Here is an article written by Leland Kaiser a keynote speaker for
> > Spirituality and the Physician
> > by Leland R. Kaiser, PhD
> > (This
article originally appeared in The Physician Executive, March-April 2000, Vol.
26, Issue #2.)
> > For the first time since the beginning of life
on this planet, a self-designing life form has evolved. We are that life form.
We must take advantage of the special opportunities self-reflective
consciousness brings us. Our challenge is to develop an intelligent and loving
design capability that respects and protects all forms of life. It could take
until the end of the century to achieve our redesign efforts, but it need not if
we awaken to our collective role as the guardians of the health and well being
of our planet.
> > We are destined to become a
designer planet—to take our rightful place in the intergalactic community. With
the combined power of outer space technology and inner space spirituality, we
will begin the colonization of our solar system and commence our journey to the
distant planets. To attain this pioneering capability, we need to act now upon
our best visions and highest aspirations.
> > What
> > The "s" word (spirituality)
can now be spoken with comfort in our health care organizations. International
conferences on the role of spirituality in business are common. Spirituality is
emerging as a favorite topic in management seminars. Spirituality is often
confused with religion. They are very different things. Religion refers to a
specific body of beliefs, a tradition, and a prescribed set of practices.
Spirituality refers to a broad set of principles that transcend all religions.
For instance, the golden rule is spiritual, yet every religion recognizes it as
a valid base for interpersonal action.
> > The most
important job of the physician executive is to raise the consciousness of her
organization, thereby enabling it to find allies and work with them in a process
of community reinventions Spirituality is best defined as a relationship between
yourself and something larger, such as the good of your patient or the welfare
of the community. Spirituality means being in right relationship to all that is.
It is a stance of harmlessness toward all living beings and an understanding of
their mutual interdependence.
> > You may be
spiritual and not very religious, religious and not very spiritual, neither
religious nor spiritual, or both religious and spiritual. The best position for
the physician executive is to honor everyone's spirituality and respect their
> > Spiritual principles
should form the foundation for all health care institutions, whether they are
public or parochial. It is not appropriate to teach religion in non-church
related organizations. It is always appropriate to promote spirituality. Indeed,
many large American corporations are recognizing the role of spirituality in
creating a new kind of capitalism that escapes greed and shares abundance,
repairs our damaged natural environment, and promotes social justice among
developing countries. In the new century, both not-for-profit and investor-owned
health care facilities will demonstrate the socially redemptive mission of this
new humanistic capitalism, which focuses upon making every member of the
community a consumer, a citizen, and a voter.
Spirituality and the physician executive
> > The
physician executive should be a primary proponent of spirituality in his
organization. He can do this in the following ways:
> Model the power of spirituality in his own life. Nothing is as convincing
as a life well lived where spirituality is integrated with professional
competence to produce outstanding organizational outcomes.
Integrate spiritual methodologies into clinical practice wherever possible. This
can take many forms from praying for patients to supporting programs for
teaching healing touch to health care professionals.
> > Foster an
integrative approach to patient care by combining allopathic medicine with the
best of the alternative and complementary modalities.
Encourage the organization to tithe its profits for unmet community health
> > Support collaborative efforts to improve the health of
the community A healthier community initiative is often the best way to do this.
> > Create a healing environment. This may take the form of a
water fountain in the lobby, extensive use of natural light, aquariums, healing
music, meditation gardens, walking paths, and reflecting pools.
> Provide optional coursework for employees interested in spiritual
development, personal empowerment, and lifework planning. A formal mentoring
program is a good way to extend and further personalize the coursework.
> > Offer executive coaching to all top-level managers interested
in improving their interpersonal and organizational effectiveness.
> Create a healing space that offers massage, biofeedback, and relaxation
tapes. Rather than take a coffee break, a stressed staff member can retreat to a
healing space for rest and revitalization.
> > Explore the power
of intuition in patient diagnosis and treatment. In the next few years medical
intuitives will take their rightful places as members of the hospital or clinic
> > Create an R&D department that develops unique,
value-added services melding science and spirituality to generate
best-in-the-world practices. These signature services will make the organization
a destination institution in the new cyberworld of health care.
> > Spirituality, community, and the marketplace
> > This century's transformative vision takes health care
organizations beyond simple marketplace values into the realm of spiritual
values that promote the social, political, and economic good of the community as
a whole. Some physician executives will be challenged by this turnaround in
value orientation. They have been schooled in scientific reductionism and market
materialism and have yet to learn that good business is always spiritual and
spirituality is always good business.
> > A
spiritual orientation requires all providers to come together and form a sacred
covenant to jointly meet the health needs of everyone in the community. In a
spiritual context, providers view one another as "organs of the same body."
