Noël Radcliffe M.D. 
How to Choose Peace Amidst a World of Conflict
To be Fearless
Energetic Model of Healing


How to Choose Peace Amidst a World in Conflict

 I  was helping my son look for a current events news story for school, and was struck by how hard it was to find a positive story anywhere.  War, conflict, poverty, natural disasters and crime dominate the headlines.  I was tempted to write the teacher and tell him I did not want my son to be exposed to all this negativity, but realized hiding from the world is not the answer, so we doubled our efforts and found suitable, yet positive stories to share. I decided to use this experience to introduce my son to the concept of “choice” into how we see and interpret the world. 

 Today there are so many pressures to join in on the criticizing, judging, diminishing conversations that are taking place across the world.  You can find them in our newspapers, on local and national news, talk shows, blogs, tweets, magazines and between people everywhere.  It seems that everyone has an opinion about something they don’t like, and they are just waiting for an opportunity to share.  All of this negativity is like a blanket thrown over our creative fires. Our collective consciousness is bleak and accusatory, and the result is war, poverty, and petulance.  We are creating the havoc in which we live. The negative state of the world is an expression of our negative thoughts.  We are a world that has lost its connection to our higher self, our source, our soul, our consciousness.  In this postmodern age of differing world views, political persuasions and faith communities we are desperately in need of a unifying impulse.  While we may not agree on what we believe, perhaps we can agree on how to act. 

  It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”-- Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

The basic underlying principal of all faiths is to treat each other with kindness.  We learn this in kindergarten yet seem to have forgotten how to do this by the time we are senators, truck drivers, physicians, grocery clerks, journalists or teachers.  Examples are everywhere of our disrespect for one another.  It is like media violence, the more we see, the more normal it seems.

Can you imagine a world where we listened to one another, respected our differences, and worked toward a solution that is in everyone’s best interest? How much more could we accomplish if we were willing to compromise?  In the future, with a more enlightened populace, decisions would be made on what is best for others.  Years of service will be the most noble and esteemed measure of success.

 In a world dominated by conflict, what can one person do that could possibly make a difference?  The answer is amazingly simple.  Let peace remain in your heart.  This is something I believe we are all naturally designed to do, and are healthier and happier when we can.  It is also a learned skill, and one that few of us are taught.

 Personally I have noticed how difficult it can be to change your own behavior.  A couple of years ago I made a choice to stop thinking critical thoughts about myself and all others.  This was a very noble endeavor, but not so easily accomplished.  On good days, I would remind myself to see the best in people, to empathize with their situation, or to try to see their point of view.  On days I was tired, the judgments would come flying out, like ice cubes out of a broken refrigerator dispenser.  Before I knew it the criticisms were strewn all over the floor.  I would kick them under the rug and promise myself I would do better next time.  And you know what happened?  I did do better next time.  Eventually I retrained my mind to be compassionate from the start (most of the time).  This is still a work in progress, but there are some lessons I am willing to share.

 Ways to keep peace in your heart. 

v Treat others as you would like to be treated.

     This is the golden rule.   If I can only stick to one rule, this is it. Just try   to be kind.  Look for the best in people, and make an effort to tell them  what you appreciate.  Sometimes to be kind I must see past another  person’s bad behavior, or give up my own need to be right. 

v Remember we are more alike than we are different. We all want someone to love, and to be loved.  We all desire abundance and joy in our lives.  We are all someone’s son or daughter.  If I can find something I have in common with another person, I can use that to make a connection.

v 3. Chose carefully what you wish to say.  If you can’t say anything nice, try to just keep quiet. By engaging in an argument you only strengthen the other’s defensiveness, all the while adding to the collective negativity.   Carolyn Myss said “Choice is your greatest power.”

v Take the high road—the practice of altruism is as simple as letting someone else have their way this time. 

v Search for the solution that is in the highest good. A solution that meets everyone’s needs would always be the optimum solution. Compromise and compassion are the foundations.

