Plains author Richard Singer publishes new book on mindfulness meditation
When Richard Singer was treated at Choices Recovery Center in Kingston in 1995, facility director Michael Donahue told him something that stuck with him.
Donahue “said to me, ‘If you get sober, you’re going to help a lot of people.’”
More than 20 years later, Singer fulfills that prophecy as a trained psychotherapist, addiction counselor, student of philosophy and award-winning author of books aboutmindfulness meditation and finding inner peace. His latest work “Eastern Wisdom Western Soul” is due out in August.
Singer’s path toward helping others was born out of recovery.
“It all started when I realized at a young age that we’re all the same,” he said. “We’re trying to get through struggles in life.”
Between the ages of 18 and 21, Singer was in and out of recovery programs for addiction to alcohol, cocaine and heroin. He finally surrendered after finding himself homeless, he said.
Singer found mindfulness meditation early in recovery and it helped him quiet his mind on a day-to-day basis.
“It’s the foundation of everything I do,” he said.
Singer has been in recovery for 15 years, with a three-year relapse that threatened his life but humbled him and strengthened his resolve.
“I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety,” Singer said. “I struggle with addiction. All of those things make life more meaningful to me, and you need to be humble to deal with those things on a daily basis.”
His works, featured in “Library Journal” and Martha Stewart’s “Whole Living” (formerly “Body & Soul”), have found critical acclaim.
His upcoming release is a second edition of his 2007 work “Eastern Wisdom for Your Soul.” The book, he said, is a kind of instruction manual to make mindfulness meditation more accessible to people in managing life’s struggles.
“It’s not sitting meditation but a living meditation where we stay in the present moment and embrace that,” Singer said. The book “has meditations and strategies to implement those meditations for real life application.”
Singer earned a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Misericordia University, a master’s in clinical psychology from Marywood University and began studying Eastern philosophy on the doctoral level before being invited to the Cayman islands to direct a rehab program.
“I decided the beach was a good place to start writing,” Singer said.
Between 2005 and 2010, Singer penned five titles that reached audiences in multiple countries and were translated into several languages.
“I can’t take credit,” Singer said. “They bothered my mind until I wrote them. My philosophy is they came from the universe, and it was my job to share them.”
Behavioral specialist Deb Knecht attended Misericordia and Marywood with Singer, and the two have worked together in a professional capacity. She said Singer’s works are aids to people in her area of expertise.
“It’s very helpful to people, because you can’t help other people if you can’t help yourself,” Knecht said.
Doctor of monastic medicine, a physician who treats using only natural remedies, Sue Vogan is the host of her own radio show, “In Short Order,” where she has lauded Singer’s books.
She agrees Singer’s works are helpful to physicians.
“We’re supposed to treat mind, body and soul,” Vogan said.
The workbook style of Singer’s books provides a road map for people to find balance, Vogan said.
“It gives them the foundation to find their own path,” Vogan said.
Singer, reiterating his debt to the universe for guiding him, said he’s appreciated success but his main concern is helping others separate their soul from their ego.
Selfishness, Singer admits, is something he continues to struggle with, but he said dedication to helping others with their struggle is what keeps him alive and sober.
“It’s a battle,” Singer said. “A lot of problems in the world appear because we live by these egos that separate people. Some are greedy and destructive, and I think if we can embrace the soul part of us, we can work toward world peace.”