Teach Us to Sit Still: A Skeptics Search for Health and Healing
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Man frets. Man finally sits still and shuts up. Man feels better. ThereI just saved you hours of slogging through Tim Park's preoccupation with himself. In many ways, I might have previously rolled my eyes at all the penis-art, the connections Parks made to columns and figs in water jugs, but then I allowed myself to imagine it as a less gendered viewing--if Parks were a woman suffering from a woman's-body-specific ailment, I would have celebrated the allusions and obsessions.
It's unfair of me, and, as a mother to a toddler-daughter and weeks pregnant with a boy, my feminist self is shifting more rapidly than it did as a Women's Studies minor in my undergraduate years. But Parks referred to others' "bellyaching" so often, it called stark attention to his own. Oh, how I sympathize with the chronic pain, but at some point, his personality began to sour--there was such emphasis on his in-shapeness which is important, I understand, to show the reader how it wasn't bad diet or lack of exercise that led him to his pains, but we get that through his regular walking and his kayaking and dinners and such and he contrasts that with a friend's doughnut-eating-leading-to-diabetes, a friend who is trying to help him, to the point of frustration, in the impression Parks gives.
I've always be so cautious now that my former doctor is a social friend, not to mention ailments unless she mentions them first, as I don't want to take advantage of her profession, and I get the impression that Parks has exactly the opposite temperament. Later, when he's at a retreat, he indeed bellyaches about noises, about music, about the leader's immaturity and his fatness , about the fruit served. He calls his shiatsu healer "hardly sophisticated folks. A small irritation that was the author's choice: the inclusion of images.
He's a good enough writer that every image described was certainly not needed to enhance the text, and much more often than not, the Google'd-type images detracted. Perhaps the Valzquez was useful, and I understand the desire to fold in anatomical and surgical illustrations, but having them plunked into each chapter's narrative cheapened the effect. Perhaps, graphic-design-wise, it would have felt more professional to have the image start the chapter, to be referred back to, or include an appendix, but as it is, it just felt like the cut-and-paste style of blogs, and even then I have a low tolerance, preferring the blogs that illustrate will exclusively photographs by the blog author, keeping editing and style consistent.
Oct 19, Jenny rated it it was amazing. Not my usual sort of book - not anyone's, excerpt perhaps men aged over 50 who want to understand more about their prostates and peeing mechanisms into which it goes in very great detail for half the book. But Parks writes well enough that even this is quite riveting, especially the casualness of the surgical interventions offered.
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Even within this there are little glimmers that there might be something different happening, something psychological or spiritual even, and that medicine might not b Not my usual sort of book - not anyone's, excerpt perhaps men aged over 50 who want to understand more about their prostates and peeing mechanisms into which it goes in very great detail for half the book.
Even within this there are little glimmers that there might be something different happening, something psychological or spiritual even, and that medicine might not be the answer. It's his journey through these possibilities that finally lead him to Vipissana meditation and a pain-free pelvis. This is a wonderful book for those who know or suspect that medical interventions have their limitations, who suffer in their thousands from "pelvic pain" and who are looking for other answers.
However, it's also a remarkably good read.
Teach Us to Sit Still
A fine book that I will read again. The author, a successful writer and translator living in Italy, develops debilitating prostatitis, with severe pain and frequent urination. Medical tests find no definitive diagnosis, but his doctor recommends surgery. He searches for alternatives, fighting his preconceptions while making progress with relaxation techniques and Vipassana meditation, ultimately learning about himself. The descriptions of the indignities and embarrassment of his ailment had me laughing and wincing at the same time.
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Then he starts to take a hard look at his life of the mind divorced from his body. Paying attention to his body, it starts to soften and change. He comes up with no easy answers but offers one way to begin to approach our estrangement from our whole being. View 1 comment. Feb 14, Phil Calandra rated it it was amazing.
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This is a story of the author's quest to overcoming a crippling health condition namely Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome or non-bacterial prostatitis. I'm very disheartened concerning some of the negative reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
I haves suffered from CPPS for nearly 20 years. In fact in reading this book it seemed like my own autobiography. Very much like the author, I tried all kinds of alternative treatments acupuncture, homeopathy, removal of all dental amalgams, and other treatments a This is a story of the author's quest to overcoming a crippling health condition namely Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome or non-bacterial prostatitis.
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Very much like the author, I tried all kinds of alternative treatments acupuncture, homeopathy, removal of all dental amalgams, and other treatments as well as traditional medical treatments-All to no avail. I would have gone to a witchdoctor if I knew there was any possibility of getting relief. I recently completed the book "Mindfulness with Breathing" by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu after reading several other books on Buddhism and other Eastern Philosophy. In the middle of January, I noticed substantial alleviation of symptoms that heretofore no other treatment protocol proved effective.
