This week we talk to James R Doty about the power of compassion
James R Doty, MD, is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and the Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of CA, Irvine and medical school at Tulane University. He trained in neurosurgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and completed fellowships in pediatric neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
As Director of CCARE, Dr. Doty has collaborated on a number of research projects focused on compassion and altruism including the use of neuro-economic models to assess altruism, use of the CCARE developed compassion cultivation training in individuals and its effect, assessment of compassionate and altruistic judgment utilizing implanted brain electrodes and the use of optogenetic techniques to assess nurturing pathways in rodents.
Dr. Doty is also an inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist having given support to a number of charitable organizations including Children as the Peacemakers, Global Healing, the Pachamama Alliance and Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley. Additionally, he has endowed chairs at major universities including Stanford University and his alma mater, Tulane University. He is on the Board of Directors of a number of non-profit foundations including the Dalai Lama Foundation, of which he is chairman and the Charter for Compassion International of which he is vice-chair. He is also on the International Advisory Board of the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
In This Interview, James R Doty and I Discuss…
- The One You Feed parable
- His book, Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart
- The impact of compassionate acts on our brain, health and well-being
- How early in his childhood he felt like a leaf being blown around by an ill wind
- The four key lessons that, when learned, changed the trajectory of his life
- The difference between you and your inner voice
- That when you create the internal circumstances for reaching your goal, that allows for the possibility of the outward circumstances to align themselves for your own success
- A scientific perspective on the connection between the brain and the heart and the rest of the body
- The types of practices that can improve your vegal tone and why that matters
- The important role that attachment early in life plays in the quality of health later in your life
- The important role that connection with others plays in your health throughout your life
- That being of service to others is what gives life meaning
James R Doty Links
A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other.
One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.
The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed
The Tale of Two Wolves is often attributed to the Cherokee indians but there seems to be no real proof of this. It has also been attributed to evangelical preacher Billy Graham and Irish Playwright George Bernard Shaw. It appears no one knows for sure but this does not diminish the power of the parable.
This parable goes by many names including:
The Tale of Two Wolves
The Parable of the Two Wolves
Which Wolf Do You Feed
Which Wolf are You Feeding
Which Wolf Will You Feed
It also often features different animals, mainly two dogs.