The Papaya Mystery

By Greg Baer M.D.

October 21, 2016

I once lived for two years in Samoa, nearly four hundred miles from the next major island group in the South Pacific. At the time, conditions were fairly primitive, with only a few miles of paved roads, no toilets to speak of, and everyone in each village sharing water from a single pipe running from the rivers in the volcanic mountains.

Although I was young and not yet experienced in medicine, I knew that many of the children suffered from varying stages of scurvy, a disease caused by a lack of Vitamin C and characterized by bleeding and slow wound healing, among other symptoms.

Ironically, the children who suffered from this vitamin deficiency often played directly under papaya trees, which bore fruit year round that was rich in Vitamin C, as well as other vitamins and minerals. I tried to explain to a few mothers the potential benefits of their children eating papaya, but they were both puzzled at my description of a substance invisible to the eye and also offended at my suggestion.

I asked a local teacher to explain this bizarre reaction to my medically sound advice, and he said that papaya were traditionally fed only to the pigs. To feed a child papaya would be insulting. Instead they were fed a diet primarily of starches: taro, breadfruit, baked green bananas, and rice.

This story has played out over the world from the beginning of time. Once a cure for a disease is known, the application in many cultures lags far behind. This delay in diagnosis and treatment is also evident with the “diseases” of fear, anger, loneliness, emptiness, contention, war, greed, violence, child neglect, marital discord, and more. The cause and cure are known. People who feel sufficiently loved unconditionally simply don’t suffer from these emotional diseases, and yet the cure is not universally applied. Why?

  • Very few of us have witnessed Real Love with enough regularity to confirm its existence.
  • In the beginning, unconditional love seems intangible, almost unthinkably idealistic.
  • Fear, anger, power, money, sex, drugs, and other motivations have such powerful short-term effects that people find them hard to lay down.
  • Love requires steady—though not necessarily difficult—maintenance, and we much prefer cures that are quick and easy.

Love is available to all of us, and this universal availability runs quite contrary to the agendas of those who would prefer to have more of everything—power, praise, and so on—than others.

So what can we do about these diseases that are destroying mankind? We could feel overwhelmed and give up. Or we could just keep loving the one person in front of us, until there is enough love visible in the world—along with the obvious benefits—that more people will consider using it themselves, just as Vitamin C has nearly eradicated scurvy in the world.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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