After 21 years of private practice, Dr. Elliot Dacher, a family practice MD, began an in-depth study of the principles and practices of consciousness and health. He pursued his study researching the subtle aspects of integrative medicine for many years, even traveling to Asia to explore their wisdom traditions. Dr. Dacher now teaches the principles and practices of health and healing at a hospital close to his home in Massachusetts.
Dacher’s course is on integrative health with a special focus on “human flourishing”. His book and CD, “Aware, Awake, Alive” explains his definition of human flourishing, and offers the essential practices to reach the goal–which is what he also teaches in his course. Particularly helpful are 5 chapters which show how spiritual practices can help heal addiction, chronic physical problems, depression, ADD and post-traumatic stress disorders. Meditation and yoga and other Eastern practices are not just for a stress-reduction/ relaxation that lasts minutes but meditation, in particular, has the potential to transform our whole lives to lives of profound contentment and joy.
Many Integrative Psychiatrists Advocate Spiritual Practices
The Integrative psychiatrists I most admire all believe that spirituality is an important component to address in maintaining wellness. Yes, it is vital to learn about a patient’s spirituality during initial phases of assessing problems and resources of support. It can also be essential when providing tools for healing and maintaining health.
Roger Walsh, MD, a psychiatrist and prolific author, wrote a seminal book advocating spiritual practices– filled with stories, exercises, meditations and practical advice. He beautifully articulates the benefits of spiritual living to be successful and at peace in our material world. Essential Spirituality draws from the world’s religion to cultivate kindness, love, joy, peace, vision, wisdom and generosity.
Dr. Walsh is a Professor of psychiatry, philosophy and anthropology at the University of California at Irvine. Somehow, he also made time to dedicate twenty years of research and spiritual practice to this groundbreaking book on Spirituality. He discovered that there are seven practices common to all the great spiritual traditions.
This book shows how we can integrate these seven practices into a way of life that optimizes wellbeing. It’s helpful to both the unseasoned and the seasoned seeker as his writing is simple and clear as well as inspiring.
The seven practices Walsh identifies are:
- Transform Your Motivation: Reduce Craving and Find Your Soul’s Desire
- Cultivate Emotional Wisdom: Heal Your Heart and Learn to Love
- Live Ethically: Feel Good by Doing Good
- Concentrate and Calm Your Mind
- Awaken Your Spiritual Vision: See Clearly and Recognize the Sacred in All Things
- Cultivate Spiritual Intelligence: Develop Wisdom and Understand Life
- Express Spirit in Action: Embrace Generosity and the Joy of Service