“Do you know what a mantra is, Jim?”

I shook my head. I didn’t have a clue.

“It’s kind of like a song or a sound you make that helps you focus your mind. Just like you’ve been focusing your mind on your breathing or the candle, this is another way to trick your mind.”

I looked at her again and noticed she was wearing a necklace with a whistle and a bell. Is that what she was talking about? At that moment she leaned forward toward me and the bell made a little tinkle. I almost started laughing. She looked down at it and laughed. “No, that’s not what I’m talking about.”

“What kind of sound?” I had a feeling this was going to be weird.

“Well, it depends. People sometimes say a word that is important to them or a phrase that has some magical meaning. But it can be anything. The words don’t really matter; it’s the sound that matters.”

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James R. Doty, MD

Director and Founder at CCARE
Dr. Doty is a CCARE Clinical Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University, as well as an inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist. As founder of CCARE, Dr. Doty works with both the Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences and a variety of scientists from a number of disciplines examining the neural bases for compassion and altruism.

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