Ego, Social Consciousness, Spiritual Consciousness, Subconscious

Perspective: The War In Ukraine

At the Soul Focused Group, we believe that what you see is what you get. Our perspective on how we see and experience life is acutely shaped by how we were socialized and programmed at an early age.

We all have been socialized by our families, the education system, organized religion, and, maybe most profoundly, by all forms of media. The nature of the programming and the messages we have received are quite often in profound opposition to how we consciously want to express ourselves in life.

If you grew up consuming media in this American society, you were fed an unyielding diet of the glorification of war and violence, the inflated worth of white people, and the diminished value of people of color. None of us were immune to these messages.

The results of all of this socialization and conditioning now reside in our individual subconscious minds and our collective unconscious mind. Rarely do we wrestle with the impact of this socialization.

As the government of Russia wages a ruthless war against the people of Ukraine, most Americans are rightfully consciously outraged. Each night on the television news and in the news feeds on our phones, we are shown the callous and uncivilized brutality being waged upon civilians and soldiers in Ukraine.

The human suffering in Ukraine and the foul energy of war ought to cause each of us to feel deep sadness in our hearts for the collective spiritual state of the human family.

However, this Vladimir Putin initiated war isn’t the only war or suffering in the world. Humans are suffering from Ukraine to Afghanistan and from Sudan to North Philadelphia.

Our media doesn’t tell so many stories that need to be told. We must ask why.

As you watch the attached video, I would ask you ponder the following questions:

  • Why don’t we all know how our Brothers and Sisters are suffering in Afghanistan and other places around the world?
  • What forces in our society benefit from us not knowing the details of this suffering?
  • How does our being mentally and emotionally detached from this unreported suffering harm us?
  • What messages have I received over the course of my life, both overtly and covertly that causes me to possibly value one group of the human family over another?
  • What can I create with my power to build greater Human solidarity?

I know this short clip will move you as it moved me:

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social justice in health care
Bio, Social Consciousness

Social Justice In Health Care

The awareness about issues like racism, social discrimination, inequality in workplaces and society, etc has grown a lot over the past few years. While that is a good thing, we still have a long way to go before we can get rid of these problems.

Discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, etc is an unfortunate reality of our present. It is still widely present in various institutions of our country. One such system is our healthcare system.

Healthcare institutions are an integral part of our country. And over the last couple of years, their significance has multiplied tenfold. However, just like other institutions in our country, the healthcare system is also plagued by social discrimination, race and racism, and other similar issues. And that’s what we will be discussing today.

This blog post is dedicated to discussing such disparities and the importance of social justice in the healthcare system.

Two Major Things To Know About Today’s Healthcare System

When it comes to the present-day healthcare system, there are two things everyone should know about. The first one is that they are racially inequitable to a great extent. There are huge racial, gender, and class-related disparities present in most medical institutions.

The second thing to know is that our healthcare system is based on a very profitable model currently. The healthcare industry as a whole is generating a huge amount of profits every year.

Healthcare is a multi-billion dollar industry. And at every health clinic, the professionals are paid based on how high they can quote a visit. These charges or quotes are decided based on how sick a patient is. So naturally, the healthier someone is, the lower the quote and reimbursement will be. In other words, the current healthcare model revolves around professionals getting paid for people who are sick. Thus, people being healthy is a total financial disincentive for today’s medical industry.

This was not how the healthcare system used to operate earlier. For example, in ancient China, physicians were paid every day their patients were healthy. They didn’t get paid during the days their patients got sick. Because it was believed that the physician wasn’t doing their job in the best way. And this is the exact opposite of what we are doing today.

Imagining An Alternative Healthcare Model

In a nutshell, we can say that the present-day healthcare system benefits from the people who are sick, right? And that is something that should be changed. We need to bring a shift in the current model of the healthcare system. Shouldn’t the healthcare system be more about people's holistic wellness, promoting healthy habits, and not just about treatment and all the money they're making off of it?

Imagine what would happen if a physician starts getting reimbursed for every kid they treated who did not develop diabetes as an adult. Or what if a doctor’s care for a pregnant mother is reimbursed based on factors like the healthy weight and other such aspects of the child?

Such a reimbursement model will transform the entire healthcare industry. Insurance companies would start promoting health-based educational classes for people. They would willingly pay the patients to take educational classes, thereby helping them to stay disease-free! Wouldn’t this be amazing? And since it is payment-based, this model will still operate within the capitalistic framework of our society.

