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To the men that know;
The men that choose to grow.
To the men who have had the courage to lay broken on the floor;
Who have embraced each change with strength and determination;
Stood solid,
Naked
In their truth.
To the men who have
Given
Everything
And been left with
Nothing,
Yet still,
In every day,
In every way,
They show love.
To the men who have seen the darkness
Of a woman lost in pain,
And sheltered her
In their warm embrace;
Tended to each wound;
Soaked their own essence in each of her tears.
To the men who failed,
But rose again;
Lost their heart,
And found their love.
To the men who strive
Each day
To love themselves more;
Embrace their own darkness that led them to pain;
Energise their light until it radiates to the sky.
To the men who show
Appreciation
For the journey that the woman takes
To reach his love,
For he is her mirror;
He is her love,
And she loves you.
In every moment you give
That appreciation,
She feels it,
She appreciates you.
To the men who are love,
We love you,
Thank You
For loving us.

Heather Lea

___________________________________

Reposted on this snowy winter morning, thanks to my dear goddess sister from Crestone Colorado, Zuki. We live together in a remote spiritual community that also is becoming acutely aware of false spiritual paths, teachers and people. This poem is pure dharma and exemplifies our genuine human goodness, our raw and real potential. Genuine dharma does not produce people who are loveless, arrogant, escapist and use the dharma for nefarious purposes and thus waste their lives, but rather, can be self aware, accountable, able to see shadow and participate in adult relational resolution.
To these men, I bow deeply.
We love you, man.
image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/happy-couple-hugging-10767023/

Audio Transcript:

Greetings, everyone!
This is Dawn Boiani again from FemTechOnline.com, and I run a women’s wellness blog. I write about, basically my personal experience, being a survivor of generational narcissistic abuse, and then, organizational narcissism from recreating those same root family patterns by joining an unhealthy spiritual community that was led by someone that recreated that same family dynamic that I grew up with. So, I wanted to write to you tonight about, narcissistic abuse because, it just happened to me and I’m in a great amount of pain. Anyone that has been in relationship with a narcissist, be it a lover, a parent, a close friend, an employer, it’s one of the most violent types of abuse because oftentimes it’s psychological. And in other types of abuse where someone is physically assaulting you or sexually assaulting you, it’s very easy to demarcate yourself from the perpetrator because there’s an actual crime that occurred that’s empirically proven. But with narcissistic abuse, the kind of back and forth and the sort of, wooing you in for narcissist’s supply to build up their self-esteem and self-worth at your expense; it acts like love. And oftentimes, if you’ve been in relationship with the disordered person like that, they’ve hurt you so much that you’re the walking wounded as far as that relationship is concerned.

Trauma Bonds

The moment that the person would come back to you and resolve this, it actually feels like such a relief. So even though you’ve been abused by this person, be it a family member, coworker, lover, spouse, you’re hurting and it feels unresolved. It feels like a raw, open wound. So when the person comes back against all that is intuitive and sane, you will re-engender the relationship and hope that this time it will be different. Now they’ve “finally seen the light” and they’re going to be accountable, culpable for how much they hurt you, and they’re going to apologize and everything’s going to be okay. So we keep on going back to these people with the hope that they have conscience and that they care and they want to resolve what was hurtful. So that’s, that’s actually called a trauma bond. These bonds are really intense, biochemically, it’s like Pavlov’s dog, you’re always hoping that you’re going to have the pellet.

It’s like you wait around for that and it can become obsessive. It can become debilitating to try to seek resolve from someone who’s emotionally abusive. This type of abuse is truly insidious because, the narcissist or disordered person will intentionally use things against you to devalue you. It can be very subtle sometimes. It’s not always yelling and screaming, [throwing] pots and pans, or sexual or physical assault. It’s just this insidious indication that: I’ve hurt you, you’re there to build me up if you don’t agree to the unspoken rule that you never confront a narcissist.  You have to walk on eggshells and cajole this person, then if you break the unspoken rule, it causes narcissistic injury, narcissistic rage, and the person can become really intensely cruel and then…discard you.

