At 5:53 am on January 31st, after 20 months of an intense journey with a Glioblastoma brain tumor and at the young age of 60, my father Dr. David Simon took his last breath and transitioned to the other side.

If you can picture it… my step-mom, my two little sisters, my uncle (his brother), and I literally had our hands on his chest as his soul left his body.

… It was both profoundly peaceful and unbelievably sad at the same time.

Paradox… this is what my father represented, taught, and embraced throughout his entire life.

And this is my tribute to him… a great man that transformed the lives of millions.

Including mine.

My Father Was Known As David Simon M.D.

He was a pioneer.

As a certified Neurologist, he was one of the first western certified doctor in the United States to actively recommend and endorse alternative medicine.

In fact, he established one of the first ever mind-body medicine clinic’s in the mid 80′s and started treating patients with meditation and yoga to lower their high-blood pressure, reduce their stress, and heal quicker.

One of my favorite stories my father used to tell me was about how the Chief of Staff at his hospital came to him secretly and in-private to ask him to teach him meditation to help him lower his cholesterol.

He made him swear not to tell anyone. My dad agreed and gave him the prescription: 20 minutes of meditation per day.

Weeks later as the Chief of Staff was leading a group of new students around the hospital, he saw my dad and screamed at the top of his lungs:

“Their is my guru Dr. Simon! David taught me to meditate and now my cholesterol is 100% back to normal!”

My dad always had a way of inspiring even the most skeptical to take a second look at the things that would inspire them to achieve wholeness…

He had enough of the traditional system

Upon seeing the confining limitations of working within a traditional hospital setting where his mind-body medicine clinic was set up… he decided to leave. That’s when he teamed up with Deepak Chopra to really make some waves.

… And as they say, the rest is history.

Over The Next Two Decades

My father authored and co-authored 12 different books in topics from mind-body medicine, to healing from emotional trauma, to how to achieve lasting love and freedom to reversing the aging process … many of which became best sellers.

To date, I believe my dad has over 300,000 books in print and they have been translated into 9 different languages.

Ironically… one of his award winning books “Return To Wholeness” was about a new approach to cancer. Yup… there goes that paradox thing again.

In 1992, he co-founded The Chopra Center for Wellbeing (with Deepak) which went on to transform the lives of millions of people through their courses and certifications. It has been called the “healing mecca of the world.

He developed a style of meditation called Primordial Sound which to date, has been taught to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

How amazing that something my dad developed is being used my millions of people every single day. It’s almost a little mind-blowing.

He became the M.D. to the celebrities, helping hundreds of the biggest names in the world in just about every industry (movies, music, business, etc) to heal and rejuvenate during their most challenging periods. To respect their privacy, I won’t name any names.

He developed an intensive teacher training certification program to certify hungry consciousness seekers to become Primordial Sound Meditation teachers and created a world-wide network of people spreading this beautiful message and tools of transformation… of which there are now thousands all over the globe.

In essence… my father made the type of impact in the world that many only dream of… And he loved every second of it.

Dad… thank you for being such a shinning example of what’s possible. You have inspired so many to see that it truly is possible to do good and do well.

We Didn’t See It Coming

In June of 2012, he self-diagnosed his own brain tumor.

Yes… you read that right. He SELF-DIAGNOSED his own brain tumor… and from that point forward, our lives changed in a radical way.

Not only did he predict (and warn) his neurosurgeon about a rare neurological disorder called “Alexia without agraphia” where you lose the ability to read yet you can still write if a certain part of the brain is damanged…

… and then watch his fear become a reality after his first brain surgery where he did in fact lose the ability to read even though he could still write (that’s right… he had TWO brain surgery’s)…

But after multiple rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, he was forced to give up his medical license, stop driving, stop acting as CEO of The Chopra Center, and essentially learn to ask for help in just about every area of his life since he couldn’t read, drive, or remember much on his own.

So How Did He Handle It?

In typical David Simon fashion…

With a level of smooth acceptance that almost makes you feel bad about the stupid stuff you worry about every single day.

Not to mention that he was brave enough to allow me and a team of amazing film-makers to create an entire documentary film about him and this whole crazy process.

