Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International

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  AHYMSIN newsletter, Issue - February 2012  

Dr. George Mann


George Mann passed away on the Full Moon Day, February 6th, 2012.

“Dr. George Mann was a member of The Meditation Center from its inception. He had been head of Chemical dependency department at St. Mary's Hospital where he introduced our meditation system as part of 3x a day prescription for the patients, back in the '70s. He visited the Rishikesh ashram several times also met Gurudeva several times. He frequently extended his helping to the Center both in material form and as valuable advice. I regarded him as a close disciple who remained true to his practices for all of these 40 years and was a leader in establishing the Buddhist meditation group Quest. I will truly miss him and pray for his full enlightenment in the next life. My prayers also go to Mrs. Marion Mann and I pray deeply for her strength and continued wisdom.” — Swami Veda Bharati

“As the Founder, Executive Director and Medical Director of St Mary's Hospital Chemical Dependency Programs, Dr. Mann was an early pioneer of the Minnesota Model. He subsequently served as Medical Director and President of ChemQuest Corporation. He has lectured on chemical dependency at Rutgers University and the University of Minnesota and has written many books and articles on the subject. Dr Mann served on the Johnson Institute Foundation Board of Directors and is a past Chairman of the Johnson Institute. He also managed an Employee Assistance Program for the Minnesota Twins professional baseball team. Dr. Mann was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Community of Recovering People (CORP).” He was the chairman of the Board of Directors for The Retreat which came about like this: “In 1991, The Community of Recovering People (CORP), a non-profit organization consisting of a group of dedicated professionals and recovered individuals, shared their commitment to creating a continuum of affordable, accessible and effective residential recovery services to help alcohol and drug dependent individuals recover. The result is an innovative residential recovery continuum that provides time out for those in need. The Retreat represents a non-clinical, mutual help approach to the problem of alcohol and drug dependency. This supportive, educational setting is grounded in the spiritual principles of AA. By providing a safe and supportive environment to study and practice these principles, The Retreat opens the door to a life of contented sobriety.”

Commentary by Dan Prideaux

Commentary by Dan Prideaux, friend of Dr. Mann and publisher of Yoga-Week and Swami Veda’s newsletter :

Dr. Mann, friend to many, life-saver to thousands often called me to chat about ideas he held in his mind. As a frequent visitor to my home or at his favorite luncheon spot, he would arrive with an enthusiastic mind bristling with ideas.

He was deeply interested in meditation and The Meditation Center where he initially connected for treatment ideas of his alcoholic patients. He found that meditation helped those with addictive problems. To this day The Retreat, which he founded, now located in Wayzata, Minnesota, teaches meditation led by Tom Prideaux, personally recruited by Dr. Mann.

Dr. Mann, an anesthesiologist was deeply interested in pain and pain relief, and searched for a cure for his wife Marion who suffered from sciatica for decades.

When he learned that a pain relief device, invented by another physician, was successful in general pain relief, he quickly contacted the inventor, spent hours on the phone to master the device, and swiftly purchased it. To his delight, Marion got relief, as did many of his friends and acquaintances. That type of action was typical of Dr. Mann’s daily routine. He was a humanitarian, not afraid to tackle a big job.

Typical of enormous assignments, Dr. Mann one day told me the story of how he got involved in treatment of alcoholics. He was at work in St. Mary’s hospital in Minneapolis when he was paged by the hospital administrator, a Catholic nun noted for her leadership and problem-solving reputation. George arrived and asked what was on her mind, and quickly learned that the major problem in medicine they faced was that of alcoholism; she wanted him to get busy with the problem and when Dr. Mann showed an interest she quickly assigned an entire wing of the hospital to him for the solution! St. Mary’s has been nationally recognized as a leading treatment facility for drug-addiction.

George and Marion celebrated over 60 years of marriage, and one day a call came in from George to create an invitation for use in announcing their anniversary to be held at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota. George celebrated life with such vigorous enthusiasm.

One day, about four years ago, Dr. Mann informed me that he was fighting cancer and as the weeks and months wore on his strength waned. It was sad to see a man with such strength and vision slowly succumbing to pain and disease. The Mann’s recently moved into a care facility. Dr. Mann left his body on February 6, 2012.

He will be missed by his family, friends and those whose lives he saved.

Dr. George Mann: a redeemer of lives

In “Dr. George Mann: a redeemer of lives”, Don Shelby (a Twin Cities TV news anchor) writes:

“With great respect to physicists, chemists and biologists, I think the folks trying to figure out what makes people tick have a tougher job. There are no formulae, no great laws to rely upon. Dr. George Mann has figured out one part of the puzzle. Addiction. He is credited with coming up with ‘The Minnesota Model.’ It is used everywhere from Lincoln, Neb., to Leipzig, Germany, to help people recover. I have no way of knowing the exact figures, and certainly Dr. Mann is not keeping score, but the method he developed has, very likely, saved millions of lives. A good portion of those millions has never heard of George Mann.”

Michael Smith remembers

Michael Smith writes: “George and I spent many happy hours together at Quest meetings and retreats, and at his home. I would drive to his cabin on Lake Superior where we would talk and he would show me videos, like RUMI and BARAKA. He always came back to spiritual themes. He was a wonderful, generous man who accomplished a ton to benefit others…The last contact that I had with George was many months ago. I sent him the book Graceful Exits: How Great Beings Die: Death Stories Of Tibetan, Hindu And Zen Masters, and he called to thank me.”

He also adds, “George was the leader of a men’s spiritual group called Quest. One of the members, Tom Buckley, emailed to say that he saw George last Saturday. Tom wrote: ‘I visited George last Saturday – he opened his eyes at one point and looked at me. I sat by his bed and thanked him for all the people he has helped and told him to have a good journey home. He was so frail I knew it was a matter of days before he moved on.’” Quest members met to honor George.

Dr. George Mann is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marion Mann; children, James (Kirsten), Laure (Kevin), Eric (Mary), Kathleen (Scott), Sandra (Larry) and John; grandchildren Sarah, Hannah, Kirsten, Jessica, Nicholas, Stephanie, Amy and Lisa; great-grandchildren Cami, Kiera, Gavin, Wesley, Sawyer, Tucker and Evelynn and many dear friends.

(Pictures courtesy of Tom Prideaux and Dan Prideaux.)