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The Sun Magazine

Body and Mind

Healing

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Agonizing Grace

“Do you feel you’re a danger to yourself or others?” Dr. Lyman G. Glandy, head psychiatrist at Fairview Psychiatric Hospital, wants to know. He’s interviewing me for the first time since my arrival here three days ago. We’re in my room, a small, Spartan, dimly lit chamber with all the charm of a prison cell.

Fiction

A Blessing

Grace used to meditate. She hasn’t done it for years and years, not since she met her husband and started a family. She won’t meditate today either. She won’t even think of meditation.

The Dog-Eared Page

The Facts Of Life

The Buddha taught that there are three principal characteristics of human existence: impermanence, egolessness, and suffering or dissatisfaction. According to the Buddha, the lives of all beings are marked by these three qualities. Recognizing these qualities to be real and true in our own experience helps us to relax with things as they are.

The Sun Interview

The Good Earth?

Sandra Steingraber On How We’ve Made The Environment Dangerous To Our Health

Cancer is definitely not a random tragedy. If you look at a map of the U.S. and plot out the incidence of different sorts of cancers, you see patterns. Some cancers are more common in the Midwest and the Great Plains. Other cancers tend to cluster around certain industries. Those cancer maps are not proof, but they present a compelling hypothesis. If we see, over and over again, that bladder-cancer rates are higher in counties with leaking toxic-waste dumps — which is indeed the case — then that’s a clue. If we see leukemias and lymphomas are highest in areas of the Great Plains and the Midwest where herbicide use is highest, that’s a clue. It means “Dig here. Further inquiry required.”

The Sun Interview

Who Will Heal The Healers?

Pamela Wible On What’s Missing From Healthcare Reform

I was extremely disheartened, because I felt I was destined to be a doctor, but I couldn’t sustain my enthusiasm on the assembly line; it was such a dehumanizing experience. I was tired of interrupting crying people to say, “Sorry, we’re out of time.” I wanted to be kind to patients, even if it meant a huge cut in my salary. Many doctors feel this way. I’ve met several female physicians who are ready to quit medicine and find other work.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Curvature

“Please, call me Dr. Jim.” My father, whose boots were caked with hog manure, appeared relieved, and they sat down to review what would happen on the day of my sister’s surgery. Dina had to have her back operated on, or her S-shaped spinal column would eventually crush her heart.

The Sun Interview

The Good Red Road

Leslie Gray On Rediscovering America’s Oldest Psychology

When I used to teach Native American studies at Berkeley, I would offer an A to any student who could come up with a Western model of health. No one was ever able to do it. The West developed only a model of disease. Therefore all of its treatments are based on a negative model. They are all “anti”: antidepressants, antipsychotics, antihistamines, antibiotics, and so on. And we are constantly being told that we have to “fight” this or that illness. This is a dualistic way to look at healing. The Native American model is a model of health. It is about the restoration of balance to body, mind, and heart. It assumes that we sometimes go out of balance, and good health depends on restoring that balance.

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