Our Fractured Health Care System

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Good Health is not free!

I have severe arthritis and was put on the list for a surgical hip replacement. I recently was called to the Bone and Joint clinic here in Lethbridge to see when the doctors there would be able to perform the operation. Although the doctors, nurses and general staff were very friendly, efficient and professional, I couldn’t help but feel that I was in a modern-day assembly line. I simply went from here, to there, answered those questions, then shuffled off to the next room to fill out forms, then another room to answer more questions. Very efficient, but there simply was no time allotted anywhere in the procedures to ask the professionals any personal questions!

At the time of this writing, I’m subscribed to a four-day Mindful Health Summit whose aim is to introduce the practice of conscious Mindfulness to healthcare providers in order to help ease the stress load that they experience. Although the summit is primarily directed towards doctors, nurses and the administrative staff in hospitals and clinics, it was interesting and enlightening for me, personally, as a present and future patient, to listen to the speakers and become aware of just how intense our modern-day health providers work under frustrating conditions where they are constantly overworked and understaffed and where burn-out seems a way of life. I have to ask, why? What’s wrong with our health care system, that’s touted to be among the best in the world, yet so inefficient in many ways when dealing with society’s sick?

It can’t be a shortage of qualified people, because I often read articles where highly qualified medical people immigrate to Canada from other countries, but can’t get a job in the medical field, so end up driving taxis. It can’t be a lack of money that’s causing this problem, because, according to a recent CTV News article, health costs Canadians about eleven thousand dollars each, per year! … and here you thought our health care system was free!

On the other hand, in 2011, the total Canadian pharmaceutical market was the world’s eighth largest, representing about 2.6 per cent of global pharmaceutical sales. The Canadian prescription pharmaceutical market was worth an estimated $29 billion in 2013.

That got me thinking. Maybe it’s Big Business that’s very sneakily behind our health care problem. With its well organized, well structured system and extremely well-paid CEOs, it pays them handsomely to keep our health care system in the frustrated state that it is in today. A shortage of health providers creates long waiting lists so people stay sick longer, thus needing more drugs for that longer period of time before they can get real medical help. Burnout of doctors and nurses too often means mistakes are made, leading to law suites (another lucrative source of income for lawyers) thus, because, as a result of these errors, patients often end up on a lifetime need of drugs.

Manufacturers who supply our clinics and hospitals with needed medical supplies—who, by the way, charge quite handsomely for their products—also benefit from people staying sick longer.

Is there a solution?

This prompts me to ask a burning question: considering that it could—and probably is—true what I said above, that Big Pharma/Big Business is behind all this, could this be a good time to ween ourselves from the profiteering drug industry and take the responsibility for our health into our own hands?

It takes effort, I know, because it means taking your health in my own hands, but it’s absolutely worth the benefits: more energy, greater happiness, and a huge decrease in pain and freedom to do many of the things that I couldn’t do before.

In my research for this article I’ve uncovered hundreds of web sites and blogs of specialists who have done just that: become alternative medicine practitioners and have placed your health and welfare—you, the human being—as first priority over profit. Of course, as anyone knows who’s done searches on the Net, there’s a lot of mis-information out there, also, some ideas being even dangerous, so caution is advised. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet! One of my favorite search sites for health topics is Healthline at http://www.healthline.com. The articles there are well researched, not skimping on quoting all their information source references, and the articles are written in ‘layman’s English,’ making the information easy to understand. At the end of each topic, they also offer a host of additional sites that you can visit for more, or related information and, a feature I really like, it has only a small, reasonable number of ads on its web pages to distract you.

That’s why I repeat the caution about advertisements on the Net: be careful of what you believe or even bother to read on the Internet. Some sites will cleverly hide their supporter’s ads so well that, unless you’re really ‘wide awake,’ you can easily mistake one of their ads for a medical fact. That’s why I suggest you start with Healthline and work forward from there. It’s a very reliable, fact-based site.

All major religions emphasize that our body is our Temple, and the important role our body plays in our spiritual evolution. In fact, one of my favorite Bible quotes, Jesus’ Parable of the Talents, shows that Jesus really stressed the importance of our bodies in our evolution process in Matthew 25, verses 14 to 29, with especial emphasis on verse 29. “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” If you read this verse superficially, it doesn’t make much sense. However, if you add just one thought in the right place, the verse makes a lot of sense. “For unto every one that hath [the ability to reason] shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hat not [the ability to reason] shall be taken away even that which he hath.” … in other words, the person, through his own laziness, becomes a slave to whomever he turns his reasoning ability over to: in this discussion, to the drug industry.

We’ve incarnated into a wonderful life here on earth, with oodles of chances to enjoy ourselves and at the same time grow in compassion and love. Don’t screw it up!

Me and Mortimer: Chapter ten—”Mortimer is Back from His Honeymoon!”

