An interview with Greg Baer
:If someone had told me as a kid that my older
brother would some day be standing in front of
throngs of people addressing them on how to find
"love" in their life, I would have gone into
apoplectic fits of laughter. And what was he going
to teach me about being "loving?" After all, I grew
up in the same family as him (and another brother)
and all we knew to do was hate each other. Well,
"hate" may be too strong a word. But it wasn't
exactly "brotherly love" either. All that jostling
and hitting ... come on, be real.
Well, lo and behold. After almost fifty years of
looking, I am starting to believe there might be
such a thing as real love.
And, Greg Baer has written a wonderful book with
the same name Real Love: The Truth About Finding
Unconditional Love And Fulfilling
Relationships, recently released by Gotham
Books, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.
I'm trying to be impartial here telling this
story, but how the hell did HE get a book deal with
a major publishing house? Sibling rivalry is
raising its ugly head. I must move on.
"More than anything in the world we want to be
genuinely happy, which is only possible when we
feel enough Real Love unconditional love in our
lives," Greg says on the cover of his new book
which is chock full of interesting real-life
stories of his experiences counseling people.
Alright, there's some wisdom in it, too.
Here it is: the formula for getting this
unconditional love is basically simple - tell the
Is this where I get to tell the truth about him?
Well, I will. I know him pretty well. He was a
"Wunderkin" of a student, skipping a grade at Wiley
High School in Terre Haute, Indiana and still
managing to end up valedictorian of his class. He
served a mission for the Mormon Church in Samoa,
came back and graduated a year early from Brigham
Young University and then went on to medical
school. He worked a stint "doctoring" for the U.S.
Navy and then landed his own ophthalmology practice
in Rome, Georgia where he enjoyed the fruits of his
labors. Man, did he have the toys (I loved playing
at his house): fast cars, motorcycles, acres of
gardens and fountains, Olympic-size swimming pool,
his own private lake (where was the yacht?),
gourmet foods, parties, and he traveled the world.
He could afford to do whatever he wanted. Plus, he
only worked three weeks out of a month. (Lesson
#42: Stay in school.) This man was a bone fide
It's also what landed him in his own backyard
one night full of despair, addictions, and a loaded
pistol to his head. Fortunately, he didn't pull the
trigger. " I thought that if something wasn't
working, you just did it more," he tells me the day
we talk on the phone. (We talk frequently now.) "I
used my mind more and more and controlled the world
around me. I had exercised my mind, my power, and
my will 100 percent, but I was still empty and
At some point the successful doctor understood
there was no way he was going to be happy with the
way he was approaching life.
"When I was eight I discovered Santa Claus
wasn't real because is was a simple mathematical
function that convinced me there was no way he
could come down all those chimney's in one night,"
Greg notes. "Finally, I also realized there was no
way I was going to happy using just my mind."
It dawns on me in this discussion with him, how
much my brother is like John Nash, the Nobel Prize
winner whose life account is a novel and acclaimed
movie "A Beautiful Mind."
When I mention John Nash, my brother
"I see the movie every couple weeks," he says.
"I resonate with him. I relied for most of my life
on conquering things with my mind, but the
victories are appallingly hollow."
After all his triumphs, he tells me he looked
into his hands that fateful (almost tragic) day and
discovered he was empty-handed.
"Creating in the mind is fun and entertaining,
but it always blows away in the wind," he explains.
"Creating in the heart is energizing and it stays
with me. I have begun to know from the heart that
it all comes down to feeling loved and loving
Greg used to give Sunday school lessons, write
essays, and speak to groups of people about the
subject of "love" which he said he had to
eventually confess he "knew nothing about."
"Embarrassing, but there you are," he
acknowledges. "But now I see little flashes of it
all over the place. It's [love] like a huge
tapestry where there's threads of it here and
there. Even the most miserable people have a taste,
a glimmer, a clue."
Unfortunately, people don't get enough of the
love they need because of "delusionary appetites"
like those of John Nash.
"Being in total control, having power, sex,
money those things don't make us truly happy," he
says. "We have to exercise a 'diet of the mind'
like Nash did to find the truth. And telling the
truth opens the gateway to real love."
