Thursday Thoughts From the Throne

Clock feature in a small park in NYC

Is the day over? No?

Phew!

Made it. 

My colon has been awfully out of whack this week. So has my running schedule, come to think of it…

So, most of the time I try to avoid talking politics and religion with my patients and my friends. There are only a few trusted people I feel I can have a rational conversation with. Today, though, I ran across one of those people who was trying to convince me that my theology was misguided and that abortion was wrong in all circumstances. Even in the case of an 11 year old girl who was molested by her uncle.

Don’t get me wrong, I like this guy. He is a good man, even if we fundamentally disagree. However, he made a comment about prayer in school that got my dander up. Specifically he said that Christian prayers only should open every school day and that more of it probably would have prevented the Las Vegas shooter from killing all of those people.

Um. No.

I am going to skip the theology question and the abortion issue and hit on that school prayer statement.

Being prayed at is not the thing that prevents hurting people from lashing out. Love does. Good parents who try to do right by their kids and their spouses, fellow human beings who show kindness…. these are the things that prevent damaged people. 

Loving people who need it is awfully darn hard. 

I am not saying don’t pray. Go ahead and pray. I pray. Prayer is powerful. Prayer can help you love, help you find kindness when you don’t think there is any left inside of you. Here’s the thing, though: Don’t you ever think for one minute that your prayer means you have done your duty and your responsibility to other people stops there. No. You have to physically reach outside of yourself and help those around you or you are just saying empty words. 

I used to be that person, the one for whom the world was black and white. No amount of arguing or reasoning could change my mind. I was so full of anger back then. Why doesn’t everyone see the logic that I see? Life had to show me the all of the other shades of gray and the myriad of vibrant colors that make up this world. It had to show me that I am not as smart as I thought I was. 

Life is still teaching me.

Kind of makes me wonder what I will think of this post in ten years…

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81 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts From the Throne

  1. I made just these same comments in my theology class this evening. Prayer is wonderful but it’s not enough to stop the epidemic violence and trauma in our midst today. We have to say that enough is enough and take action. I am so f’ing tired of telling a Mum that her son/daughter is dead because of senseless violence. I take some action every day to address this epidemic.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Righteous anger and seeing in black and white simplifies life and makes it feel safer. But the world is actually a million shades of grey and every other colour you can think of. I look back on some of my judgmental ideas from a few years ago and shake my head. And like you say, I wonder what I’ll think of my present convictions in a few years. Sometimes I think growing older means learning how much you don’t understand.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your honesty is here, Victo.
    It’s been a tough week for
    the world.
    And than I see all the suffering
    all over.
    This was the week my nephew
    was unharmed at that Vegas
    concert. What about all the
    others? Dear God why?
    This week was a disconnect
    for me. I see & hear about
    suffering all over.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Victo, a lot of thoughts from the throne today! Life is still teaching me too. I’m old so in another 10 years I’ll probably have some new surprising thoughts. That is if I listen to life around me. You never stop learning! Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Victo, Namaste 🙂

    Love shares the same qualities of Light: it splits into many colourful shades, all of which are flavoured with the taste of rainbows. Deeds are an act of prayer: a physical act to compliment mindfulness. Love is not reliant on scripture or holy language to promote its virtue, Love is a ground state of being from which all else is a deviation. When one’s inner world turns on an axis of Love every act is an act of Love. Whilst the world turns on an axis of money, every act is a deviation from Love.

    Doctors act with Love. Else why would you care enough about being a doctor? I’ve often wondered what actually inspires an individual towards a certain occupation – like medical professionals – knowing that it is correct and feels fulfilling on a level somehow uniquely different to just being a job providing a certain life-style per se. In extending that thought, I ask myself if it is possible that spiritually minded individuals would naturally take up these occupations eventually regardless of the monetary rewards offered because spiritually they are destined to be healers? I believe human centred occupations are spiritually motivated and individuals given life on Earth to Love and be Loving: to demonstrate through deed qualities of Love and what Love can do when the sole motivating force in one’s life. For example, one isn’t born to be a Medical Insurance Company Director whose motivation is self-fulfilment by bleeding other people dry and destroying their people’s to inflate their own: these people have already fallen, have unwittingly traded Love for ego, for they have no heart to see.

