A friend of mine and his new wife decided to spend their honeymoon camping out. I heard this story from him after all the events had occurred. He said, “Our first night out I cut up the branches of a tree to make a shelter for our campsite. We had a quiet evening but were awakened in the morning by a horrible roar.

“When I stepped out of the tent there was a demon standing there. I asked the demon what he wanted and he said, ‘You have ruined my sacred fruit tree. I am going to eat your heart and drink your blood.’ We explained why we were there and asked him to forgive us but he refused. We asked him if there were some other way we could satisfy his anger or give him something to take the place of my heart and blood. The demon thought for awhile and then said, ‘If you return in one week with a male child of some member of your family, who is willing to take your place and whose parents come with him and agree that he may take your place, I will have the child’s heart and blood in place of yours and you may go free. But if you do not all appear in one week I will come after your entire family. Now go. I will be waiting to see you here next week.’

“We went home and didn’t know what to do. My parents met with our entire family and their children and offered to give anyone whose child would take my place a large amount of money and a new home.

“No parent seemed interested but one seven-year-old boy jumped up and said he would be happy to take my place. His parents started to yell at him for wanting to do such a crazy thing. My parents quieted everyone down and then the boy spoke to his parents and told them why he wanted to perform this act. When he was done they all agreed that he take my place.

“A week later, we all went back to the campsite. The demon stepped out of the forest and gave me a sword to kill the boy with. His parents held his arms and legs and as I raised the sword the boy said his last prayer and then burst into joyful laughter. We were all stunned by his prayer and laughter. We dropped to our knees and put our palms together in an attitude of prayer. The demon stopped too and looked in amazement at the laughing boy’s face.

The young man’s statement to his parents after their initial shock and reaction that he had gone mad was this. “I have not gone mad. Consider this, sooner or later my body will perish at any rate but if it perishes without love, which the wise declare is the only thing of permanence, of what use will it have been? What greater love can there be then the salvation of all beings? Surely the demon will destroy us all if I do not offer myself. What better fruit can my body reap then the love of this act?”

When the threat of death was before him he uttered to himself this last prayer. “Let whatever love I may acquire by this sacrifice not gain for me heaven or any other salvation that cannot benefit others. Instead, let me be born again on the wheel of rebirth so that again and again this body may be offered for the benefit of others.”

The demon licked his lips. The parents held his arms and legs and my friend lifted the sword. Then the child laughed so loudly that all there abandoned what they were about and, putting their palms together in an attitude of prayer, gazed in astonishment at the boy’s face.

His attitude is not different from Christ’s. This child knew what love could create and obliterate.

Bernie Siegel 2011

Bernie Siegel

Bernie Siegel

Dr. Bernie Siegel, who prefers to be called Bernie, not Dr. Siegel, was born in Brooklyn, NY. He attended Colgate University and Cornell University Medical College. He holds membership in two scholastic honor societies, Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha and graduated with honors. His surgical training took place at Yale New Haven Hospital, West Haven Veteran’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He retired from practice as an assistant clinical professor of surgery at Yale of general and pediatric surgery in 1989 to speak to patients and their caregivers. In 1978 he originated Exceptional Cancer Patients, a specific form of individual and group therapy utilizing patients’ drawings, dreams, images and feelings. ECaP is based on “carefrontation,” a safe, loving therapeutic confrontation, which facilitates personal lifestyle changes, personal empowerment and healing of the individual’s life. The physical, spiritual and psychological benefits which followed led to his desire to make everyone aware of his or her healing potential. He realized exceptional behavior is what we are all capable of. Bernie, and his wife and coworker Bobbie, live in a suburb of New Haven, Connecticut. They have five children and eight grandchildren. Bernie and Bobbie have co-authored their children, books and articles. Their home with its many children, pets and interests resembled a cross between a family art gallery, museum, zoo and automobile repair shop. It still resembles these things, although the children are trying to improve its appearance in order to avoid embarrassment. In 1986 his first book, Love. Medicine & Miracles was published. This event redirected his life. In 1989 Peace, Love & Healing and in 1993 How To Live Between Office Visits followed. He is currently working on other books with the goal of humanizing medical education and medical care, as well as, empowering patients and teaching survival behavior to enhance immune system competency. Bernie’s realization that we all need help dealing with the difficulties of life, not just the physical ones, led to Bernie writing his fourth book in 1998 Prescriptions for Living. It helps people to become aware of the eternal truths and wisdom of the sages through Bernie’s stories and insights rather than wait a personal disaster. He wants to help people fix their lives before they are broken, and thus not have to become strong at the broken places. Published in 2003 are Help Me To Heal to empower patients and their caregivers and 365 Prescriptions For The Soul, in 2004 a children’s book about how difficulties can become blessings, Smudge Bunny, in 2005 101 Exercises For The Soul and out in the Fall of 2006 a prescriptions for parenting book Love, Magic & Mud Pies. Published in 2008 Buddy’s Candle, for children of all ages, related to dealing with the loss of a loved one, be it a pet or parent, and to be published in 2009 Faith, Hope & Healing with survivor stories and my reflections about what they teach us. Woody Allen once said, “If I had one wish it would be to be somebody else.” Bernie’s wish was to be a few inches taller. His work has been such a growth experience that he is now a few inches taller. His prediction is that in the next decade the role of consciousness, spirituality, non-local healing, body memory, and heart energy will all be explored as scientific subjects. For many, Bernie needs no introduction. He has touched many lives all over our planet. In 1978 he began talking about patient empowerment and the choice to live fully and die in peace. As a physician, who has cared for and counseled innumerable people whose mortality has been threatened by an illness, Bernie embraces a philosophy of living and dying that stands at the forefront of the medical ethics and spiritual issues our society grapples with today. He continues to assist in the breaking of new ground in the field of healing and personally struggling to live the message of kindness and love. Dr. Siegel appeared on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” with Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley to discuss Finding Thanksgiving After Loss.

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