v Find a practice to restore peace to your heart.  Once you have experienced an inner peace or calmness you can find your way back. Life’s challenges tend to wear us down, and we need to replenish our inner stores.  A restorative practice is a very personal thing, and should reflect your beliefs.  This is one of the most effective ways to change your life. I have found meditation, especially gratitude meditation helps me stay in peace.        

v Keep trying to live better.  Try try again.   More ethically, kindly, generously, honestly, lovingly, compassionately.

v Evolve your consciousness.  Faith is belief in something without needing proof. The highest potential of the human experience is to be in connection to their source.  To experience this is an active process that requires work, dedication, and time.  If you are a religious person, look to the mystical traditions in your faith to guide you to a place of peace.  It is everyone’s right to have their own private relationship with the divine, and that relationship changes through ones life.  If your community turns to hate and judgment, look for another community.

v Be of service. This is the highest universal expression of the Divine. Use your gifts and passions to make the world a better place.  I have found that if I can be of service to one person in my day, then I have been living my purpose.

v Be a light bearer. Every day, as often as you can, make the world a better place by simply being present, with peace in your heart.  Radiate this inner peace.  Spread it to all you meet.  You do not need to change people’s opinions, politics, or their minds.  You need only show them an example of what it is to live in peace. They will want what you have.  I used to be afraid to let my light shine, for fear it would alienate people.  I have found there is tremendous freedom in the willingness to just accept this and be in peace with those who do not agree with me.

 The most fearful sections of our population talk of war, revolution, anarchy.  Those of us who can see anther way, need to increase our presence in the world.  We do this not by arguing or fighting back, but by leading through example.  By holding our own space and inner peace we show others another way.   As we hold our ground, bringing peace to those around us, we collectively increase the energy of the planet.  There are many examples of tipping points, and it is the hope of many of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers that we are nearing a tipping point in the humanity’s evolution that will lead to greater world peace and cooperation.  We are only as healthy as the weakest member of our global community.  As Gandhi said “be the change you wish to see in the world”. 

           Peace may sound simple - one beautiful word - but it requires everything we have, every quality, every  strength, every dream, every high ideal. -- Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)


 To Be Fearless

I have run into many people in my life I consider to be fearless. I have friends who would rather spend their summers in Antarctica, brothers who have faced a charging elephant, climbers who push the levels of human abilities without the protection of a rope, and patients battling cancer who are amazing in their courage. Recently however a conversation I had with a friend made me re-think what it means to be fearless.

The mosquitoes had driven us onto the screen porch on this beautiful summer evening. Conversation had turned to books, and I brought out one of the many books I was reading at the moment, “Everyday Blessings” by John Kabbot-Zinn. As I explained to my friend that it was a delightful book about mindfulness in parenting, I was surprised to see him recoil as I sensed a fear in him I had not seen before. This is a man who rappelled off a 200-foot cliff over lake Superior after saying his wedding vows. I have never known him to be afraid of anything, and yet here he was, afraid to face his perceived inadequacies. “I already know I am a bad parent, why would I want to read something that just confirms what I already know.” I wanted to talk about it further, but the walls were up, and the conversation over.

To be fearless in your quest for spiritual or emotional growth is much more an inner strength than an ability to overcome the adrenaline rush that accompanies doing things you perceive as dangerous. The challenge is to not be afraid to find out what you don’t know. Why are some people risks takers in the rest of their lives, but uncomfortable at self-reflections?

Many people act fearless, in an effort to hide their insecurities. They may make strong statements and defend them ruthlessly. They often are not aware of what drives their behaviors. They are not conscious. They may be driven by the ego that acts in self-preservation. They may be acting out an archetypal drama, again a way to protect themselves. To be conscious is to examine and understand the reasons for the choices we make or the things we say and do. To do this often takes courage. What is the basis for this courage?

