The Intuition Network, A Thinking Allowed Television Underwriter, presents the following transcript from the series Thinking Allowed, Conversations On the Leading Edge of Knowledge and Discovery, with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove.


JEFFREY MISHLOVE, Ph.D.: Hello and welcome. Our topic today is "Psychological and Spiritual Blind Spots," and my guest is Patricia Sun, a well-known communications specialist, an expert in conflict resolutions, a healer, a world traveler, a lecturer, and seminar leader. Patricia, welcome again.

PATRICIA SUN: Thanks, Jeff.

MISHLOVE: It's a pleasure to have you here.

SUN: I love it too.

MISHLOVE: You had an unusual experience, and I think it's very appropriate to our topic today. You were one of the rare group of Americans who happened to be in Kiev, in the Soviet Union, during the time of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. An incident like that, that catches the attention of the world, is probably very revealing in terms of what are our psychological blind spots, our spiritual blind spots. What are your insights there?

SUN: Oh well, it's rather immense, actually, to begin to talk about that. I went to the Soviet Union for the first time about a year and a half ago. I've traveled all around the world, lecturing and so on. I thought, you know, I really don't know that much about the Soviet Union. I'm quite an American type, in the sense of being very individualistic, and Communism really doesn't appeal at all. The only part that serves --

MISHLOVE: Well, they have healers there too.

SUN: Oh yeah? The only thing that sort of appeals is the part that's like what Jesus taught. I like that part. But the political system certainly didn't interest me at all. But I thought, you know, I really don't know very much about it. And I went, and the first time I was stunned, by how could our country, with so much free press, have such a wrong idea of one-sixth of the earth's surface? That's huge. We don't even know that there are fifteen republics, that they speak a hundred different languages. There's so much we don't know. We say Russia; Russia's just half of it. It's one of the republics. And of course, even in a recent interview, they were talking about this trip when I was in Kiev, and they said Kiev, Russia, and Kiev is in the Ukraine. But talking of misperceptions, or blind spots -- blind spots really come about through projection, that's one of the ways. There are lots of reasons why we have blind spots, but they're always for defense. It's always emotional defense.

MISHLOVE: We're protecting ourselves against knowing something that we think we don't want to know.

SUN: That we either think we don't want to know, or energetically, in terms of emotional energy, it's something that would be too painful or humiliating; or our own self judgment is so intense that we can't face what we are doing, we have to project it out. We're bringing up Kiev, and I sort of want to get on with it, but to explain my point, I think of things like Nazi Germany, and you think of what they wanted to be. They wanted to be the super race, but they didn't want to have to look at any of their own shadow. They didn't want to have to look at any of what they had to face to become fulfilled people, so they projected it all out on other people, the Jews and other races, in a whole kind of craziness. This is what always happens, whether it's an individual country or an individual human -- the human dynamic.

MISHLOVE: You know, what strikes me in this regard is the fact that the U.S. government, the President of the United States, particularly President Reagan, has always made it a point never to apologize, never to admit error, always to be strong, to be firm, to pretend -- at times it's been a pretense -- that everything is going well, when they may not be. It's just like a style that we cultivate, and I suppose there's some fear behind it. I noticed recently that the Prime Minister of Japan made some statement about America's racial mixture resulting in a lower IQ, and he was attacked, and the first thing he did was he apologized profusely. This is in the Orient; they make apologies and confessions. That's their culture. Do you think that means that they don't have the same blind spots that we do?

SUN: Oh no. No, it's a human problem. It's just that we all have, culturally, different places where it's OK to do something and where it's not OK. So we all have places it's not OK. They just vary culture to culture, and that's one of the reasons why we misunderstand each other, and it makes it so easy to project onto somebody else. Because they don't do things the way we do, they're not familiar to us, it looks alien, and therefore we can assume all kinds of other alien things whenever we are anxious. And that's what projection is about. In fact, Sam Keen wrote a wonderful book called Faces of the Enemy, which I think is just recently out. It really talks about this whole dynamic of projecting out your own fears.

MISHLOVE: It reminds me of the Pogo cartoon where Pogo says, "We have seen the enemy and he is us."

