Following a presentation to healthcare professionals in North Florida in February of this year, Dr. D. B. Wolf (Dhira Govinda dasa), founder of Satvatove Institute, was asked to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Florida Nurses Association- South Region. Below are excerpts of his talk, on April 13, 2013, in Davie, Florida, with more than 300 attendees.
Dr. Wolf: “The title of the presentation is Conscious Communication in Healthcare. When I think of ‘healthcare’, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘Who are we caring for?’… If I say, ‘I hurt my finger’…Are you caring for my finger, or are you caring for the owner of the finger? ‘My finger.’ ‘My leg.’ These words indicate that there is the leg, and the owner of the leg. Who are we caring for? That’s a key question.
“In Satvatove Institute, - (Some may ask, ‘What’s Satvatove’…Satvatove is a word I made up about 12 years ago. It’s composed of two words from ancient languages. ‘Sattva’, from the ancient Sanskrit, means ‘goodness’, or ‘enlightenment’. And ‘tov’, like ‘Mazel tov’, means something similar in Biblical Hebrew. So, we are endeavoring to bring goodness and enlightenment to the world through the programs of Satvatove Institute.) The programs of Satvatove Institute- Spiritually-based personal and group transformation through empowered communication, courageous introspection and purposeful action- We start with ‘spiritually-based’. That’s like the ‘1’ in front of a string of ‘0s’. Let’s say that we have a string of ‘0’s. Twenty 0s. What’s it worth? What’s the value? ‘0’. Now, if we put the 1 in front, then the 0s take on value. We can conceive of the 0s as different areas of life- like physical fitness, or economic development; and the ‘1’ is the self-realization element. It’s realizing who we are, as the owner of the finger, who we are as the owner of the leg.
‘Spiritual’, for some, can have various mystical, or vague connotations. So, to get a solid understanding of what we mean, by ‘spiritual’, is vital, in healthcare, because if we’re talking about healing, the healing force, the healing power- it’s not the finger, it’s not the leg, it’s not in the parts of matter. It’s in that non-material component.
“I’d like you to imagine that you’re looking at a picture of yourself, at a photo of yourself, from when you were five years old. So, when you’re looking at this picture, do you say, ‘Who is this person? Who is this stranger?’ No. You say ‘That’s me, when I was 5’. ‘That’s David when I was 5. That’s Brenda, that’s Beverly, That’s Jim, That’s Carol. That’s Robert. That’s me, when I was 5.’ Now, we know from science, from chemistry, that there’s not one molecule that was there in the body when you were 5, that’s part of your body now. Still, we say ‘Oh, that’s me.’ That indicates that the body is completely changed, the physical has completely changed. And still, there’s some constant identity that I call ‘me’, that is completely, intrinsically non-physical. And it is this non-physical self that is the focus, in our Satvatove programs- it is that entity that remains constant through all the physical changes, that remains constant- that’s the essence, that’s the ‘1’ in front of the 0s. Whether we’re talking about finances, or healthcare, or career, that’s the ‘1’ that gives meaning…..
“A few weeks ago I visited the Philadelphia area with my daughter Sita. It was the unveiling of my father. The unveiling is a ceremony at the gravesite, one year after someone passes away. So we went, and visited my sister, and cousins. On the plane ride, my daughter and I, we were speaking. And we were speaking that one year ago, almost to the day, I had received a call, from one of the Hospice nurses, and she said ‘Come up. Your dad’s about to pass away.’ So, we got on a plane. We live in North Florida. Gainesville, Florida, to Philadelphia. And, when we went up this time, we were speaking about that time, a year ago…And we got to my father’s room….And everyone there, family, medical staff, everyone was saying, ‘He was supposed to pass away 12, 15 hours ago…but even though he was incapacitated, he was waiting for you (Sita and David).’ ‘It’s phenomenal’, they were saying, ‘miraculous..’ So, we came in, and immediately we made a beeline to his bed. There he was, lying on his bed. Incapacitated, apparently. Apparently not conscious. And actually we chanted some ancient mantras, from ancient wisdom traditions…’Mantra’ means a sound vibration that is meant to deliver the mind and consciousness from material entanglement, and connect us with our process of self-realization, realizing who we are, as the owner of the finger, with ourselves, as the inhabitant of the body.
“So, these were mantras especially intended for the time when the self passes away from the body. Actually, the place was called the Abramson House, outside of Philadelphia, and, even though the Abramson House is from the Jewish community, many of the medical staff were not from that community, and they went to Sita, my daughter, who is in her early 20s, and they assumed, and asked, whether she was saying some Jewish prayers. She was chanting these mantras from the Vedic tradition. ‘Veda’ means knowledge, relating to universal spiritual principles. We were chanting these mantras intensely for about 45 minutes.
