97 – An Introduction to The Still Point Project and a Holiday Season Offer

Hi and welcome, or welcome back. You are listening to the Perio Patient Podcast, a podcast for my patients and anyone else who cares to listen. My name is Dr. Ben Young and I am a periodontist in private practice in San Antonio, Texas. This is episode 97 and the title is An Introduction to The Still Point Project and a Holiday Season Offer. 

Well, now that the election is over, we can begin to look at the Holiday Season to include two of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is a time to reflect and be grateful for all the blessings in our lives.  

Looking back, these have not been easy years for our country and if you are like me, it can tend to pull us down. 

It is for this reason I began in January of this year writing a blog post every day. It has nothing to do with periodontics. It has to do with rebuilding broken hearts. It deals with disappointment and sadness and it seeks to restore us to sanity if we feel like we are losing our minds. So today, and I have done this a little in the past, I have decided to read you three of my most  current posts. If you find them interesting or useful, please find more at thestillpoint.substack.com. 

But before I get into the readings, I do want to offer those of you who listen to the podcast who live near me – most likely one of my patients – this holiday offer. If you or one of your family members is in need of the LANAP procedure – this is the procedure I provide for the initial treatment of periodontal disease, we are offering $200 off if it is accomplished before December 15 this year. All anyone needs to do to qualify is to call and say they heard it on the podcast or that they somehow know you.  

Of course, if I have not seen them before, they would need an examination. They can call and discuss this with my office team. Please move quickly if you think you might need this care. The offer ends soon. 

This first reading I posted on November 13 and it is entitled: We are either significant or insignificant together. 

The problems in the world come when we are taught to believe we are significant or insignificant relative to others. 

Now some might argue that the need to compete proves me wrong. 

I would push back to observe that there is a big difference between competition involving sports teams and warfare involving armies. 

Competition within agreed boundaries and rules helps people strive to do their best while also enabling competitors to potentially become great friends. We play off each other and strive to improve in all aspects of our lives inspired by those who lived before us. We become who we are as a result of learning great life lessons from others because fundamentally, we are all floating down the same river of life TOGETHER. 

War is entirely different. War is a way to grow in power at the expense of others and no one strives to do this unless he or she believes they are superior creatures over the mass of humanity. 

The belief in God is the great equalizer. 

We are significant because God says so and also, together, as insignificant as the dust from whence we came and shall one day return, regardless our status in this life. 

On November 14 I wrote Continuing a Thought – with the subtitle, Do you ever get hit with an idea and it doesn’t let you go? 

For me it’s like a seed has been implanted in my cerebral cortex and starts sprouting. As it does it knocks into a lot of more settled thoughts which then have to move around to accommodate this upstart. As this happens some thoughts blend with the newer one and a synthesis occurs. 

My thought du jour was yesterday’s title: We are either significant or insignificant together. 

You might look at this and see it as either obvious or crazy. As it occurred to me, I thought, “I wonder where this is leading and whether or not it will hold weight in the end?” 

As I stated yesterday, we are taught to compete, and the implications from this are many. First, our significance as humans becomes connected to our performance. If we win the gold medal, get the staring role, become the CEO, win the beauty contest or the [fill-in-the-blank] prize, then we are important, have value, and the rest. Come up a little short and we are losers destined to live insignificant lives. 

Now the initial pushback is that our world would be worse off if there was no competition. 

I agree it would be sad to not strive to do and be our best and there are many valuable lessons that come with competing with others. Where I have a problem is in the mindset that who we are, our significance as individuals, is tied to performance. 

When we tie our significance to our performance then we are stuck with toxic side effects. 

For example, let’s say we achieve any of the outstanding accomplishments listed above. 

Wonderful. 

Congratulations. 

However, if the achievements cost you your marriage, family, self-esteem, or health, then I question its worth. 

People who strive for significance because they were taught that this was important at all costs will often cheat to win. This means they have believed a lie that others will never see past the fraud and, even worse, that they will be able to pretend for the rest of their lives that they are really good honest people. 

Teaching children to love and respect others, meaning teaching them that they are connected to others as brothers and sisters, is important. Unfortunately, it also goes against the hyped consumer narrative children are exposed to through digital forms of entertainment. This means teaching this fundamental principle is an uphill battle. 

But the problem isn’t only with children. It just starts there. We adults are also desensitized to caring about real flesh and blood humans to the extent we are tied into digital forms of convenience and entertainment. 

Proof in point. It is very different to play a game of cards or dominos around a table with friends and to play the same games virtually over the Internet. 

My personal take on why this is so is because it is much more immersive to interact with real people because the computing power of human brains interacting is way beyond what any current or future artificial intelligence algorithms will be able to provide. 

What do you think? 

November 15’s title was” Contrasting Treasures of the Heart. My subtitle was: People act as they do because deep down they believe their lives depend on it.  

Have you noticed the political divide in our country right now is fairly even and fairly stable? 

What I mean is that we don’t see a lot of defectors crossing lines in either direction. Also it seems the undecided middle is quite small. Everyone has, it appears, a strong opinion, and neither side is particularly nuanced. 

In fact the two sides believe strongly that those on the other side are either dolts or devils. 

I’m not here to talk you out of your political position. In fact, I do not believe it is within my power to do so. However, I would like to make a few observations. 

When what I believe is so entrenched that I am willing to go to prison or worse for my beliefs, then I would say I believe with a passion beyond logic. It is a passion of the heart. 

Those who are not choosing to take a side but willing to side with the winner, thinking this a clever survival move, are sociopaths. They are neither hot nor cold, but care only for themselves. When times get tough these will show their true colors. 

This leaves us to consider the sincere on both sides. They are not different in passion level only in what they are passionate about. 

One side will defend even those exposed in corruption. Why? Because they believe achieving their vision of Utopia will be worth it. This is the end-justifies-the-means crowd 

The other side will not defend corruption but will stand for principles unpopular to the other side – like right to life and the right to bear arms. Why? Because they believe in a different end-time picture. Instead of man achieving a perfect society, they believe God will usher in a new Kingdom where all men will live in harmony under God’s rule. This is the ends-are-shaped-by-the-means crowd. 

The difference between the two, I believe, is tied to what they believe will give them life. 

The Utopia folks believe their side will provide the physical things they both want and need for a happy fulfilled life here on earth. 

The heavenly minded have a longer runway and, for them, even if they lose it all in this life, they believe it will be worth it in the next – because that’s where their treasure is. 

I ended with this quote. 

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) 

Well that’s it for today. Thank you, as always for listening. 

Finally, The Still Point Project is free. If you subscribe a new post will drop every morning. Also if you are following along with other readers it gives you the opportunity to comment directly and also to share it easily with others. 

Bye for now.