Richard G. Petty, MD

Opening to Love

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“To recognize an inner source of love is to access a source of self-healing without which therapeutic techniques and medicines are of limited value. Healing hearts and minds depends on opening to love.”

Frances Vaughan (American Transpersonal Psychologist and Writer)   

Your Life Is Part of Something Grand and Joyous

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“Despite the trials and frustrations of the passing day, our lives are parts of something tremendously grand and joyous.”

–Robert Ellwood (American Theosophist, Priest and Author, 1933-)

Living In A Unified Field


“Scientists – now familiar with field theory, ecological dynamics and the transactional nature of perception – can no longer see man as the independent observer of an alien and rigidly mechanical world of separate objects. The clearly mystical sensation of self-and-universe, or organism-and-environment, as a unified field or process seems to fit the facts.”          

–Alan W. Watts (English-born American Philosopher, Writer, Speaker and Expert in Comparative Religion, 1915-1973)  

“Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion” (Alan W. Watts)

Conscious Cooperation

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“If we learn how to consciously cooperate with the creative force of planetary evolution as it is shaping up with the passage of time, mankind’s age-old dream of the kingdom of heaven on earth, i.e., an internationally unified world order controlled by the power of truth, justice and love, can inevitably come true.”

–Haridas Chaudhuri (Bengali Integral Philosopher and Founder of the California Institute of Integral Studies, 1913-1975)           

“Karma: The Universal Law of Harmony” (Theosophical Publishing House)

The Deep Connection


“This deep connection between the individual human organism and the cosmos suggested by various esoteric traditions has been expressed in the famous statements ‘As above, so below’ or ‘As without, so within’. The observations from modern consciousness research have shed new light on this ancient mystical concept….

Transpersonal psychology has discovered that in holotropic [‘tending toward wholeness’] states it is possible to identify experientially with just about any aspect of physical reality, past and present, as well as various aspects of other dimensions of existence. It has confirmed that the entire cosmos is in a mysterious way encoded in the psyche of each of us and becomes accessible in deep systematic self-exploration.”

–Stanislav Grof (Czech-born American Physician, Psychiatrist, Writer and a Founder of Transpersonal Psychology, 1931-)        

“The Cosmic Game: Explorations of the Frontiers of Human Consciousness (S U N Y Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology)” (Stanislav Grof)

The True and the Sublime


“In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here. God himself culminates in the present moment and will never be more divine in the lapse of the ages. Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it, but when I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away but eternity remains.”   

–Henry David Thoreau (American Essayist and Philosopher, 1817-1862)   

Unfolding Divinity


“While remaining transcendent to all created things, the divine spirit involved itself in the birth of the material universe. The process that followed, the uneven but inexorable emergence of ever higher organization from matter to life to humankind, is then – at the heart of it – the unfolding of hidden divinity.”      

George Leonard (American Aikidoist, President Emeritus of the Esalen Institute and Writer, 1923-2010) and Michael Murphy (American Cofounder of the Esalen Institute and Author, 1930-)

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“The Life We Are Given: A Long-term Program for Realizing the Potential of Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul” (George Leonard, Michael Murphy)

Becoming Transformed


“Truly the soul’s being united with and transformed into Him is like fire consuming the dampness in logs. Once the logs are heated through and through, the fire burns and changes them into itself, giving them its own color and warmth and power.”

–Saint Catherine of Siena (Italian Religious Leader, Mystic and Diplomat, 1347-1380)   

Spirituality, Depression and Suicide

It is an interesting sign of the times that a major medical publication – the Southern Medical Journal – has dedicated an entire section this month to a series of papers on the Spirituality/Medicine Interface Project that is being supported by the John Templeton Foundation.

Attention to our spirituality is an important part of fulfilling our potential and treating people in trouble. It is no accident that Integrated Medicine always includes all of the five major dimensions of an individual:

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Social
  • Subtle
  • Spiritual

To get a bit technical, each of the five domains or dimensions contains something of each of the others. The body, mind and spirit and not separate but part of one whole. Mind, consciousness and spirit permeate the body.

We sometimes use the technical term “Five Interlinked Nested Domains” or “FINDS,” to reflect this reality.

An important principle of this interconnected health model is that it’s almost always a mistake to look for a single cause for a problem, imbalance or illness. Not only is it usually incorrect to think about “one illness, one cause,” but it is also usually not enough to use just one therapy or one health maintenance plan: Carefully coordinated combinations are key, for they generate a powerful synergy.

Because the domains are interlinked, physical and psychological health, to say nothing of our social health, and the health of our subtle systems are difficult to maintain without spiritual health. The road to spiritual health begins with understanding and following the natural laws of the Universe, finding your true Purpose and applying both to the service of others.

The articles in this issue of the Southern Medical Journal are excellent.

Here are some highlights:
Dan Blazer from Duke University provides an introduction that gives a fine overview of the growing field of spirituality in medicine in general and depression in particular
Harold Koenig, also from Duke has an article entitled, “Spirituality and Depression: A Look at the Evidence”
Bob Cloninger from Washington University in St. Louis writes about “Spirituality and the Science of Feeling Good.”

Unfortunately the abstracts and papers are not yet available on line, except to members of the Southern Medical Association. Hopefully the Templeton Foundation will be able to arrange with the Journal to make at least the abstracts freely available.

If they do, I shall let you know.

Otherwise, if you have ready access to a library, and if you are interested in this important and rapidly growing field, I am sure that they will be able to help you.


