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Buddha in the Waiting Room: Simple Truths about Health, Illness and Healing [Paperback]

Paul Brenner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 2004
Buddha in the Waiting Room transcends the traditional boundaries of modern medical practice by taking some of the divinity out of the medical profession and empowering the person on the other side of the stethoscope. Dr. Brenner draws on his perspective of more than forty years in the medical profession to deliver a poignant and timely redefinition of health as a living process. This is a humorous and touching account of a logic-driven realist who is reluctantly transformed by the wisdom hefinds in an unexpected place: the hearts and minds of those he has been entrusted to heal.

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Review

"This book will changed the way you think about health and healing, and will also help you trust yourself and the wonder of your own life more fully. And that is the essence of health."

About the Author

Paul Brenner, MD, PhD, is an obstetrician/gynecologist and psychotherapist. Dr. Brenner has been at the forefront of the alternative medicine movement. In 1974, he organized The Mandala Conference, whose speakers included Bernie Seigel, Andrew Weil, Carl Simonton and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. This first conference on holistic health led to the formation of the Holistic Medical Association. He maintains a private practice in psychological counseling in San Diego, CA, and speaks extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
What happens when an esteemed California gynecologist chisels the "M.D." off his door and announces to his family and stunned colleagues that he is giving up his lucrative medical practice? Find out in this true account of Paul Brenner's personal search for the meaning of life, as he trades his Mercedes, white coat and speculum for a pickup truck, tai chi and poolside chats with terminally ill patients.
In a narrative that allows the reader a rare peak behind the often-intimidating white coat, Brenner reveals personal details of his life as an ob-gyn, his rejection of that life and his quest to recover his lost humanity and passion for living. From his original epiphany at the site of a Guatemalan earthquake to astute observations made watching an anxiety-ridden vegetarian, Brenner expounds on the modern doctor-patient relationship and laments the state of contemporary health care in America.
"Healing the person has been lost to the science of healing the pathology," Brenner writes. "I was tired, burned out, and burned up. I did not have the heart to fight to convince others that caring counts, acupuncture works, the unborn have intelligence, or maternal/child health is more important than mechanical hearts, organ transplants, and most medical research."
Should the avoidance of death at any cost be medicine's primary goal? If life cannot be saved, should death be embraced? What responsibilities do patients have for their own care? These are some of the questions Brenner grapples with as he begins his search.
Brenner turns to a variety of alternative therapies in his pursuit for answers, including acupuncture, meditation, the laying on of hands, journaling and solitary drives across the country.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Surgeon to Solomon: One Man's Quest for Meaning April 24 2002
By Larenda L. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
What happens when an esteemed California gynecologist chisels the "M.D." off his door and announces to his family and stunned colleagues that he is giving up his lucrative medical practice? Find out in this true account of Paul Brenner's personal search for the meaning of life, as he trades his Mercedes, white coat and speculum for a pickup truck, tai chi and poolside chats with terminally ill patients.
In a narrative that allows the reader a rare peak behind the often-intimidating white coat, Brenner reveals personal details of his life as an ob-gyn, his rejection of that life and his quest to recover his lost humanity and passion for living. From his original epiphany at the site of a Guatemalan earthquake to astute observations made watching an anxiety-ridden vegetarian, Brenner expounds on the modern doctor-patient relationship and laments the state of contemporary health care in America.
"Healing the person has been lost to the science of healing the pathology," Brenner writes. "I was tired, burned out, and burned up. I did not have the heart to fight to convince others that caring counts, acupuncture works, the unborn have intelligence, or maternal/child health is more important than mechanical hearts, organ transplants, and most medical research."
Should the avoidance of death at any cost be medicine's primary goal? If life cannot be saved, should death be embraced? What responsibilities do patients have for their own care? These are some of the questions Brenner grapples with as he begins his search.
Brenner turns to a variety of alternative therapies in his pursuit for answers, including acupuncture, meditation, the laying on of hands, journaling and solitary drives across the country. Along the way, Brenner discovers that each person must accept responsibility for his/her own health. He asks himself, "What is healing? What is health? Is it the absence of disease or the presence of passion?" Brenner realizes he has spent his life trying to keep an impossible vow made to God made when his best friend died at the age of ten-that he would never let anyone die again.
Leaving traditional medicine behind, Brenner discovers a new calling--assisting others in becoming responsible for their own healthcare and redefining the meaning of health.
".....[H]ealth is defined by our response to life," Brenner notes, "and just as life changes, so does our health. Health is the acceptance and appreciation of life."
On one of many light notes, Brenner observes the agony of a strict vegetarian as he picks through spinach salad searching for the "sinister bacon bits." When Brenner jokingly tells him, "You just swallowed a bacon bit!" the man is horrified. The doctor-turned-philosopher points out that while to some people, a bacon bit is a delicious morsel of nourishment to savor, to others it becomes, in their own minds, a poison to be avoided at all costs.
Today's sterile clinics are populated by doctors obsessed with charts and fear of lawsuits, according to Brenner, and patients who need compassion as much or more so than prescriptions and invasive procedures. Both doctor and patient need to relearn to trust each other.
"An essential bond must exist between the healer and the healee in order to initiate the healing process," Brenner writes. "This bond is a bond of trust. Trust has a healing effect because it creates an emotional response."
As marvelous as gene therapy, antidepressants and online medical care may be, they will never replace wisdom, values and perspective. When modern doctors want to surgically divide the disputed baby/life/disease, then it is time for the wisdom of Solomon to determine ownership of life. Imparting that wisdom is part of healing, according to Brenner.
In his observations, Brenner injects common sense, trust and humanness back into medicine and life. Rather than continually fighting disease and natural body processes, such as growing older, doctors and patients should once again embrace the indigenous wisdom within themselves and rediscover the wonder mirrored all around them, whether it is found in a birthing room, on a deathbed or in a simple bacon bit.
After decades of delivering babies for patients, Paul Brenner has brought forth his own gift to his profession and clients-a book replete with wisdom gleaned from powerful encounters with souls on the journey known as "life."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a decent biography of self-discovery Aug. 29 2007
By Frank L. Greenagel Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First off, 2 stars is not a bad rating. I rate books differently than most people, because I think 4 and 5 stars should be pretty rare. I liked this book. There was not much new information, but Brenner presented the "simple truths" in an understandable and readable format.