I pondered this question and tried to put it into the context of my own life. I think the roots lie in the core belief of whether you think that people are inherently good or bad. If you believe that we are all born flawed, and will ultimately have to face a judgmental God, you are less likely to do things that will remind you of that “fact”. If you believe we are inherently good, and that God is all forgiving, it is easier to review one’s own inadequacies. In other words, if there is room inside of you for the viewpoint that you are a good person, despite any mistakes you may make, it is easier to be bold in your spiritual growth. Here lies the conundrum. The people, who need to make the biggest strides toward self-actualization, may also be those with the hardest obstacles to overcome.

I believe one of the greatest challenges is to overcome the core belief that you are worthless. There are many reasons people believe they have no value. Often it comes from the parents, who have also grown up in families where members were treated disrespectfully. It is passed down through the generations via learned behaviors, genetic memories or family karma. It also comes from society, where prejudice and racism fuel the fires of disrespect for whole classes of people. Minorities, women, gay and lesbians have all been made to feel ashamed of who they are at one point or another in our history.

Religion has a share of responsibility as well. I understand the concept that man should be humble before God, but does that have to mean he should be ashamed? If you live your whole life believing you will be judged inadequate, inherently bad, how is a person supposed to feel any self-love? I think far more time should be devoted to the divine nature of man. What better place than church to be filled up with the love of God, humanity and the self?

With all the examples of disrespect toward the self, how is it that anyone is able to rise up and see the goodness in him or herself? It must be that humans are especially sensitive to positive feedback. If one person is able to even sporadically give another person the kind of unconditional love and respect I am talking about it can make a difference. It is as if a space is made in that person’s heart, or mind that is resilient to self-doubt. A space for goodness and self-love to dwell like a rock, immovable in a stream of negativity.

I believe there is a lesson to be learned here. Each day as we go about our business, and strive to be the best we can, take a minute to remember that what it takes to be fearless, is nothing more than a small space within ourselves where true goodness can lie. Let us set aside a place where we cherish ourselves. Let us try also to see that place in others. Perhaps we can be the one person to make a difference in another’s life so that they too can find that place within themselves. Be fearless in your journey.

An Energetic Model for Healing





  The patient as their disease model never worked for me. I see much more when I meet with a patient. I see each person as an physical, energetic and spiritual being. I sense their emotions and feel their fears. The wounds they carry with them, either hidden or displayed proudly, their coping skills, their world view (is the world a safe place, are my needs met?), and how they see themselves ( am I worthy, am I inherently bad, or worthless, am I a victim?), all become clear. All of these things affect their ability to heal. It is the compilation of all of these factors that provides the matrix in which healing or illness may happen. This is not to say that we are wholly responsible for our illnesses, for though we may be able to control our diet and exercise habits, we can’t be responsible for what we don’t know, or can’t as yet comprehend. But just as we are learning to make better choices in what we eat, we can also make better choices in how we think.

Let me start at the beginning. We all understand the body as physical. The skin, the bones, the organs on a gross level, the hormones, insulin, glucose, adrenalin etc. on a chemical level, and the nervous system on an electrical level. As we look deeper we see the cells, with their nuclei and cell membranes. Deeper still we have the electrons, protons and neutrons that make up our cells. Still deeper is the sub atomic particles, the vibrational energy of each electron, the space between these particles. It is here that we can conclude we are made of energy, millions of particles, vibrating at distinct frequencies, make up our bodies. This energy can be detected and even measured. Einstein understood that everything was energy, with his eloquent equation, E=mc2 he tried to explain it to the rest of us. Remember the conversation in high school about even a rock is made up of particles that we can’t see? Even though it feels solid to us, the particles are vibrating, and there is space between them? It is hard to imagine, but we, like the rock are mostly space and energy. Bottom line, you are an energetic being.

We must embrace this view of ourselves as energy to go forward. Next we see that everything around us is energy, and therefore affects our bodies on this level. Everything we eat is made of energy, not just in calories or grams of protein, but there is a certain chi, (Chinese for energy) associated with our food. The fresher the food, the more the chi. The more processed, the less chi. Each food has its unique energy as well. This energy is either in harmony with our cells or not. Think of ripples in a pond, when the ripples line up they will increase in amplitude, but when they don’t, they cancel each other out. Vitamins, alcohol and drugs, tobacco, medications, all work this way. If you think of everything material as having a unique energy it is easy to imagine how it all interacts.

