Into the Magic Shop Book Summary - Into the Magic Shop Book explained in key points
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Into the Magic Shop summary

James R. Doty

A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart

4.3 (42 ratings)
14 mins

Brief summary

"Into the Magic Shop" by James R. Doty is a memoir that follows the author's journey from a troubled childhood to a successful neurosurgeon. Through a chance encounter with a mystic, he learns mindfulness and compassion practices that transform his life and career.

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    Into the Magic Shop
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    Meditation relaxes the body, calms the mind and brings you closer to your goals in life.

    Those unfamiliar with meditation often have the misconception that it’s about stopping your thoughts. Meditation doesn’t stop you from thinking, but it can free you from unwanted thoughts that have too much control over you and cause tension.

    Meditation has the power to change your life and make you into a more efficient human being. It does this through its two main components: relaxing the body and quieting the mind.

    This process starts each time you sit down, either in a chair or on the floor, and relax your body one part at a time, from the toes on your feet to the hairs on your head. To keep your focus on your body and the present moment, and not be carried away by distracting thoughts, you can concentrate on slowly inhaling and exhaling. Some people prefer to focus on an object, like a candle’s flame, or to repeat a special mantra.

    Like any other skill, meditation takes time and practice, so don’t be discouraged if it’s a while before you’re sitting peacefully in the moment and not engaging with those disruptive thoughts.

    The more regularly you meditate, the more effective it will be, so it’s wise to start out twice a day. And with constant practice, you’ll soon start to notice the effects, even when you’re simply going about your day. Eventually, the time will come when a negative or stressful thought will appear and just as quickly vanish while you remain calm and clear-headed.

    Once you achieve this clear mind and relaxed body, you can begin to reap the rewards of visualization.

    This is another facet of meditation; it involves picturing your ideal future self as a way to increase the likelihood of it coming to pass.

    This too will take practice. At first, picturing your future self might feel like trying to see through a fogged-up window. But the more you work at it, the stronger your intentions will become until the image is imprinted in your brain. This clarity will make it feel more like a reality and therefore attainable.

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    What is Into the Magic Shop about?

    Into the Magic Shop (2016) reveals details of Dr. James R. Doty’s research into the symbiotic relationship between the heart and brain, and how the practice of meditation can strengthen this bond. Dr. Doty uses both scientific and personal insight to illuminate his studies and demonstrate how important it is to have a compassionate heart as well as a curious mind.

    Best quote from Into the Magic Shop

    We can create anything we want, but it is only the intelligence of the heart that can tell us whats worth creating.

    —James R. Doty
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    Who should read Into the Magic Shop?

    • Students of medicine, religion, philosophy or science
    • Anyone interested in meditation
    • Readers who seek happiness and success

    About the Author

    James R. Doty, MD is a neurosurgeon and professor at Stanford University’s Department of Neurosurgery. He is also a philanthropist and the director and founder of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, which proudly includes the Dalai Lama among its benefactors.

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