In my home state of Virginia, there are many beautiful roadways winding through the Blue Ridge mountain range, offering spectacular vistas in every season. The problem, of course, is if you are driving on roads that curve and have a drop-off of hundreds of feet on at least one side, you are disinclined to sightsee very much. So, the builders of these roads wisely designed scenic overlooks, which are pull offs where you can exit the car (or not) and take the time to pause and enjoy the scenery.
In today’s New York Times, there is yet another article about the explosive popularity of meditationRead the article. I know, many people are sick of hearing about meditation, and the times has recently published counterpoint articles as well, but like it or not, there is something to this, and it comes as no surprise to me.
It’s about balance. Just as the highway system was built to facilitate more efficient travel, our technologically-equipped society facilitates information exchange and productivity and frenetic activity. Just as exercise promotes health and well-being, too much promotes injury and obsession. We need to live a balanced life, and amidst the swirl of our crazy lives, it makes sense to me to stop, to pull over for a few minutes a day, and take a look inside ourselves, to restore some of the balance that is necessary for a healthy life. Similarly, when patients with dis-ease come to a doctor, it is necessary for the doctor to explore the ways that the dis-ease has disrupted the balance of that particular patient’s life, so health can be restored. Instead of rushing to apply technology or order a test, it might be best for the doctor to slow down, sit down, and spend a few minutes off the highway, taking a look at the person with the disease.