How living with an open heart creates hope

by Mila Atmos

When I read James Doty’s New York Times bestseller, Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain, I was thoroughly enchanted. His story inspired me to believe that my future could be brighter than I can currently imagine.

Doty is a medical doctor and a clinical professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University, and also the founder and director of The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE). His work and accomplishments in this field put him squarely in the company of spiritual and religious leaders, such as the Dalai Lama, who is also a founding patron of the center.

It was a bright Monday morning when I went to visit Doty in his Stanford hospital office. After walking through a short, nondescript hallway, I arrived at a sparse waiting room. Doty was punctual; before I could finish reviewing my notes, I heard soft, jingling chimes approaching. A young and lanky golden retriever with a collar of bells bounced through the door, and then Doty himself stepped through. He is a bear of a man, imposingly tall with a shock of thick white hair. His wide face glows with a quiet kindness, softening the initial impression of his intimidating size.