“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Friday, December 6, 2013

pop psych and investedness

We have all heard that you get what you pay for - it's one of those cultural telling points in our western capitalist society. A topic we are also mostly familiar with is whether and what to charge for or pay for. In the last 20 years it has become commonly accepted (to the point that a lecturer at ECTOM declared in tutorial)
that patients who do not pay top price, for instance if they go to the school clinic for care, are not invested in achieving wellness. That stung because I go to the clinic for care, and I have provided care in the past for people who did not pay me. I believe that:

 in fact the lecturer was saying that practitioners must receive payment sufficient to make them invested in order to provide adequate or better care,

or was justifying his high prices to himself. Whatever, it is interesting that later that same day the supervisor at the clinic did not come in to see me but left the treatment up to the intern. I believe also that:

Patients are always invested in achieving wellness, they are paying with their time, effort and trust, not just money. They are throwing the dice every time they consult a healthcare provider. Some develop a level of cynicism about the care they receive. Those who persist are commonly labeled professional patients. This has become a bad habit of professionals in all traditions, callousness saves energy even as it wastes it. Employing callousness prevents vulnerability and immediate pain but in the long run prevents renewing and refreshing Qi via that same vulnerability which can reward with enthusiasm and authentic interaction. It demonstrates a lack of healthy Qi, a developing burnout, sometimes difficult for the busy professional to see in themselves.

Payment can be many things, for some it's only about money. Others are rewarded by success, reputation, respect. Some keep score, like mental hash marks on the nose of the fighter plane in a game. Good physicians of all traditions know this and use it to keep themselves motivated and fresh.

Pop psychology is not necessarily justified just like wikipedia is not always right, both can be useful but should not be elevated to the status of concrete evidence. Virtually everyone becomes attached to the benefits of whatever problems they are having - that is what attachment is all about, there is some benefit to our challenges, our problems - that's why we say challenge is a learning opportunity, illness is a learning opportunity. No one likes to admit there is some value to them in their problem whatever it might be. This reminds me of the allegory "those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." We cannot say those who go to clinic are not invested in achieving wellness any more than we can say the poor deserve to be poor, and the rich must be wonderful people. Sheesh, we all know this but out it comes whenever the person talking is tired, careless, or just running their mouth. Some really get invested in their opinion though, Who? Who is invested in their opinion? (grim smile) This brings me to what I wrote in the middle of the night last night, here it is - a gift for us to talk about when we get together again:

"Discernment doesn't even begin until turned on itself."

Dhamma is priceless and is supposed to be freely given but we know it is often an issue for monastics - where and how to get support, is it much different from physicians? We have heard that if "it" is not paid for the consumer doesn't care as much about it, we have experienced the returns from giving freely - always what is most needed even if we didn't know that was what we needed. This is anticlimactic at this point and a dead horse as well except in contrast to medical care, more food for thought...