Meditation Goes Mainstream: Western Medicine says Yes

It’s just me in the sunroom before breakfast, sprawled out on my yoga mat, doing meditation for 15 or 20 minutes.  A series of deep breaths and letting my limbs go slack, a visualizing of a good moment.  The hard part is getting the habit, but having a time and place helps a lot.. The best motivator, however, is how relaxed it makes me feel, … Continue reading Meditation Goes Mainstream: Western Medicine says Yes

Mindfulness and the recovery of compassion, empathy and joy

Nearly always I come upon new reads, not through lists but, unexpectedly, in the marketplace of life.  I like it this way–the surprise of it, the joy of discovery, the smack of fate rather than coincidence, like the chance finding of a new friend or bumping into wise counsel, unanticipated, in a corner; its aftermath of empowering, the mystery and the beauty of it. It … Continue reading Mindfulness and the recovery of compassion, empathy and joy

What if: Reducing chronic worry

We worry about a great many things:  How will my interview go? What will people think of me?  Will I pass the test?  How will I pay this bill?  Will I get the loan?  Do I have cancer?  When worry becomes chronic, it can be debilitating, souring our relationships, triggering illness, and fostering pessimism. Worrying is always an exercise in control.  It prospers because it … Continue reading What if: Reducing chronic worry

The folly of being in control

Often life can unexpectedly catch us in a high wave and we lose our balance and may even go down.  Not liking this, we try to lasso life’s randomness through structure or control and spare ourselves surprise.  Though this may help some, it doesn’t always work and, oddly, may even work against us when control assumes our identity. Some of us are more prone to … Continue reading The folly of being in control

Anxiety is not a mental illness: reflections on psychiatry’s abuse

Well, that’s finally settled!  After months of vociferous debate the American Psychiatric Association has given its blessing to a revised edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical  Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5th edition), often called the Bible of psychiatric diagnosis.   A vital tool, it facilitates psychiatrists being on the same page. Unfortunately, the DSM has often been fraught with opinion-based labeling, at times approaching the … Continue reading Anxiety is not a mental illness: reflections on psychiatry’s abuse

Finding joy

While joy is fundamental to our living life well, many of us can’t fully enter into it, given the stress of daily living.  It’s just plain hard to have joy when you’re out of work, ill, or facing problems in a relationship.  Each of us has his own stresses.  Often, however, perspective is everything, especially when you consider what others around you suffer.  I was … Continue reading Finding joy

Spare me your heart: the plight of the mentally ill

In the aftermath of the Newtown shootings, a shocked nation seems finally to be taking a hard look at mental illness, although for the wrong reasons.  Gun control, with 250 to 300 million guns out there, owned by 60 million across the United States, would be a hard nut to crack even if legislation, unlikely, were to become law and remains the salient issue.  Unfortunately, … Continue reading Spare me your heart: the plight of the mentally ill