Devalue, Discard and Hovering

And then it cycles around once they’ve settled down and they miss you or something, then they come back around just to do it again. So it is this really unhealthy, toxic thing, but it is so heart wrenching. I love the quote: “no scar on my heart ever came from anyone I hated.” I was just the recipient of narcissistic abuse for about an hour and a half yesterday from a parent. And we’re in that situation where we have a family member and there’s an inheritance and there’s end of life. My family are, just a piranha pool of dysfunction and hatred and vitriol, swearing and chain smoking and just is really like atrocious toxic energy. Just no love, no kindness, backstabbing, triangulating, dyads, triads, looking for fault, abusing, yelling, swearing, physical assaults. Then after you’ve assaulted someone, then the person who is a perpetrator goes and says, “well, you deserved it.”

No Contact?

So that’s my family and my own husband had said, “we really can’t have contact with them.” But me, being a good Pollyanna codependent, always hoping for the best, and being eternally wounded, always will, with tears and with an open heart and with hope, kind of like a Saint Bernard, always hopes maybe that person will someday come around and appreciate me and say, “I really loved you.” You were a great daughter, you were a great sister, you were a great niece. We value you. But my family has chosen me as the scapegoat for the whole family shadow. As far as I can see back, these patterns, these unhealthy, toxic, dysfunctional patterns have gone on for generations. I have a 16 year old daughter, and I’ve tried really hard to not impart that toxicity to her.

I think she’s gotten some of it because I was raised with this, but I feel like she’s fundamentally healthy. And, the buck sort of stops here. I didn’t do to her the same things that my family did to me.  I hope that she’s the new generation of healing, that’s the best that we can do. We can’t go back and we can’t fix our our families of origin, but we can stop the bleeding and stop recreating those patterns into the next generation. I think I’ve done that, but right now, I just am writing to you because, I’m shaking and my heart rate is resting pulse of about a hundred. I have a trip planned for tomorrow with my family. We were going to go to the beach and hang out and be underneath palm trees. Now, I have to cancel that because of narcissistic abuse from my mom.

emotional rape

No Resolve

The abuse went on for about an hour and a half. I was yelled at, I was counter projected, I was blamed, I was insulted. I was told things like, well, the family wants to see your daughter, but not you. It was really vicious. You can’t imagine that a mother would ever speak to a child that way, but that’s my experience. It’s gone on for 53 years and  I’ve become a Buddhist and got into meditation and learned forgiveness, meditated, cried, rebirthing, done heavy breathing, yogic stuff, upwards of $50,000 of therapy, and one phone call reopens the scar, and it is just like I’m four years old again, being abused by a parent.

When you’re abused, I was abused actually in the crib, neglected, part of the damage is pre-concept. So when the perpetrator comes back, you, it reopens something that’s often you don’t even have access to it in your conceptual mind. So all of my amazing techniques, I have 84,000 techniques to remedy pain, ALL go out the window. They’re useless in the in the midst of abuse. It’s like, energetically, narcissists, when they are abusive, it’s actually a form of emotional rape. They hover you in by believing that they’re safe and that they care about you. They forge intimacy, you open to them and then they try to have power over you. So they say things that make you feel like you have no merit, no value. It’s devaluing, insulting, condescending, using things to trump you intellectually or financially, like my mother used to say, “no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be as beautiful as I am.”

Whatever they can say to put you down, that makes them feel that they can build themselves up and actually gives them sort of a ego bump. Narcissists are predicated on a deep chasm of self-loathing, self hatred, inner disdain. They overcompensate by being self consumed, using others to build them up in a predatory way and discarding them when that supply is no longer feeding their vacuum, bottomless pit. So once you get hip, they get bored of you, you confront, or you’re not giving them the kudos that they live on, they are predatory, they are parasitic, you get cut out, you get usually a narcissistic rage, sworn at, attacked, and then ultimately blocked. So, I was raised by someone like this, a primary relationship. So that’s kind of the m.o. of my life.

Blocking?

I encounter these people, from time to time. It’s like an unspoken magnet. It’s like, I think they call it trauma reenactment. There’s this unspoken thing where it just kind of lights up. I meet this person who’s an abuser, who is a narcissist, who is the vacuum, who is a predator. And it’s like heroin, it’s  compulsive. I can’t not, get into a codependent rapport with them where they hurt me, they break me, and then I try really hard to fix it. (fawn) So this dynamic has happened time and time again in my life. And relationships, romantic relationships, even friendships, it’s a constant theme, with my family. A lot of them are still alive, and disordered people. So, I’ve worked very hard to try to do things like block people, tell them to please stay out of my life.