“And my father, even though he was incapacitated, he turned to us, he turned to us, consciously and deliberately, and he looked at Sita, and he gave acknowledgement that this is what he was waiting for, and then he turned back, and then, and then, he left his body. And so, my daughter and I we were talking about that time, as we were travelling up to Philadelphia for the unveiling. And so we were saying, ‘Grandpop was there. Grandpop was there. And then he wasn’t there. He was gone. But he was right there, he was right there. He was still on the bed. He was right there. No, he wasn’t there anymore. The finger was there. The arms and legs were there. But he wasn’t there. Something left.’
“So, ‘healthcare’. Who are we caring for? Who are we caring for? If we’re not conscious of that, it can be a bunch of 0s, a string of 0s. A similar example we can give- I drove here today, with my assistant Marie…I drove here in a Toyota. Let’s say, I’m driving in a Toyota, here in Davie, Florida, and I’m thinking ‘I’m Japanese’, because this body, this vehicle, was made in Japan…and let’s say that tomorrow, we drive back to Gainesvlle, Florida, and we rent a Volkswagen, and we think ‘We’re German’. We get to Gainesville and we get into a Ford, and I think ‘I’m American’. So, we might think, ‘That’s kind of ridiculous, David’. But I’m asserting that that’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’re doing. If I’m thinking I’m white, I’m black, I’m woman, I’m man, I’m Jew, I’m an Arab, I’m American, I’m Russian, I’m five foot 10- well, five foot nine to be more honest- so, that’s identifying with the temporary. It’s the same as if I’m identifying that this car is red, and so I’m red. Not that we want to neglect the body. We take care of our car so it can support me in a smooth ride from, south Florida to north Florida, ..and if in taking care of the car and if in using the car to take me to my destination- If in taking care of it and using it, I think that I am the car, or anything connected with it, ‘I’m a 4-door; I’m a 2-door’. That’s illusion, and how much happiness is possible, if it’s based in illusion? In the Satvatove environment, in all of our programs, whether it’s our books, or our keynote presentation, or seminars…we do everything from 45 minute presentations to 11 day intensive self-realization seminars. This is the focus of our endeavors.
“Our stance is that this process to understand who we are; this process of self-realization- This represents the most sublime purpose of human life. An example- let’s say that I was to purchase a state of the art computer…I spend a lot of money and I get this big desktop computer… You come to my house, and you see that I’m using the computer as a doorstop. So you say, ‘Uh, David, what’s going on there?’ I say, ‘Look, it works great, because if the door wants to close, it won’t close, because the computer’s there.’ You say, ‘Yeah, well, you can use the computer for that. But you know, you can use this thing for much higher level functions. You can use it to write a book, for desktop publishing, for so many things…’
“Teilhard de Chardin said ‘We’re not human beings having a spiritual experience; we’re spiritual beings having a human experience.’ As spiritual beings having a human experience, we get to use this form, this human form and intelligence, for the process of self-realization, and if we use it only for stuff that, say, animals and plants can do- different forms of eating, sleeping, defending..maybe an animal defends with its claws, and we defend with a clever rationalization, or a thermonuclear device, qualitatively it’s the same activity. So, how effectively, efficiently, are we using this special, human form? To what extent might we be using the computer as a doorstop?
“In Satvatove, we focus on communication. The book out there is called Relationships That Work: The Power of Conscious Living- How Transformative Communication Can Change Your Life. Transformative Communication, not just a set of communication skills or techniques. It’s a communication-based approach to self-realization, to supporting ourselves, in our internal conversation, and in our relationships, creating an environment, that’s conducive for putting the 1 in front of the 0s, in all areas of our life. It is said, the quality of our communication is the quality of our life. Communication with others, in every area, whether it’s where we play, where we pray, where we work, where we serve…and communication with ourselves…the spiritual principle is that things go from subtle to gross, from subtle to external. So, if I’m communicating with myself ‘I’m not lovable’, I’ll make that true…things go from subtle to external. ‘See, he rejected me. She doesn’t like me.’
“The non-material entity, that living force, the owner of the finger- that’s the healing potency. The body is made of dead matter. The healing potency is in the living force. That’s the healing potency. So, we get to learn to be touchstones for transformation; touchstones for consciousness transformation…by learning the art of transformative communication, so that in any interaction, the healing potency of the self comes out…and research has shown, that when that healing potency goes from dormant to active, whether it’s in regards to cancer, or heart disease, then healing happens, because we’re unleashing the nature of spirit to heal and grow.
“Our opportunity is to not let expertise replace empathy…to use each situation to see the opportunity to bring out the actual healing potency, that’s the spiritual potency, that cit potency, the healing potency within each individual.”
After Dr. Wolf’s talk, one hospital administrator approached him and exclaimed, “That was beyond awesome!!”