SUN: I know. I love it. Somebody sent me that, actually. It's wonderful. Well, it's wonderful because it humorously captures a very human dynamic. I don't want to make a big deal about this, except it's human and it's real and we all do it. The Russians do it to us, we do it to them. Take any group you want. We all do it. I do it; you do it. So the thing that's important about it is to know that we do, and to make room for processing. In terms of Reagan, I often tell people in my lectures, if you don't agree with him, send him a lot of love. Don't just sort of hate him for what you disagree with. Understand he's a human being. He represents our country; we elected him.

MISHLOVE: If we are inspired to hate him, it's our own blind spot that's being triggered.

SUN: Exactly. Exactly right. So that it works every way. Even if somebody's doing something "wrong" -- which is often the case, we all often make mistakes -- the point is to correct it and to heal it, not to persecute somebody or be right.

MISHLOVE: This must be why you went to the Soviet Union, to a certain degree, in the first place.

SUN: Exactly. The first time I went with another group, a peace group. And then the second time I went to prepare for the third trip, which I brought people on. I brought about sixty Americans and one Canadian, and we were in Kiev during Chernobyl. What was very interesting was that Chernobyl went off while we were still in Finland. It was two days before we got to Kiev, because we were there two days after it went off -- before it was out, really, into the world yet.

MISHLOVE: In other words, they let you in, and there was no news.

SUN: There was no news. So what that tells me -- you know, remember our reaction here. I read the papers when we came back. And of course we also heard our relatives and friends calling us hysterically to get out, because they thought we were going to be dead, and that the Russians were lying to us, and that we were in dreadful danger. We were only eighty miles from Chernobyl, but we were downwind, thank God -- or I guess upwind; we were away from the wind. And the funny thing was, when I read all the reports afterwards, there was almost at first a kind of tremendous hysteria, that said the Russians were lying, and there were scientists who said what had to have happened was such and such -- there had to be two thousand people dead, and that they were lying. And as it turned out in the end, we made all the lies and all the exaggerations, which very few acknowledged -- very few reporters retracted, apologized. The Russians felt very much that we were maligning them and lying about them on purpose. That was definitely their attitude. They were horrified, and they said, will you please go back and tell them? They were very worried, and they took very good care of us, as soon as we left Kiev and went to Moscow; we were three and a half days in Kiev. The point that I almost made, and didn't quite, was that I know that they really didn't know. Certainly not the nation at large, but even the officials, I don't think knew that there was a nuclear accident, until the Swedes told them. Because just like people everywhere -- and what we also need to know is the time period it happened was sort of a combination of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year's all together, or the Fourth of July, better. It was May Day; it was Russian Easter. Everybody of every importance was out with their family, or gone to a summer home, or was going to Moscow for the big parade. Everybody was involved. And they don't have very good communications anyway; they don't have a lot of phones. And I can just see the accident beginning to happen, and the people there not telling, trying to fix it, trying to get in touch with someone to help them fix it, and it getting out of hand and exploding. And still not letting the main government know. The reason I believe that is because they never would have let a group of sixty Americans -- because, you see, it had already happened, and we were in Moscow. And then two days after it happened, we went to Kiev. If they had known, they would have changed plans like this.

MISHLOVE: In other words, there might have been a plant foreman who knew.

SUN: Oh yeah, the people there knew, but the government didn't know.

MISHLOVE: But they wanted to keep a lid on it themselves, at that point.

SUN: And you know, this is human nature. We've had a few incidents in our own country like that. Maybe they didn't turn out to be quite as disastrous, but we've definitely had radiation leaks and problems. And now that it's becoming more open, England had the disastrous accident in the 50s and never told anybody, let the radiation just pour out over everyone without giving them any warning.

MISHLOVE: It sounds like the same dynamic -- I remember when I was a little kid, and I was over at the neighbors', playing with their croquet set, and I broke one of the croquet balls.

SUN: Right. This is it.

MISHLOVE: So I tried. I pieced it back together, and I put it back on the grass, and I said, "Oh, I've got to go home now."

SUN: That's so cute. That's it. That's us. That's people. And the thing is, that's very appropriate behavior for a child. And it is something that, as adults, we have to have more room and compassion for facing our mistakes so that we can correct them -- so that we can become conscious and not have blind spots and need to go unconscious. When we came back, we were radioactive. Our luggage was quite hot. Our shoes were hot. I couldn't get anybody in the United States to have our group checked. I called dozens of places. I called Public Health, and kept getting shuffled on to somewhere else. Finally one of the local TV stations called, who had known we were in the Soviet Union at the time, and I told them that we couldn't get anybody to help us. They put it on the air, and then the Department of Energy called, and we got some help. But even then it was very limited. They only wanted to help a couple of people.