Dr. Brenner moves from traditional western medicine to acupuncture to tai chi to counseling the terminally ill. He openly discusses his doubts, trials, awakenings, regressions and marraiges.

His major points:
(1) We need to remain open-minded to new ideas and different ways of doing things.
(2) A bond of trust must exist between the healer and the healee
(3) Everyone is responsible for their own health (treatment)
(4) We can learn honesty, urgency and acceptence from the terminally ill
(5) Personal relationships off the most difficult spiritual path
(6) Loneliness and loss of self are major progenitors of illness
(7) Others' approval can not make up for our lack of self-approval
(8) There is no one cure for all things at all times
(9) Therapy is based on listening
(10) There is a strong connection between emotions, thoughts and physical well-being

Again, there is nothing really new here. Brenner presents this while telling us about his personal and professional journey. It's an easy read, and a nice way to learn or remember his major points.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nurturing Book Nov. 3 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This book jumped out at me on a visit to my chiropractor. After thumbing through it I had to have it and placed my order. It came at a time when my husband was going through a horrific time from side affects of prostate cancer radiation treatment. Dr. Brenner's book empowered us in unexpected ways. The biggest was motivating us to try some complementary holistic treatment to support his physical and emotional healing. Some of his ideas seemed a little "out there" but we took what we could use and left the rest.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story of a Journey to Enlightened Thinking Sept. 12 2013
By Gary L. Garcia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great read. Enjoyed the stories and the results in shifts of thinking. A must read for anyone in the health care field
5.0 out of 5 stars Found My Buddha May 3 2013
By Donna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a wonderful and beautifully written book. I need Dr. Brenner as my Dr., wish I lived in California. Thank you Dr. for your insight and compassion.
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