on May 25, 1999
Overall the book seemed to be quite legitimate, but I am a bit biased. If your parents supported you through medical school, of course you are going to love and respect them and they probably did the same to him. I paid for college by myself and grew up in an alcoholic family under the auspices of constant criticism. I will never win my families approval, so for me to establish a relationship with them is extremely difficult. So therefore, Dr ornish and myself come from different sides of the fence. His parents loved and supported him throughout his life and were a blessing, while mine were alcoholics and criticized and judged me.
on November 21, 2004
With this book, I have found another who spent the night in the Clinton White House. Previously, I reviewed YOU'RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR NEXT ONE by Mike Medavoy, a movie producer, who with his wife Irene also had that honor. Basking in the success of his third book, STRESS, DIET AND YOUR HEART, reaching #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. And yet he felt unsatisfied, discontented and lonely. So much for success!
At the age of nineteen, he was clinically depressed and used his research into diet and heart disease to pull himself out the depths of despair. He met his sister's yoga teacher at a time when he needed direction and heard him proclaim, "Nothing can bring lasting peace, but you have it already if you just stop disturbing it. It is there always." So he decided he had nothing to lose and studied with this spiritual teacher, Sri Swami S., who also influenced him to switch to a vegetarian diet. "Discovering truth was one thing. Understanding it and integrating it into my life was another."
In 1984, twelve years later, he founded the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and was co-founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine in San Francisco (with Dr. Haile T. Debar and Lee Goldman, M.D., at the University of California School of Medicine). Dr. Dean Ornish was the first to prove the reversal of heart disease by changing lifestyles.
In this book, he promotes the theory that love and intimacy are powerful healing forces. Andrew Weil, author of SPONTANEOUS HEALING, describes this research effort as "enhancing wellness by attending to the nourishment of our real hearts." John Gray declares in glowing terms that Dean Ornish demonstrates the power of intimacy in healing. "Relationships bring freedom and joy": I think he's proven that in his own books.
Loneliness and isolation, aleination and depression increases the risks of heart disease, stroke, infectious diseases, even arthritis and ulcers. He feels that the real epidemic in today's culture is this emotional and spiritual 'heart' disease.
Love and intimacy are at a root of what makes us sick and what makes us well, what causes sadness and brings happiness, what makes us suffer and also leads to healing.
There is a time and place for drugs and surgery. Even when these are necessary, they are just the beginning. He counsels that we can then ask, "What can be learned from this experience? How did you get in this position? What can you do to help keep it from happening again?"
That which seems the most soft -- love, intimacy, and meaning -- is, in reality, the most powerful. He says that this part of his work is the least well understood, and perhaps the most important.
Emotional and spiritual heart disease is caused by the breakdown of social structures which used to provide us with a sense of connection and community. These profound feelings which increase our health problems are the "root of the illness, cynicism, and violence in our society."
Suffering of any kind can be a doorway for opening our hearts in ways that might not otherwise have occurred. I call this the demise of a caring family. A connection with family can influence your total health.
Many people nowadays walk around in varying degrees of chronic emotional pain. Perception is reality. I myself have suffered greatly from a chronic nerve pain since 1994. Being alone and feeling unloved (losing the one you do love) can bring on debilitating physical pain in many forms.
It has been proven that psychosocial intervention can significantly reduce anxiety, depression and pain. Having someone even just to talk with and hug reduces the pressure and could possibly prolong your life in addition to conventional medical care. Hostility, manifested by loneliness and isolation, caused by repressed anger, can lead to premature disease and death.
Lack of loving relationships compromise the immune system, causing those lacking social ties to be more prone to debilitating illnesses. Diversity of relationships was of major importance.
Believing that the world is a dangerous place helps to make it so in a self-fulfilling prophecy. How we perceive relationships can affect our health and our survival. How we view ourselves in relation to others is important, as we all have different life experiences based on our level of mistrust and suspicion.
There is a strong tendency toward selfishness, isolation and individualism in our society. We need to learn how to manage anxiety and deal with anger. The indivicualist orientation is a part of this country because of the sense of ego in American society. As the Constitution begins, "We the people..."
A romantic relationship is only one arena for commitment which deepens over time. You may commit to your child, job, friends, country -- to anything. We define ourselves by our commitments. And, we all need somebody to love. There are only four questions of value in life: What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love. (Mtn.Wings)
A Public televison series (PPS) was based on this book, and his audio book SIMPLE CHOICES, POWERFUL CHANGES is from the t.v. broadcasts with a Question & Answer session for each program. His latest book is about being overweight and how to go about losing some of those obnoxious pounds by eating properly and exercise -- something sadly lacking in today's obese people.