Thursday, 31 May 2012

"Shoulds" or Common sense?

     When kids starting to drive their parents' car are told to keep an eye on the engine oil & brake fluid levels, tire pressure, etc - they consider it nagging. If they follow the advice, it's out of obligation, guilt, morals, trying to be good. On the other hand, if the engine seizes (lack of oil), it's considered terrible luck, or cosmic punishment for disobedience. Childish right?
     I suggest that ALL of the "moral" codes ("shoulds") regarding thought, speech and behavior found in the wisdom traditions are of the exact same nature as making sure the car engine has sufficient oil to run smoothly. The founders and refiners of the wisdom traditions had very mature accurate insights into how things actually work: how humans relate to each other and the universe, the causes of suffering and its release, and thus, how we can choose to live the deepest, most meaningful lives.
     The 16-year old doesn't know and cares less about the car (big picture), he's blinded by the urge to get to the party quickly (short-term, self-centered goal). Nevertheless, all the causes and effects that make the car operate (laws of nature) must be in place for it to work properly. Only when we understand the workings of the car fully, do ideas like "bad luck" and "punishment" fade.
     All of us in health care are highly trained in biomedical science. Most us have inadequate training or interest in the psychosocial and spiritual dimensions of life, even as it pertains to fully caring for our patients. Thus, when (not if) the biomedical approach fails to keep our patients, our loved ones, and ourselves from aging, sickness and death - we immaturely think: bad luck, tragedy, "unacceptable"!
     The biomedical is a small part of the overall picture, which has HUGE psycho-social-spiritual dimensions. Our avoidance of the latter is fear-based - plain old ignorance due to lack of training. If we investigate deeply how the universe works, we CAN begin to live a full, balanced life. Life becomes more understandable - even joyful, as our knowledge AND wisdom matures.

Photo: Geza Radics

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