Yup… that’s what the Simon family does while dealing with a brain tumor… produce a full-length documentary to help others who might be suffering during intense times and unexpected situation. What an amazing man he was…

You can see it here: http://returntowholeness.com/

I thought long and hard about else to say about him…

And I realized that the greatest gift I could give to him is to pass along his wisdom and teachings with the world. Because that was my dad’s dharma (purpose)… to help others. And he did it day in and day out for his entire life.

So here are some of the greatest lessons I learned from my father, the one and only Dr. David Simon. May his knowledge pass through me and live on through you…

David Simon Life Lesson #1: Don’t waste energy or hold onto things that do not serve you.

Life is filled with experiences that can hurt you, make you feel bad, or cause you pain.

But my dad would always tell us: “Do not to allow that energy to linger. Let it go. Don’t waste your precious life energy holding onto things that don’t serve you.”

I learned from dad that it’s always a choice. You can choose to make yourself miserable and continue to perpetuate an old story… or you can decide that it’s more painful to “hold on” and instead decide to let go… which always leads to more freedom and joy.

David Simon Life Lesson #2: You deserve to be happy and loved.

My dad always used to ask the question: “Does god want you to be happy?” And of course, whether you believe in god or not, it would be pretty hard to imagine that god wanted you to be miserable so the answer was always yes.

Because my dad also believed that every person on this planet deserved to be happy and to experience love… No matter how turbulent their past was or how many times they had been hurt before.

It’s funny… but I can’t tell you how many times I heard him say this to people, “you deserve to be happy”, and for the first time in their lives… they believed it.

It was like a light would switch on and they would say: “This super important man is telling me that I can be happy and loved… so it must be true.”

And then their entire reality would shift… Poof, just like that.

My father had this impeccable way of penetrating your insecurity and doubt with such precision that you literally couldn’t hide behind it any more. It was truly amazing and unique…

David Simon Life Lesson #3: You have a unique path.

My dad loved talking about “Dharma” – which loosely translates to life purpose in the Vedic traditions.

Why? Because he always deeply believed that everyone on the planet had a unique expression – something they were brought here to do that is completely and totally yours – and that when you pay close attention to what that is and then find the courage to declare it – that is when your life becomes a magical ride.

But he always warned us… dharma (purpose) is not about power, status, or accomplishment. It is about what you love. What feels easy and fun to you. What genuinely serves others.

“You can be totally in your dharma as a trash man, or as a mom, or doing nothing” he used to say. “Because if that is what you love, and that is where time feels timeless, than that is what you are meant to be doing and that is your purpose for the moment.”

He helped thousands of people stop trying to be something they weren’t and start living an authentic life full of potential and wonder. That is how I learned to so boldly go after what I want and not apologize for being who I am.

Again, it was so amazing to watch him “give permission” to people who had been fighting against their own identity about what they think they “should be” for decades… and to see how fast people would shift into doing what they loved and being who they truly wanted to be in the world.

What a gift… to allow us all to be a little more authentic to who we really are. Thank you dad for inspiring so many to find their true purpose.

This is one piece of your legacy I will definitely carry on for you.

I’m sure more lessons and memories will come in the days and months to follow

But now it’s time to plan a remembrance service, console my family, take my own time to grieve, and determine what’s next for my own path.

Losing the man I respect the most in my life has been a real blow. But I know the soul never dies and in some ways, I feel closer to him right now than ever before.

So even though he is not here with us in the physical form, I can feel his presence, energy, and wisdom very strongly in my heart. And I will carry his fire with me throughout every step of my journey moving forward.

If you have any stories of my father

I’d be so grateful to hear them below. Please share.

How did my dad inspire you? What did you learn from him? How did you shift the direction of your life?

During this time of remembrance, it’s nice to celebrate all the amazing things he did. So please let me know if you have anything to contribute here. I’m also grateful for your kind wishes and sweet words.

And as always, thanks for being a loyal member of this tribe. I hope this little tribute made a difference in your life today and inspired you to give a little more, be a little more loving, and live your life a little more fully.

