Tom Still: A trip to the mountaintop: Connecting the dots between health and well-being

This is an excerpt from a column posted at BizOpinion.

It’s not easy being the Dalai Lama. Not only are you handpicked for the job at age two, with no real choice to become a firefighter, artist or cowboy, but you spend much of the rest of your life – at least, this reincarnation – answering the unanswerable.

Such was the “what-is-the-meaning-of-life” tone of a Madison discussion with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, at which six experts on human well-being sought to engage him on some of the mysteries of what it means to be a happy, healthy inhabitant of the planet.

At several points during the two-hour discussion on Wednesday, I wished the Dalai Lama had been free to reply, “I’m just a simple Buddhist monk… how the heck do I know?” Then again, that’s why he’s the Dalai Lama. He’s long on the kind of patience most of the rest of us lack.

Held under the title of “Change Your Mind, Change the World,” the event brought together experts in neuroscience, health care, psychology, economics and the environment to talk about global health and emotional well-being. Speakers made a compelling case that physical health is often linked to emotional or mental health, yet health-care systems in most countries don’t often see the connection.

Read the full column