Interestingly, because Buddhism is so strongly focused on cultivating the mind, the study of well-seasoned Buddhist monks has been quite fruitful. Put aside the robes, the chanting, and the shaved heads for a moment. Look past whatever cultural trappings might distract (or attract) you. Consider these guys Olympic athletes—gold medal athletes of the mind. They practice meditation techniques and other mind-related exercises just as athletes practice a sport. As a result, they can develop enviable strengths that put the average harried, anxiety-prone, modern brain to shame.
Not every surgeon needs to meditate, but in my years of experience working with many different surgeons, there is one personality trait that I believe should prompt meditation as a work requirement: a short temper. The wielding of a short temper is sometimes mistaken for power or efficacy because it can jolt others to move quickly. But I think it’s more a demonstration of personal weakness, and one that compromises others. The surgeon who, instead, works with a calm competency benefits not only herself and her patient, but her co-workers as well.
Excerpted from Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside by Katrina Firlik, MD with permission from the author.
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