Although they maintain their individuality, they also achieve a unity of purpose
and function. The eye does not despise the ear. If one part of the body gets in
trouble, the others do what they can to come to its aid and restore healthy
function. Isn't it strange that the human body has more wisdom than our health
care system? And is it not remarkable that physicians who view the body as an
interactive, interdependent system do not view the health care community in the
> > Science and spirituality will
join in a quantum understanding of the universe. Allopathic and complimentary
medicine combine to create an integrative approach to patient care. Redesign
efforts in community health lead the way to a redesign strategy for the
community at large. Consumers become directors of their own health care via the
> > A new mental model is adopted that
views limitations in consciousness as the most basic problem facing health
professionals and their organizations. Intuition is prized as the most valuable
brain skill in corporate management and is utilized to construct alternative,
preferred realities. Health care institutions race to develop signature services
and thereby become destination places in a competitive global marketplace. Sound
fantastic? All of this will happen in the new century, where human imagination
is our only limitation and the future becomes history at an astonishing
> > Time for a new breath
> > The fears of Y2K are behind us. Hopefully, the worst damage of
the Balanced Budget Act has been experienced. it is time to escape the stale air
of the old century and breathe in new possibilities. We are not limited by our
past or by our present. We are the authors of our planetary saga and the Year
2000 is a good time to begin a new chapter. Truly, we have the opportunity to
design a new health care system that serves everyone-one that generates health,
designs out disease, and promotes longevity. What a wonderful time to be a
physician executive! The best in medicine is just ahead of us. It is time to
work on a higher plane.
> > Spirituality will prove
to be the most powerful dimension in future health care. Working cooperatively
with its sister discipline, science, it will provide an intuitive approach to
diagnosing and treating patients. Spirituality is the philosophy of choice for
managing 21st Century health care institutions. A spiritual framework offers a
context for bringing multiple providers to the table in a collaborative effort
to better serve the community. Unlike religion, which has often separated
humanity, spirituality unites diverse peoples in a common effort to improve the
> > Roles previously reserved for
government are now in the province of global corporations. Governments can no
longer effectively change the world. Leading corporations will change it by
viewing money as a spiritual energy that can be used to transform our world.
Hospitals and health care organizations, in addition to serving members from
low-income communities, should seek to improve their education and
income-generating ability. There is no way to divorce health from the general
well being of a population.
> > Our
> > We are
multidimensional creatures living in a multidimensional universe. We must learn
to think and act on a higher plane. Supporting the visible universe is an
invisible world that responds to our thoughts and intentions. When we change the
way we think about the universe, we change the way we act upon the universe. The
universe then changes the way it acts upon us. The job of the physician
executive in the new century is to seed new thoughts, generate new feelings, and
model new behaviors. In other words-to orchestrate the consciousness of the
organization. The successful organization is one that cherishes the highest
spiritual values, exhibits the most inclusive awareness, and maintains the most
flexibility in its repertory of behaviors.
Organizational unity is the key to organizational power. Reality cannot be
reshaped with chaotic intentions. An organization that desires to change its
external reality must maintain a unified energy field. Love, nurturance,
reduction of ego, and a profound respect for all people are necessary
ingredients for any unified organizational effort.
> To accomplish this purpose, many hospitals will develop internal
corporate universities that provide continuous training in higher mental
functions such as intuition, precognition, and remote sensing. Courses will be
available for trustees, medical staff, nursing, management, and employees in
general. As the new century accelerates, a new education will be necessary for
all health care professionals. Expansion of consciousness is the prime requisite
for any health care organization that desires to maintain its leadership
position in the industry.
> > Human
> > As spirit, you are. As soul, you know.
As mind, you think. As emotions, you feel. As body, you act. When these five
levels of your spiritual anatomy are in alignment, you have achieved
enlightenment. Human growth is a process of unfoldment that takes the
potentiality of spirit and manifests it at all the other levels of your being.
Happiness is becoming who you are (spirit). Unhappiness is trying to become who
you are not.
> > Human consciousness has three
important properties: (1) it propels you into experience, (2) it interprets the
experience once you get there, and (3) it is a running adding machine total of
all of your experiences. Your consciousness is always additive, never
subtractive. Therefore, if you want to become more conscious, you can only do so
by gaining the requisite new experiences. Since all experience is gained in
spaces (environments), a design for space is a design for consciousness. This
means that every physician executive should be planning to encounter new
experiences that will bring the associated consciousness.
> > When is the last time you went on a medicine walk, sat in a
sweat lodge, or pursued a vision quest? if you have not done these things, then
you do not have the consciousness that goes along with them. For you, these
realities simply do not exist. Can you analyze your dreams, enter a meditative
state, or celebrate your personal mythology? You probably were not taught to do
these things in medical school. Most physician executives are left-brained. You
can't get into the future with your left brain. The future can only be perceived
or created with the right brain. if you want to prosper in the new century, you
must balance both sides of your brain. This is a good prescription for your
personal and professional growth. You might also want to consider getting a
coach who can help you develop new capacities of consciousness.
> > Spiritual qualities of a physician executive
> > Although every physician executive will develop and experience
spirituality in a unique manner, there are many shared characteristics we can
identify. These include the following:
> > Become
a mature individual. Becoming who you are is the work of a lifetime. it means
your soul qualities are perfectly reflected in the lower vehicles of mind,
emotions, and body. You have become an integrated, mature individual.