Good mornin’! How was your weekend? My wife’s mother came to visit for the weekend, so I took the occasion to go fishing up at Pine Lake, but the mosquitos was really bad up there, so came back a bit early. Brought back two beautiful lake trout, though. Since my wife don’t eat fish, I had both of them beauties to myself. She did fry them up for me—a bit of butter and some sauce. Mmmml! I can still taste them!

I thought I’d try something different and come to work on time this morning, just to see what it felt like. The clock said exactly nine o’clock when I walked through the door, and sure enough, Mortimer, the ol’ company brownnoser and fresh off his honeymoon, was already at work, polishing his garden tools and placing them carefully back on their designated place he had marked for them on the wall rack.

Save time by always knowin’ where your tools are, he keeps tellin’ me. I swear, the greatest fear rust could have with Mort’s tools, would be to appear as a rust spot on one of them! That rust spot would be polished away faster than Russian President Putin could say, ‘nyet’!

I did—again—make note that Mort forgot to put the coffee pot to boil. Since he’s always the first one in in the mornin’, I naturally figures, first one in to the office should make the coffee, but he always keeps forgetting to do that.

One of these days I’m gonna have a real serious talk with that slacker about the importance of havin’ that first cup of coffee in the morning. However, considering the good mood he was in, I didn’t want to spoil it. I’ll have that talk with him another day!

“Mornin’, Mort!” I greeted him, sounding as cheerful as I could, hoping that would keep the morning pleasant. “How was the honeymoon?” Not that I really cared, or that it was any of my business, but it was a conversation starter.

“It was great!” He replied, turnin’ hisself around and actually looking directly at me. Usually he just answers with his back to me, so I figured he really must feel special this morning, if he’s facin’ me directly.

“We stayed in a beautiful, self-contained log cabin in Jasper National Park that had a small kitchen unit, so Maureen was able to brush up on her cooking skills.”

“Your wife can cook?”

Mort broke out in a amusin’ type of chuckle, like as if I had something funny. “She’s a very good cook,” he said. “She worked for an entire year as the Master Chef in the Rolling Hills Restaurant on the north end of town, but didn’t like the long hours, so she returned to teaching. Right now, she’s teaching a primary class in a small, rural school about five kilometers east of here.”

“Teaches?” I guess my face musta showed surprise, ‘cause he chuckled that stupid chuckle again. “Maureen has her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education.” Mort rehung the grass sheers he’d been sharpinin’. He seemed sorta proud that his wife was so smart and educated, and that observation really alarmed me. It’s my superior opinion that a woman should never be smarter than her husband! They gets real bossy if they thinks they’s as smart or smarter than you.

I was about to correct him and explain that it was a bad idea, letting women get higher education. I mean, sure, they can go to grade school up to Grade Eight, so they know how to read and write and answer a phone, and make up a proper grocery list, but high school and university was a man’s world, and should stay that way!

Sheesh! Next thing you know, women will want to become boss of a company, and hire men to work for them! No way! I ain’t subjecting myself to any of that kind of inequality!

By this time in our talk Mort had finished polishing all his tools, so he picked up his car keys and said, “I have to go to the gas station and fill up the gas can so I can cut the lawn this afternoon. They have a snack bar there. Would you like me to bring you a sandwich for your lunch? Treat’s on me.”

“As long as it ain’t one of them vegetarian things again,” I reminded him of the last time he bought a sandwich for me. I took one bite of that last sandwich and had to throw the rest away. Veggies is for kids and some lower-class animals, but real men that’s got a superior taste for food, eats meat!

“How about I buy you a Sauerkraut and a Bratwurst in a hotdog bun? I think they still sell them at the snack bar.”

Boy, marryin’ Maureen and the honeymoon must of really have changed Mort. I never seen him this generous before.

“Sure,” I said. “Now you’re talkin’ man’s food!” Sauerkraut on a real, German type of Bratwurst was a Friday night special at the new Tartans and Cream pub. That new pub opened up shortly after the Crown and Star had to close down. You could buy a bratwurst and a beer at their place for five bucks. That was my choice every Friday night when I went to the pub instead of goin’ home and eating that mushy stuff my wife is startin’ to make for me. My wife’s also got herself on one of them health food diets, and is trying to get me to eat that stuff, too. She sez it will make me healthier, but to my superior way of reasoning, it’s my eating at a sauerkraut on a bratwurst at the Tartans and Cream pub once a week —or sometimes, for a change of diet, I orders a Super Burger with a side of fries and a pickle at McDoogle’s Burger Stop that’s made the he-man out of me that I am today!

While Mort was gone to the gas station I thought I’d take the opportunity to read the morning newspaper. Not much news in the paper today. The editor used up a whole page just to give his opinion against that ring road the province wants to build around the town. The editor figures it’s gonna allow a lot of traffic to be routed away that would normally stop and shop in town, so the ring road would be bad for business. But the province figures it would speed up north-south traffic that crosses the province every day, and wouldn’t have to slow down while going through town. Especially them big dual-rigged transport trucks; they’d be free to just honk their horn and happily wave goodbye while speeding past our town.

