Health

  • I Survived Ebola. But the Fight Doesn’t End There. Paid Member

    When Ashoka Mukpo speaks about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, his words carry a compassion and humanity that can only come from firsthand experience. That’s because Mukpo, 33, is one of only a handful of Americans to contract Ebola in West Africa, where he was working as a cameraman with NBC News.  More »
  • Not Two Paid Member

    At 6 a.m., my teacher strikes the singing bowl. The tone spirals out, becomes hollow. At the center of a room emptied of sound, we sit cross-legged, facing a brick wall. Slowly the mind quiets, the breath deepens; the sounds from outside seep through the bricks—a jogger, two kids laughing and arguing their way to the bus stop, an ambulance, a helicopter. Right now there is no text, no prayer, no millennia of continuity, no God inspecting my deeds. There is my teacher and there is me, sinking below the turbulence in which I had swum for four decades. When my teacher strikes the bowl again, it jars me back to the surface. As the sound once again spools out—my lungs are open, my head is clear, and my knees ache. With silence and stillness, another day begins. More »
  • Don’t Believe the Hype Paid Member

    Last May, an article about mindfulness on a popular mainstream news website finally spurred neuroscientist and meditation researcher Catherine Kerr to act. The article cited 20 benefits of meditation, from “reducing loneliness” to “increasing grey matter” to “helping sleep,” and painted a picture of meditation as a kind of golden elixir for modern life. Kerr posted the article on her Facebook page. “It is not like any of this is grossly inaccurate,” she wrote in her post. “It is just that the studies are too cherry-picked and too positive.” More »
  • The Suffering of Addiction Paid Member

    Buddhist teacher Noah Levine’s punk rocker past, social advocacy, and straight-talking, subversive books like Dharma Punx and Against the Stream have earned him an avid following among the young and disaffected. Now he can add a subset of Buddhists who, like Noah, are in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse. A fan of the Twelve Step program but not of its God-centered rhetoric, Noah put together an alternative, Refuge Recovery. Firmly grounded in the four noble truths and the eightfold path, Refuge draws on the best of Buddhism and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). More »
  • The Sound of One Hand Healing Paid Member

    I broke my hand last year. I knew immediately it was broken by the exquisite, searing pain. I have experienced my fair share of pain, from kidney stones in rural India to joint pains from 40-plus years of long distance running, but never a fracture. So when the edge of my hand hit the corner of the wall as I catapulted forward off the last step down the hallway in my house, I knew by the rapid elimination of my many previous causes of pain that this was fracture pain. An integral, internal bedrock structure had snapped like so many trees after a strong storm. More »
  • Swamp Marigold Paid Member

    I started going to pain clinics for spinal injections and physical therapy after I was diagnosed with spinal osteoarthritis six years ago. I was given the advice to keep a pain journal to record my symptoms, and for a while I did. And it was so depressing that I started referring to my journal as Fuck This Shit. I, who had been a brick house, was, in my 40s, crumbling to bits.  It certainly passes the time for the chronically ill to keep a log of symptoms, but is it healing? I have my doubts. When you have a chronic disease, you know there’s going to be a Greek chorus of tragedies big and small and symptoms that pop up like Whack-A-Moles. The question is: What do you do about it? More »