned and criticized, he has quietly ignored that, pushed forward, made political connections, and gotten his program that no matter where you fall on the diet wars, extends life and the quality of it. That a program could be planned, constructed, scaled, and then approved to be reimbursed by Medicare is an incredible achievement and will improve lives tremendously. I just signed up to learn more as a clinician. Maybe I will write more about Dr. Ornish again, one lecture at a conference in California changed forever the way I practice medicine.

 

 

 

The Enemy of Art . .

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations” Orson Welles. He was one of the coolest dudes ever in my book. He went from having all of the resources for his films to being shunned and being severely restricted, yet he continued to create such amazing films. My teacher of blessed memory, Gerald Epstein, MD would discuss with me, “second force.” It is the resistance that exists behind all initiative, anytime you start anything.

So what is it’s analogue in health? The obvious one is the resistance that builds muscles, but also the overcoming of a desire for unhealthy choices. If you succeed it moves you to another level . . . where more resistance comes. And so it goes in life. If you seek peace from this in anything, you are suffering from the great malady of 99% of humanity, the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain as the primary force in people’s lives.

So what do on the path of authenticity and truth? Recognize the next two steps, there is initiative, then comes force, then form, then the final result. If you constrain your view to want a specific end-result, you will never be happy, but if you recognize that this “second force” is just the second stage and remain open to what comes in step 3 and 4 with an open mind and ready to see it in Truth and not as a comparison with what you wanted, then wonderful things can come.

I don’t know at what stage of his career that Orson Welles made this realization, I would imagine it was early on, given his growing up in the arts. The arc of his professional career really made him stare at it down. Realize that this is a master quote applicable widely. Change the word “art” to just about anything and it holds true. The enemy of Life is the absence of limitations. The enemy of relationships is the absence of limitations and on and on. There is nothing truer than this. We are here to experience limitations and grow from them in EVERYTHING. I’ve been taught by my teachers that in the spiritual world, these limitations disappear. It is for this reason, that the ancient Hebraic teachings, say that while souls ascend higher and higher after death, it is only in life that the major growth occurs and in fact it is here where all the major achievements come.

So next time you experience “second force” realize it for what it is, reality staring you in face, saying “come and get me, you may not realize it but I am a gift.”

Sleep and Stress

Did you ever stop to think that your bad mood might just be related almost exclusively to lack of sleep? I see an ethereal soul behind the deepest actions of man and yet, those get covered up by the flood of inflammation that isn’t cleared with good night sleep. So, your authentic self, the one that you are here to get to know, could be covered up almost completely by lack of sleep.

And so it goes with all of the things in life that deplete you of your energy. Caffeine which is fake energy and further depletes you if you don’t overcompensate thereafter. So next time you feel like you need coffee or chocolate as a pickup, you would be better of finding a quiet corner and getting a short nap.