I’m with the province on the idea for building a ring road. I want to keep our town small! It’s more peaceful and quiet that way, not having to deal with all that through-traffic. ‘Specially not having them big trucks slow down as they pass through town. Right now, they use their engines instead of their air brakes to slow down, and that infernal pop-pop-pop their engines make as they slow down was often the cause of jolting me awake too early on Sunday morning! I swear, them truck engines make more noise than a battery of artillery guns can make while firing blanks on celebrating our national holiday!

I see where ol’ Jake Osgood finally died. He had turned a hundred and three last January.  Earlier this summer, the town had made him Citizen of the Year to honor him for all the good work he done in the past for organizing kid’s hockey teams. All his family—it sez here that he had thirty-one great grandkids—and some of the retired hockey players that are still around, had a special honoring-wake at the funeral home. One thing I know for sure, Osgood didn’t have any beer at his party. He was a teetotaler.

Sheesh! How can you have a party if you don’t allow beer? I suppose some of the women got together and made him a frosty orange juice! Sheesh! What’s this world comin’ to when a guy turns down a beer for orange juice?

Mortimer just came in and handed me my bratwurst. He even bought a root beer to go along with the bratwurst!

“Thanks, Mort! I owe you one!” I gleefully unwraps that beauty and admires that culinary delight.

“Just remember to do the filing before you go home,” he reminds me, while digging into his own veggie salad. I had to wonder: how can a man eat that stuff that he’s eating? He ain’t no rabbit!

But I got something better to concentrate on than rabbit food! “sorry for cutting our conversation short but my bratwurst is waiting …

Talk to you again next week!

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Satan Never Lies to You!”

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” —Oscar Wilde

I’ve often heard people make a comment, then close that comment with, “and that’s the truth.” I don’t doubt that what they’ve just said they believe to be the truth—for them! But is it universally true, and will their statement—their truth—stand the test of time?

There are over seven billion people living on earth at this time, each with our own particular beliefs, and an estimated 4,200 belief systems. I also maintain that the word, “religion” doesn’t necessarily mean belonging to a religious organization. Although there are those who will vigorously deny it, every person is religious, whether they belong to a ‘religious’ organization or not. You may believe that having lots of money is the single source of happiness. Fine! That’s your belief; your religion!

Personally, as a practicing Christian, I believe in certain principles and follow certain dogmas. On the other hand, Muslim’s beliefs, although similar in most areas to Christianity, has its differences from my religion, yet we both claim to believe in the same God who created both of us, and is our salvation.

Even in Christianity itself there are diverse beliefs and ‘authoritative’ interpreters of what Jesus claimed to have said, so my question is, who heard Jesus correctly, and who understood Jesus correctly—and is my interpretation and understanding the only right one?

I often envision Jesus tuning in on his diverse followers and shaking his head in disbelief: “how can some of my acclaimed followers misquote and misinterpret me so badly from what I had originally said? I taught love and forgiveness, not hate and war!

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

Then there is the matter of faith. According to Wikibooks, “Faith is the basic ingredient to begin a relationship with God. Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass.” Sounds so simple and beautiful, but it is exactly that element in our nature that also causes more wars and anguish than anything else.

I often envision an army, drummed into full, passionate hate, getting ready for battle against their assumed foe. In the last act before actually engaging the ‘enemy,’ they’re blessed by their ‘God-appointed’ Padres and assured that “God is on our side,” while at the same time, our assumed enemy’s Padres are also blessing their troops and told that “God is on their side.” Now they feel most energized to mercilessly slaughter one another, all in the name of the same loving God who created all humans! There’s something wrong with that scenario!

I can’t help but think that there is also something very wrong when I hear both our religious leaders and politicians excite crowds into states of separation, hate and violence against the ‘chosen foe.’ To me, these ‘rabble rousers’—politicians and preachers—are the real Satans—the Lucifers of the world mentioned in Scripture, who use religious texts, twist the contents ever so slightly, then have us believe that what they speak—the twisted truth, is actually the real truth!

This is another example of what I mean when I say we have accepted certain men and women in our lives to lead us, and often that truth gets twisted to suit their agenda, not Jesus’ agenda for us. In John 13:34 Jesus is reported to have said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Do you see any room here for isolation of a neighbor, separation of loved ones or hate because they didn’t follow our particular wish, or reason to hate someone enough to go to war with them and kill them? And remember, Jesus didn’t just wish that we would love one another: He gave us a commandment to love one another. That truth is direct and straight forward. Pretty hard to change facts and their meaning—or is it?

