Epworth surgeon offers insights to balancing spiritual and material

Ranjit Rao

Meditation is fast becoming common practice among the general population, with particular attention given to its promoting benefits. Epworth urologist Dr Ranjit Rao discusses finding the balance between being spiritually centred and living a busy, modern life in his recently published book, Meditation & Martini.

As a surgeon at Epworth Richmond, urologist Ranjit has worked with a number of patients with varying prognoses. Turning to his foundation of meditation practice, he’s been able to deal with the stresses of daily life and offer insights to his patients as well.

“I’ve found meditation very useful,” says Ranjit, who’s been practising since his medical school days in the early 1990s, after being inspired by a close friend at the time who developed bone cancer.

“During his treatment I used to go and see him and ask ‘how are you dealing with this?’, because he had a partial amputation, he was going through chemotherapy, there was a bucket by the bed – it was just a really bad situation. But during that time he learned meditation and he told me, ‘look, this is really helping’. So, I thought, if I’m going to be a doctor I should learn a little bit about this.”

What followed was a meditation course in India and a dedication to the practice over the years that now sees Ranjit use his teachings in his personal life and at work, inspiring him to write a book and share his thoughts with others.

The book was published in May and has received a positive response from friends, colleagues and the general public – reflecting the growing acceptance of meditation as a valid and valuable tool in everyday life, particularly in the medical world.

“It’s becoming more mainstream, accepted and integrated nowadays. Most of the big hospitals in America – whether it’s Mayo Clinic, Harvard, Johns Hopkins – all have integrated medical departments, so within the mainstream hospitals they have people who teach meditation. It’s part of all the oncology wards,” he adds.

For his patients, meditation can offer a form of therapy to supplement traditional treatment, “where appropriate”.

The practice of meditation whilst in hospital makes sense because often patients are confined to bed. The key, says Ranjit, is finding a balance of what works for the individual — a lesson that resonates throughout his book.

“It’s a matter of bringing awareness to your work life and family life and making sure that everything is getting the appropriate amount of attention.”

Pictured: Epworth urologist Dr Ranjit Rao (right) at the launch of his book.