Regular readers will know that I have been collecting wise words from around the globe for many years, and I now have almost 40,000 of them broken down into more than 500 topics. It has taken years not just to collect them, but to try to check the sources and wording. But if you find errors, please let me know!

Here are 23 of my favorites comments about enlightenment.

I do hope that you find them as useful and inspiring as I have.

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”   
–Carl G. Jung (Swiss Psychologist and Psychiatrist, 1875-1961)

“Be a lamp unto your own feet; do not seek outside yourself.”   

–Buddha (a.k.a. “The Awakened”, a.k.a. Siddhartha Gautama, Indian Religious Figure and Founder of Buddhism, c.563 B.C.E. – c.483 B.C.E.)

“When the divine vision is attained, all appear equal; and there remains no distinction of good and bad, or of high and low.”   

–Sri Ramakrishna (a.k.a. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Indian Hindu Mystic and Promoter of Universal Religion, 1836-1886)

“We loosely talk of Self-realization, for lack of a better term.  But how can one realize or make real that which alone is real? All we need to do is to give up our habit of regarding as real that which is unreal. All religious practices are meant solely to help us do this. When we stop regarding the unreal as real, then reality alone will remain, and we will be that.”   
–Ramana Maharshi (Indian Hindu Mystic and Spiritual Teacher, 1879-1950)

“We attain enlightenment when we love truth for the sake of truth, and not for the sake of self-promotion or worldly gain.”   
–Emanuel Swedenborg (Swedish Scientist, Mystic and Philosopher, 1688-1772)

“Once and for all, dedicate yourself to the service of a high ideal, to the coming of the kingdom of God, and do not be concerned with what will become of you. This ideal will bring you everything."

–Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov (Bulgarian Spiritual Master, 1900-1986)

“The holy instant is the recognition that all minds are in communication. Every thought you would keep hidden shuts off communication.”

–A Course in Miracles (Book of Spiritual Principles Scribed by Dr. Helen Schucman between 1965 and 1975, and First Published in 1976)

“If you are enlightened, you are not free, as some people say, but you are freedom itself. Not like a bird in the sky, but like the sky itself.”
–Wolter A. Keers (Dutch Advaita Teacher and Editor, 1923-1985)

“The reason why so few people find enlightenment is because they have free will and punish themselves by making wrong choices. Constantly, enlightenment is being offered to them, but they refuse to accept it. Therefore they refuse to accept it. Therefore they are being taught problems that are set before them, since they refuse to make choices voluntarily.”
–“Peace Pilgrim” (a.k.a. Mildred Norman, American Peace Activist, 1908-1981)

“All the riches of this world are too less a price for a single word which enlightens the soul.”    
–Hazrat Inayat Khan (Founder of the Sufi Order of the West, 1882-1927)

“To the dull mind all nature is leaden. To the enlightened mind the whole world sparkles and burns”   
–Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Poet and Essayist, 1803-1882)

“Enlightenment must come little by little, otherwise it would overwhelm.”   
–Idries Shah (Afghan-born Sufi Philosopher and Writer, 1924-1996)

“Out of compassion I destroy the darkness of their ignorance. From within them I light the lamp of wisdom and dispel all darkness from their lives.”   
–Bhagavad Gita (Ancient and Sacred Sanskrit Poem Incorporated into the Mahabharata)

“If these little sparks of holy fire which I have thus heaped together do not give life to your prepared and already enkindled spirit, yet they will sometimes help to entertain a thought, to actuate a passion, to employ and hallow a fancy.”
–Jeremy Taylor (English Anglican Clergyman, Writer and Bishop, 1613-1667)

“The great beacon light God sets in all, the conscience of each bosom.”
–Robert Browning (English Poet, 1812-1889)

“God reveals himself unfailingly to the thoughtful seeker.”
–Honoré de Balzac (French Novelist, 1799-1850)

“There is no difference between an enlightened man and an ignorant one. What makes the difference is that the one realizes it, while the other is kept in ignorance of it.”
–Hui-Neng (a.k.a. Daikan Eno, Chinese Chan Monk, A.D. 638-713)

“You may have expected that enlightenment would come Zap! Instantaneous and permanent. This is unlikely. After the first "ah ha" experience, it can be thought of as the thinning of a layer of clouds…”   
–Ram Dass (a.k.a. Richard Alpert, American Spiritual Teacher, Author and Lecturer, 1931-)

“God realization does not begin in a cave high atop the Himalayas. It begins in the pots and pans of the kitchen. Treat all your tasks, however small, as opportunities to see God and serve him.”
Sri Swami Sivananda (Indian Physician and Spiritual Teacher, 1887-1963)

“Enlightenment is not an attainment: it is a realization. When you wake up, everything changes and nothing changes. If a blind man realizes that he can see, has the world changed?”   
–Dan Millman (American Writer, Philosopher and Former World Class Trampolinist, 1947-)

“Enlightenment is the highest good. Once you have it, nobody can take it away from you.”   
–Siddharameshwar Maharaj (Indian Spiritual Teacher, 1888-1936)

“Is enlightenment really possible for the average person? Yes. Big Yes. Enlightenment is very possible for the ordinary individual. Actually it is easier than for some one who thinks that they are special…. whenever someone is ordinary, simple, innocent and natural, that is enlightenment.”   
–Sri Sri Ravishankar (Indian Spiritual Teacher and Founder of the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values, 1956-)

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