So, how would Lucifer twist Jesus’ command to love one another to suit his own purpose? Simple! Lucifer would stand on his podium and piously agree with the truth that Jesus spoke: “love one another,” but in a quieter moment, he’d simply add, “as long as people repent and do what I tell them to do!” And, in just that simple, innocent-sounding short addition, he’s completely turned love into hate, and given you your ‘righteous’ excuse to go to war with your neighbor!

Another example. I wake up one morning and find that my house has been broken into, and my money stolen. Immediately, in a great fanfare of emotion that an-injustice-has-been-committed-against-me,  I call the police—and the news media, eternally seeking for that dramatic moment in one’s life (especially if their cameras can capture a tear or two in my eye. That would help), is hard on the heals of the police, looking for that dramatic cry of ‘injustice’, and, I-need-to-be-avenged, while shaking my fist and declare in rightousness that the perpetrator be justly punished.

Lucifer, and his band of dedicated followers, feed on hate and intolerance of this kind. That’s their food! War is a banquet to them.

Back to my story. Instead of getting all hyper and vengeful, why not stop and ask—as Jesus would certainly do—why did that person go to all the trouble of breaking into my house and robbing me? Maybe he has been unemployed for some time and he and his family are having trouble meeting their bills. He needs money. Where can I help? Maybe he has an addiction problem and his sense of morals have been perverted. Again, where can I help? Or, could it be that the guy is simply a sociopath and doesn’t know any better, thus needs more than my help: he needs professional help.

Jail is a punishment invented by man, not The Christ! Jail is not compassion!

In either case, when the man is brought before the judge for trial, am I there to help decide a compassionate solution to his problem? Admittedly, the man does have a problem because a normal, balanced person is not going to deliberately commit a crime against his fellow man. And that is a truth!

Sometimes, when I look at the world and see all the cruelty, suffering and hate that we foist on each other, I have to wonder just how far—if at all—we have evolved from the primitive savage that our anthropologists and archaeologists tell us we supposedly came from.

I also look up at the stars and think, is there intelligent life out there? If there is, why haven’t they contacted us? Could it be that they are patiently waiting for us to grow up: to throw off our primitive habits and become kinder, and more honest with each other; to evolve to a point where we are intelligent and spiritual enough so that Satan no longer has the power to twist the truth to his morbid pleasure and our suffering?

I believe that only then, when we’ve outgrown our weakness to accept“twisted truth,” will we be formally visited by Extraterrestrials and invited to join the Cosmic Community!

A Sunday Chat with Myself—”Our Passion to become Zombies”

“Marijuana is a much bigger part of the American addiction problem than most people – teens or adults – realize.” —John Walters

The Canadian government will be legalizing the recreational use of marihuana on Oct. 17 of this year, making Canada the first of the Group of Seven countries to do so. The government, in its great compassion and foresight, has placed some restrictions on who can use the stuff, but we know how well our youth follow adult advice! Right? I mean, we were youth once, and remember what we did when our elders told us not to do something? The news media isn’t throwing much common sense on the topic, either.

Dr. Robert Schwartz of the University of Toronto has some concerns. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Dr. Schwartz said, “One of the biggest accomplishments of tobacco control was to de-normalize the act of smoking, so there’s a fear that as smoking marijuana becomes more accepted, the act of smoking on a whole will [again] become more accepted.”

Marihuana has a known 33 carcinogens in it, so my question this Sunday is, “Why is our world suddenly become so fascinated with this drug that obviously has dangerous side effects?” Are we becoming a suicidal nation and, like lemmings, following each other to our eventual demise?

While giving a reason for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, our Prime Minister first had to admit that the present regulations on the non-medical use of the drug have not worked! So, is legalizing marihuana a better choice? Instead of financing expensive G7 summits and globetrotting on other “charitable” and business ventures, might it not be more financially sound to spend that money educating, especially the young, on the dangers of recreational use of marihuana?

Just imagine how great Canada could be if more of us spent time pursuing ventures that would benefit us and our neighbors, instead of selfishly indulging in harmful activities that just thoughtlessly lead to destruction!

I have a saying: Education, not Legislation!

Our society professes an absolute “free to choose” attitude. We’re “liberated!” That’s true, and it’s a good thing, but limiting ourselves with a need for only half truths can also be dangerous! The First Commandment our God—our Creator—has blessed us with is freedom of choice, but the Second Commandment, following very close on the heels of the First Commandment, states that we are responsible for our choices and no number of bailouts is going to prevent this! In other words, reaction to action—Karma—usually leads the unthinking person into a situation they hadn’t anticipated!

I have a saying that I love: “Education, not Legislation!”

In an article in the summer, 2018 edition of Apple, published by Alberta Health Services titled, “Clarity on Cannabis,” the magazine states, “Canadians use cannabis at some of the highest rates in the world. In 2015, one in five youths and nearly one-third of young adults said they used cannabis within the last year.”