Much love,

Max

And dad, I want to thank you for bringing me into this world, inspiring me with your leadership and vision, and being such an amazing friend, role model, and mentor to me. I will never forget you and do everything in my power to carry on your legacy…

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Comments

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    Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
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  2. Kami said:

    You are so cool! I do not believe I’ve read anything like this before. So wonderful to discover someone with some original thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that’s needed on the
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  3. kathy said:

    Hi Max,

    I first met your dad at a Chopra event in Ireland. I immediately fell in love with his beautiful, kind heart. Even though I never talked to him, I still felt connected to his love. I was so disappointed to hear of his transition, but I knew that he would continue his work in a different way. I decided to attend the Silent Awakenings retreat because I had heard that it was based on the book he wrote in the last part of his physical life.

    The retreat was amazing and I was so glad I went, and so grateful for his messages. I went back home, where I noticed my husband becoming more and more ill. Finally I took him to ER and a scan found what was later diagnosed as a glioblastoma. We felt lost and scared.

    For some reason it kept popping into my head that I needed to look up the cause of your father’s transition. Finally I researched online and found your beautiful video. I couldn’t believe it when I read that he also had this very rare disease. This video has been such a help to us as we travel through this part of our lives. Thank you for the love and courage you have put into this movie. We are so grateful. We send blessings to you and your family.

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  4. Annie McLhinney-Cochran said:

    Dear Max and Family of the Fabulous Dr. David Simon,

    I was Googling your dad’s first name yesterday as someone posted a Deepak Chopra line on FB the other day and I wanted to add what a great man your father was….I was lucky enough to interview him for our 50 people to watch issue of San Diego North Magazine. I was having a senior moment…could not believe I could forget his first name! I have read many of his books and was a tremendous fan of his gentle and highly intelligent spirit. Then I came across the very, very sad news of his passing. My guts instantly pulled in, tears welled in my eyes, and suddenly I was so very sad and crying as I read your letter and watched his memorial service to completion online almost a year after his passing. WOW is all I can say. When I interviewed your dad, I was so upset that day, our editor, Evan Israel, and my childhood friend, Annie Marie Baton were both battling a glioblastoma brain tumor. They had both just had their second brain surgeries. He told me to cherish my time with my friends and to try not to be sad. So he went away from our normal line of questioning and spent a bit of time explaining to me the disease and how lucky my friends were to have gotten this of all cancers as they would most certainly feel no pain in the end. I find it surreal that this is how he passed as well. I know just how he felt about his disease. To this day that hour stands out as one of the most special moments of my life…along with the beautiful treatments he set up for me in their beautifully designated on-of-a-kind heath spa and spiritual center in Carlsbad. In all my years of writing about travel and adventure….this treatment was equal to the most fabulous adventures…including skiing through the beautiful translucent blue ice cave on the Tasman Glacier on New Zealand’s Mount Cook. I have always told the story of that treatment as well, and why it was like nothing my body had ever, or will ever, experience. I wrote about it more than a few times. I just wanted to let you know that the world will miss this great man. Many of us, just simple people, were touched by his greatness. That day I took with me the courage to help my friends, and to spread the word of alternative treatments and the benefits of integrated medicine. Since those years and now following this path I have eliminated further surgeries for my own tumor issues that had plagued me for almost 30 years – I found a natural solution thanks to him and Dr. Laura Thompson in Carlsbad. I am sure a year later you still miss him so. I wish you love, peace, and eternal memories of your special father, our special doctor, and our talented and gentle teacher — who showed us all a much better path to follow. Your friend…..Annie

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  5. Tammie S. said:

    Hello Max —

    I knew your Dad briefly in the 80′s, and he was certainly a kind and brilliant man. I am almost certain you do not remember me, but I used to babysit you for your Dad and Mom back in around 1983 or 84. I met your parents through another family I also babysat for and who were also into the TM movement. You were such a lovely little boy with your golden blonde curls and beautiful smile and playfulness. You loved when I would read to you and build blocks on the floor of your parents’ beautiful home in the hills above Pacific Beach in San Diego. I remember your Mom was an artist and your Dad–of course a doctor. I was sad to learn of his passing and remember him (and you) with fondness. He was always very kind to me and he trusted me to take good care of you when he and your Mom were out.

