Meditation, Malpractice, Mortals, and Mom

Forty years ago, when I was in my thirties, my Dad died and I started getting chest pains.

As a physician, I did not think that my symptoms were suggestive of heart disease or indigestion. Could it be that I was experiencing this huge loss psychosomatically? At that time, Transcendental Meditation (TM) was quite popular and available locally. I began to learn this new habit, started journaling, was given a secret mantra, and began practicing TM twice daily for twenty minutes.

Initially, it seemed silly to silently repeat my mantra over and over, while letting intrusive thoughts just pass through my head, then returning to the mantra. But over the years, as I have regularly practiced TM (while developing other spiritual tools such as long distance running and day hikes, insight oriented psychotherapy and Bible study), there is little doubt that I have become calmer, happier, and more effective. Maybe this is a consequence of aging, but I think it's due to the time I have invested in cultivating these habits which give me perspective.

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Book Review - Being Mortal

This brilliant work shines bright new light on our declining years.  As we grow old, we ask to be allowed to remain the writers of our own story. Unfortunately, that story is too often surrendered  to a powerful medical care system with a narrow focus on the repair of health, rather than sustenance of the soul. Since we all seek a cause beyond ourselves, what is needed are new initiatives that feed our souls.  Several of these projects, such as Bill Thomas' attack on the Three Plagues of nursing home existence -  boredom, loneliness, and helplessness - are put forth in detail.

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