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Authors: Judith Orloff

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Second Sight

BOOK: Second Sight
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All the stories in this book are true. As a physician, however, I've sought to protect the privacy of my patients by not using their real names, I've also changed certain identifying details to be absolutely sure not to violate confidentiality.

Copyright © 1996 by Judith Orloff, M.D.

All rights reserved.

Warner Books

Time Warner Book Group

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Visit our Web site at

First eBook Edition: May 1997

ISBN: 978-0-446-55405-3





PART 1: Initiations





Chapter Five: Mixing Medicine


PART 2: Teachings









“Not only was I fascinated and moved by Dr. Judith Orloff's struggles and experiences as a psychic, her encouragement to develop our own abilities to nurture and heal completely inspired me.”

—Dawn Steel, producer

“Judith Orloff is an M.D. and a psychic. She would be risking a great deal simply by making that admission, but in SECOND SIGHT she offers a great deal more by sharing with us her incredible and some times confusing journey in search of her true self.”

—Robin Quivers, cohost of the
Howard Stern Show

“A liberating, intelligent, powerful book…. It's sort of ‘everything you always wanted to know about your spiritual destiny, but were too skeptical to ask.' Dr. Orloff has given us a fascinating, sane manifesto for the Millennium.”

—Brett Butler, actress,
Grace Under Fire,
ABC Television

“Fascinating…. Dr. Orloff writes with wisdom and humility about her emergence as a physician with extraordinary abilities. Highly recommended.”

—Dean Ornish, M.D., president & director, Preventive Medicine Research Center, author of
Dr. Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease

“Dr. Judith Orloff walks the high wire between the truth of her psychic experiences and the rational, scientific world. SECOND SIGHT is a beautiful, inspired—and inspiring—balancing act.”


“Frank, well-written…raises provocative questions.”


“You must open this book and your mind. It is a book full of courage and enlightenment. I speak from experience when I say SECOND SIGHT is a ‘wise teacher.'”

—Bernie Siegel, M.D., author
of Love, Medicine & Miracles

“Truly special….[Orloff] is a psychic—a physician to the heart, mind, and soul.”

—Philadelphia Daily News

“Judith Orloff is the first of her kind. She is a clairvoyant psychiatrist whose mission in life is to help unify opposing worlds of metaphysics and modern medicine.”

—Venice Magazine

“This story has a ring of integrity…. Anyone who is interested in intuitive development will be enriched by reading this book.”

—Alternative Therapies

“A book to re-read…a story to give one pause…. Orloff tells her story with conviction and a gentle, literate style that wins the reader to her narrative.”

—Napra Review

“A stunning look beyond the apparent limits of science and medicine into the larger sphere of mind and spirit.”

—Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of
Minding the Body, Mending the Mind

“An intensely personal, spiritual odyssey. Dr. Orloff's self-portrait as a psychic and psychiatrist is filled with love and a truth born of her extraordinary gift.”

—Norman Lear, writer-producer

“We are far more than we have allowed ourselves to be. Judith Orloff is to be commended for helping us to understand this simple truth.”

—Louise Hay, author of
You Can Heal Your Life

“One of those rare books that has the potential to create shock waves and revolutions within a profession. An inspiring, lofty statement from a very courageous physician.”

—Larry Dossey, M.D., author of
Healing Word.

“Poignant…courageous and refreshing. Must-reading for all.”

—Edgar Mitchell, author of
Way of the Explorer
Apollo 14

“A valuable contribution to the understanding of what healing really encompasses.”

—Ralph Blum, author of
The Book of Runes

To the memory of my mother, and to my father

For the first few days which followed this vision experience I was sick with shock.…My Irish background made me wonder if this might not be what the country people called
second sight.
I did not dare mention the vision to anybody.…Fear overwhelmed me when I realized that I had something unusual in my makeup which made it possible for events to register themselves vividly in some part of my being, whether I wished it or not. Furthermore, I began to realize that the event could be happening either close to me or at a distance, could be occurring in the present, or could have occurred in the past, or might even be about to happen in the future.…

—Eileen Garrett (1893–1970),
My Life


There are so many people whose encouragement empowered me to write this book:

Stephen Mitchell, writer and guide, and Vicki Chang, healer, friends there since the beginning.

Michael Katz, literary agent, midwife for both the vision and delivery of this project; without his insight and devotion, it would never have been born.

My extraordinary editors: Colleen Kapklein, whose enthusiasm and skill did so much to bring the manuscript to completion; and Nanscy Neiman-LeGette, whose loving care shaped and developed it.

Stephan Schwartz, mentor and sounding board, pioneer, generous giver of time and wisdom.

For their dedicated participation and patience in helping to define and map out the book, I'm grateful to Thomas Farber, Paula Cizmar, and Andrea Cagan.

Many others have also made vital contributions, and I want to acknowledge the assistance of Hal Bennett, Diana Baroni, Jonathan Cott, Burnard LeGette, Daniel Kaufman, Mark Kuo, Thelma Moss, Jeffrey Mishlove, Daoshing Ni, Mark E. Pollack, Terry Schoonhoven, Hayden Schwartz, Barry Taff, and Jollyn West.

