Brain surgeon James Doty is on the cutting edge of our knowledge of the brain and the heart: how they talk to each other; what compassion means in the body and in action; and how we can reshape our lives and perhaps our species through the scientific and human understanding we are now gaining. The backstory of James Doty’s passions is told in his memoir, Into the Magic Shop. In the summer of 1968, in the throes of a hardscrabble, perilous childhood, he wandered into a magic shop and met a woman named Ruth who taught him what she called “another kind of magic” that freed him from being a victim of the circumstances of his life, and that he now investigates through science.

The Magic Shop of the Brain

This February 11, 2016 podcast with Kirista Tippet (  is with James Doty, a neurosurgeon at Stanford, on his life’s work. It addresses the neurological changes in the brain with meditation, acts of compassion, and so on.  He describes his book, which is his life story interwoven with information on his use of meditation, relaxation, envisioning, compassion, etc in his own life and the scientific findings re the brain and these acts. He also address the place of suffering in our lives. Very informative, touching and inspiring (recommended by Marija Welton)