    Be Love, Go in Peace. Enjoy the Throne lol 🙂

    God Bless. Namaste 🙂

    DN

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Victo, Namaste 🙂

        Would ‘thinking’ actually help answer the question you pose or is it a matter to consider within one’s heart? 😉

        Hoping all is well, and your Sunday blessed. Take care of you 🙂

        God Bless. Namaste 🙂

        DN

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think about other physicians that I know and what they say to me. Some got into medicine because their families expected it or they wanted a certain degree of income and prestige. It is hard to know men’s hearts, though…

        Like

  6. “I used to be that person, the one for whom the world was black and white. No amount of arguing or reasoning could change my mind. I was so full of anger back then. Why doesn’t everyone see the logic that I see? “

    Can you share what made you change?
    I’m still this kind of person, fully aware of it, and trying to change it, but not always successfully.
    Excellent post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Getting to meet people I would have never come across socially through my role in medicine. You cannot watch suffering every day and not have it change you, change your perspective. I credit my job and my medical training with saving my own life in many ways. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

      • That’s life changing and very meaningful. Thanks for sharing.
        I’m afraid that because I work for corporate, the kind of people I meet daily, are way more black and white than me. That’s why I decided to change.
        Thanks again for your kindness.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes it does. So, I decided to leave corporate life as an employee, and realized that corporate had not left me.
        I was the one to change.
        I still work with the same kind of people, and it feels like being exposed the whole time to the thing I want to get rid of.
        I may sound like a victim (of myself) if I say that that’s how I’m, or what I became. The choice on how to react is entirely mine, though, and that’s when I sometimes ‘fail’ and lose courage to carry on trying.

        Your experience was inspiring, though. Thank you.

        Liked by 2 people

      • LDG, You are on the right trajectory for change. the fact that you see it and are motivated is 90% of the battle. Your desire for change encourages me. Heck, just last week, I realized I am “that person” who needs to change in yet another area of my life. Totally blind to the problem until someone was venting about an impatient person in their life…I could see myself in the other person…and see my behavior through the eyes of another person.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi DM, thanks for your considerate comment. I’m humbled.
        This is the right place (a doctor’s site) to be ‘contaminated’ with one another’s positive experiences, do some mirroring and learn from it.
        You seem to be very self-aware as well and as you pointed out, that is about 90% of the battle.
        These moments like the one you shared, are very powerful catalysts for change.
        Take care.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. This was a really good post. I spent 2/3 of my life with people who only saw black and white. They had no life, they knew only selfishness and hatred. It was a suffocating environment which physically damaged all that were in it. I believe that hatred, misdirected anger, discrimination, and violence are the true viruses of human life. Eradicate them, and the world would flourish.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m an atheist so tend to view prayer as something a bit odd. True compassion has a physical action, not just words, otherwise it’s nothing more than the equivalent of a ‘like’ on social media – a blip of gratification for the liker & likee, but no actual use.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have grown up with prayer so it seems very natural to me. Maybe it is just self talk, but I find it is therapeutic for me. It is not about changing some deity to conform them to my needs, more about changing me, if that makes sense? I picked the photo for this post because of the verse (that admittedly has been used to the point of painful cliche) “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” It is surprising how many who should know better forget that teaching. You don’t have to be *religious* to understand that truth. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I really enjoyed this post, and agree with all your points. Too many people talk about being kind, generous or good Christians and do nothing to ease other people’s suffering. It took me a long time to realize this. We are always learning, always changing. I hope you can lace up your running shoes this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ironically, today’s crime rate is actually lower than in the late 1950s (when we still prayed in school). We hear more about crime, and the speed of news brings distant crime closer, faster, but we are actually safer. Far safer than in the late 80s and early 90s.

    Prayer can help you/me understand this world a little better, but forcing a particular brand of prayer on a diverse audience will likely do more harm than good. Understanding the person across from you is much more important.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. LOVE is the answer – we’re told that in so many ways, in so many languages, in so many religions. And yet, perhaps love is harder than hate. Prayer is powerful, yes, but only when you follow it through with ….love. Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post. I think you’ll say the same thing in 10 years. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I was just at a community board meeting discussing the growing problem of homelessness and substance abuse. The cops were there, the elder services people were there, the homeless shelter people were there, the AG office and city council had representatives. You can’t pray your way out of these problems. You can’t arrest your way out of them either. It’s clear that we need some way that shows compassion, but also concrete help. To me, the catalyst is abuse, whether mental or physical. Often self (substance) abuse. Do we, as a society, have the will to stop punishing and blaming and start helping? Or are we just going to send more of those “thoughts and prayers” and go onto the next thing? (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I think I get it, Doc. I was such an angry young adult, so sure that I was righteous, justified in my conviction. My 20’s were full of conflict, questioning, criticism…I was finding myself, alienating so many others in the process. It took time, life experience, pain and joy to find my balance. Love evolved.

