“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Our culture goes out of its way, in fact is entirely devoted to refuting or denying the idea that the world is an extraordinarily strange and wonderful place. I am a little slow so I am just now seeing that quite clearly. Yeah, I knew it intellectually but grasping the outrageous depth of the Fear that led to this saturation of denial is pretty astonishing.

Why do I see it now? It is another step into medicine, healing and health. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based in nature, in the rhythms and patterns of natural phenomena. It differs from allopathy in that it does not seek to isolate any portion of cause or effect.

How did we come to have such Fear rule our world? I believe it was Greed that cultivated Fear. Today we are a consumer society, moving from purchase to purchase, seldom content, mostly mindlessly grasping. As a culture we put our faith in science. But science is not what it seems, there is actually very little investigation or insight occurring in science. There is a great deal of marketing occurring however.

What are Greed and Fear according to the Dhamma? Two of the three poisons: Greed, Anger and Delusion. Fear is Delusion and Denial is the verb form, the active principle, the response of a desperate and shallow being but also our greatest coping mechanism. Not all bad, but there needs to come a time when perception can be evaluated, when denial is not in charge.

How do we counteract the three poisons? That is the whole of the teachings, the Four Noble Truths, that is why the Dhamma is in everything and every moment. This is our function and our reason for being, we are the energy of duality, that tension between opposites is the force, Luke- just kidding. Anyway, the point is...
being open to mystery, embracing vulnerability, staying with fear yet not being ruled by it, That is what mindfulness is all about. Our practice is to revisit it as often as we have energy for, energy cultivated by following the Eightfold Path.

It may be obvious that there is a lot not said here, lets just go do rather than stay here and talk about it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Community Acupuncture Network

great short video on community acupuncture, I am learning a more extensive and fulfilling kind of acupuncture including herbs and adjunct modalities and I cannot imagine not using the wonderful points on the torso and head so will somehow integrate a more extensive treatment option into community clinic setting. But this is the acupuncture access I imagine inhabiting. There is no greater excitement and joy than seeing this happen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Awake In The World

a Shambhala offering, free talks available for over a week was found through the Prison Mindfulness Institute's mailing list, drop in and listen to the Sakyong and others, previous talks are still available for 48 hours after presentation.

Monday, October 20, 2014

choose an ovation instead

ECTOM, the school asked me to write a testimonial so I sent them an ovation instead:
Clinic Director Robert Newman said, "Plants are teachers, if you spend enough time with a plant and it is your desire and intention to learn from that plant it will teach you." It was that respect for nature and insight into mindful presence that led me to Emperor's. I want that quality in every aspect of the care I offer and in the life I lead.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

sink down deep

I find it soooo difficult to not reply, but instead fall from center to posthole deep into the muck beside the path. I need to find a way to stay in the center, anchored on the path. To speak from the path, to reply from the path, to be the path.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

a wild wild world

At the Smithsonian's website I found further evidence of our interconnectedness and the amazing infinity of life's diversity. Those who doubt or downplay the awareness and delight in life that other species have are doing themselves the worst disservice, they are closing off that gift in themselves.

"Her discovery reminds us that each species perceives the world in a unique way, with a finely tuned set of senses, and so finds itself in a slightly different world. Bacteria call to each other with chemicals. Mosquitoes detect the carbon dioxide we exhale. Ants see polarized light. Turtles navigate using the earth’s magnetic field. Birds see ultraviolet markings on flowers, signs invisible to us. Snakes home in on the heat in a cougar’s footprint or a rabbit’s breath. Most of these different worlds are little understood because of the narrow reach of our own perceptions. Kalcounis-Rueppell hears music in the dark, but as a species we still fumble around."

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-mystery-of-the-singing-mice-1566363/#Bl1ftKHBzczbYIoq.99


A precious and powerful elder I meet occasionally said to me that he did not take full ordination because he was unable to relinquish the eating of meat, he felt his body needed meat sometimes and so he could not be fully ordained.

Where in the teachings of the Buddha, the Dhamma, does it say "Thou shalt not eat meat"? Rather it guides us to eat mindfully with consideration and understanding that this fundamental act of survival means the taking of life, whether animal or vegetable or insect all beings love life and learn and share and create and experience and have awareness, and even if we ate only completely artificial inanimate things (which at this point or probably anytime would not be healthy) we are bound to impact others in deeply disturbing ways.

We are complex components of complexity itself. Eating reminds us of the interconnectedness of all things - and yes, that is a word. When we say eat mindfully we do not mean the raisin exercise although sometimes that is a necessary preliminary step, eating mindfully means being aware of all that goes into eating, not the sensory aspect, the impact upon ourselves and other and the web of all being. Rather than vegetarianism which still causes the inadvertent, incidental taking of life, the Dhamma guides us toward eating not too much and not too little, toward generosity compassion and discernment, toward maintaining optimal health of the body mind and spirit for optimal Practice, practice of the Dhamma, so there is cost to life, in eating we take life and that is a tender pain, a point we must always be aware of and in doing so be conscious, be respectful, be cognizant, be appreciative, be grateful, be honest. That level of honesty is vulnerable, it is intimate, it is painfully present, and that is what the Dhamma is guiding us toward, a full commitment to life in all its complexity and awesomeness. Simply being vegetarian is like eating the raisin consciously, it opens the door to that complexity but if one stops there it falls short of the true Dhamma of Awakening.

But we are all different and at different places in our growth-development-evolution, for some it is proper to eat one thing and not another, to do one thing and not another, there is no blanket rule, sorry all Rajju Jims out there, there is no blanket rule, I sometimes want a rule too, want things to be simple, but that does not fit my perception of reality, of Dhamma. To judge others controverts Dhamma, to judge ourselves is similar, we must be governed by generosity compassion and wisdom and judgement becomes another aspect of eating.

Full ordination is not that different from novice or laity, if the same level of regard is given the Dhamma it makes no difference what outward form is used, that is merely labeling. Live the Dhamma, be the Dhamma, and every moment is an opportunity to Practice, every moment is sacred.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Service Dog

Not the four legged one,, me. I realized in acupuncture last evening that I am a service dog, funny for so many reasons. For one, I was a dog for at least a week in second grade, I barked and everything. But really, I have been miserable since the meditation retreat missing something and not sure what it was, it was nursing!
As a nurse I got to help people all the time. I was musing during acupuncture treatment and felt I had my arm around the bony shoulders of a little old lady, then I recalled that people resemble their dogs and I have a border collie, a working dog, a service dog, and a dog without a job is an unhappy dog.

I am in school to learn how to better help people because I did not feel the medical profession was helping people and believe acupuncture can do what allopathy does not. So I have missed being a nurse, seeing people in extremis every day and being there to help them, to be of service, to offer care. I was afraid the ordained life was not for me, that I was suffering because I was not happy being a nunk, but clarity percolated thru all the layers and revealed that no, ordination remains the best means to being a better care giver, a better nurse and a better human being. Why? the Buddha sought to be of service, the best service, to bring the real relief of suffering to all beings, way to go Buddha, that is empowerment.