One of the beautiful gifts that David shared with hundreds of thousands of people was meditation. The summer before entering medical school at the University of Chicago, he began studying and practicing this ancient practice for inner quiet and awakening. Describing this early training, David wrote, “The experience left me convinced that exploration of inner space through daily meditation is the most important thing anyone can do to enhance health and well-being.”
In medical school, David has said that his classmates viewed him as somewhat eccentric because of his interest in meditation and other “spiritual” practiced. Yet by the time they graduated, he had taught almost half of his colleagues how to meditate. Desperate for relief from the stress and anxiety of their demanding training, they were willing to try a technique that didn’t fit the prevailing medical paradigm.
Awakening to Who We Are
In his books and other writings, David wrote at length about the benefits of meditation for the mind, body, and spirit. Here is a beautiful description he wrote about the essence of meditation:
Taking time to close our eyes, quiet our mind, and go within offers a profound opportunity to go beyond our ego’s tight identification with the transitory aspects of our personality and personal lives – and connect more deeply with our essential nature, which is infinite and eternal.
When our soul assumes its rightful place as the author of our intentions, we begin to hear its quiet voice whispering encouragement to make choices that bring happiness, health, love, meaning, and peace.
Along with Deepak Chopra and other mind-body healing pioneers, David was pivotal in demystifying meditation and bringing it into the mainstream. When David first began learning and teaching meditation, it was a little known practice in the West. Today meditation is being taught in hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, schools, and wellness centers in the U.S. and beyond.
David taught a variety of meditation practices, including the Primordial Sound Meditationtechnique that he and Deepak Chopra revived from the ancient Vedic tradition. In this video,David guides us one of his favorite meditative chants of an ancient Sanskrit mantra known as the Mahamrityunjaya, which means the "death-defying mantra." According to the Vedic tradition, chanting this mantra creates vibrations for protection and purification.
Here are the Sanskrit words of the chant and the English translation.
We surrender to the three-eyed one, Who has the sweet fragrance that increases nourishment for us. As, in due time, the ripe cucumber is released from its stem, May we be released from death and awaken to immortality.