Saki Santorelli is director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at UMass Memorial Health Care and is active in the emerging fields of mind-body and integrative medicine. For more than a decade, he has taught a program for medical students that explores the role of the contemplative mind in medicine and health care. Santorelli weaves the themes of this book around the writings of Rumi, a thirteenth century poet and Sufi sage.

The author defines mindfulness as "an inner discipline for learning to meet and enter with awareness the challenges inherent in taking care of ourselves and serving others." Heal Thy Self is addressed to patients and health care practitioners in the hopes that they can work together to re-humanize medicine through collaboration and mutual transformation. Using stories from his patients and examples from his own life as a wounded healer, Santorelli compels us to consider the importance of self-knowledge, dealing with uncertainty, handling helplessness, paying attention to embarrassment, laying down the burden of selfishness, practicing loving kindness, and learning to embrace the unwanted in ourselves and others.

"In our time we are seeing before us in ten thousand ways the starvation and deprivation of the human heart," Santorelli writes. Through the practices of mindfulness, compassion, and love, the heart can be opened and healed. This remarkable book shows us the way.

Try a Spiritual Practice on Compassion