But it is so hard. it’s much easier said than done to block a family member. I guess you have very deep karma. Other people, like my husband, will look at the outside and say, your mother’s sworn at you, she’s assaulted you, and you were 36 years old! She has used the F word in front of your child, she’s run around the house screaming. Why would you engender a relationship with someone who is disordered or deranged or tempered tantrums and emotionally violent? Walk away!” [He suggests]. Then I start crying, like as if I’m a baby, I’m 53 and I could start crying. And I say, “because I love her.” And no one no person, even disordered people are all evil. It becomes almost like an existential question. Like, if I give up, then it’s almost a testament to human beings being evil.

The Birth of Codependency

I don’t want to let go of the hope that the person would have a conscience, heal what they did that was wrong, and we could have a relationship. So, the hope never goes away in my heart, to be able to heal these narcissistic relationships. It really is the heart, the architecture of codependency. Like, codependency is defined as, you have an unhealthy attachment with someone and they hurt you, and yet you continue to engender the relationship. They call it fight, flight, [freeze] or fawn. Those are three different types of trauma responses. You get into high conflict or you try to block or run away, or you try to care take on it on and fix everything. You take on the karma and you try to process it. So those are three different unhealthy trauma responses.

So I admit being a child abuse survivor, and a physical assault survivor, from a number of sources in this life, I do the fight flight or fawn, and the people who normally, normal people who weren’t raised this way, you meet a toxic person and you recognize that and you’re like, “wow, this person is dangerous!” This person has a criminal past. This person has sworn at me, this person has devalued me, you walk away, you’re like, wow, I’m outta here… but not me! I actually like, kind of fall in love or I chase after I pursue, a parent or family member or friendship of someone that has been hurtful because I’m so like, chomping at the bit, longing to resolve it, believing that I’m lovable, believing that they must have a conscience, believing that we can all “work it out.”

And that’s how codependents work. So why it’s unhealthy and why it’s addictive is it’s almost like, with codependency as if, people become your drug of choice and alcoholic, would, even if their health is in danger, continue to drink until their liver fails, or heroin until someone OD’s. You do the same thing energetically with a person. You engender a toxic relationship of something that could actually destroy you, people can die from narcissistic abuse. They can get heart attacks, clinical depression, fibromyalgia, nervous breakdowns, because the psychological violence with narcissistic abuse is so incredibly cruel. It usually results in a, discard, devaluation and discard like a complete cut. The [narcissistic] person will usually say, “you mean absolutely nothing to me, stay the hell out of my life, I want no contact with you.”

This is, I’ve heard this, half a dozen times from these people. And, that type of icy cold violence, it looks good. Like, oh, we’re setting boundaries, but it’s actually a form of the most violent way of being cruel that you can possibly imagine. Because it’s saying that, you mean so little to me mean nothing,  you’re insignificant. It doesn’t matter what I did, doesn’t matter what you feel, you mean nothing. Stay the hell out of my life. You don’t even merit one sentence. So, I mean, if someone’s raping you or if someone’s hurting you and physically assaulting you, at least you matter, at least, at least you sort of are engaged and the person cares enough to be hurting you. I mean, you’re still actually in relationship with the person. Your being means something, even if you’re being physically abused and then being physically abused either through assault or through rape, it is so clear to, to parse out that because it is a physical, concrete thing.

Narcissistic abuse or abuse from people who are cluster B disordered is so insidious and sometimes it is so long term and it can be abuse by silence, and it can actually kill somebody. It is very, very powerful, being blocked, being discarded. Because if someone is codependent and you’re into relational resolution, conversation, working stuff out, your mind actually short circuits, you don’t know where to go. No therapist can fix it. No other lover, no friend. It’s like, that’s why I’m talking to you guys. It’s like, your mind’s sort of short circuit because you can’t go back to the perpetrator to resolve the pain.

No Closure After Discard

It stays as this sort of like, like a record skipping. It stays in your mind-stream. It never, it’s like you can’t even get on with your life. It just skips, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip skips, because it’s like you’re constantly being told by the silence that you are the wrong one. That you’re not even worth resolving it with. And this cold, icy, silent violence is, murderous. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but many people have lost their lives from being the recipients of narcissistic abuse because it is so in intensely conscienceless and cruel. I believe that some of these people that I’ve been in contact with, including my family members now around this inheritance, they actually intend to hurt. Like, what can I do to hurt her? What can I do? It sounds paranoid, and if people haven’t, I really commend anyone that has never been the recipient of a disordered person’s abuse because it is really heartbreaking.

