Guest post by George Thompson, MD

VirtuousDr_sml_artMy grandfather's medical office, paneled in dark wood, was a refuge from fear and uncertainty, a chapel of power and meeting. I don't know how it was for his adult patients, but as a child it was an under-the-bed-with-your-best-friend kind of place that pulled you in close and warm and whispered that we are going to get through this thing together. Sometimes I could feel my grandfather's presence for days after—the sway of a virtuous man.

My father created this atmosphere on the move as he made his weekend chaplain rounds at the hospital. He was doing the great work, one smile, one shoulder clasp, one prayer at a time. He comforted and encouraged whomever he met, and he left them hopeful and held. I knew that my father and grandfather could heal, and I wondered if I could too. But how do you touch another that deeply, embolden their spirit and help them go on...

Did you know that while the revolution in technical medicine gets front page press everyday—"e.g. Deep-brain stimulation wakes man from 6-year coma"—a quiet evolution has been going on behind the scenes for the past 40 years or so. Physicians are taking the time to train themselves to relate more compassionately and attentively with their patients, a practice known as virtuous doctoring.

Virtuous doctoring means to practice excellence and care in working with patients. And physicians today strengthen these qualities deliberately. Medical conferences are devoted to understanding patients' experiences, and medical students are evaluated on their sensitivity and respect. Most professional organizations have written strong statements about physicians' obligations to practice these virtues. But we are still in the beginning phases of learning how to do it.


But how do you touch another that deeply, embolden their spirit and help them go on...


Harry Palmer's genius is that he discovered a way to develop virtues deliberately, so that we can each do our best for each other.

The Avatar Course awakens a person's source beingness, that grandfather's-office perspective that knows anything is possible and everything is alright. You don't have to go anywhere to get this perspective because you create it yourself.

Avatar unfolds in a natural fashion. As each step is taken, a broader possibility emerges, in a beautiful "if I can do this, then I wonder if I could do that" sort of process. From source beingness, you experience life fully and decide how it will go. And most often the direction is toward kindness and cooperation. VirtuousDr_artAs an example, physicians who take Avatar decide how to create their practices. Feeling source, they return to the intentions that led them to medicine in the first place, like the intention to ease suffering.

The Avatar Master Course teaches a healing presence that relieves suffering by seeing and awakening the source in another. This presence is probably the core of virtuous doctoring. I can still recall the profound joy I felt practicing this skill with my wife AnnMarie on the first day of Masters. We were surprised—before Masters we hadn't even noticed the hours we needed for emotional release each evening. After Masters we didn't need this decompression time because profound presence invigorates both the giver and receiver. That's why most people go to Masters right after completing Avatar—to share this gift with those they love.

The Avatar Professional Course is The Master Course-Part B. You discreate your resistances and connect deeply with your life's purpose. Fully living your purpose releases enormous creative energy.

"So if we can really be there for others, then what can we do for the planet," is the instinctive question that one asks after Masters. As the Korean trainer Ilu says, "Avatar teaches you to love your life and Masters teaches you to love others, then the Wizards course teaches you to love and assist all humanity."

But what do we do when we miss the mark? How do we take responsibility and move on? The approaches to virtuous doctoring have no good answer so far.

The Avatar Wizard Course creates a safe space to see how our shortcomings have hurt others—and to discreate these experiences. You strengthen virtue by working on personal integrity. You don't make yourself stupid. You fully experience your transgressions' impact and remove their sharp sting. The dull ache of remorse remains, but as Harry says, "remorse cultivates the awareness needed to avoid repeating the mistake."

A Wizard adds to the honesty on the planet by becoming more honest with her/himself. When we honestly recognize what we have done to others, compassion for mistakes arises spontaneously. And spontaneous compassion is what is needed to end our personal and planetary wars.

People seem shy about others knowing that they are deliberately practicing virtues. It is much easier to talk about making a killing in the stock market. This observation explains why you probably haven't heard much of virtuous doctoring. The time has come to get over our virtue shyness and take charge of the direction that our planet is headed. In an  issue of Psychiatric Annals, Dr. Jan Fawcet cautioned that violence and vulnerability will likely lead to human annihilation within 5-10 generations. He advises humanity "to evolve to a race that is willing to notice the needs of others, feel their pain, and do something to help..." (Psychiatric Annals, June 2007, p. 385).

We need your help. Try these two ideas. The first is simple and easy. Thank someone who acts virtuously. Let them know you notice it. This action eases virtue shyness. The second requires more effort. Work to create as many Avatars, Masters and Wizards as you can. Are you willing? Please, do your part to shift collective consciousness toward the tolerance, compassion and wisdom that will secure our future. We can no longer afford to be shy about our ability to improve. The virtue you practice will shelter us all.


George Thompson is an Avatar Master from Lawrence, Kansas. He is also an associate professor of psychiatry at a medical school in Kansas City and teaches medical students about the value of virtues in the doctor-patient relationship. He can be reached at (785) 550-2121 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 




The Avatar Journal would like to thank George for sharing his perspective. Read more Avatar experiences at


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