Question for Bernie:
I did try to follow your advice to change my attitude toward some of the most burdensome situations in my life. Unfortunately, this caused a lot of turmoil and more pressure on me from people in my life. They do not want me to see things differently because it means they have to take some responsibility for what they do.
Here is another dream perhaps you could help me interpret:
I am in my car driving to a place or a city. There are many crossroads with signs showing the directions to various places. I cannot read them properly because they have complicated street-maps and names of places I don’t know.
So I keep driving and choose a road to take at the very last minute. The road I choose becomes more and more narrow and sometimes ends up leading nowhere. Other times the road leads to a river with a bridge that is not passable because it is broken or underwater. Still other times it leads to a steep and narrow mountain path that ends up in a field of gravel.
Obviously I was not very successful with my changes. I just seem to have become completely disoriented and have maneuvered myself into a dead end. May I ask you for your advice?
Visualize a beautiful stream. In the stream there are rocks, both big and small, but the water flows around all of them. It looks beautiful as it flows around the rocks, and it makes little gurgling sounds that help you feel at ease. The stream keeps flowing to its destination allowing nothing obstruct the water—the water finds a way around anything that is in the stream.
In Chinese philosophy, the observation of how a stream, like the one I describe above, keeps flowing to its destination without being blocked by objects in the water is called wu wei, which translates in English to “action without action” or “effortless doing.” The idea behind the philosophy is that we cannot control what happens to us in life by constantly trying to take action. To make this ancient spiritual philosophy part of your life, you must accept yourself for who you are. You must meditate and find your authentic self and then observe your behavior once you have truly accepted yourself and learned to love yourself as you are. Then you must be willing to give up conscious control over your life and stop struggling against just letting life naturally unfold.
The image of the stream flowing around rocks that are in the water is one of both strength and weakness—or softness. Of course we all are responsible for making decisions in our lives, but wu wei tells us that those decisions will come naturally to us and they will not be effective if we make them out of a need to control everything and everyone around us; neither will they be effective if we just lay down and make no decisions. Instead of using the word “decision” it might be better to use the word “choice.” When you find your authentic, true self, you will naturally let your heart (or you could say your spiritual self) lead the way.
Question for Bernie:
So nice to know you! I listened to your segment on Aha! Moments with Mari – if only all doctors would incorporate this way of thinking and healing into their practices.
My mom passed in June 2012. She was the most loving and exceptional person in my life and her spirit is so full of light, it is just that her physical body decided not to cooperate towards the end of the battle with sarcoma.
I still feel some disappointment in the five doctors who treated her, so I wanted to ask you if I should meet with each one of them and just tell them how I feel about their more clinical approach to medicine? Ideally, I would be so happy to help them learn how to implement the type of compassion and healing you offer to your patients.
I suggest that you write them a letter, either to all of them together as your mom’s treatment team or, if you prefer, individually, sharing how you and your mom felt. Please don’t write about what you think they did wrong. Just give them the perspective of a patient and family member who supports a holistic approach to treatment—and teach them about the strengths in the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection by describing what helped your mom.
If any of the doctors, or all five, apologize and let you know that they learned from what you shared about what helped your mom, then they are demonstrating the traits of good doctors. If they ignore you or make excuses, then they are beyond hope for changing their approach to treatment of patients like your mom and others.