“Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn't, it is of no use.” ~Carlos Castaneda

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Everything that is old is new again ...

“The internal dialogue is what grounds people in the daily world. The world is such and such or so and so, only because we talk to ourselves about its being such and such and so and so. The passageway into the world of shamans opens up after the warrior has learned to shut off his internal dialogue.”

~ Carlos Castaneda

There is so much that influences us in our daily lives. Our past experiences shape our opinions. Our relationships with our parents, teachers, and friends, help us to develop a sense of what we feel is right and wrong. It helps us to develop a sense of self. Our external experiences and others opinions usually will shape how you feel about self. In educating others, the educator will provide education through these eyes. As an educator, I give information that I feel is important at that given time. We have biases. We don't all teach the same or feel the same things are important . This usually makes it difficult for a learner who is just come into this education system.

Clinical medicine is cluttered with opinions supported by some science and a lot of anecdotal rationale. Everyone has a reason for doing things they way they do them. I refer to this as an "emotional issue." We do things this way because we had a "bad experience" and doing it this way "makes us feel better. " Yes, this is anecdotal and sometimes seems irrational, but how many decisions are made. I feel it is important for both the learner and the educator to understand the limitations both in the science and our clinical experience; our knowledge and skill set. It is essential to know when it is time to ask for help. This is something that many may refer to as a weakness. In my mind, the weakness is in feeling you have all of the answers.

Castaneda has some interesting thoughts and philosophies that translate very well into understanding more about yourself and you relationship to the environment around you. His philosophies come from an experience
research log describing his apprenticeship with a traditional shaman identified as Don Juan Matus. The existence of Don Juan has been disputed, but there is much wisdom in some of the statements he made. Castaneda wrote, in The Art of Dreaming, that Don Juan contended that our ordinary world-

...which we believe to be unique and absolute, is only one in a cluster of consecutive worlds, arranged like the layers of an onion. He asserted that even though we have been energetically conditioned to perceive solely our world, we still have the capability of entering into those other realms, which are as real, unique, absolute, and engulfing as our own world is.
This assertion was made with respect to the metaphysical self (spiritual self); but as a statement, really can be used when referring to ourselves as both educator and learner. It is a special person who is able to separate his/her own opinions and experiences when teaching and evaluating another. This is important for both to do, but seldom done.

Castaneda's thoughts on a number of things, although controversial, are very applicable to the journey of gathering medical knowledge. He stated -

For me there is only the traveling on the paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge for me is to traverse its full length. And there I travel—looking, looking, breathlessly.
For me, this is one of the wonderful challenges of medicine. The gathering of knowledge is endless. The infusion of new and eager students is like injecting the whole system with nitrous. I am continuing to reevaluating myself as an educator and learner. I try to view myself from outside. I do realize that I have limitations in my own ability to learn and educate. I am continuously looking for new ways to remove my biased opinion and be open to others. It is a constant struggle to remove the human from the human being. For now I will continue in my struggle, I will do my best to provide teachings which I feel are both pertinent and needed. I welcome you do come with me for the ride.

“To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other.”
~ Carlos Castaneda

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