There are some very legitimate criticisms of some reviewers in terms of the author's writing style and his penchant for going into tangents and loosing the reader; however, due to my similar experience with the alleviation of CPPS symptoms, I am compelled to give this book a five star rating and encourage those with similar symptoms to read this book.
Feb 03, Nancy Kennedy rated it really liked it. Some illnesses are just not glamorous. No one's sporting ribbons for ulcerative colitis or running races for IBS. So it is with prostatitis, the topic of this book.
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Descriptions of the symptoms, causes and possible treatments raise a huge ick barrier for the reader. But don't let that stop you from reading this book. Tim Parks, a professor and prolific author who lives in Italy, suffers debilitating pain that keeps him from being able to walk and sit. It wakes him in the night. It causes him to s Some illnesses are just not glamorous. It causes him to spend an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom.
The cure? One doctor says surgery. Another says alpha blockers. Internet chatterers suggest saw palmetto. Parks doesn't want to go any of these routes.
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Instead, he starts off on a journey to healing, one that involves an old book A Headache in the Pelvis , relaxation techniques, meditation and Buddhist retreats. They all help to some extent, though at the end of the book, you discover he still has symptoms. So, to me, the message of the book doesn't lie in physical healing. Instead, I became enthralled when the author begins to practice Vipassana meditation, leading him to healing in his emotional life.
Parks grew up in England the son of an Anglican minister, but in his teens renounced all faith. While meditating one day, Mr. Parks summons up a heartbreaking moment at his father's deathbed. Tell me that you do," his father implores him. What Mr. Parks says in response must have weighed on him his entire life, whether or not he believed he did the right thing. In meditation, Mr. Parks also becomes more self-aware.
I was struck by his realization that just about every thought he has is unattractively rooted in self-regard. It is a central tenet of Christianity that you are to think more highly of others than of yourself. I found it fascinating that a Buddhist practice could lead to such a so-called Christian realization. I would love to hear more from Mr. Parks about these kinds of spiritual and emotional awakenings. While on his healing journey, it looks momentarily like Mr. Parks is going to abandon writing for -- what?
Judging from the evidence of this completed book, though, it seems that he has returned to his work. I hope so! Relaxation and meditation take a lot of valuable time away from one's writing! Sep 28, Andrewh rated it really liked it. Despite its eye-watering descriptions of urological investigations into his ongoing bladder pain which have a special frisson for any male over a certain age, it has to be said , this is a very enjoyable book by Tim Parks or Tim 'Pax' as most of the Italians insist on calling him.
Parks is an expat writer, who has made himself into a keen chronicler of modern Italian life his book on following his local football team in Verona is essential , but this work of non-fiction is more about the con Despite its eye-watering descriptions of urological investigations into his ongoing bladder pain which have a special frisson for any male over a certain age, it has to be said , this is a very enjoyable book by Tim Parks or Tim 'Pax' as most of the Italians insist on calling him.
Parks is an expat writer, who has made himself into a keen chronicler of modern Italian life his book on following his local football team in Verona is essential , but this work of non-fiction is more about the connection between mind and body in Western life and, more specifically, the paradoxical dualism inherent in being a writer of English books while living in Italy, and also teaching translation. Parks had severe and ongoing bladder pains, causing extreme nocturia up to 6 visits per night and after undergoing a series of medieval medical treatments, involving much deep probing and some of these bits almost made me faint , he was told he had no cancer, no prostatis and nothing apparently wrong - and yet, he was in constant pain.
As one does, he turned to the web for solace and found a book on paradoxical relaxation techniques, which meant a form of controlled and conscious breathing, and then moved on to a mountain retreat and the mysteries of Visapanna meditation. Throughout, Parks muses on his constant need to put all life experience into words, as a writer, and the tension that this provoked in him, along with the western need to strive and achieve, which the meditation guru actively discourages - all life is suffering and it makes no difference in the end, so 'let go'.
Parks comes from a strict Anglican background and he finds this kind of religious 'mumbo-jumbo' just as false as the teachings of Christianity, which he rejected as a teenager, but he nevertheless finds some pain relief and something approaching an ecstatic experience when in a meditative trance. In the end, though, he is a writer and must put experience into words and the endless need to reflect and 'translate' his life into prose is what he does. The book is somewhat of a series of long essays and does not go 'anywhere', but that is perhaps the point. He can write as well. View 2 comments.