MISHLOVE: Did you get help when you were in the Soviet Union?

SUN: Yes, of the best they had, which wasn't a lot. See, this is one of the problems globally, there and here, is that there aren't facilities for testing or understanding or knowing what kind of radiation you've got on you. Because there's different kinds; there's contamination that goes on you, and then there's exposure when you go near it. So if you have a high-dose exposure, or you've ingested it, all those things matter about how you treat yourself, how you treat your clothes. If you are where there's a radiation spill, where there's dust, you need to know right away that it happened. We need to pass laws in our country that absolutely insist, whenever radiation leaks, that there is some measurement of how much and where, immediately, so that with the news and the weather and the wind patterns that we now can analyze quite accurately with satellite coverage, we can see where it's going, so that the people who are going to be in the path of the fallout can take precautions. I mean, I found things out from some Japanese people who had survived Hiroshima -- that one of the first things you do is you have to clean your nose from the inside out, because your nose will be picking up all these little particles that are intensely radioactive, and you don't want to breathe them in or swallow them into your body. You have to keep thinking of it as contamination, something that you want to sort of peel off. If you were ever exposed, and you were going to go home, you would close all your doors and windows. You would take off all your clothes outside and step in without them, and then keep them separate. You have to think in a different way.

MISHLOVE: Nobody knows this, of course.

SUN: Nobody knows this, nobody talks about it. And it's inevitable that we're going to have another accident if everybody stays as unconscious as we are about the whole issue.

MISHLOVE: And radiation is only one of many areas like this where we have potential blind spots. I suppose public safety in general is a big one.

SUN: Absolutely. And feelings of responsibility, around drugs, the drug problem. You know, one of the characteristics of, say, the eating disorders, bulimia and anorexia, drugs, cocaine, alcohol, cigarettes, is denial. It's not an accident that this is a characteristic of this kind of response, that this is epidemic. Sexual abuse of children also brings up tremendous blind spots. We don't want to look at it. I can remember about ten or twelve years ago in workshops when it would come up, and other people would say, "I came here for spiritual enlightenment; I don't want to talk about sexual abuse." Well, we would have someone, often maybe four or five women, in the audience who were sexually abused, and it was cathartic for them to speak of it, and to begin to heal it.

MISHLOVE: The statistics are twenty-five to thirty percent of people have been sexually abused as children.

SUN: I think even more than that, in my experience.

MISHLOVE: That's a big coverup, isn't it?

SUN: That's huge. There's an interesting book, a great book, written many years ago by a man named Wolfgang Lederer called Fear of Women. It's a tremendous, scholarly account of cultures all over the world, that shows how men are afraid of women. When he wrote the book, he could find no literature on the subject, and it is very notable that something that is so pervasive has no literature on the subject.

MISHLOVE: It reminds me of Ashley Montagu's classic, The Natural Superiority of Women.

SUN: That's right. But it's just one of those kind of indicative things. And we're short of shotgunning this,
but --

MISHLOVE: Let me ask you a direct question, then. You are a spiritual healer, a spiritual teacher, a psychic healer. You work with individuals. It seems as if what you're pointing at now is not so much just an individual problem, it's a social problem, it's an institutional problem. How do you heal that?

SUN: I really do believe that you heal it by healing the individuals. And of course I'm an American, so I can do it individualistically. I don't think collectively, making a collective change. I think the collective will change when individuals change, and that we need to work on ourselves, because the only piece of the planet you really have control over is the piece you're sitting in. And the only person you can change in a healthy way is you.

MISHLOVE: In other words, these blind spots that we've been talking about, the massive social ones, are just sort of a statistical reflection, I suppose, of what millions of people are not looking at.

SUN: Our own personal ones. Precisely. And if each individual begins to risk telling the truth -- if there's someone listening who has been sexually abused, to find the most compassionate person they can, and tell them, and get it out into the air, so they don't live with the guilt and the shame. Because it harms them, it limits them, it damages them. Something akin to this -- I had a woman come to me. Her boyfriend had been in Vietnam, and he had never told anyone this, and -- I don't know if I should say this on television, now that I think of it.

