Many years ago Dr. Elliott Dacher did something some of us go through our entire lives without ever doing. He stopped, became quiet, and listened to the voice inside him that said there was more to life than he was experiencing. Then he heeded that call.

“When there’s a lot of busyness the mind is like a dirty aquarium,” Dr. Dacher said. “You can’t see through it.”

It was in 1984 that Dr. Dacher started to really listen to this voice. He moved his medical practice from Washington D.C. to Virginia and began integrating meditation as well as yoga and other holistic therapies into his work with patients. Then, in 1996, he quit his medical practice altogether, sold his house and moved to Martha’s Vineyard. He began an in-depth study of the connections between consciousness and meditation and the potential for healing the mind and body together. He also took frequent trips to India where he discovered teachers who guided him in his study of the inner workings of the mind.

“I think you need mentors,” he said. “When you’re learning about life and about the mind, it requires teaching, you can’t do it yourself. If you look into your mind, all you see is busyness so you need somebody to explain the techniques and to go over the problems to encourage you and to help you progress along the path, to help you grow more deeply and more fully and in a more experienced way.”

Now Dr. Dacher has dedicated his life to being that mentor for others. His new book, Transitions: A Guide to the 6 Stages of a Successful Life Transition, is a practical guide to applying mindfulness to life’s changes. In Transitions, Dr. Dacher guides the reader step by step through life’s challenging turning points. On Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. he will give a book talk at the Vineyard Haven Public Library.

Dr. Dacher feels that the mind and body are explicitly connected and must be healed as one entity. But it’s not just about relaxation and it takes a lot of work, he warned.

“You do get relaxation out of it but it’s really towards a kind of inner freedom and peace,” he said. “It’s a progressive process. It’s not just one piece. It’s really a life-long process.”

Dr. Dacher presents his information with the goal of making it accessible to people who don’t practice Buddhism or any other religion.

“For modern people living in the Western world, we have to have a way to learn meditation and to become more peaceful and more in control of our minds in ways that are more Western and the techniques from the East, which were also in the West a long time ago, really can be adapted to use by Westerners.”

For many years, Dr. Dacher has also led meditation classes on the Island at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, reaching hundreds of people over the years. A new class is being offered at the West Tisbury Congregational Church for four Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to noon, beginning on Sept. 17. These classes are offered free of charge and will be more casual than the in-depth program at the hospital. He describes them as “a celebration” of meditation. There will be a guided meditation, a talk from Jill De La Hunt, the co-director of the program and a social time for participants afterword.

Dr. Elliott Dacher will be giving a book talk for Transitions: A Guide to the 6 Stages of a Successful Life Transition at the Vineyard Haven Public Library on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. The dates for the classes are Sept. 17, Oct. 15, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10. For more information, contact Elliott Dacher at