Richard G. Petty, MD

The Voice of God

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“Whenever conscience speaks with a divided, uncertain, and disputed voice, it is not the voice of God. Descend still deeper into yourself, until you hear nothing but a clear, undivided voice, a voice which does away with doubt and brings with it persuasion, light, and serenity.”

–Henri-Frédéric Amiel (Swiss Philosopher, Writer and Poet, 1821-1881)

The First Characteristic of a Saint

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“The first characteristic of a Saint is that he is calm and tranquil, and bears like a diamond the buffets of misfortune.”       

–Sant Tukaram (a.k.a. Shri Tukaram, a.k.a. Tuka, Indian Teacher and Poet, c.1598-1650)   

How to Have the World Offer Itself

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“You do not even have to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has not choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

–Franz Kafka (Czech Writer, 1883-1924)

The First Step: Sitting Still!


“All human evil comes from a single cause, man’s inability to sit still in a room.”   

–Blaise Pascal (French Scientist and Religious Philosopher, 1623-1662)   

“Pensées and Other Writings (Oxford World’s Classics)” (Blaise Pascal)

Readiness to Seek the Eternal

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“He is ready to seek the Eternal who has discernment and dispassion; who has restfulness and the other graces.”          

–Shankara (a.k.a. Adi Shankaracharya, Indian Sage, Spiritual Teacher and Author of the Crest-Jewel of Discrimination, Dates Uncertain, but c. A.D. 686-718 or 788-821)

“Shankara’s Crest-Jewel of Discrimination: Timeless Teachings on Nonduality – The Vivekachudamani” (Shankara)

The Fruits of Tranquility

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“Where there is tranquility, there is neither craving nor aversion, but a steady will to conform to the divine Tao or Logos on every level of existence and a steady awareness of the divine Suchness and what should be one’s own relation to it.”        

–Aldous Huxley (English Novelist and Critic, 1894-1963)                                       

“The Perennial Philosophy” (Aldous Huxley)   

Mental Silence

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“Mental silence is the perfect response to a challenge.”

–Vernon Howard (American Spiritual Teacher and Author, 1935-1992)       

“Cosmic Command” (Vernon Howard)

Moving Around Your Center


This advice is not just for martial artists: keeping a stable serene center is one of the most important skills that any of us can learn.

“Move like a beam of light: fly like lightning, strike like thunder, whirl in circles around a stable center.”   

–Morihei Ueshiba (Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido, 1883-1969)

“The Art of Peace” (Morihei Ueshiba)

Using your Core Values for Rapid Stress Management

“The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center. So does a person.” — Norman Vincent Peale (American Cleric, Writer and Self-Help Expert, 1898-1993)

As a professional speaker, I often forget that glossophobia – fear of public speaking – is the most common phobia in America today. I have a whole toolkit of techniques that I use for helping people with this problem, but I am always interested in new methods that can work quickly.

A study of 80 UCLA undergraduates published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that taking a few minutes to contemplate your personal values (Click here to take an online assessment of your personal values) in the moments before a tense situation, like making a speech, an examination or a visit to the dentist, can keep stress levels low.

People in the study who affirmed their values before delivering a speech had significantly lower levels of one of the stress hormones – cortisol – than did the control group, and psychological measures also indicated that they were less stressed.

“People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value.” –Steven R. Covey (American Author and Businessman, 1932-)

Reaffirming your core values is one of the keys to the development of resilience, and that is what was happening in this study. For anyone who is interested in dealing with fear of public speaking or in developing personal resilience, we shall be putting new articles on my website in the next few days.

“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.” –Paramahansa Yogananda (Indian Spiritual Teacher and, in 1920, Founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship, 1893-1952)

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