How to Heal?

So how to heal? I mean, it is funny because I’ve studied this. I have a degree in psychology. I have a certificate as a wellness coach. I have as, as I said, $50,000 of therapy, processing, meditating…seeing rainbows. I mean, I’ve done like everything that I can possibly think of to heal. One conversation with my perpetrator, boom, I’m just devastated again for an untold amount of time. Then I heal and I feel strong again. Pick myself up by the bootstraps, dusted off, gotten back into yoga, meditation, wellness. I’m radiant and doing well, and then I feel strong. Then another, narcissist in different form, it’s usually the same one in my life. My, my mom, will come back into the life and things will be okay for a short period of time.

I open again, I hope things are well. And then BAM, another instance of abuse. There’s no, it’s been 53 years and it’s only gotten worse. And I’ve only been patient forgiven, cried, confronted, blocked. I’ve tried every single trick in the bag: silence, walking away, pre-grieving their death. I mean, you name it, I have tried, I have forged this mountain like, I’m like an expert narcissistic abuse,a nd I’m just sitting here now on November 17th. It’s 6:33 PM in Boulder, Colorado, shaking and crying intermittently for about eight hours.

It causes a complete cognitive dissonance because if I give up the hope that I can resolve things with a narcissist, then the world feels like you’re letting evil win. You’re letting the darkest part of our human-ness have power. You’re letting them define a loveless conscienceless world where we hate each other and we use each other. We spit each other out. So to give up the hope to me, it is so weird. It just feels like, you’ve given into the basest part of our being. So, like, the hope for me is the most equivalent to like something existential, I hope that humans care for each other. I hope they regret when they hurt each other. I hope that someone who I cared about would see me as being lovable and good.

Trauma Reenactment

These are very, very deep things. That’s the fuel with which we stay engaged with toxic people because being the recipient of emotional, psychological abuse, which is, like I said, it’s a form of emotional rape. It’s like you become the walking wounded and you can have a mirror resonance with these people and recreate that pattern again and again and be hurt again and again. Sometimes it can take years or a lifetime or never to heal. So, I don’t actually know the resolve. I feel that like to just walk away and say, block everything and have no contact.

Yeah, I mean, that’s the m.o. that’s what they say. There’s only, that’s the only method of being able to try to have a semblance of a healthy life after emotional rape. But, at the same time, allowing the perpetrator to get away with it, charm everyone by their charisma, triangulate people against their victim. It just feels also wrong too. It’s like if I can quote former President Bush, he said, “silence is not peace, non-action is not peace.” So at the same note, I almost have this kind of veracity or compulsion to hold abusers accountable in every way, in my personal relationships and in politics and in my religion. I found out a few years ago that, there’s a lot of alcoholism and pedophilia and, I can’t really sign up for a religion and keep perpetuating it while there’s a bunch of perpetrators there.

I can’t put pictures up of pedophiles, all day and worship them and work for them. That doesn’t sound like really great job. There’s got to be, better things to do than put up pictures of “Catholic priest” pedophiles all day long. And people who’ve, run monasteries where kids are physically and sexually assaulted, it doesn’t seem like a really holy thing, I’ve got to find a better religion. So I, I call these things out and yeah, definitely the quintessential wounded healer, social justice warrior, that was predicated on being an abuse survivor in this life. If you know what it feels like to hurt, to hurt a child, you have a whole lot of energy in your heart to fight.

And, hopefully I’ve done some good work in this life. I’ve worked in politics and I worked to prevent child abuse, worked with seniors. I’ve worked as a mental health counselor. I don’t think there’s any way to completely ever become so Teflon coated, so iron-clad that you’re not hurt by someone who you love. Even if they are a narcissist, even if they’re disordered, it still hurts. You know? And I guess somehow even being a child abuse survivor, an adult abuse survivor, there’s the kind of grace that I have to know that I can still cry.