Furthermore, in my view, to add insult to injury, financial investors are making huge profits on investing in companies that sell this stuff to the public. Money Morning, an investors email magazine, states: “Last year in 2017 the North American market for legal weed was just under $9 billion.” That’s a lot of money that could have been spent by the public on more healthy form of recreation!

And we all know that the financial market, as long as they’re getting good returns on their investments, aren’t going to concern themselves much about whether marihuana is safe to use or not! This is no different than our multi-billion dollar drug corporations concern about making us healthy by selling us their way-overpriced drugs; there’s just too much money involved for that to ever happen, and too many politicians in the pockets of these drug companies to ever hope for wisdom in legislative change—unless, by some freak of circumstance, the public unites and demands change!

Yes, there are some medical benefits to the use of prescription marihuana, like end-of life care; severe pain or persistent muscle spasms and spinal cord disease, where marijuana has been proven to be of benefit in lieu of equally(?) as harmful drugs. However, this doesn’t excuse the uncontrolled use of recreational marijuana.

Science Museum, London, explains it this way: “When part of your body is injured, special nerve endings send pain messages back to your brain. Painkilling drugs [like marihuana] interfere with these messages, either at the site of the injury, in the spinal cord or in the brain itself.” It’s the effect that this drug has on the brain that is of great concern to me. There is overwhelming data out there to prove that indiscriminate use of marihuana can make us into a nation of zombies, and there will be those who will recklessly venture that far! Are horror movies about our streets filled with zombies a portend of our future?

I’d like to close this ‘conversation’ on a positive note. in our Homo Sapiens’ 6,000 years on this earth, we’ve weathered equally as great, if not greater, disasters than the marihuana threat. During those brief 6,000 years we’ve been nearly wiped out as a species several times. So, instead of fear, let’s concentrate on the millions of us who are sensible enough to find our recreational needs through safer alternatives, so that Homo Sapiens can, again, live to tell our grandchildren about the stupid things some of us did when we were their age!

It’s just so unfortunate and sad that in this recreational marihuana craze we’re going to lose so many close friends, and even relatives, simply because many believed in liberated ‘half-truths,’ and not valued their lives more than they did!

“I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.”  —Ronald Reagan

A Sunday Chat with Myself: Are we an Advanced Society?

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” —Søren Kierkesgaard

This morning I sat myself comfortably into my office chair, leaned back, took a deep breath, held it for a moment, then slowly exhaled.

I was totally Relaxed and free of all the ‘happenings’ of the past week.

Sunday morning—it was that time of week for me to escape from the world and think metaphysically: to reflect on how the past week had impacted my life. For me, gratitude is the first thought that comes to mind, like being forever grateful for my overall health, income security, a nice, comfortable home, specialized, well-trained police that shield me reasonably well from predators … even our weather has been quite normal, compared to some of the storms, floods, forest fires and heat waves that are plaguing the rest of the country. It is such a joy to feel how lucky a person I am!

Our advanced society has given me many comforts, safety and protection that other nations, especially less developed ones, don’t enjoy. For example, the desperate “boat people” we hear about who sell everything they have and give it to a risky and mostly dubious “helper,” then, shoves them onto overcrowded boats where they must gamble their very lives to come to my country where they hope for a better life: a way of life I take for granted almost daily.

However, as I continued in my “grateful reverie,” my Super Self started challenging my good feelings. Sure, I had a lot of things in my life that brought me pleasure and comfort—I lack from nothing, physically—but how am I doing in my spiritual evolution? After all, I did come from somewhere other than this earthly, physical world—and for a reason, and I’m sure it wasn’t to just see how much worldly stuff I could collect!

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” — Charles Dickens

According to Zecharia Sitchin’s view (he’s renowned for his translations of early Sumerian writings into English), the Adamic race had its origin “quite suddenly”—over a period of just a few thousand years, evolutionarily-speaking—in this fertile region some 6,000 years ago. That 6,000 years, has given us enough time to evolve physically to a modest degree, but what about our spiritual evolution? Sure, as I said earlier, we have a lot of nice, modern things in our lives—homes, TV, wireless communications, good health plans, etc.— but in some other ways, spiritually, we’re still as barbaric as we were in our beginning! Envy, hate, greed, lust, cheating, lying—I still can’t leave my home without locking my doors due to the risk of home invasion: do you see change?

On the other hand, I subscribe to several charitable and meditation groups and we do a tremendous amount of good in helping to raise the level of human consciousness. My Church, alone, sponsors several charities to help individuals improve their lives, like food and clothing banks, disaster relief, educational foundations and research funding.

The bottom line is, we are moving forward, both in physical technologies, and in spiritual growth and compassion. It’s simply a matter of what side of the fence we focus our thoughts on as we analyse the world. Personally, I’ll take the cheerful, compassionate, grateful side, and leave the negative, fearful stuff up to the subscribers of the evening news media!

