BERNIE By Bernie Siegel, MD

Understand Why

by jumping in front of a subway train I asked him why he didn’t kill his parents instead. He said, “I never wanted to be like them.” Love has sustained him and he is alive today.


Another young man with a life threatening illness said, “What is evil is not the disease. Many great creative works will come from individual suffering, but what is evil is to not respond with compassion to the person with the illness.” An example are parents I know who because they lost a young child are improving the lives of other children and raising funds to find a cure for the disease which took their child so other children will not have to die as their child did.

How do we turn our afflictions into blessings? How do we use them to help us complete ourselves and our work and understand the place for love, tolerance and kindness? Justice and mercy must both be a part of how we treat those who terrorize because when you understand you can forgive, and when you can forgive you do not hate and when you do not hate you are capable of loving and love is the most powerful weapon known to man. It is not an accident that we say, kill with kindness, love thine enemies and torment with tenderness.

If we are going to eliminate war we must love our children more than we hate our enemies. When we raise a generation of children with compassion and when parents let their children know

34 ELM™ Maine - May/June 2019

et me tell you about people who have been my teachers. The first is a teenager who was sexually abused by his parents who now has AIDS. When he was about to commit suicide

they are loved, teachers truly educate them and not just inform them, then we will have a planet made up of the family of man where our differences are used for recognition and not persecution. Words and experts cannot be our Lord. Living is more difficult than dying and we are all here to learn what it is to hurt and be hurt and only then will we be perfect enough to love and be loved. Some- day we will all come to understand that in love’s service only the wounded soldier can serve.

In closing let me say that as a surgeon I know something you

may not; that we are all the same color inside and members of one family. To paraphrase Rabbi Carlebach, let us hope that some day all the Cains, will realize what they have done, and ask for forgive- ness of the Abels they have killed. In that moment we will all rise and become one family accepting that we are here to love and be loved. Until that moment may you accept and learn from your mortality what is truly important in the time of your life; rather than from further disasters.

For many, Dr. Bernard Siegel-or Bernie, as he prefers to be called-needs no introduction. He has touched many lives all over the Planet. In 1978, he reached a national and then international audience when he began talking about patient empowerment and the choice to live fully and die in peace. Read Bernie’s

regular blog posts on his website where you will also find his books, articles, and CDs: He is the Co-Academic Director of the Integrative Health and Healing M.A. Program at The Graduate Institute, Bethany, CT

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