Now lets talk about nonmaterial things, like exercise, emotions, and our environment. These things also affect our energy. Ever notice how some places make you feel relaxed while others make you irritable? Think of how you feel when trying to work in a messy space. It drains your energy, makes you crabby. Now think of a deserted beach, or the edge of the grand canyon at sunset. These places can make you feel relaxed, at peace. The environment you are in effects your energy, because it has an energy of its own, and because energy flows through a space in a certain way because of what is found in that space.

Exercise can increase your energy or leave you feeling drained. Mostly this relates to the state you are in before you exercise, but there is a strong effect from your intentions. I will talk more about that later.

The body as an energetic being is not new. Chinese medicine has looked at the body in energetic terms for nearly 4000 years. Qi Gong translates into: Gong is the study of Qi (chi) or energy. The Chinese believe the body’s energy travels along meridians, or channels. Each meridian is named for the organ through which it passes. Acupuncture uses points along these meridians. It is felt that if you stimulate certain points along the meridian, you will restore normal flow to it. Energy can also be viewed as a river. If the flow is blocked it is like a dam. Everything above the block is flooded with too much energy, and everything below the block is draught with too little energy. In Qi Gong the focus is on removing the blocks, and balancing the energy.

In India the study of Chakras or energy centers began several thousand of years ago as well. Many other cultures have a name for the subtle energy forces that animate the human body, called Prana in India, Chi or Qi in China, Ki in Japan, Holy Spirit by Christians, Yesod in the Kabahla, Baraka by the Sufi’s and Wakan by the Lakota. In many of these cultures a person’s health is tied to the well being of their spirit. In Christian Science it is believed that the health of the physical body is a manifestation of the health of the spirit.

Is there any doubt that we are spiritual beings as well? It is not the expression of our genes that makes us unique, for there are many people who might look like you. It is your unique spirit, or your soul. Everything you need to function in life can be present, but with out the spirit there is no life. Have you ever looked closely at an animal dead along the road. You don’t have to check for a pulse to know when it is dead. It is the same with people. As a doctor I have had the opportunity and privilege to be at the bedside of many dying patients. When their soul leaves the body you know it. You don’t need all the buzzers and alarms, you can sense exodus, almost as if your breath has been pulled from your body.

In some ways you can look at your spirit as your soul. Another way is to think of it as your consciousness. I believe that our purpose on this earth is to evolve on an emotional and spiritual level to the highest expression of our soul. If we look at our evolution from an infant until death, we see that we go through many stages, and ways of interacting with the world. As we evolve we learn new coping skills. We become more emotionally mature. As this occurs I think of it as vibrating at a higher level. Quite often there are dramatic shifts in the way a person relates to the world. Usually this occurs as a response to a trauma or challenge. People who have experienced this will tell you the moment they changed. “The light bulb moment”, from that point forward you will never see things the same as before. There has occurred a shift in your energy. I like the flashlight analogy. We start with a flashlight that has a very focused beam. Everything that you shine the light on is clear and sharp.   At some point we overcome our fears and fan out the beam. This makes the whole picture less sharp, less clearly defined, but now you start to see there is more out there. At the edges of your vision you can just start to make out shapes, but as your eyes adjust to the new level of darkness you see more clearly what before you had no idea even existed.  Consciousness is like that.  It is about increasing your awareness of what before this has been hidden to you.

How can we view illness on an energetic level? Energy normally flows all around your body, in and out, increasing in areas where you need it most. You can picture it very similar to your circulatory system. When you run, more blood flows to your leg muscles. When you eat, more blood flows to your stomach. Energy is like that, only related to your emotional needs as well as your physical needs. When you are concentrating there is more energy around your brain. When you are feeling love there is more energy to your heart. When there are blocks in your energy fields, some areas of your body do not get good energy flow. If you have a decrease in blood flow to you heart you have heart disease. If you have a decrease in energy flow to an organ, you also get disease.