I can still love, I can still somehow have hope, in the goodness of humans and our ethics and our ability to change, grow, be accountable for our mistakes, for our abuse, care for each other, become tender. And, heal as species in families, friendships, communities. To give up that hope to me is like life and death, I could never give it up. So will I ever become super boundary filled, hopeless, give up on all my narcissistic friends, community, family members? No, I’m not physically capable of giving up. I will always hold a candle of hope and love and appreciation because it actually has to do with my own self worth. Like, I believe that I’m lovable. Ipso facto, I believe that these people who’ve hurt me will once, the, once the fog clears, will see that I’m a good person and that I’m worthy of love.

Boundaries of Emotional Intimacy

So hope prevails. I learned something recently when I was in counseling, and the counselor talked to me about, compassion and boundaries. Codependents don’t like the word boundaries, we’re like boundaries, schmoundaries? We love everyone! Everyone’s welcome in my heart. Everyone’s welcome in my life. I love everyone. I’ll fight to the mat for love, for relationships, for friendships, you know? She said that every single person, said the counselor, is worthy of your compassion. Even people who’ve done heinous crimes, Pol Pot and Hitler, sociopaths you can understand. It is not a justification. I mean, crimes are crimes, crimes against humanity are egregious, it’s the worst of what we are, but you can have compassion. I can understand the how’s and whys of how someone would rise to power and do these horrible things.

“Everyone is worthy of your compassion, your understanding of karma, your understanding of how they came to be, but not everyone is worthy of your emotional intimacy.”

So everyone is worthy of your compassion, your understanding of karma, your understanding of how they came to be, but not everyone is worthy of your emotional intimacy. Your heart should not be just a doormat of openness that you wear on your sleeve that anyone can break. She said that, who you allow into your inner circle of intimacy are people that have earned a place to be there through trust and through proving to you that they’re emotionally safe, that they have your best interest in mind. That they will not, idealize, devalue, discard, the narcissistic pattern of psychological abuse or, minimizing you not caring about your feelings, using you for their own gains, egoic or financial or sexual or whatever. But that, and then maybe there aren’t very many people in that inner circle, maybe there is only a cat, who knows?

The people who you allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable to, you allow people into your inner circle to become very close to you so they can hurt you, they’ve earned that place into your inner circle by proving that they love you. And that, there’s equity, equity in the relationship, equalness and reciprocity. That’s where codependents could learn boundaries. Like, hey, we do the opposite. We, we actually sometimes, it’s like the bad boy syndrome or the wounded healer, or like, we do the opposite. We kind of keep the people that would love us on the outside of the circle. We, because of the trauma reenactment and the resonance, we actually bring all the unwell people in.

We’re like, “hey, come on in, let’s duke this out, let’s fix this karmic stuff together.” So you actually bring the sick people in and keep the other ones in the outside. So it’s like a healing would be to reverse that. You have enough self love, self value, and you’ve healed to enough of a degree where you say, to the best of of what you can, family member, lover, child, pet, anyone, “you can only be in my circle of intimacy if you’ve earned a place there by proving that you are a person of, integrity, person of love, and that you, have my best interest in mind. You don’t want to hurt me. You don’t want to destroy me, you don’t want to use me. You’re not trying to game me for some nefarious purpose, but that it’s pure and it’s wholesome.”

Your Tears Are Your Love

So those are the people, even if it’s a very small circle, it’s better to have a really small circle of intimacy of people that have your best interest in mind more than a cesspool of toxic people that only destroy your life force. So that’s not compassion. Being destroyed is not compassion, you know? So anyway, I offer this to you tonight about boundaries. But, crying all day for eight hours, having been abused by a parent at 53, kind of big Baby Huey that hasn’t grown up yet. But, someone once said to me that, “your tears are your love.”

Love from a Distance

So, sometimes if people are disordered, they don’t value you or they’re unkind or cruel, it doesn’t mean that the love inside of us has to stop, but sometimes all we can do in this life is let them go and love from a distance. That’s actually compassion. And more like Ken Wilber’s Integral Way of seeing the world. Like we all have a right to manifest, all of our strengths and weaknesses and all of our neurosis and, there’s a place for it all and God’s grace kind of thing. So if a person chooses to be abusive and not value me, to use people to chew up and spit them out, to take vengeance, those are choices that they make, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love the person or see beauty in them, or have fond memories of them, but, they can’t really be in my space of intimacy if they’re going to be cruel.