My abiding appreciation to my family and friends for their soul support: Mila Aranda, Barbara Baird, Ann Buck, Janus Cercone, Janis Clapoff, Melissa Friedman, Linda Garbett, Berenice Glass, Michael Manheim, Richard Metzner, Mignon McCarthy, Dean Orloff, Theodore Orloff, Phyllis Ostrum-Paul, Sindy Paul, Marc Seltzer, Chris Snyder, Elizabeth and Nate Snyder, and Leong Tan.

Finally, I want to express gratitude to my patients, from whom I've continued to learn so very much as we travel together on the path.


by Thomas Moore, author of
Care of the Soul

For several centuries now, we have been creating a modern culture that offers many advantages and conveniences and appears to be a natural evolution of human ingenuity. We don't hesitate to tout it as the supreme achievement of human creativity. Its philosophical values—rational, mechanistic, secularistic—touch every area of life from education to medicine to politics, giving the sense, perhaps the illusion, that we understand nature and the human body and mind, and that we can now control them for the good of all.

There must be something profoundly attractive in this philosophy of modernism, because it continues to spread across the globe, drawing into its gaping mouth people who have long maintained ancient traditions of intuitive, enchanted, magical, religious, and erotic responses to life—values generally anathema to modern tastes. Few seem to be aware of modernism's dangers, of the severe limits it places on what is categorized as “normal” human experience and understanding. We have become expert in the materialistic dimensions of nature and culture, and at the same time inarticulate about many experiences that are meaningful and deeply felt in the life of the ordinary person.

In the context of this incredibly shrinking vision of human life, Judith Orloff's
Second Sight
offers profound relief. Her story is both moving and enlightening, revealing how difficult and yet how rewarding it is to be open to forms of knowledge and empathy excluded by the modern idea of what is normal. Her honesty about her own experiences and her insight into the cultivation of intuition, dreams, psychic impressions, healing, and community might give some halting readers the courage to embrace their own gifts, their individuality, and their unconditional compassion.

Dr. Orloff demonstrates in her own life story how we all, including the most gifted and aware, internalize the limiting vision of the modern world as we hesitate to trust our intuitions and worry about acting on our more subtle perceptions and knowledge. In poignant stories of lovers, parents, and patients, she gives important lessons in the deep ties that link intuition and community, intimate knowledge and love. Through her own example, she teaches us to trust the less rational certainties of the heart, demonstrating how we might draw unexpectedly closer to the people around us and live with a heightened, less defensive ethical sensitivity by living from a deeper source of knowledge and reflection.

Second Sight
is not a defensive book. It doesn't shield or bolster the tender subject of psychic knowledge with technical jargon but instead presents transparent, inviting stories, laced with valuable lessons in cultivating psychic capacities. We can't stretch the edges of modernism's values unless we also break out of its modes of expression. I am much more moved and convinced by the stories she tells—intimate, honest and captivating—than I would be by experiments, studies, and statistics.

Some days I allow myself to imagine a time when we will have jettisoned our superior attitudes toward past and traditional cultures, where intuition has been practiced with intelligence and style. I believe that once we expand our ways of knowing and responding to life, we will discover solutions to personal and social problems, which, in the high-tech world of modern medicine and philosophy, are elusive. We can't find answers to our problems because we have closed our minds to appropriate methods and approaches.

Surprisingly in some ways,
Second Sight
is a book characterized by heart rather than mind. Its purpose is clearly not to convince the world of a point of view or to display powers and achievements. Because of its good heart, I trust it and have learned from it. I invite the reader to bring a matching openness of heart to it, and perhaps discover in our own lives the deep soul that lies beneath layers of modern assumptions and expectations. That soul, with its own unusual, highly individual, often inexplicable powers, can make any life vibrant, heartening, and profoundly meaningful.


Early one Saturday morning the telephone rang. My patient Christine's boyfriend had found her unconscious on the
in her apartment. After taking an overdose of pills, some of which I had prescribed, she was in a coma in the intensive-care unit at a nearby hospital in Los Angeles.

I was stunned. For a few minutes I just sat there immobilized. How could this be? Nothing in my sessions with Christine had pointed to a suicide attempt. That is, nothing my medical education had prepared me for. Still, I agonized, filled with self-reproach. Then, suddenly, I realized that a part of me had been expecting it all along. A premonition had warned me, but I hadn't trusted it; I hadn't listened.

When I first met Christine I had been in practice as a psychiatrist for just six months. From the start she wasn't an easy person to work with. There was an invisible barrier between us that I found both frustrating and aggravating. Even my most tactful inquiries seemed to irritate her, as though I were violating her privacy. When I needed to get her to open up, the requisite mental calisthenics drained me. I got the impression that she wanted to finish each session and get out of my office as quickly as possible.

For years, Christine had gone from psychiatrist to psychiatrist, seeking relief from her depression. She'd been given a gamut of antidepressants, but either they'd had no
or the side effects outweighed the benefits. When I told her about a new medication that had worked well with other patients, she agreed reluctantly to try it. Over the next few months, I. carefully monitored her progress.

BOOK: Second Sight
4.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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