My Q & A Consult – Wisdom from the Sages

This week I thought about some of the questions that patients have asked me over the years. Because these questions have come up so often in one form or another, I thought you would enjoy seeing how I think sages of the past and present might answer them. Their “answers” here appear as quotes in my book, 365 Prescriptions for the Soul.

sunsetQuestion for Albert Schweitzer:

What is the secret to getting a good night’s sleep and waking up with enthusiasm for the new day?

Dr. Schweitzer’s Answer:

“When the day ends and the sun sets, I let my troubles go.”

garden retreatQuestion for Mohandas Gandhi:

I know I should probably learn to meditate to clear my mind and calm my body, but how can I justify the time for it each day when there is so much to do?

Dr. Gandhi’s Answer:

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

(Another great philosopher wanted to answer this question too…)

Bertrand Russell’s Answer:

“A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live.”

Helping HandsQuestion for C. G. Jung:

I was raised to believe in God and that whatever happens to us is God’s will—we have no control over it. How does that fit with believing in the Mind-Body Connection?

Dr. Jung’s Answer:

“I cannot prove to you that God exists, but my work has proved empirically that the pattern of God exists in every man and that this pattern in the individual has at its disposal the greatest transforming energies of which life is capable. Find this pattern in your own individual self and life is transformed.”

Question for Sydney Smith (English cleric and writer 1771-1845):

I feel very guilty sometimes for not being able to give money to feed the children suffering from famine or to at least volunteer my time for some worthy cause in my own city. I don’t watch the NEWS anymore because I feel so bad about not helping. Why am I so selfish?

Reverend Smith’s Answer:

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little—do what you can.”

Question for Bertrand Russell (1872-1970 winner of Nobel Prize in Literature):

What is one idea I can share with my children that can most help them have a better life?

Bertrand Russell’s Answer:

“It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly.”

Question for Albert Einstein:

What is a miracle?

Dr. Einstein’s Answer:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

I hope over the next week you will reflect on these questions and answers. Think about questions you have and send them to me for our regular Monday Q&A with Bernie. Remember, the question you have and are willing to send in is very likely the same question another reader has but hesitates to submit.

Live-OaksNow, in honor of Spring, here is one of my favorite quotes:

“Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground.”
–Henry David Thoreau

Open your hearts to the joys of Spring!