Monday, December 7, 2009

Controversy over discrimination by Christian Legal Society at Hastings Law

Here's an interesting attempt by a Christian campus group at Hastings Law (Berkeley, CA) to try to get taxpayer money to fund their organization.  These are law students at one of the top law schools in the country, yet they cannot understand the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  If I were the Dean, I would throw them out of school for being unable to understand a well-established legal principle.  They are wasting taxpayer money by bringing suit, and should be forced to pay for the costs of the lawsuit.

Here's the link for Americans United for Separation of Church and State's Amicus Curiae brief.

An odd thing happened when I called Hastings Law to get a statement from the school about this issue.  The young woman in charge of press relations (who shall remain nameless) actually laughed at me when I was explaining why this issue was important to me.  How inappropriate for someone who works in press relations!  Especially when you consider that she works for one of the top law schools in the country, which of course means she will be dealing with numerous controversies as that is what the law is about, determining what the law says in the context of disputes between opposing parties.  I am still a little in shock.  And more than a little dismayed.  Is this the level of competency and maturity to be found in our one of our most prestitious public institutions?  How very sad.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Who'd a thunk? How you eat affects your health.

I am very excited to see that economic hardship and healthcare costs are finally driving large corporations to consider offering better food choices for their employees.  Here's the link:

Congressional Budget Office says healthcare reform plan won't increase premiums

Check it out. This is very good news from some very brainy and conservative bean counters.

Insomnia? Exercise day, you'll fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer

According to an article I read in the NY Times today, several sleep studies have proven the assumed connection not only between exercising and falling asleep more easily but also between exercise and sleeping longer.  Walking my big dog twice a day isn't enough to end insomnia.  Tom (my sweetheart), you were right.  I'm hitting the gym every day from now on.  I WANT TO SLEEP BETTER!

Clin Sports Med. 2005 Apr;24(2):355-65, xi.

Effects of exercise on sleep.

Department of Exercise Science, Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, 1300 Wheat Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.
Historically, perhaps no daytime behavior has been more closely associated with better sleep than exercise. The assumption that exercise promotes sleep has also been central to various hypotheses about the functions of sleep. Hypotheses that sleep serves an energy conservation function, a body tissue restitution function, or a temperature down-regulation function all have predicted a uniquely potent effect of exercise on sleep because no other stimulus elicits greater depletion of energy stores, tissue breakdown, or elevation of body temperature, respectively. Exercise offers a potentially attractive alternative or adjuvant treatment for insomnia. Sleeping pills have a number of adverse side effects and are not recommended for long-term use, partly on the basis of a significant epidemiologic association of chronic hypnotic use with mortality. Other behavioral/cognitive treatments are more effective for chronic insomnia treatment, but difficult and costly to deliver. By contrast, exercise could be a healthy, safe, inexpensive, and simple means of improving sleep.
PMID: 15892929 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Monday, November 23, 2009

Musings on the relative power of human beings to shape their world

I'm sure people rarely think about things like this, but Christ was not himself a Christian.  He did not believe in setting up a church structure such as exists today.  He would certainly be outside of this structure were he alive today.  The whole point of his life was to challenge the dogma in the religion he was raised in, to show where it did not live up to its own values.  He was angered by the money mongering within the religion, the public show of piety rather than true piety which is humble and oh-so-private, the intimate and delicate relationship between a person and their experience of the divine.  He lived his life in near-poverty, practicing a working class trade (carpentry and sometimes fishing), and did not try to legislate his beliefs, only to practice the highest law, which in his own words is love.  "Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love."  So, love is more important even than faith in God.  It saddens me that no one understands what that means.  As long as people are driven to be "right," to make others over into their own image, there is no divine influence in that.  The voice of God is the still, small voice, not of reason or ambition, but of love, the willingness to be lowly, to become like a child again, innocent and open to the world as it is experienced moment to moment, without preconceptions.  I know, people do not do this because it is not the easiest way through the world.  But it is the only route to a satisfying and fulfilling life, one that does not depend upon material success or the acknowledgement of others.  If only Christians really followed Christ's example!  What a different world we would live in, at least in America where the majority of people consider themselves to be Christians.  I think there are really only a tiny handful of people who actually embody the Christ in the world today.  Everyone else is so full of hatred and fear, they cannot possibly have God in their hearts.

There is a gnostic gospel that tells of some secret teachings Christ gave to one of his disciples.  The text was discovered at Nag Hammadi in the last century, and contains information not found in any other gospel.  In it, Christ describes a universe in which the true god is nearly hidden from us, and false gods, three angels that wanted power as great as God's, rebelled and were given the Earth as their temporary domain where they could try to prove themselves.  Well, that would be us, this Earth, and these angels are not good, but rather bloodthirsty and violent.  If this gospel happens to describe the truth, it would explain a lot about why the world is as it is today.  But there is something really interesting in there, the fact that human beings are higher than the angels, despite angels being heavenly beings.  Humans have more power than angels (we have free will and they do not), so ultimately we are all individually more powerful than the forces of evil that work on our world today, embodied by the three angels who wanted power over others and the chance to prove that they are right.

It gives me great hope to think that in fact humans are more powerful than most of the heavenly beings we look to for succor or guidance or assistance.  We are, if the Bible is to be believed, created in God's image.  Now surely we are not childish enough to imagine that means in some physical sense, since God is not a physical thing.  It is the life force itself, it is the power of love!  We are made in God's image in that we, too, are creators of the universe.  What we believe shapes the world, moment to moment.  Modern physics corroborates the participation of the observer with the observed phenomenon.  So, if that is the case, how are your thoughts affecting the universe?  Are they loving, beautiful, expanding thoughts?  Or are they full of hate, or perhaps fear?  What we believe about the universe shapes our thoughts, so I am calling for people to pay attention to their thoughts and feelings, and to change their beliefs in such a way as to bring "the peace that passeth understanding" into each heart.  If your life is consumed by trying to change others rather than by trying to live the most loving life you can, then perhaps it is time to rethink your priorities, to get straight about what your values truly are, and make any changes that will bring you into alignment with the love, the all-embracing light that is God.  God does not reject anything.  If you do, then stop to figure out why you are rejecting part of God's creation.  As a current saying goes:  "It's all good."
So, these folks think they're actually CHRISTIANS??????

Getting Ready to Practice

In my final weeks of studying Daoist medicine, I am torn between focusing on my Master's Portfolio, my upcoming national board licensing exams, and the practicalities of setting up a private practice. Looking at spaces to rent, seeking funding for a clinic to serve special needs patients, trying to decide where I want to set up my practice (here in NYC? in a beautiful natural setting out West?). So many decisions to make. And yet what a joy this process is. I have dreamed of this day when I could finally begin to treat people, to help them find their way back to wholeness and health. Only natural medicine can ultimately restore health. Modern Western medicine is just far to harmful to the body to ever be able to lead to true health. Cessation of symptoms, yes, it can do that. But at what cost? What sense does it make to destroy the body's delicate organ systems merely to push symptoms under the rug for months or years at most? In my book, that makes no sense whatsoever.

I am privileged to be practicing a form of medicine that has been refined for thousands of years, based on the most demanding clinical proof: the best doctors were private physicians to the emperor. If their treatments did not work, the emperor sometimes put them to death. How's that for motivation to practice effective medicine!

In the past, I have written about natural health topics, my personal experiences with Western medicine, and my favorite political causes. If you enjoy this blog, please feel free to send me things you'd like to see posted. I often post things to FaceBook as well, to share with friends from all eras of my life.

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