Zen & the Arts - Field Notes

In the late 90s an Integrative Medicine Fellowship was developed at the University of Arizona at Tucson. It was under the leadership of Andrew Weil, and Tracy Gaudet was the medical director. The idea was to take successful physicians and teach them things they never learned in school. The notion was not so much to swap drugs for acupuncture or herbs but to change the world view in which medicine was delivered and practiced. Doctors in school were being taught to know at pretty much any cost. There was concern about confirmation error in diagnosis, in which you see what you expect to see rather than what’s in front of you. “Often wrong but never in doubt” was the medical residents’ joke about the attendings who taught them.

I taught meditation and poetry, listening, speaking from the heart—more or less normal human stuff that might help you show up for your own life but which might have been skipped in Medical School in the rush to knowledge. One of the most difficult things for the physicians was the practice of science, because it depended so much on uncertainty. Uncertainty was the most disturbing thing.

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