MISHLOVE: Well, just keep his identity anonymous.

SUN: Oh, it's all quite anonymous. But the sad thing of it was, when he was in Vietnam, his platoon, or whatever -- Platoon, the movie now, is bringing everything into consciousness about what war really is -- his platoon was ordered to go annihilate a village, kill everyone in it. They went out and they did, and then they came back, and they were told it was the wrong village, and they had to go out and do another one. And they did it, and when they came back from that, they were told they would be imprisoned for treason if they ever told. Now, war is insane in itself, and it kills innocent people. That is the nature of war, that it kills innocent people. For our government, or ourselves -- which we are, our government -- to ask not to tell something bad we did, something we know is wrong, not to tell, burdens each individual that was there -- every veteran who did things that they are ashamed of, that they grieve over, that they feel their humanity was violated that they did.

MISHLOVE: And in fact I don't think they'd be prosecuted for treason.

SUN: Oh, I don't think so either.

MISHLOVE: Somebody was trying to cover their --

SUN: But this is all human. This is what I'm saying. And we have to have more compassion for it, because if we have more compassion for why and how it happens, how human it is, we forgive it, and then we can heal it and prevent it from happening. So the point is not to be lax, to be permissive, or to say it's OK. It's not OK, it's very sad. But it's human and it happens, and we need to forgive it so that we can open our eyes and see it, because if it's unforgivable we don't want to hear about it.

MISHLOVE: You know, I almost think, to take what you're saying a step further, that when we suppress these things because we don't want to deal with them, because we're afraid of the consequences, we end up suppressing other aspects of ourselves as well. According to Freud in his book Civilization and Its Discontents, this is how we create the subconscious, and bury it within our subconscious, along with our sexual drives and our aggressive instincts, which we're embarrassed about. Since we're civilized, we're not supposed to have these things. Therein lie our healing abilities; therein lie our visionary capacities, our psychic abilities. So we hide the sublime along with the awful.

SUN: Exactly. In fact it is all energy, and when it's hidden and held off and not allowed to heal and become aware, it becomes evil. And when it's allowed to heal, it's just beautiful, as you said, sublime energy. It's our talent, it's our beauty, it's our wisdom, it's our capacity to love, to empathize, to understand, to heal and be dynamic and vital. I feel about war that it is an institution much like slavery, and that our consciousness is shifting rather rapidly. There came a point where we realized that slavery just was an institution we couldn't have. It was not acceptable; it did not empower us. The slaveholder as well as the slave was damaged by it. It was a corrupt thing for us; it was not good for us. And war is the same. When we begin to think that war is just not acceptable, then we will become creative about all kinds of other solutions, to understand, to heal our projections -- to understand what's going on in the Middle East, to have compassion for them.

MISHLOVE: The projection is interesting. It's as if when have something like this, a blind spot -- we did something, we don't want to process it, we suppress it -- then it comes out anyway, doesn't it? And we say, "He did it; he's the one."

SUN: That's right. And we have to dance with it until we recognize it in ourselves. That's why there will always be war -- because we won't look at it. As soon as we look at it, there won't be war anymore. We don't need to have war. It's not some mystery. It's not some mystery of human nature. It is human nature denied, made mysterious and denied. It's very seeable; it's very healable. When Reagan bombed Libya because of the hostages being held, many, many, many Americans, as they were interviewed, said, "Well, the President had to do something; I agree." Well, it's true the President had to do something, but the something -- there's a million other choices.

MISHLOVE: It turned out a baby was killed in that particular bombing.

SUN: Oh, many babies were killed. One of Khadafy's babies was killed, his adopted child. But many children were killed, many innocent people were killed. That's what happens when you bomb. You're not bombing the Libyan government, or the crazy person that's hijacking a plane.

MISHLOVE: And President Reagan's so nice.

SUN: He is. He's a good man. I really believe that with all my heart. I really like him. And so from that place, I really can feel love and know his earnestness, and know he does do what he does -- from his own point of view, from his own culture, from his own time -- that which he perceives as being good. And I think he would see more easily that which isn't good about what happens, about the consequences of the decisions he makes, if we didn't attack him. If you want to write him a letter, send him a letter as though you're speaking to your good friend.