“When the light is imminent, the darkness gets agitated.” —Dr. Barbara De Angelis, Gaia TV

A Sunday Chat with Myself—responsibility

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” — Winston S. Churchill

On the 22nd of March, 2018, I watched a Dr. Oz TV show where he and his guests were discussing the problem of so many doctors committing suicide due to being overstressed by trying to keep healthy an increasing sick society. Of course, Dr. Oz is an American show, was dealing with American issues. However, I doubt that it’s much different here in Canada.

Our health clinic where you go to see your doctor is located next to the post office. When I go to pick up our mail, I often can’t find a parking spot in front of the post office, because most of the stalls are taken up by overflow parking at the health clinic. I drive around to the back of the post office to our Town’s public parking area, searching  for a parking stall in the public parking lot—same thing: most of the “up close” stalls are occupied by clinic patients. Frustrated, I often feel that the worst thing our Canadian federal government ever offered its citizens was free health care. Hear me out before you start sending me hate mail.

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” —Herophilus

On occasion when I need to go to a drug store, usually to buy my health supplements, I often have to stand in line. This wouldn’t be a significant point to ponder, except that, in a town of not much over 3,000 people, we have four drug stores! Doesn’t that raise an alarm bell that we’re not taking proper care of our health?

I know there is a need for hospitals, doctors, nurses and drug stores in a modern society, and Canada should be very grateful for these fine institutions. For example, one can fall and break a limb, come down with a contagious virus, be in a traffic accident, or have some other physical health issue that is beyond one’s control, and we are so blessed to have these medical facilities nearby. But shouldn’t we be taking at least some responsibility for our general good health?

Unless we have some other serious health issue, pain is generally a sign our body is telling us something is wrong. Wouldn’t we be better off if, when visiting a doctor, we talked to her or him to find out what could possibly be causing that pain in our body, rather than demanding a pill to just mask the pain?

Smoking, excess drinking, unwarranted drug use, improper eating habits are lifestyles well within our personal control. It shouldn’t be up to the doctor to “cure” your bad health practices with a pill—nor should it be the taxpayer’s responsibility to fund such a wrong mindset!

Society has turned teaching moral values to their children over to the school system. I’m not for religion being taught in school, nor moral values. That’s a parent’s responsibility, and if there is a diverse opinion as a result, all the better. It makes for a rich, colorful community, and that’s good! In fact, it’s healthy! Schools are for teaching students the so-called “Three Rs”—reading, writing, and arithmetic, plus social skills to prepare them for adult life.

To further our abandonment of responsibility, we’ve now left it up to law enforcement  to manage our behavioral patterns that make us a safe society. What’s next? … Oh yes, now we’re totally turning over our responsibility for our health to the medical profession and drug companies.

“Doc, gimme a pill. I need a fix!—Oh, and send the bill it to the taxpayer, eh?” We’re so wrapped up in our own self-gratification and irresponsibility we can’t see our possible annihilation as a species that we’re heading for.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” —Hippocrates

 

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Responsible Health

Parts of this story were included in an article on this topic that I wrote for our town newspaper on 24 May, 2018.

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In Canada we enjoy a healthcare system that guarantees free health and sickness care for every citizen. It’s a pretty good deal—the envy of many countries whose politicians aren’t as concerned about the welfare of their citizens as (some) of ours are. However, it does have drawbacks, because there are times when  free health care is the worst thing our politicians could have done for us.

“Everyone should have health insurance? I say everyone should have health care. I’m not selling insurance.”  —Dennis Kucinich

When I go to pick up our mail I often can’t find a parking spot in front of the post office because most of the stalls are taken up by people visiting the health clinic which is located next to the post office. I go to the back of the post office and look for a parking stall in the public parking lot located there—same thing: most of the “up close” stalls are taken up by clinic patients.

On occasion, when I do have to use a drug store—usually for health supplements, but I have used their dispensary, and often had to stand in line waiting to be served. This wouldn’t be a significant point to ponder, except that, in a town of not much over 3,000 people, plus the Blood Reserve next door, we have four drug stores that serve us! Doesn’t that raise an alarm bell that, maybe, we’re not living as healthily as we should be?

I know that in an advanced society it’s a given—almost a right to have good hospitals, doctors, nurses and drug stores, and we should appreciate, and be very grateful for these fine institutes that we’re blessed with. In war torn countries, to even have a doctor come through on occasion is considered a God-send!

Coming back to our town, I don’t know of a person, including myself, who hasn’t, at one time or another, used all four of these health facilities. One can fall and break a limb, come down with a contagious virus, be in a traffic accident, or have some other physical health issue that is beyond one’s control. That’s pretty well a given as we go through life. And, of course, at such times it is so nice to know with confidence, that our ailment will be professionally taken care of.

But shouldn’t we be taking at least some responsibility for our general, non emergency good health? Many of our ailments can can be prevented, if we but use some common sense in both our behavioral and eating habits.