Let me take you one step further. Your thoughts create energy fields. Here is how. First of all every thought you have is accompanied by a release of chemicals called neuro-peptides. These chemicals are released throughout your body, thereby letting every cell know exactly how you are feeling. These chemicals, like all matter have their own unique energy signature or vibrational frequency, which makes up part of your body’s energy field. Every change of thought equals a change in energy field.

Another way your thoughts create an energy field is through your brain cells. Your brain cells work like a series of interconnected phone lines with an electrical signal traveling a long it. Any time you have electricity moving you create an electromagnetic field. Each thought travels along a different nerve cell, to a different location within the brain, and therefore will create a different energy field. This is true if you thoughts are conscious or not. So you see, even your unconscious thoughts can create changes in you energy fields that may affect disease.

Now that you can understand the world and our beings as energy, you can see how every choice we make can affect our health on an energetic level.  The food you eat, the supplements or medications you take, the thoughts you have, all are energy, and they are either in harmony with your body or not.  Health is a state of balance between what builds you up, and what wears you down.  The choices you make can tip the scale in favor of improved health.

We are part of the greater cosmic energy. This energy enters our body through our skin, our chakras, our hara, and our aura. The nature of this energy is yet to be determined, and though we can measure the bodies energy fields in many ways, there is still much we do not know. The study of the human energy field on a quantum level holds much promise in facilitating our understanding of healing. Illness happens where this energy is transformed into the matter that makes up our bodies. Blocks can form that prevent this transformation and then there is disease. Blocks are caused by our nutrition, toxins, injuries and exercise habits as well as our emotions, our thoughts, and our world view. Any thoughts that keep us separate from each other creates blocks to healing. Any judgment about others, any judgment of ourselves, any criticism, any feelings of superiority, all create obstacles to healing. In essence, any thoughts that support the ego prevent healing.

I believe everything in life is either a challenge or a blessing, and if you work at it hard enough you get to the place where you can see each hardship as a blessing. As humans it is our natural response to do nothing unless motivated by pain. I wish we would naturally work at evolving to a higher level, but for most of us it is that nagging anxiety, or constant fear, or unending pain that drives us to look for answers. When the pain is no longer bearable we face our fears and look for answers within ourselves. This is the first step in evolving to a higher consciousness, to be able to be self reflective. Before that point we look to the world around us for reasons why we are unhappy. We blame our parents, boss, spouse, lack of money and anything else we can think of for our unhappiness. We must first look to what emotions drive our behaviors to understand why we feel the way we do. Then, we must either change the circumstances, or more likely, change how we feel about it.

Every time we evolve, we change our energy field. I believe that the illness we face, give us clues to the issues we need to address. True healing comes not when the tumor is removed, but when the energy field that allowed the development of the tumor is balanced. Disease is the result of many months or years of an unbalanced energy field. Healing on this level can be instantaneous. The explanation for this lies in understanding of quantum physics, which is beyond the scope of this article. Let us remember that each cell in our body is being constantly replaced. Our cells natural state is one of health. When you take away the force that is keeping them from their natural state, they are can return to a state of health.

Each time we look within ourselves for answers, and change how we see ourselves in relationship to the world, we evolve. Healing is maintaining a sense of inner wellness even in the face of challenge or tragedy.  This is where I believe true healing occurs.   This is the journey to inner peace; the way is different for each of us, and the path is rocky.  With each change we make we will have less emotional pain and more inner peace. We will also be healthier. When you reach a place of self acceptance, and love for yourself and all others, a place where you are connected to something greater than ourselves, anxiety goes away and depression is replaced by joy. Your physical body is also healthy and vibrant.

 Life is full of challenges. Look at them as opportunities to practice being more accepting. Understand the energetic nature of everything, including your thoughts, and you will find many ways in which you can bring healing into your life. It is on the energetic level that you can make the most profound changes. It is all up to you.

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