Practice Corner

Life recently gave me a lesson on one of the ten grave prohibitive precepts: Not to tell lies nor practice believing the fantasies of authority. I am intrigued that it does not say “nor believe the fantasies of authority” but employs the word “practice.” It seems this is pointing to a habit that has to be actively maintained. We talk a lot about fantasies of authority in our head, but in this case, it was an external authority. And it is probably the case that if I weren’t practicing believing an internal authority, I would not have fallen for this “external” one. The conditioning is so deep that there is indeed an authority.
This fascinates me because, in spite of decades of negative experiences with this type of authority—doctors—I unconsciously took what one said as the truth. How did that happen? Once I woke up to this, thanks to a guidance appointment where I didn’t even mention it, it was as if I had quite literally been dreaming. In this dream, there was such a thing as “experts”; they knew better than I did (and I had to pay a lot of money to find out what they knew); and my intuitive sensing of something being off didn’t count. How can anyone know my body better than I do? Well, years of conditioning erroneously tell us there are people who do. And I once again gratefully got the lesson that this is not the case.
When I was first told I needed surgery, I did not accept this as truth. I knew I did not want to have it. I independently researched potential alternative procedures and was quite excited when I discovered one. I brought it to my doctor. She said her practice did not offer it; it was experimental and there were reports of prolonged pain. Many years and doctors later, not one mentioned this alternative without my first bringing it up. So why did I believe one—at a prestigious institution where I was referred by a trusted friend—when I asked about it and he explained in great detail why I was not a candidate? After guidance, it suddenly occurred to me that I had accepted this as truth; I could ask my current specialist if I were a candidate, without mentioning what this other doctor had said. “Theoretically,” was his response. I asked him why I would be told I was not a candidate. I was flabbergasted when he said, “Well, that’s just an opinion.” But of course the doctor who offered this opinion did not present it as such, but as the truth. And my current specialist had recommended surgery without presenting any alternatives. Oh my. A very strong lesson to look within. 
Now that I am booked for a consultation to see if I am a candidate for this procedure, I had to smile when I was sent the following piece about a recent full moon. 
Uranus’ intimate involvement with this full moon urges us to “question authority,” to do our own research, come to our own conclusions, and trust our intuition above all. Experts can be wrong, and often are. Some famous examples of just how wrong experts can be:
“Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever." —Thomas Edison, 1889.
“There is no danger that Titanic will sink." — Phillip Franklin, vice president of the White Star Line, producers of the Titanic, 1912.
“If excessive smoking actually plays a role in the production of lung cancer, it seems to be a minor one.” — W.C. Heuper, National Cancer Institute, 1954
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olsen, founder of the Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
“Two years from now, spam will be solved.” — Bill Gates 2004
What another great reminder that there are no experts. We of course need to do our own research, question authority, come to our own conclusions and trust our intuition above all. The trick is being conscious enough to know when we are not doing this and are instead practicing believing the fantasies of authority.
Once again, I am oh so very grateful for Practice.