Dr. Baer has been interviewed hundreds of times
in the media, traveled extensively speaking to
large and small groups of people, and written a
number of other books. (He retired from medicine
and works full time at this.) Baer also directs
community groups around the country based on his
He says that when he talks to people now he
feels a responsibility that is different from the
"arrogance" of his early years. (He's even
convincing me at this point that some change of
heart is possible even in a brother.)
"Speaking to people gives me an opportunity to
reach down in myself and creatively discover a way
to take a life changing message and put it in the
middle of their soul," he intones, with a distinct
passion in his voice. "Do you know how exciting
that is? When I feel like I'm really communicating
from my heart, it is the act of supreme creativity.
It's so natural. At the end of a day, I'm more
relaxed even energized!"
He tells of a woman who spoke up at one of his
"She had never shared anything personal with
anyone in her life, and here she was telling her
entire life story in a room full of strangers."
Men usually have a more difficult time opening
up with their feelings during the discussions, Baer
"In my opinion, men are born with the handicap
of being physically different," he explains. "It's
biology if you increase the testosterone in rats
you can make them kill each other."
Now this was sounding more like what I knew
around our house growing up - squabbling, punching
and wrestling together as kids.
"You can chemically neuter rats and they'll be
more cooperative kinder," he adds, laughing. "I'll
pass on getting that treatment, doctor," I
"Men are born with an innate urge toward
aggression, attacking, and not cooperating," he
continues. "It's not something that draws men
together with each other or to women."
So, now I am starting to go into my "mother
issues" that all women are good and all men are
bad. Was this such a good idea to interview my own
brother for my magazine? Okay, so the whole
testosterone thing can be destructive and men have
to work harder at developing loving relationships.
What now? I'm hoping for something positive about
being a man.
"If there is a serious defect, a cancer, as in
the body, or as in the spiritual body of a person,
a certain aggression is required to root it out,"
the doctor says, speaking from years of study and
I'm still hoping for more good news from the
surgeon. Go on.
"It takes a warrior to cut the stinkin' things
out," he says with a fierce (but loving) tone. "And
it has to be a sword that actually has a blade on
Alright. Good stuff. Men can be men and still
love. And maybe even do some kind of good with a
sharp sword in hand.
Now the brothers start to play around and have
"Like the 'ol 'sword of truth?'", I ask, almost
"Yeah, a wound has to be cut before it can
heal," he says seriously, then picks up the hint.
"You can't do it with a feather, you mean?"
"Tickle your ass with a feather?"
"Like the real man who stands there wielding the
sponge of truth "
This is the charm and humor he uses in his
seminars. I've seen him in action.
"Visciously rubbing it around your body" I
"It's the loofa pad of truth," he declares,
laughing non stop.
We're both snickering and giggling like brothers
should. We should have done more of this when we
were younger. I guess we didn't know how. We can do
it now. Maybe our own individual struggles through
the years have added some maturity and compassion
between us. Is this real love?
I start to tear up a little.
I communicate regularly with this man, this
older brother who has always been an example to me
not necessarily the perfect example (Yeah, like I'm
anyone's perfect example ). But he has been there
for me. Most of the time he's the one that picks up
the phone and calls. He's been there for me in many
ways my father hasn't. I do look up to him.
I honor Dr. Greg Baer for the changes he's made
in his life. He's a driving force for thousands of
people who know him and have experienced his real
love. I trust him like I do few others.
This story ends up a little more personal than
most. So I have to pull out my sword before it all
gets too loofa sentimental and tell on him "the
harsh evidence" as Rumi would say.
I remember that older brother who was always
bigger than me and could pin me down with his knees
and torture me nearly to death.
There, I've told the truth. And even though he's
my big brother, I have to tell this truth too: I
have learned from him about loving and being loved
maybe just a little.
It's a good thing a little love goes a long
For more information contact Dr. Greg Baer at
For information about seminars and media
appearances, write firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2005 Reid Baer
* * *
The fame you earn has a different taste from the
fame that is forced upon you. - Gloria
Reid Baer, an
award-winning playwright for A Lyons
Tale is also a newspaper journalist, a poet
with more than 100 poems in magazines world wide,
and a novelist with his first book released this
month entitled Kill
The Story. Baer has been
a member of The ManKind Project since 1995 and
currently edits The New Warrior Journal for
The ManKind Project www.mkp.org
He resides in Reidsville, N.C. with his wife
Patricia. He can be reached at E-Mail.
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