Richard G. Petty, MD

Teaching With Silence

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For more than thirty years now, I have had the privilege of teaching all kinds of health care providers, as well as the general public. I discovered long ago that just giving people the answer was a recipe for disaster. Worse yet, expecting them to learn by sitting quietly and watching me, was mind numbingly tedious for all of us. So I was interested to hear what a famous chess coach had to say. This is the fellow who was played by Ben Kingsley in the lovely movie, Searching for Bobbie Fischer.

“My lessons consist of a lot of silence. I listen to other teachers, and they’re always talking. I let my students think. If I do ask a question [why are you making that move?] and I don’t get the right answer, I’ll rephrase the question -and wait. I never give the answer. Most of us really don’t appreciate the power of silence. Some of the most effective communication -between student and teacher, between master players – takes place during silent periods.”        

–Bruce Pandolfini (American Chess Coach and Author, 1948-)   

Steps Toward Mastery


“Order and simplification are the first steps towards the mastery of a subject.”

–Thomas Mann (German Writer and, in 1929, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1875-1955)   

Do We, Maybe, Enjoy a Bit of Suffering?


“We enjoy suffering, at least in small doses . . . It makes us feel alert, wide awake. And of course it gives happiness definition.”  

–John W. Gardner (American Writer and Government Official, 1912-2002)   

Thoughts On Evil


“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence, the other is to believe and to feel an unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight.”         

–C. S. Lewis (a.k.a. Clive Staples (Jack) Lewis, British Scholar and Novelist, 1898-1963)

“The Screwtape Letters” (C. S. Lewis)

The Advantage of Birds!

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“There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.”

–Robert Staughton Lynd

 (American Sociologist, 1892-1970)           

“The Blue Lion, and Other Essays” (robert lynd)  

Follow Your Light


“Follow the light where it leads, and do not underestimate the possibilities and resources in this human life that each one of us has been privileged to be given.”           

–Huston Smith (Chinese-born American Religious Studies Scholar and Emeritus Professor at Syracuse University, 1919-)          

“The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred” (Phil Cousineau)   

Adding to Our Experience

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“From infancy every forgotten day and hour has added to our experiences, to our growth and capacity, made its contribution to the mind and soul.”        

–W. Macneile Dixon (British Author, Gifford Lecturer from 1935-1937 and, from 1904-1935, Regius Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow, 1866-1946)   

Quoted in:

“Reincarnation: Phoenix Fire Mystery” (Joseph Head, Sylvia Cranston)

Rediscovering the Feminine

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“I am rediscovering the whole sexual dimension of life at the age of 86, really. And that also means discovering the feminine. So the whole of this dimension, which I had been seeking for a very long time, is now sort of opening itself up to me.”        

–Bede Griffiths (a.k.a. Alan Richard Griffiths, a.k.a. Swami Dayananda (Bliss of Compassion), English-born Benedictine Monk and Missionary, Author and Proponent of Integral Thought and Wisdom Christianity, 1906-1993)   

Children Creating Adults

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“Who of us is mature enough for offspring before the offspring themselves arrive? The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.”

–Peter de Vries (American Novelist and Editor, 1910-1993)   

“The Tunnel of Love” (Peter De Vries)

Spreading Peace

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“First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.”

–Thomas à Kempis (German Monk, Mystic, and Religious Writer, 1379-1471)

“The Imitation of Christ (Paraclete Essentials)” (Thomas A. Kempis)

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