Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Hidden Gifts of Helping by Stephen G. Post

Rx: help others, Post says. It has healing powers. It will make you healthier. It will help you survive and thrive despite life's troubles.

Post uses his own experience of being uprooted in the midst of his career as an example. He also add inspiring stories, supporting scientific research, and spiritual understanding.
Post has been involved in research on spirituality and health for two decades. He has found that “centering on others rather than on self provides the altruistic orientation to life that is genuinely healthy.” (17)
Post gives many examples and testimonies of people who have found value and fulfillment in serving others. People who know the pain of life share their lives with others going through difficulties. He helps readers find our own hidden gifts and gives ideas on how to find the needful group wanting our creative abilities. Whether it is tutoring, serving in a soup kitchen, knitting caps for cancer patients – each of us has a place where we can share our passions and our skills.
Post shares his formula for deep happiness. He also suggests we be open to God winks, those “coincidences” when God provides a touch of His care and love for us. Post ends his book with the role of hope in our well being.
“Hardships do not have to mean the end of hope, but rather can mean the beginning, especially if we can discover the power of self-giving as a way of defying despair.” (164)
Post is a Christian but his use of insights from other spiritual traditions may make some evangelical Christians uncomfortable. This is a hardcover book and is overpriced.

I received a copy of this book from The B & B Media Group on behalf of the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Jossey-Bass, 224 pages, $19.95.

Stephen Post is Professor of Preventive Medicine, Head of the Division of Medicine in Society, and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University.

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