It will change how physicians are trained and how they work. And since the profits will be generated based on how healthy a person is, it will also encourage the medical system to promote the holistic well-being of people. For example, it will encourage medical students to get nutrition education, which right now is very insignificant. Most medical training programs do not focus on nutrition education (unless they are specifically designed for it).

Similarly, when a pregnant woman visits her OB-GYN for her regular check-up, she is rarely asked about her mental health even though we all know how much a pregnant mother’s mental health affects her baby. These things are not on the radar of the physicians because the current healthcare framework doesn’t reimburse a doctor based on how healthy their patient is.

However, things can be changed if there is a shift in this framework. If healthcare providers start focusing on the holistic well-being of their patients and if the industry starts paying them well for the same, things will change for the better.

Implementing such a system or even imagining it is not easy. But even if we can put something similar to it in place, the benefits would be tremendous. It will also pave the way for a healthcare system that has no place for any kind of social discrimination. Because patients would no longer be differentiated based on their gender, social class, or color.

Wouldn’t It Be Amazing If Doctors Are Incentivized To Take Care Of Themselves?

Working in the medical industry is not easy. It takes a toll on both your body and mind. Doctors encounter several overwhelming situations almost daily. And thus, medical professionals need to look after their own physical and mental health too.

While doctors ensure to provide the best possible treatment to their patients, they often overlook their health. Today, we have so many doctors and other people in the healthcare profession that don’t take care of themselves. This is the reason why the suicide rate among doctors is increasing at a rapid pace. Along with that, issues like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and mental health problems are also rising among doctors. And what a tragedy it is! Professionals who help people to heal from such issues are struggling with them as well.

All of these need to be changed too. We, as a society, cannot keep going on like this. Thus, along with focusing on the well-being of the patients, the new healthcare framework should also reward doctors for taking care of their health.

The physical and mental health of a physician has a direct effect on the health of their patients. And we need to recognize and accept this fact. Thus, if we can reimburse physicians, nutritionists, social workers, and everyone else involved in the healthcare system for taking care of their own selves too, it will bring much-needed change to the medical industry. And due to the increased incentive and better lifestyle, we will also have more people entering these jobs. So, it will be a win-win for everyone!

Unfortunately, A Person’s Socio-Economic Status Plays A Vital Role In Today’s Healthcare System 

As we discussed at the beginning of this blog post, the healthcare system is full of social discrimination. Patients are judged based on their economic status, societal standing, color, race, and whatnot!

Decisions are not taken based on what is the best and most cost-efficient treatment plan. Instead, they are taken based on the most profitable treatment option. Patients are pressurized to make crucial decisions quickly and on the spot. More often than not, patients have to pull some strings to get things done.

I would like to share a real-life example here. The other day, when I was working in the hospital with other residents, we got presented with a new patient who was admitted overnight. None of us had met this patient before so we knew almost nothing about them.

During the presentation, we got to know that the patient was a young man in his early 40s. He had really bad kidney disease. And part of the presentation was about the patient’s history of leaving the hospital against medical advice.

Now, it is common amongst us, the residents, to talk about the patients before we go on our rounds to see them. When I heard about this patient’s habit of leaving the hospital against medical advice, it made me believe that he is going to be a difficult patient. Even though I knew next to nothing about him, I still believed that it would be difficult to deal with him. This is how an unconscious bias is created in the minds of people, isn’t it?

However, when we met with this patient, we found out that he is a single dad to a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. And because he is the only caregiver for his kids, he can't be in the hospital for weeks on end. This made us see the situation in a completely new light. All our bias against this patient shattered and we were able to empathize with him.

The most unfortunate thing was that he had to spend so much time in the hospital just waiting for his procedures to be done. Normally, his dialysis and other such procedures could be done in two-three days. But due to the widely prevalent red-tapism and social bias, he had to spend weeks in the hospital unnecessarily. The patient wasn’t leaving the hospital willingly, he was doing so because things weren’t being done for him on time.

This made us realize that we are a part of the problem too. Knowingly or unknowingly, we have become the reason why a patient is unable to take their medicine or get their treatment. The healthcare system was failing this man and so many other patients like him out there. There is always an implicit bias in how people are seen and treated in hospitals. Patients are treated differently based on race, gender, class, etc. A lot of this also depends on your socio-economic status.

