#44: Secrets of the Brain and Heart with Dr. James Doty
We each possess an extraordinary power to realize our greatest potential and live the life we want. Dr. James Doty is living proof of that. Having grown up in an environment of poverty and neglect, James Doty was 12 years old when he walked into a magic shop and met an extraordinary woman who introduced him to a series of teachings that changed the trajectory of his life. He overcame great odds en route to becoming a renowned neurosurgeon, neuroscientist, and one of today’s leading voices on the power of love and compassion.
On today’s Broken Brain Podcast, our host, Dhru, talks to Dr. James R. Doty, a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, and the founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University of which His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the founding benefactor. He is also the New York Times best selling author of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart.
In this episode, Dhru and Dr. Doty talk about how compassion and social connection have a powerful effect on our health, happiness, and well-being. They discuss inspiring teachings to help us master four central techniques: relaxing the body to become present and honor our highest values, training the brain through meditation and mindfulness, opening the heart to foster true connection, and clarifying our intentions as we navigate the journey of our lives.
In this episode, we dive into:
-Dr. Doty’s story growing up with an alcoholic father and chronically depressed mother (3:18)
-Adverse childhood experiences and how they affect the nervous system (6:33)
-The first lesson from the Magic Shop - Relaxing the Body (9:28)
-Why magic works (13:07)
-Teaching kids how to regulate their emotions (17:53)
-The second lesson from the Magic Shop - Taming the Mind - (21:11)
-The heart-brain connection (32:00)
-Heart rate variability and compassion (35:37)
-How our diet affects our emotional state (37:44)
-The third lesson from the Magic Shop - Opening the Heart (38:34)
-How to cultivate compassion (48:20)
-The Alphabet of the Heart exercise (51:17)
-Learn more about Dr. Doty and his work (60:12)