“When we promote, if you will, acting compassionately, there’s a subset of people who look at this as a soft science,” says neurosurgeon James Doty, MD. But his research and that of others has demonstrated on a scientific level “that when you practice compassion with intention, it has a profound effect on your mental and physical health and wellness and even your longevity.” Today, Doty shares his unlikely personal story with us; we’ll call it miraculous, but he’s an atheist (who is best friends with the world’s great spiritual leaders). Doty, who had a challenging childhood, learned a few lessons—in a magic shop—at the age of twelve that changed his life forever. One was how to manifest, which set him on a course to becoming a successful neurosurgeon, Stanford professor, and wealthy entrepreneur. But it wasn’t until he went bankrupt and lost it all that he felt like he had gained everything. He wrote a book about it—Into the Magic Shop—and now runs the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford. His work helps us understand the soul of human relationships, their effect on the brain, and the immense power that each of us has to shape how we see the world and how it reacts to us. (For more, see The goop Podcast hub.)
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