I’ve been interested in Gabor Maté’s work for a few years now. First came across him during watching one of The Zeitgeist Movement movies and his points of view resonated with me deeply. Since then I decided to explore his work more and never did regret it. Gabor is is a Hungarian-born, Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction and is also widely recognized for his perspective on Attention Deficit Disorders and his firmly held belief in the connection between mind and body health. He has authored four books exploring topics including attention deficit disorder, stress, developmental psychology and addiction.
“Rather than offering quick-fix solutions to these complex issues, Dr. Maté weaves together scientific research, case histories, and his own insights and experience to present a broad perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their own healing and that of those around them.
For twelve years Dr. Maté worked in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with patients challenged by hard-core drug addiction, mental illness and HIV, including at Vancouver’s Supervised Injection Site. With over 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience and extensive knowledge of the latest findings of leading-edge research, Dr. Maté is a sought-after speaker and teacher, regularly addressing health professionals, educators, and lay audiences throughout North America.” Watch some of his talks (starting with the video of the title of this post) to see why that is.
An excerpt from the video to encourage you to listen to this amazing interview from this year’s Science and Non-Duality Conference :
“You can’t separate the mind from the body. And we now know scientifically that there’s no basis for those separations. So, it’s not that there’s a nervous system and the immune system, and hormonal apparatus, and cardiovascular system, and the emotional system; It’s all a part of One and the same system. There’s a science called psychoneuroimmunology, that studies the connections and the Unity of the emotional system, immune system, hormone system and nervous system. It turns out they are all connected.
There are differentiated functions of the same super system. It turns out that the nervous system wires them all together like a giant electrical grid, connects the bone marrow to the brain, sends messages from the bone marrow to the brain, from the brain to the bone marrow, where our immune cells and brain cells are manufactured, from the thymus gland in the neck, where the white cells are stored – to the brain and vice versa, from the gut to the brain, from the heart to the brain; brain to the heart. The Heart itself is a nervous system. It’s like a second brain in a sense, it has certain predictive capacities. (…)
Then they all secrete the messenger substances into the circulation and they talk to one another. Biochemically. So that the immune cells, the white cells in the circulation have the capacity to manufacture every hormone at the brain manufacture. And so the immune system is talking to the brain. And the brain is talking to the immune system. The immune system has been called the floating brain. It has got learning capacity, reactive capacity and memory. Just like the brain does. And then there’s the brain gut connection . (…) The gut sends much more messages to the brain than come the other way. It seems to be much more intelligent than your thoughts. The gut receives the messages from the whole brain. It magnifies them and sends back up. So when you are listening to the gut feeling, you are getting the whole picture. Your intellect and your thoughts are only a small part of your evaluative apparatus. Emotions come much before the real thoughts. (…)
Let’s say you repress anger in your body, not letting express it, when you really feel angry, but you are this “nice guy”, you never say no…. so what happens to anger that you do not express? Does it evaporate? Disappear, fly to the moon? Where does it turn? It turns against you. In form of…d e p r e s s i o n. The word depression means “to push something down”. Depression begins in adaptation. You have to push things down to stay attached and you disconnect from yourself and then 30 years later you end up with chronic depression or other disease. In the same way the anger can turn against you in the form of depression, or self blame, in the same way the immune system gets turn against you, so that the immune cells and the immune organs , that are meant to defend you are now attacking you. And that’s autoimmune disease. (…)”
We talk about the illness, symptoms, cancer as something bad…but what about looking at those things as teachers. What is my body saying NO to? That I didn’t say NO to earlier? What is the meaning of my disease? What stress did I impose on myself? Where didn’t I say no? And then the illness can actually become your teacher to the authenticity and discovering your True Essence
Form more inspiring and informational lectures by dr. Maté do some research on youtube and his website full of articles, videos, blog posts etcetera.
Some of the talks I found inspiring and educational on all levels:
Dr. Gabor Maté ~ Who We Are When We Are Not Addicted: The Possible Human:
The Power of Addiction and The Addiction of Power: Gabor Maté at TEDx:
Gabor Mate on The Human Face of Addictive Behaviour:
Gabor Maté – What Promotes Positive Health:
When the Body Says No — Caring for ourselves while caring for others. Dr. Gabor Maté:
Dr. Gabor Mate speaking at the Neuroplasticity and Education conference – October 25, 2013:
If you feel these are not enough, there are many Gabor’s talks and lectures all over youtube, so feel free to dig deeper into the subjects Mate presents. It’s a great idea to go for his books as well.
Hope you find this information and links helpful. I absolutely love his deep research and approach to explaining Addiction, Mind/Body Connection, Childhood Development and Parenting and ADHD “disorders”