People belonging to a high socio-economic status do not have to go through a lot of trouble to get their voices heard. On the other hand, patients who have a low socio-economic status or are not influential enough, may not be listened to as much. While all of this is indeed very unfortunate, it is the reality!

To Redesign The Present-Day Healthcare System, Physicians Need To Re-Educate Themselves

Doctors can play a vital role in improving our healthcare system and freeing it from all the social discrimination and inequalities. As a doctor, you are the wheel of the healthcare industry and you have the power to bring a positive change here. However, doing so wouldn’t be easy.

You will have to re-educate yourself and unlearn a lot of what you learned in medical school and residency. And you will have to focus more on the things we talked about today. For example, as a physician, instead of treating diabetes in kids, you will have to put more emphasis on how to
help prevent diabetes in a kid starting from childhood and help families build those habits to prevent diabetes in children.

Similarly, as an OB-GYN, you will have to start talking more about the mental health and stress of the pregnant woman. You will have to prepare the expecting parents to have a smooth transition to parenthood by educating them about all the relevant things related to their baby. And to adopt this new approach and support your patients in this improved way, you will have to re-educate yourself first.

While all of this will be on a very small scale and will take time to give results, it is still a step forward in the right direction. It is a positive shift that needs to take place sooner rather than later. If every healthcare professional starts focusing on the holistic well-being of their patients, adopting a better healthcare framework will become easier. It will also open the road to equality and social justice in the healthcare industry!

It Is Also Important To Do A Thorough Cost-Benefit Analysis Of This Prevention-Based Healthcare Model

A shift from the profit-based healthcare model to a prevention-based model is only possible after doing a thorough cost-benefit analysis. Because we live in a capitalist society that operates on profit. And this system is going to be there for a long while. Thus, an ideal healthcare model should focus on both the patient’s health as well as profits.

After all, if we focus only on the prevention of diseases, how will people continue to make money? How will the medical industry operate? And how will the healthcare private hospitals thrive? A successful transition to a more patient-friendly healthcare model is only possible by finding the best answers to the above questions. Because let’s accept it, no matter what kind of framework we design, if it doesn’t make sense financially, adopting it would not be possible.

In Closing

So that was all about social justice in the healthcare industry. At Soul Focused Group, we care about the health and well-being of every individual.

We believe that the only way in which we can have a healthy and happy future is by removing all discrimination and inequalities from the medical industry. Every patient, no matter their race, color, or gender, deserves to be treated equally by their doctors. And a shift in the healthcare model is necessary for that!

We are so glad that you have joined us on this journey. If you liked this piece, we invite you to check out our website, listen to our podcast, and check out our YouTube channel. We have several new and exciting things coming up for you!

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Origins of Racism
Ego, Racism, Social Consciousness

The Origins of Racism

Historically talking, the concept of race and racism originated in the United States centuries ago. It is so old that we cannot even put a date stamp on it. Most people believe that racism is only a social evil; an injustice to mankind. But there is so much more to racism than what meets the eye.

For example, the origins of racism are also related to the ego of human beings. Many parts of racism exist because of our ego. You must be wondering how is it possible? That’s what we will talk about and discuss in detail in this piece.

A Social System Like Racism Is Created By A Mind That Was In Conflict With Itself

While we talk a lot about race and racism, we don’t spend enough time understanding what type of mind would create a social system like this. If we contemplate things properly, it would be evident that a mind that has given birth to racism must have been a mind that was in conflict, not just with others, but with itself.

And a conflicted mind is usually full of ego. When a person has a flawed idea of what is right and wrong, it is easy for them to believe that only their opinions are right. They believe that their opinions, actions, and beliefs are the only things that matter.

And that’s how ego is born.

Many people think that is just about being arrogant, rude, selfish, and other similar things of that nature. However, that is not true. At least, not entirely! Ego is also about having an outside perspective of yourself versus your inside perspective.

It is based on messages that you receive from a very young age. As a child when you are told a person is bad, a person is beautiful, a person is ugly, and so on, your mind starts grabbing those ideas without questioning them. And from there, your ego starts to get constructed.

It keeps on developing from that point onward. It starts to encompass the identities that you're told you are, whether that's by color like black or white, gender, or personality traits like smart, dumb, pretty, ugly, etc. You start to believe that those identities are the ultimate truth and when someone has a different opinion than yours, your ego takes a hit.

