Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Tim Parks: Teaching us to sit still

I have just finished Tim Parks 'Teaching Us To Sit Still: A Sceptic's Search for Health and Healing'. It was an interesting read, although I found it quite heavy on the meditation descriptions and literary references! He did make some good points, and some sentences really caught my attention.

" . . . illness is not a separate thing circumscribed in symptoms, diagnosis and cure, but part of a whole that has no separate parts." (page 5)

"Every illness is a narrative. What matters is the version you tell yourself." (page 35)

"Illness . . . like love or hate, draws everything to itself, turns everything into itself. Whatever I thought about came back to that: my condition." (page 44)

"Only a culture that tries to keep body and mind separate would need to use a word like psychosomatic." (an ayurvedic doctor, page 77)

"Most people feel ashamed if told their problem is psychosomatic. They feel accused, guilty. It is acceptable to have a sick body, that's not your fault, but not a sick mind. The mind is you, the body is only yours." (page 79)

"Without evidence of organic damage, pains were perhaps unimportant. At least to doctors." (page 115)

"I had begun to envy people who were indisputably ill. I wanted to be seriously seriously ill myself, so that people could see my condition and it would be all out in the open and someone would finally have to do something." (page 142) 

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