Human life is unique and precious. Why? Because through our own choices and effort we can bring distress and suffering to an end, and create a life of enduring happiness, inner peace, boundless freedom, and authentic love. No other species can accomplish this. Now, more than ever, we have the opportunity to accomplish this. That is why I joyfully welcome your participation as a partner in this important dialogue which explores the frontiers of health and human flourishing.
We are very fortunate. We have all the necessary requirements to undertake this exploration – a sharp intellect, self-reflective mind, personal freedom, and sufficient material resources to care for our needs. We also have access to the wisdom and guidance of those who have previously traveled the path to a larger life and health. It is not often that all these conditions join together at the same time. We are uniquely blessed that we live at a time and in a place when this unusual conjunction of circumstances offers us an exceptional opportunity to achieve our greatest potential.
However, the opportunity to flourish and prosper in health and life does not arise simply because of these conditions. Something further is required. We cannot fully utilize our fortunate circumstances and realize these great treasures without developing our inner life, our consciousness. That is what the great sages of times past have told us, again and again. They remind us that no person, technique, or remedy can do this for us. Inner development is something we must do for ourselves.
Fortunately, throughout time wise women and men have left us a precise roadmap, a detailed blueprint for inner development which can guide us toward the fulfillment of life’s treasured possibilities. Remarkably, what we discover is that their wise advise is precisely the same, irrespective of cultural differences. Their instructions are quite clear. Go within. Move beyond your small self. Open your heart. Discover your essence. It is there, at the center of our being, where you will discover the great treasures of life.
These great teachers developed a science of mind and heart no less brilliant than modern day material science. They explored their inner lives through the microscope of mindfulness and meditation, developed heartfulness by replacing self-cherishing with other-cherishing, and arrived at a full understanding of the nature of self and life. As a result, they fully realized the great treasures of human life. Because of their efforts, we have available to us the teachings and practices of a great and noble medicine that heals all suffering and brings forth the noble qualities of human flourishing. That great medicine is no other than a fully developed mind, heart, and spirit.
I have been very fortunate; I have had two medical educations. The first is in conventional Western medicine. The second is in Eastern philosophy and practices of inner healing. Several years ago I decided it was time to integrate and teach what I had learned in my two medical educations in a manner that would be accessible and practical in modern times. I wanted others to have the opportunity that was given to me. I saw this effort as a necessary extension of my personal development, as well as a proper task for a physician.
I began presenting these teachings in a hospital setting to individuals like you and I – men and women, young and old, professionals and non-professionals. We all shared a simple human desire. We wanted to be free of stress, distress, and suffering and touch into the sweetness of life. We all wanted that illusive “more to life.” We began by meeting weekly for 10 consecutive weeks.
In the years since we first began this program, I have shared this process with hundreds of individuals. Together, we have studied and practiced with effort and enthusiasm. With each session, each month, and each passing year we discovered the truth of what the great sages have told us – follow the inward path with proper teachings and practices, and the expected results will invariably follow. Your life will change for the better. There is no mystery to it. There is no magic.
I never intended to write another book. I am a physician, not a writer. However, Aware, Awake, Alive wrote itself through the experience of these programs and the contributions of its participants. There came a time when it seemed appropriate to offer these time-tested teachings to a larger audience – to individuals passionately seeking that intangible “more to life,” and to teachers and practitioners who wished to incorporate this into their personal lives and healing practices.
This new book, accompanied by a practice CD, is my best effort to offer what I have learned and taught in our classes – the knowledge and practices that lead to integral health and human flourishing. The information on this website will supplement this effort.
Although we must each take this journey for ourselves, it is important that we share it with others. By joining together we can further accelerate our efforts. It is my hope that we can gather together in study groups to share and catalyze each other’s journey, meet and gain strength in Centers of Human Flourishing, and help bring this possibility to those in our immediate circle and beyond.
To be a hero in our time is to journey towards the only territory that remains unexplored in modern times, our inner life. It is there that we can find and realize an integral life and human flourishing. It is there that we can find the intangible “more to life.” There is no other ground left to discover, and nothing that will better serve our own life, others, and our planet.
Let us aspire to the magnificent human vision of integral health and human flourishing. With this vision in mind and heart, it is now our time to lay a strong foundation of learning and practice through which we can realize this noble vision.