Our ego operates in such a way that keeps us separated from the truth. It makes us blind to the reality that is clearly in front of us. And that is how human beings created racism. They were convinced that their idea of human personalities is the ultimate truth. They were so blinded by their ego that they refused to consider another point of view. In the simplest of terms, racism is like ego on steroids.

Why Was Race Actually Invented?

Now that we have a rough idea about racism and its relation to ego, let’s talk about the most pressing questions. Why was race actually invented? What was the purpose and thought behind creating the idea of race and dividing and subdividing people based on phenotypes? Why would someone differentiate between people based on their skin color, facial features, and hair textures?

Just like we talked about, ego is something that defines us from the outside in. It is an external identifier or a set of external identities and identifiers that we later internalize.

Genetically, human beings are 99.98% similar. And so, people decided to divide us based on race. They didn't say, “we're going to do this because it makes absolute sense scientifically.” Instead, they said, “actually, we're going to do this because it makes sense socially.” Because this similar thing was already going on in other parts of the globe.

What we are implying here is that, back in the day, when people in the U.S. decided to divide human beings based on race they were just mirroring what was already happening in different places of the world. Especially in the places that were becoming the present-day United States, which had been the colonies earlier.

So, the rule-makers in the United States saw racism playing out in different parts of the world. And they probably thought, “we're going to do this because it's going to be serviceable to humanity.” And at that point in time, the entire humanity revolved around the group of people that would later come to be known as White.

And that was why race was invented.

The Conversation Of Racism And Ego Is An Under-Explored Arena

The conversation about the origins of racism and how it is related to the human ego is an under-explored area. When we talk about racism, our major topic of focus is moving towards the solutions to ending racism. And it’s natural too. Most of us want to put a full stop to such an insensitive practice towards humanity. Most individuals want to end racism, not just fight it, but end it completely.

And to do so, we usually keep on appealing to the people with the same mindset that created racism. People with power, status, and ego are so big that it prevents them from seeing the truth.

And here’s another truth: for many of us, who are on the other side of racism, saying we want to end racism is also a result of our ego. So we say that we want to work towards ending racism, we are usually operating from our ego, and we haven't even recognized it.

Racism Impacts Every Aspect Of Our Lives

The origins of racism were also the beginning of social sickness. It was a kind of social sickness that slowly crept into our personal lives and started influencing every part of it.

Whether we realize it or not, racism affects almost every part of our lives today. From the type of neighborhoods we live in to the type of food we consume to even the kind of air quality in our community, everything is impacted by racism one way or the other. Consciously or subconsciously, we all make decisions based on racism too. It’s a hard fact, but it is the truth.

And since everything about race is such a big part of our lives, our ego cannot stay separated from it. However, most of us do not understand ego and how it is influenced by racism.

People Have An Inherent Aversion Towards Understanding Ego

Most individuals don’t possess an understanding of ego. This is because we don’t even try to explore and learn about it in the first place. We try to avoid it. And so, people who are full of ego and who want to be in charge of everyone else manipulate us for their benefit.

Imagine you are someone who wants to control other people for your benefit. Wouldn't it be in your favor if they misunderstand your true intentions? Won’t you want them to misunderstand what you are actually doing? You would, right? You would totally want to manipulate them for your personal benefit.

Now, imagine a group of people who want to control everyone. A pretty small group of people that have economic and political motivations to be in control. They would naturally look for tools to control human beings, right? And one of the best ways to control human beings is to give them an idea of who they are. No matter if it’s a totally false and made-up idea. Like, a made-up idea around race, religion, or gender.

So, this group of people starts to define people externally. And they do it in such a way that we don’t realize their actual motives. They repeat their messages over and over and over again. They do it so many times that it starts feeling natural and real even when it's not. They sell us a false idea of who we are and manipulate us. And because we are unaware of the concept of ego and how it works, we start acting the way they want us to.

After all, why would we even want to know about a concept like ego, it’s not even interesting, right? On top of that, this external messaging and manipulation (from certain powerful individuals or groups) has made us not want to explore it. This is because most of us are pretty accepting of the status quo. We're pretty accepting of how things are because we believe that things are the way they are because of us.

Racism And Ego: Which One Has Been In Existence For Longer?

Simply put, the ego has been around since the dawn of humanity. Think about any
of our religious texts- the Bible, the Quran, or anything. All of them talk about the Devil or Satan. Isn’t that a kind of ego too?

