When did you begin meditating and why?
Which meditation practice(s) did you choose?
How has meditation affected your life?
I began meditating in 1974 right after medical school.
I was a psychology major in college and deeply influenced by Albert Schweitzer, who had doctorates in music and theology when he went to medical school as a path to lifelong service in Africa.
So, with this mind-body-spirit perspective, I was thrilled to read two groundbreaking articles that Herbert Benson and Keith Wallace published when I was in medical school. In both studies, practitioners of Transcendental Meditation (TM), silently repeating their word (‘mantra’), demonstrated physiological changes of deep rest while awake. Those changes were often even greater than those found during sleep. Benson called these changes the Relaxation Response, which has formed the basis for his work ever since.
Not long afterwards, I discovered that one of the pathology faculty members was meditating behind his closed door for 20 minutes each afternoon. He referred me to his TM teacher and I learned to meditate.
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As a frequent meditator, armed with new skills of awareness, I was recently struck by how noisy my Washington, DC surroundings actually are. Noticing my own internal reactions, I started to wonder if pervasive noise in the environment could cause me harm. Research is now saying that I am right to question.
To paraphrase a CMBM alum, “When I heard The Center for Mind-Body Medicine would be offering a seminar called ‘Mind, Mood & Food’ at Kripalu, I felt like the heavens were bringing all my favorite things together.” The “trifecta”, as I like to call it, was a beautiful blend of relevant material taught by engaging faculty in a setting where what was being taught could be practiced. Imagine learning about foods that support brain health and then going to Kripalu’s dining hall where those foods are waiting for you on an abundant buffet. Picture completing a moving meditation with Jim Gordon and then going to Yoga Dance during a seminar break. Kathie Swift spoke about the benefits of being in nature for brain health, and I’m convinced Mother Nature was a seminar participant as the weather was perfect for walks to the lake. It was seventy degrees in mid-March in the Berkshires!
Mark Pettus, Jay Lomard and Chuck Parker offered a wealth of knowledge and fantastic synergy as they fed off each other’s energy and complemented each other’s work. A big round of applause goes to the hard-working staff at Kripalu. They were wonderful to work with and jumped right in to run the program like a well-oiled machine. Mind, Mood & Food at Kripalu is definitely worth a repeat!
Hot off the presses: Center Founder and Director James S. Gordon, MD’s new Sounds True audiobook, Freedom from Depression: a Practical Guide for the Journey launches today!
Based on Dr Gordon’s enormously popular book Unstuck: Your 7 Stage Journey Out of Depression, the audiobook contains new experiential and didactic material. Quoting the Sounds True website:
The true source of healing from depression comes from within—not from doctors or medications. Yet when depression drains away our vitality and will, how can we find the energy to help ourselves? With Freedom from Depression, Dr. James S. Gordon reveals a new and empowering approach for dealing with this misunderstood condition—a way out of the darkness that helps you restore balance and joy to your life.
Are you concerned about your memory? Do you feel irritable much of the time? Is your stomach tied up in knots from chronic worry? Or are you just “stuck” and don’t know which way to turn?
What you may not realize is that your brain is a “hungry” organ and depends on a constant supply of nutrients that influence your mind, mood, energy and vitality! Your emotional and mental health is closely linked to your nutritional status. Food is a carrier of energy or “prana” that delivers unique substances that influence the health of your brain and consequently, your mind and mood.
How would you like to learn more about nutrition and the brain from some of the nation’s top experts, in a beautiful retreat setting in the Berkshire Mountains, where you can nourish yourself over a weekend full of learning, yoga, terrific people and delicious, colorful whole foods?
Join us for Mind, Mood & Food: Optimal Nutrition for the Brain March 16 – 18, 2012 at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, MA, our brand new Food As Medicine seminar. Center Founder & Director James Gordon, MD and Kathie Swift, MS RD, nationally renowned clinical nutrition expert and educator; Jay Lombard, DO, a neurologist who makes learning brain biochemistry and physiology a joy and shows you step-by-step how to use nutrients for optimal functioning; Charles Parker, DO, a psychiatrist who worked with Daniel Amen to develop easy to follow, highly successful programs of nutritional healing; and Mark Pettus, MD, a gifted and compassionate holistic physician and author of It’s All in Your Head comprise our fabulous faculty.