And I’m glad I can still cry. I’m glad I can still love, I’m glad I can still get hurt. I think that would be worse, to have a heart that has gotten so jaded that it doesn’t feel anymore. So I’d rather go through bouts of paper thin snowflake grief, than to become hardened and to not care. I’d rather care too much than care not at all, or not enough. So, as Popeye said, “I yam what I yam.” And, tonight I’m grieving. Today I’m grieving. I have a narcissist that has no accountability and no conscience. There’s nothing I can do about it. So these are my words. This is my heart. I believe in the goodness of us all and all of my love and well wishes to everyone, always.

____________________________

Colophon:

Sadly, many of us will experience encountering a predatory narcissist at least once in our lives, especially if we were raised by a narcissistic parent. If we are vulnerable, the damage to our heart, mind and soul can be irreparable if it goes untreated. It can be so very hard to heal or leave an abuser, and sometimes the abuse is emotional, not physical. Idealize, devaluing and then discarding a human being is one of the most poisonous, cruelest, core-soul levels of abuse that we can experience. And sadly, the perpetrators blame their victims and walk away with impunity when they find no more use for you in terms of “narcissistic supply.”

This people have a grandiose sense of self-importance, are often times “high conflict personalities” and are hallmarked by never having a sense of conscience, empathy, regret, any ability to change or sincere apology. When they get discovered or have extracted your power completely, you are replaced with no closure and they go right on to find multitudes of other prey in the wake of your decimated heart. They even feel a sense of semi-sadistic power and control, knowing that they hurt you and were successfully able to exploit your perceived weakness… love.

According to Wikipedia rape is:

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.[4]

Emotional rape is when a person is emotionally assaulted, where another person has intentionally emotionally perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent.  No one, unless they have experienced it or have studied this type of abuse can realize how severely traumatized the victim will be.  It is an attack on their personality/spirit/soul rather than their body, it is a very misunderstood trauma and often inflicted by primary care givers.  Emotional rape is far more complex than verbal abuse and it is only when we can discuss it openly and candidly that we can help people recover from this sort of despicable abuse.

The narcissist will employ a number of tactics to do this which include:

  • Lying
  • Gaslighting
  • Smear campaign
  • Constant criticism to your face
  • Scapegoating
  • Silent treatment
  • Narcissistic rage
  • Direct verbal abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Stealing money or possessions
  • A multitude of non-verbal signals to let you know that they view you with utter disdain and contempt.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Vegan Thai Peanut Tofu

This may well be one of my very favorite vegan dishes! I used to buy this often from Whole Foods and it’s much cheaper to make at home. The tofu has a crispy oven broiled finish and the peanut sauce is creamy, sweet and spicy. Healthy, filled with veggies. No animal products to boot!

Ingredients:

• 24 oz./ 2 blocks extra firm tofu, cubed
• 3 T. olive oil
• 1 tsp. grated or powered ginger
• 1 T. grated or powered garlic
• 5 T. organic peanut butter
• 1 tsp. hot sauce
• 2 T. soy sauce
• 2 tsp. sesame oil
• 2 T. maple syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• Salt to taste
• 1 cup water
• 1 diced green pepper
• 1 diced red pepper
• 6 shredded baby carrots
• chopped green onion
• roasted peanuts

Directions:

• Prepare Rice.

• Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat tofu in olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake tofu for 12-15 minutes, turn and broil until crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.

• Chop veggies and lightly steam all but green onions in a skillet.

• Roast peanuts in a frying pan with 1 tsp. olive oil.

• Put all the remaining ingredients in a bowl, whisk until creamy and then add to skillet pan cook until warm.

• Finally, add the tofu cubes, mix well.

• Garnish with green onion and peanuts. Serve hot with basmati rice.

 

thai-tofu-1 thai-tofu-peanuts thai-tofu-sauce thai-tofu

thai-tofu

Vegan Thai Peanut Tofu

The tofu has a crispy oven broiled finish and the peanut sauce is creamy, sweet and spicy. Healthy, filled with veggies. No animal products to boot!