“The road to health is paved with good intestines!” —Sherry A. Rogers

Pain is usually the first indicator telling our body that there is something wrong. When we experience pain, wouldn’t we be better off if, when visiting a doctor, to inquire of him first, if there is something in our daily life—food, drink, bad habits, lifestyle—that we’re doing that could be causing our pain, rather than immediately demanding a pill to just mask the pain? Our doctors and health workers are well trained in helping us live a healthier life—God bless them for their caring professionalism!, If we but ask, they are quite willing to show us a better, healthier way to live without having to resort to medication.

Our health clinic has a Healthy Living unit, but I have yet to see a lineup at that Nurse’s Station as I do at our drug stores!

It’s up to us to utilize this professional knowledge that our health system provides us, and educate ourselves with all this information that’s so freely available—in fact, speaking of free, it is often said that, what is free is seldom appreciated. Maybe it’s time, again, that we placed a levy on our health services so that we appreciate good health!

Smoking, excess drinking, illegal drug use, improper eating habits are lifestyles well within our personal control. We can do something about those issues. It shouldn’t be up to the doctor to “cure” our bad health habits with a pill—or the taxpayer to fund such a wrong mindset, just because we feel we have a right to live as we please without considering the consequences!

“The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it.”  —Tricia Cunningham

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Water!

“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water” —Genesis 2:1

There is much argument in the Christian world about the above Biblical passage from the Bible. We are told that God created everything, but yet, if we take a closer look at this passage, it would appear as though water had already existed before God created the universe. Vladimir Voeikov, Director of Science, Professor of Biology, in an interview during a documentary on Gaia TV stated, “Water was not created, and herein is the mystery to which science will not give an answer.”

Regardless of what one believes—whether you believe that this is just another, of many, oversights and/or misprints in the Scriptures, or whether water did already exist prior to creation, one thing is certain: water is an important element not only on earth, but in the entire universe!

Alois Gruber, in the same Gaia TV documentary, explained water in a slightly different light. He said, “how a person handles water, if he approaches the water with good thoughts or blesses it, and says Thank You to it, the quality of water will improve and have a positive effect on a person and his body.” He went on to explain that water absorbs information and if misused, can in time, become quite toxic to creatures who depend on water for nourishment. Fortunately, water is self-cleansing. Frozen water—ice—or in  its steam element, has the ability to clean itself. That’s why water that trickles down from ice shelves, high in the mountains, is sought after as being pure of any  contaminants.

“Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine.” —Slovakian Proverb

The healing qualities of water can be easily demonstrated. Pour yourself a glass of water—of course, make sure that it’s filtered, pure water with as many of the contaminants as possible removed. Hold the glass of water in both hands in front of you, then concentrate on it, sending it some positive thoughts. Think of the person you love. Feel that love, then transfer it to the water.

Think of a happy moment: the time that you said “Thank You” to the person that held the door open for you at the supermarket. Feel that gratitude, then transfer it to the glass of water.

Think of a time you paid the cost of lunch for a Street Person. Do you remember how good you felt in your heart that you had helped someone less fortunate than you? Transfer that charitable feeling to the glass of water.

Now, offer a prayer of gratitude to the water: be thankful for the water’s ability to quench your thirst, to rejuvenate you, to heal your ailments. Drink the water. Do this for at least a week and notice the natural difference in your health and in your countenance.

“Water is the mother of the vine, the nurse and fountain of fecundity, the adorner and refresher of the world.” —Charles Mackay

 

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Humans as Animals, that is!

The healing power in one’s hands  has been used by mystics and healers for centuries.

Earlier today I bumped my left elbow, and immediately, in an unconscious act, covered the painful spot with my right hand, massaging it gently. It was such an automatic move that got me thinking.  This is a common action for most people: when we hurt ourselves we instinctively over the area with our hand, or hands, and begin a gentle massage. Is this just a habit, or is there some healing comfort in our hands most of us don’t immediately recognize? Other animals don’t seem to have this ability—oh, they have healing and comforting abilities, but not in their hands, paws, fins, or whatever, as we have.

Sacred Science says, “Our hands are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. Whether you are a Siberian shaman, Reiki Healer, or QiGong master, awareness in your palms and fingertips is an unspoken job requirement.” From my observation, unconscious acts of using our hands for soothing and healing must work to a degree, otherwise it wouldn’t be such a universal common reaction that, whenever I hurt myself, I cover the area with my hand.

I have an eye exercise that I do that has demonstrated the power in my fingertips to me. When my eyes get tired from sitting too long in front of the computer, or if I’m reading for too long a time without taking a break, I bring the tips of my first three fingers together and gently rub them in a circular manner.

The placebo principle plays a role here. Remember, the body has the ability to heal itself, and denial or belief plays a big part in whether an attempted “self-cure” works or not.