    I am reading this news rather late as it’s been awhile since I’ve visited the Chopra Center website. One thing led to another and I found this beautiful tribute from you. Although I am late, I wanted to extend my condolences to you. Again, you were such a lovely child. Good babysitting memories of you!

    Love and peace,
    Tammie S.

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  8. Sheeva said:

    I don’t want to be negative but if your father died of a brain tumor so how can I accept that meditation will keep away illnesses? It seems that there’s nothing that we can do to prevent illnesses. I’m so sorry about your loss. R.I.P

    Reply
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    • Rachel Heslin said:

      Meditation does not “prevent illness.” It does, however, reduce the amount of chemicals which the body produces in response to stress. An overabundance of these chemicals, especially sustained over long periods of time, puts a strain on the body’s systems, which leads to a greater likelihood of various aspects of that system breaking down, often manifesting in imbalance and illness.

      Everybody dies. Things happen. It’s how we play the hand that is dealt us that makes our lives worth living.

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  9. Brad said:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I have been listening to Healing the Body and Training the Mind and really enjoy listening to your Father and Deepak speak. I was saddened when I tried to get more info online and discovered he passed. But so grateful for his work. For people like me to discover his work after his passing, he is still making a difference, what a beautiful thing!

    SAT NAM.

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  10. Andrew Jones! said:

    A warm day in San Diego I was told a great story of Ringo Starr on his “last legs”, when he rolled all windows down in the Limo while rolling through the loud LA streets. A compatriot asked him why. He said he wouldn’t shut out life anymore.

    Life is messy, why fight it? Why control it is my question. Does it lead to a better life?

    That same afternoon I saw a great man acknowledging his impending death due to brain cancer on a lovely nature walk outdoors. Someone asked, referring to his heavy black sweater, “Wouldn’t you be more comfortable with that off?” He stopped us in the walk saying, “Look, these kind of things don’t concern me at all anymore.”

    It was as if he was saying, “Why bother trying to fix every discomfort. There’s nowhere left to run. Accept it already and be with it.”
    Meanwhile, that question to this brilliant man, Dr. David Simon, a doctor of neuroscience and avid meditator for health, seemed to come from a place of “let’s help him get more comfortable…”(like we are? like he needs?)

    Surprised me, and gave me insight. A true life lesson. DON’T SWEAT IT!

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  14. Teri Bailey-Weibert said:

    Dearest Max,
    I could not sleep last night so got up went to the computer and was feeling like maybe I was needing some answers in my life and that your Dad might just have something to say to me. I Googled his name and you can only guess the shock, sadness, and utter despair when I saw that he had crossed over.
    I met your Father at a Heal the Heart workshop in Vancouver BC in 2007. I had gone because on June 13th 2005 my son Jordan died of an accidental fatal gun shot to the head, I held him as he crossed over, Jordan was 18. Needless to say I was devastated. At the end of one of your Dads talks he called me up to him personally and said that he had heard my story and said, how sorry he was for my loss and then he went on to share about his own mother losing her son, your Dads brother and he promised me the pain would get softer if I continued to work through the grief but the pain would always in some way be with me. Your Dads sweet voice, caring eyes, heart and soul touched me so very deeply that I found the courage to face the days that lay before me. I lost my oldest son Clay on November 19th 2008 of a tragic motorcycle accident, he was 26 years old. I have reflected on your Dads sweet caring words thousands of times over the last several years and am happy to say I am still standing strong and tall. The Dharma question your Dad loved so much helped me to find mine. Tomorrow I will turn 50 years old and have become a Practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine! When I am work I get lost in time and the days fly bye because I believe I am living my true Dharma! I will cherish your Dads memory in my heart forever, and want you to know that I am writting a book about my lifes experiences of love, tragedy, loss and a will to carry on. Thank you for letting me share my story of how I met and knew your Dad. He is and will always be a mentor to me! My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family as the anniversary is in a few weeks. Blessings to you all!
    Sincerely,
    Teri

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