    The black/white turned to gray, but not for every one. I’ve learned tolerance, patience, and every day…a bit more wisdom.

    Your choice of photo…so good.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. We have habits of thought and attitude as much as we have habits in our actions. Seeing things without nuance is certainly one of those habits of attitude easily learned because it provides a simplified view of the world. Easily learned and extremely hard to change.

    Here is a vision exercise that, if repeated often enough, might help change that attitude: (From the Digha Nikaya) “Put away all your hindrances. Let your mind full of love pervade one quarter of the world, and so too the second quarter, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus, the whole wide world above, below, around and everywhere, altogether continue to pervade with love filled thought abounding beyond measure, free from hatred and ill will. Continue to pervade with love-filled thought.”

    No matter where you are when you start, this is not an easy exercise.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I was the same way, once. Everything was either black or white, wrong or right. There was no in between. Then life broke me down and showed me just how truly wrong I was. Now all I see are shades of gray.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post and wonderful comments. The only thing that can overcome evil and hatred like what we are seeing today is love and forgiveness–and that is not easy. Simplified, it’s hate the sin but not the sinner. I have never seen such abhorrent behavior, even among relatives and friend–vicious words spew from their mouths, God only knows their thoughts. I am seriously beginning to think something–electromagnetic energy, bad water, air, food additives, pesticides–something short of aliens is changing the personalities of previously happy normal people. And it scares the hell out of me.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. In ten years, you will think it’s a wonderful post…because it is!

    And you’re quite right. Unconditional Love transcends any and all religions.

    When we can all learn to love ourselves and “other selves” unconditionally, there will be no further need for any man-made doctrines, rituals, “saviors”, or stories…

    Love Always,

    Stargazer

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I grew up Catholic and went to a Catholic school where we prayed every morning and said the Pledge of Allegiance. Both were just by rote. I would rather a class start the day with everyone turning to the person on either side of themselves and shaking their hand and telling them to have a great day. No one could be offended by that and how can you bully a person whose hand you have to shake every day? There are no small acts of kindness!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Another conversation starter here. I’m in agreement with you on so many levels. The man who did this in Vegas was mentally ill as was his father. We have a lot of undiagnosed mental illness in this country and many others. Some is cultural. My dad always said the most dangerous thing in the world was a closed mind. There are lots of shades of gray and black and white does not create a loving and peaceful world. As for prayer, Dr. Larry Dossey has written many books on the scientific evidence of how prayer works. Ask anyone who receives a terminal diagnosis or has a child in harms way and atheist or not, they will say a silent prayer. You just don’t always get what you want. There is too much scientific evidence out there these days to rule out so many things. It feels like the world has gone off the rails these days. I think there must be some reason I don’t understand for it. But I’m so ready for a more intelligent, kind and open minded change. It feels like the inmates are running the asylum. Lynne McTaggart has a new book out called The Power of Eight that I’m reading now. Scientific experiments with results she never expected. Sorry to be so chatty here. I get a little worked up when someone says there is no reason to have an abortion ever. I chose not to have one but I feel like everyone should have the right to choose for themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would never choose abortion for myself either, except in certain cases like a diagnosis of anencephaly but I agree that we all have to be allowed the choice. As I have always said, the way to prevent abortion is not to picket abortion clinics and throw around hate and guilt…. it is to prevent unwanted pregnancies first (stop rape and molestation, make birth control accessible, etc.) AND to help women with those pregnancies to have love, support, and less stigma.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Your post is fine. And yes, politics and religion should be avoided with friends and family.
    Having said that, “Prayer against vegas”? “Prayer to prevent Bataclan”? Flowers and candles on the site?
    It’s not going to prevent it from happening again.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I feel obliged to comment. Your argument about that theological aspect is basically why I left religion behind.

    In short many Christians, my family included were full of words and prayers but actually doing something rarely happened. It made me feel like a coward. What good are holy books if people act like cowards while acting devout and pious?

    At one point I gave up on that herd and went my own way. I have more respect for the materialist cynic who out of humanist principle tells you to be selfish and survive. Once you are strong enough to survive you can be kind and build bonds based on trust, not fake principles.

    A truly effective prayer is simple. You pray for someone, help that person out yourself and tell him or her you care about him or her and to have hope. Distant begging for divine intervention, not for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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