James Doty is a well-known neurosurgeon, and in his book Into the Magic Shop, he demonstrates how we can turn our lives by first changing our hearts and minds. He recounts his childhood, which was originally fraught with family difficulties as a result of his father’s inebriation and his mother’s depressive actions. Doty goes ahead to give an insight into the means through which he was able to apply basic meditative techniques, as taught by Ruth, to align his efforts and strategies to his professional and personal objectives. The author refers to these techniques as Ruth’s magic
An analysis of the author and his life experiences reveal that he perfectly fits in delivering the theme of the book, which is compassion. This is because despite having encountered childhood challenges, Doty’s life became a success because he was lucky to meet Ruth who was compassionate. He started realizing who he was and the great potential he had. This is an indication that despite a desperate prevailing situation in someone’s life, a mentor, who sees and believes in a certain hidden potential, can change the course of someone’s life. James practiced this when he told a four-year-old boy waiting to go for surgery that “You sound ready to me. I’m going to put on my superhero mask and I’ll meet you in the bright room” (Doty 3).
Ruth performed the magic of rewiring Doty’s brain. Presently, this is known as neuroplasticity. In the presence of intention and repetition, the brain can be rewired and improved. This is what Ruth did to James and in the end, he believed that he had endless opportunities. Doty states that “Another mystery of the brain is that it will always choose what is familiar over what is unfamiliar. By visualizing my own future success, I was making this success familiar to my brain. Intention is a funny thing, and whatever the brain puts its intention on is what it sees” (Doty 198).
One can argue that it is not mainly about the circumstances that James was facing, but it is about how he responded to these circumstance. Besides, he states that “She taught me the pointlessness of wishing for a different past and the futility of worrying about all of the frightening futures over which I had no control” (Doty 213). This is because a response greatly affects the physiology, and the author chose not to worry because the mental state has an effect on the body, as well as influencing the people’s response towards us. Doty, therefore, perfectly demonstrates that a positive and optimistic person creates a positive energy.
In Ruth’s teachings, Doty was instructed to keep his heart open and teach the skills to other people. However, he never practiced this most important lesson and this resulted to catastrophes which included a car crash and a misinformed business decision that almost rendered him bankrupt. James had to fulfill the promise and he did this by giving away a lot of money and company shares for charity. These deeds saved his life and he no longer felt empty. He realized the meaning and importance of having an open heart. This can be interpreted to indicate that there are personal gains an individual acquires in the process of helping and uplifting others from difficult situations.
Ruth’s magic entail the internal attention and focus versus the external things, and these practices can bring about success in various aspects of life. Ruth was compassionate and he taught her tricks to Doty who practiced them and this yielded great results of wealth and power. The story of Doty is, therefore, very essential this period of time when everyone is in great desire for compassion. The choices that we make can result to a life full of compassion.