Ego is what has driven us to war. It has driven us to all the forms of slavery that we have had throughout the history of humankind. It has driven us to conquest, exploitation, jealousy, fear, all the awful things that every religion talks about- the negative aspects of humanity!

The ego has been around for at least the past 75,000 years in terms of our human experience. And so, it was only natural that our collective ego, which is the total of all our egoic thinking, would create something like racism.

Racism was almost like the Ph.D. of ego like this is the highest it can go.

Now, it’s our job to understand that ego and have meaningful conversations about it because that is the only way to bring a positive change into the world.

Ego Is Not Unique To Whiteness. It Has Always Existed In Human Beings Dominating Other Human Beings.

While racism was invented to give privilege to white people, it is very important to understand that ego is not exclusive to whites. It is not only about white people. Human beings have always dominated other human beings since the dawn of humanity. They had taken other human beings as slaves long before the concept of whiteness even existed.

Think about Shaka Zulu or the empire of the Mayans. Weren’t all of them operating from their ego? They were dominating and doing horrible things to other human beings that existed long before whiteness.

Similarly, today we have the likes of the Taliban doing dreadful things to humanity. Thus, ego is not unique to white people. Ego has existed in human beings dominating other human beings forever! 

Television And Mass Media Has Played A Role In Boosting Our Ego And Glorifying Violence And Oppression.

As we think about the evolution of both race and racism and their correlation with ego, another thing that must be noticed. And that is the human ego got a boost when television came into being. Television exasperated the egoic mind, and somehow, it became a tool of perpetuating constant ego. So many TV shows normalize violence. They are all for the glorification of violence, patriarchy, and killing of indigenous people and people of color.

And all of that became such a huge part of our collective and individual ego. Television has such power that it can lock us into an egoic framework. So when we think about wanting to change society and put a full stop to racism, patriarchy, and other forms of oppression, the mass media has done such a good job of locking us inside that circle of ego.

So even as we rebel against certain aspects of racism, there is a whole mechanism and variation of racism and oppression that the society has accepted as normal and a common denominator. This is because the power of mass media has played a huge role as a tool of perpetuating ego and all these forms of oppression.

Love Is The Antidote To Ego

The ego creates a constant state of comparison and separation. And the only way to overcome this is by leading with love. Love is a true antidote to ego. It takes us back to our original, higher, and authentic selves.

Love is the essence of our Creator. And ego prevents us from seeing our Creator and from seeing ourselves in each other. Ego doesn’t let us act and relate to each other; it becomes a barrier in our relationships and friendships. So, the only way we can reduce the impact of racism is by moving on the path of love.

And the only way we can go to the roots of the origins of racism is by understanding everything going around us. So we need to study the history of Africa and how racism, its nuances, and complexities came into being. It is also essential to know more about Black Power movements, civil rights movements, black history, etc. There is so much more to black history than what meets the eye. And understanding that will help us understand racism and how our ego plays a part in it.

When you start knowing in-depth about the origins of racism, you will be able to see your ego footprint. This, in turn, will help you realize how your individual ego contributes to the collective ego of the world.

Ego Reduction Is The Way To End Racism

If you want to end racism, your first step should be to acknowledge that you have an ego. Then try to find out how your ego keeps you separated from your higher self and your divine soul. Another essential thing to do is reduce the consumption of materials that pollute your mind. It can be social media, Tik-Tok videos, television, and news. If it is harming you, try to reduce its consumption. This will go a long way in reducing your egoic energy.

When you reduce your ego, you will have more love for others. The gaps created by ego reduction will be filled by love. And whether you realize it or not, love is the answer to everything; it is the solution to every problem.

The origins of racism created something that made us stop seeing ourselves in other people. We started believing that we were somehow better than others. And when we stop seeing ourselves in other people, we stop loving them. And that is the root cause of all problems.

So, here are the key takeaways of everything we discussed in this blog post:

  • Try to see yourself in others. Live from the state of oneness!
  • Love will help you work towards the greater good of humankind. It is only love that will help save humanity.
  • The notion of separation is only an illusion in this material world. In reality, our souls are more connected to each other than we realize. And so, just like every religion teaches, “do unto others as you would have done to you.”

Racism, by its very nature, is an assault on our humanity. It takes us away from our Creator and from our soul. It stops us from being our authentic selves.

On the other hand, love takes us closer to our soul. While ego brings disruption, love brings peace and oneness. So, make sure that whatever you do, you do it out of love. And rest everything will fall into place! 

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