> Discover and utilize your unique potentials. You are one of a kind.
Spiritual insight enables you to realize your uniqueness and use it to serve
humankind. Your soul contains your birthright. It is an act of grace that gives
you tremendous potential that can be developed with a little will and effort.
> > Follow some spiritual path. Many paths lead to the Spirit. You
must find the one that speaks to you. It may be inside or outside an organized
religion. You may explore alone or with the help of a mentor.
View your life as a spiritual journey into greater awareness.
Assume responsibility for yourself and what is around you. In the last analysis
there is no one else to hold responsible. You are the center of your universe.
What is out there is your creation. Never accept an unacceptable reality—change
it. There are no problems -only preferences. You cannot change anything you do
not own. By accepting responsibility for what is-you can call into existence
what can be. Self-responsibility is self-empowerment.
> > Manifest
a concern for social betterment. Ultimately any spiritual path requires you to
manifest a concern for social betterment. The physician executive must seek to
improve working conditions in his or her organization and living conditions in
> > Expand self-awareness. Spirituality cannot be
divorced from a rapid growth in consciousness. Spiritual practice expands
awareness and develops a multidimensional systems perspective in the
> > Experience continuous revitalization and
renewal. The physician executive on a spiritual path is committed to continuous
revitalization and renewal. Frequent sabbaticals provide an opportunity for soul
refreshment and rededication to the task of improving health care.
> Maintain physical, emotional, and mental fitness. Spirituality by nature
is holistic. The body/mind vehicle is viewed as a sacred instrument that can be
utilized by the soul in this dimension. Any spiritual practitioner realizes the
value of a healthy lifestyle and attempts to practice it.
> > Characteristics of a spiritual health care
> > As spirituality is incorporated
into a health care organization's mission, values, and vision, a set of
characteristics emerge. These are:
> > It places
the good of the community before the good of the organization. This is a tough
criterion of spirituality for any organization. The question is simple—does the
organization act in the best interests of the community or does it put its own
welfare first and foremost?
> > It is driven by its values and
vision, not just its bottom line. If spirituality is good business,
organizations should do both good and well.
> > It views its
budget as its primary ethical and spiritual document. All of its values can be
located in the strategic plan and the budget. The ultimate ethical issue is
> > It shares its abundance in a tithing
program that gives back 10 percent of its profit to the community. This is not
to be confused with the organization's community benefit program that covers
uncompensated care, bad debt, and charity care.
> > It perceives
itself as an instrument of social justice. Of course, a medical school,
hospital, clinic, HMO, or insurance company is not likely to change the world
all by itself; however, it should support such efforts to the best of its
> > It practices the servant theory of leadership. Power
often corrupts, creating a clouded vision and a corresponding lack of
accountability for the right exercise of that power. In a spiritual
organization, the person with the most inclusive consciousness and breadth of
spiritual vision should exercise the most power in a top executive position.
> > It endorses collaboration rather than competition. Competitors
are viewed as allies. Using the body as a metaphor, all health care agencies are
viewed as organs of a single body-the community. Translating this philosophy
into action, a spiritual organization would subsidize its competitor if it got
into trouble. just as in the human body, if one function begins to fail, the
whole body rallies to its support.
> > It goes beyond treating
disease to improving health and realizing the highest human potential of its
patients and community. It operates a child potentiation program for its
youngest community members and a sage-ing program for its elders.
> It encourages patients to assume personal responsibility for themselves
and their health. Patients are viewed as co-participants in the healing process.
Physicians assume the role of guides and fellow travelers.
> > It
values spiritual development when selecting and promoting employees. Executives
are expected to walk the talk.
> > It utilizes ritual and ceremony
to empower itself, generate energy, and create its preferred future. A spiritual
organization remembers its past, celebrates its present, and envisions its
future. it uses the power of spirituality to time travel.
> > It
assumes responsibility for "what is." A spiritual organization transforms its
community because it freely owns all of its problems. It can therefore change
what it sees as its own creation.
> > Ask yourself
how well your organization meets these spiritual criteria. Better yet, share the
criteria with your board and executive management staff and launch a much-needed
discussion about why your organization exists and whom it serves. Such soul
searching may break the hypnotic spell of the health care marketplace that has
overcome the consciences of many CEOs and their corporate leadership
> > Conclusion
> The new century is here. It will surpass what we can imagine, yet we will
be its creators. It is a splendid era, a golden age of medicine, health, and
well being. It is made possible by the long delayed merger of science and
spirituality. The physician executive will play a key role in this social
transformation and become a change vortex in the organization and
> > Sidebars:
> Spirituality and the Physician Executive
> > Spirital
Qualities of a Physician Executive
> > Characteristics of a
Spiritual Health Care Organization
> > Lee's Book Picks
> Lee's Spiritual Leadership Reading List
> > The reading lists and bios on
these are at: Kaiser.net
Their main site -> http://www.sdapartnersininnovation.org/conference.htm
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