Rod Kersh
Person-centred physician

Day 178. Victor Frankl, Vishnu, and Shakespeare.

Spiral. Photo by Rod Kersh 2024.

I was talking with my son last night,

Trying to explain my recent behaviour and mood.

My behaviour has been, let’s say, not great,

And my mood, worse.

Six months. It has been exhausting.

Each time I turn on the radio or the TV news the headlines are Israel and Gaza.

For six months the narrative has featured Israel aka the Jew as the aggressor, the one who disregards human rights, the oppressor, Destroyer of Worlds.

For those six months I have internalised every word.

Yes, I have post hoc rationalised

Interpreted for myself the various events which are too numerous to detail,

The accidental bombing, the tragic shooting, disproportionate use of power;

The commentators from Right and Left

The protest marches

On and on.

It’s exhausting we agreed.

A constant whittling away,

A corrosion if you like.

And in the face of this the reality we live and breathe, we have known that for all Israel’s mistakes, it is no more flawed than any other country trying to find its place in a hostile world, a democracy wrangling with the vicissitudes of extremism and social media, an angry man at the helm supported by similars, heckled by the hundreds and thousands.

Israel is particular and it is the same.

The same taxes, traffic violations, trial and tribulations.

No longer the light unto nations.


Called out for special treatment

Whether because of Antisemitism

Or the notion,

Look what they did to you, how can you do that to them or anyone?

A covert reference to the Holocaust

An allusion to Egypt.

Last night, in reading Ten Percent Happier, Dan Harris met Mark Epstein.

Dan was surprised that so many Jews in America are leading lights in the Buddhist/Mindfulness movement.

He hypothesised that this perhaps had something to do with the spiritual/philosophical dimension of Buddhism that allows entry to Jews who can still retain their religious identity, unlike, say, Jews for Jesus, Catholicism, or Islam.

It is unclear, yet there is a whole Wikipedia page dedicated; Goldie Hawn. Go figure.

Mindfulness was where I began this blog almost ten years ago.

At that time, I was investigating the relationship between patient safety and Mindfulness.

If you are a doctor or a nurse and your mind is not focused on your clinical interaction, it is instead wandering to future uncertainties or past embarrassments, you are more likely to assign the wrong diagnosis, dose, or treatment.

What is neat about Mindfulness is its non-censorious approach to human behaviour.

So, your mind wandered, the fundamental is to bring awareness to that wandering and return to the breath. They might say.

None of the eternal damnation inherent in monotheism.

And, perhaps that is what I need to achieve for myself now.

Yesterday morning my mind bounced from Douglas Murray and Eylon Levy to the PA photograph of Shani Louk, Dan Harris, work, WhatsApp, Antisemitism, Palestinian suffering, depression, hopelessness, the weather and, my dog, all before breakfast, as Alice might say.

The mind, relentless, is capable of more thoughts, negative and positive in the blink of an eye, than well, pretty much anything.

None of this is necessarily good or bad. It is so.

For example, the falling leaf. Not good or bad. Halfway up or down. The end and the beginning.

And this reversion I require, for without it I am lost.

Perhaps we are all lost.

None of this undoes the suffering or the pain experienced in the world.

It does not justify or delegitimise; it affirms.

The vapour of suffering is all-encompassing.

Give it an inch, it will take a mile.

Cliches are for the uninitiated.

Nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so, said, Hamlet.

Focus on the breath.

Return to the moment.

Allow your mind to fill with now and empty itself of tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

About the Author
Dr Rod Kersh is a Consultant Physician working in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. He blogs at
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