In 2000, incapacitating headaches nearly destroyed my career. I suffered from the pain and, even more, from my outrage over the pain. My experiences with all but one of the doctors I consulted were disastrous. Their only response to the pain was to prescribe pills, which changed my personality and drained all my intellectual and emotional energy. One wise doctor recommended meditation....
Buddhist teachings and daily meditation empowered me to heal the suffering caused by both my physical and emotional pain. The pain, once my brutal enemy, became my best teacher, inviting me to let go of the suffering and the image of myself as a victim. As I have learned, so can you also learn to reexamine your experiences with suffering and pain and eventually to embrace your life with equanimity, gratitude, and joy.
As I discovered, Buddhist teachings also provide a new lens for reading the Hebrew Bible, which yields fresh insights into fundamental questions of birth and death, ego and enlightenment, sickness and health — insights that speak in surprisingly relevant ways to spiritual seekers and to those who want to heal themselves.
Included in Blinding Pain, Simple Truth:
- The compelling story of how I transformed my chronic pain and suffering into healing and peace
- How Buddhist meditation can help relieve suffering by allowing the body's natural healing powers to flourish
- New insights into the Bible that complement meditation and assist in healing
Richard S. Ellis is a professor of mathematics and an adjunct professor of Judaic studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has published and taught courses in mathematics, literature, and Bible studies and has extensive experience with Buddhist meditation.
Living Now Book Awards
- My book is the Silver Medal winner in the Meditation/Relaxation category of the 2012 Living Now Book Awards. In the official announcement of the awards the book is listed in category 22. Click to see the press release and an article about the award.
- FPA President’s Book Awards
- My course on mindfulness meditation and the Torah at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Jewish Journeys: Decoding the Torah’s Wisdom Through Buddhist Meditation, published by Jewish Currents
- Love, Blessings, and Happiness: I Asked for Wonder
- Article in H2U–Health to You magazine on my mindfulness approach to chronic pain: “the suffering has disappeared” (page 10)
- Bringing mindfulness into higher education
- Healing the stress of academic life (talk)
- Escaping from the prison of chronic pain through meditation (talk)
- Interview on the writing process and my book
Meditation in the News
“Not just another book about alternative healing, this is also a very well-written textbook about how and why the alternative process Ellis chose actually worked....”
“... an intriguing blend of Buddhist insight meditation and a fascinating interpretation of key Hebrew Bible passages....”
“... Delicious for the intellect, nourishing for the soul.”
“... All who read this book will be enriched by Richard’s witness.”
“Richard Ellis's close account of his struggle with physical pain opens up very useful insights into the nature of suffering and the role of the ego in prolonging it....”
“... The book describes a path of transformation: how people focused on achievement and control can discover a new way of being, based on insight and love....”
“... I recommend this book highly to anyone seeking help with intractable physical, emotional, or spiritual pain.”
“... a mindful and wholehearted exploration of the nature of pain, suffering, and healing that reveals surprising discoveries of simple, yet challenging pathways to equanimity....”
“... Richard Ellis’s own personal journey demonstrates how each of us has within ourselves the ability to understand the inner places that loudly cry out for our attention....”
“An extraordinary odyssey through pain to enlightenment and relief. ... [This book] is ... a primer for the way to a mindful existence and the deeply felt life of the moment for all of us. A remarkable achievement and deserving of classic status.”