I do this for about 30 seconds, then place the tips of my fingers on my closed eyelids and gently hold them there for a few seconds, imagining the energy from my fingertips flowing into, and soothing my tired eyes. How I feel, in general, at the time also has an effect on the outcome of this exercise. If I’m tired and really out-of-sorts,  I often end up with poor results. On the other hand, if I feel “energetic,” I only need repeat this fingertip exercise three or four times to get excellent results.

Our bodies are electrical, that behaves much like a large magnet. Energy flows in through our feet, and out through our fingertips and head. Therefore, from a scientific view, there is no reason why we can’t harness the energy flow out of the tips of our fingers to benefit tired eyes, mild hearing loss, or even give a little extra “spark” to our thinking capacity.

All created species, including plants and insects, have been granted unique intelligence, advantages or abilities according to their needs by our Creator. Humans, also, have been given a unique ability: to love and to heal.

 

Mindful Meditation

I’ve studied and practiced meditation of various styles now for over 50 years, so I think I know a little about what meditation is and is not–and no, it has nothing to do with religion! Outside of some fad, or an abstract ‘cultish’ view of meditation, an atheist, an agnostic or a religions person of any faith may practice meditation with good conscience, knowing that the practice will not violate his or her doctrine or belief.

Proper, practical meditation has nothing to do with so-called “emptying the mind.” For one thing, it’s impossible to empty the mind of thought because, to say that your mind is empty, is a thought in itself!

Meditation is like health food for the mind. Meditation involves quieting the mind. A person who leads a stressful life, a hectic life or a very structured life can benefit the most from meditation.There are various practices and rituals that one may employ in order to quiet the mind, like playing soft background music, chanting a chosen mantra, visualization, or deep breathing, although once you have even a small mastery over your thoughts, none are absolutely necessary to experience a productive session.

I recall, many years ago, it was common for  some guru–real or sham: mostly sham, to come to North America and extol his abilities to lead anyone who would listen, to a higher realm of consciousness. Thousands of us sat for hours, cross-legged and practicing deep breathing and chanting “Om,” hoping to achieve Nirvana. A few of us did gain greater spiritual awareness, no doubt about it, but the majority of us ended up disappointed and left, and for good reason. India’s lifestyles are not the same as North American lifestyles and it was hard for us to employ the disciplines involved eastern yoga.

We’ve not abandoned East Indian and Tibetan wisdom in yogic practices, but we’ve learned to adopt it more to our Western lifestyle, and we’ve even coined a new name for it: “Mindful Meditation.” A wonderful thing about this new form of meditation was that one didn’t have to spend months in an Ashram or even longer periods cloistered in some Buddhist monastery in East India or Tibet. It could be practiced, a few minutes each day, in the privacy of one’s own study or bedroom.

Mindful Meditation is a more fitting name for this new fad, both because of its simplicity in meaning, and its intended purpose: to be mindful of one’s thoughts as we relax and calm ourselves. No longer was one required to “empty one’s mind” which, as I’ve already said, is impossible to accomplish in the first place, and was a mistaken view of what meditation is as was taught by some not-so-knowledgeable Eastern ‘gurus’. Also, I should mention that, to experience a relatively simple and satisfactory Mindful Meditation,  it is not at all necessary to sit cross-legged in the customary Tibetan or East Indian manner. Fine if you can, or want to do it, but it’s not necessary.

Here are some simple, basic suggestions to get you started. After you’ve listened to about 15 minutes of quiet music, take a deep  breath. Inhale deeply to the count of 5, hold it for  a moment, then slowly exhale  to the count of 10, and at the same time, feel all the tension leaving your body. Do this several times. After a minute or two of such breathing, you should feel much more relaxed, plus you should feel a warm, healing glow come over your body.

Now that you’ve reached a state of relative calmness, become aware of the thoughts that keep entering and leaving your mind. For now, don’t try to control them: just be aware of them coming and going. This is what’s called self-awareness, or mindfulness. Your mind will wander, but that is only natural. When it does wander, gently–I repeat–gently bring it back to a state of mindfulness. If you try to force your mind into a state of total awareness, you’ll only frustrate yourself and defeat the very purpose of Mindful Meditation. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’ve been at this meditation stuff now for over 50 years and my mind still wanders, so don’t think that you will master mind control after a few minutes, or even a few hours of meditation.

This form of Mindful Meditation has many benefits and can greatly enhance one’s life, one of the biggest benefits being how well it can relieve tensions. If you like the idea of meditation, there is a lot of good, practical help available to help you become more proficient at Mindful Meditation. If you live in any rural or city area, the best way to find out more is to search the Yellow Pages for active clubs in your area. Some may even be affiliated with health spas. Your town or city administrative office is another source where you can find names of clubs in your area.

If you are using your town administrative office to find yoga clubs in your area, you might want to, as a precautionary note, also check with your Chamber of Commerce just how reputable these clubs are. If a yoga club has several complaints against it, stay away from it!