MISHLOVE: But we don't want to applaud him, necessarily.

SUN: No, I'm not saying applaud. You speak the truth. But you can say the truth with kindness, compassion, and understanding, and give people the respect that is due them, that they just don't perhaps see something. We all don't see something.

MISHLOVE: Well, I suppose what's called for then, and what I believe we see emerging, are more and more people who are, like yourself, able to speak on these issues -- be they personal issues or public issues -- to speak from a place of deep compassion.

SUN: Because you know we really are good. Human beings are good. They want to be good so much that they beat themselves up and do things that are off. And what we really just need is to shift our consciousness to the place where we can hold our mistakes as just mistakes and inheritances. You know, there's a thing in the Bible that says, "The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children." To me that's psychological language that says the fears and the unconsciousness of your parents, you feel and perceive as a child and you adapt to them, and therefore you internalize and carry them. I kind of believe the psychic buck ends here -- that part of what the evolutionary leap is, that I think is happening for the human race, is that we're beginning to each individually own our own sadness, our own despair, our own frustration, our own guilt, and heal it, so that we are enlivened and become wholesome, and can love other people and forgive ourselves. And if you forgive you, you can forgive other people. The real problem is, we don't forgive us. We forgive others much more readily than we forgive ourselves.

MISHLOVE: And perhaps it's also a question in some sense of forgiving our parents.

SUN: Precisely, because they do love us. They always loved us. Even no matter how crazy and despicable their behavior may have been -- and it happens -- it comes out of their fear, and how they were treated, and their lack of self esteem. And so we have to sort of give up blaming and wishing for a good mommy or a good daddy to come and make our lives all right. We really -- in effect, the human race needs to grow up.

MISHLOVE: So what you're saying, if I can paraphrase you -- I think you're saying that in effect we have it within ourselves to break that classical Biblical cycle of "The sins of the parents shall be visited." We can say, "No more."

SUN: That's right. And you know, very interestingly, in the Old Testament, in Jeremiah, there's a section where God is talking about the Coming. And he said, "In those days that come, there shall be a new law, a new Covenant. Not like the one I made with the fathers, but a new one. And in these days that come, no longer shall each man need to tell his neighbor, his brother, 'Know the Lord, know the Lord, know the Lord.' For all shall know me, from the greatest to the least. For the law of God shall be written in their inward parts and in their hearts, and all shall know me from the greatest to the least. And I shall remember their iniquity no more." And I think what that is about, is a premonition of exactly our human race waking up. The Buddhists talk about our waking up -- that's what Buddha called it. There's many premonitions, in all the religions of the world, that talk about a time when we return to heaven, we return to paradise, we return to God; we wake up, we become alive -- when we don't suffer any longer. I really think it's a stage of our development, that when we integrate it -- and the linear mind has been a real hassle for us, to handle it, to use it and to respect it and to appreciate it, and simultaneously, let ourselves open up to the innocence of the trust of God. There is such a thing. There is such an energy that holds the universe together.

MISHLOVE: The innocence of the trust of God.

SUN: And we are made of it. That's it. And that's what awakens our empowerment, because then no longer are we trying to control or manipulate. We are being whole-some. Being holy and being sane are both words that come from the meaning "whole." You are holy and you are sane when you are whole -- when you have all your parts, when you're physical and spiritual, when you are both; when you are heaven and earth together.

MISHLOVE: And it's that whole quality within us which is innocent, which is totally self accepting, totally forgiving. It's from that space that we can just move through those blind spots like a knife through butter, and say, "No longer blind."

SUN: Yes. That's what Jesus taught: be as little children. You cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless you are. Have that innocence; have that openness. And let it happen.

MISHLOVE: We have thirty seconds, Patricia.

SUN: Oh no. It's going so fast.

MISHLOVE: It's been such a wonderful program.

SUN: Well, you know, there are so many things about psychic phenomena that are happening, that people make into black and white -- like past lives, and entities speaking. And it's all us, it's all our own psychology. I just wanted to get that in.

MISHLOVE: It's all us.

SUN: It's all us. We're waking up and we're coming home.

MISHLOVE: Patricia Sun, thank you very much for being with me.

SUN: Thank you.