Ingredients
  

  • 24 oz./ 2 blocks extra firm tofu cubed
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. grated or powered ginger
  • 1 T. grated or powered garlic
  • 5 T. organic peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 diced green pepper
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 6 shredded baby carrots
  • chopped green onion
  • roasted peanuts

Instructions
 

  • Prepare Rice.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat tofu in olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake tofu for 12-15 minutes, turn and broil until crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Chop veggies and lightly steam all but green onions in a skillet.
  • Roast peanuts in a frying pan with 1 tsp. olive oil.
  • Put all the remaining ingredients in a bowl, whisk until creamy and then add to skillet pan cook until warm.
  • Finally, add the tofu cubes, mix well.
  • Garnish with green onion and peanuts. Serve hot with basmati rice.

Healthy Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I was at an exclusive health food restaurant yesterday and they had some chocolate avocado putting in a small jar for $12. With food costs increasing and especially prepared food I just couldn’t justify spending $12 and little jar of pudding, so I made a mental note of the ingredients and ran home and made it that day! It turned out this pudding is absolutely amazing and healthy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 organic avocados ripe
  • 4 tablespoons, 1/2 a stick of butter, vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of dark cocoa powder
  • 3 ounces or 80 grams of unsweetened coconut flakes or coconut meat
  • Pinch of salt if using coconut oil
  • 1 ripe organic banana
  • 1 cup of almond milk or chocolate almond milk
  • (optional) 1 scoop of protein powder, vanilla or chocolate

 

chocolate-avacado-pudding-1-1

Instructions:

Cut open the avocados and remove the pit, use a spoon to scoop out, place in blender or food processor.

Add all other ingredients. Blend, starting on low and then moving to high speed until it is smooth.

Use a rubber spatula to scoop out pudding from blender, and place in a bowl.

Refrigerate the pudding and serve cold.

Serves 4-6.

chocolate-pudding-organic

chocolate-avacado-pudding-2

Healthy Chocolate Avocado Pudding

It turned out this pudding is absolutely amazing and healthy!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 organic avocados ripe
  • 4 tablespoons 1/2 a stick of butter, vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of coconut sugar honey or maple syrup
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of dark cocoa powder
  • 3 ounces or 80g of unsweetened coconut flakes or coconut meat
  • Pinch of salt if using coconut oil
  • 1 ripe organic banana
  • 1 cup of almond milk or chocolate almond milk
  • (optional) 1 scoop or protein powder, vanilla or chocolate

Instructions
 

  • Cut open the avocados and remove the pit, use a spoon scoop out and place in blender or food processor.
  • Add all other ingredients. Blend, starting on low and then moving to high speed until it is smooth.
  • Use a rubber spatula to scoop out pudding from blender, and place in a bowl.
  • Refrigerate the pudding and serve cold.

We are thankful that our county allows us to raise chickens (hens, not roosters!), even in a suburban neighborhood. We can have up to 6, and repurposed an old Tough Shed into a heated coop. We are grateful to have about 4 organic, free range, healthy, farm fresh eggs per day! Closeups of our beloved hen “family.”

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Here are the differences between commercial washed and unwashed eggs~

Before the hen lays an egg her body creates a protective layer called a bloom. The bloom protects the eggs from any bacterial entry by coating eggs with a protective sealant, as eggs have about 6000 pores.

Large commercial egg producers spray eggs with chemical disinfectants before packaging to reduce the risk of contamination with bacteria such as salmonella. When the eggs are washed the flora is removed leaving the egg pores open for potential new bacteria.

Without a protective layer it is recommended to refrigerate the washed eggs to about 45 degrees to prevent the growth of bacteria. If the eggs remain unwashed you can leave them on the kitchen counter. Unwashed eggs can keep at room temperature for about two weeks. If you are not going to eat eggs for a while we recommend storing them in the refrigerator. Lower temperatures increase shelf life and eggs will last up to three months in the fridge.

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There she is. . . the “too much” woman. The one who loves too hard, feels too deeply, asks too often, desires too much.

There she is taking up too much space, with her laughter, her curves, her honesty, her sexuality. Her presence is as tall as a tree, as wide as a mountain. Her energy occupies every crevice of the room. Too much space she takes.

There she is causing a ruckus with her persistent wanting, too much wanting.

She desires a lot, wants everything—too much happiness, too much alone time, too much pleasure. She’ll go through brimstone, murky river, and hellfire to get it. She’ll risk all to quell the longings of her heart and body. This makes her dangerous.

She is dangerous.

And there she goes, that “too much” woman, making people think too much, feel too much, swoon too much. She with her authentic prose and a self-assuredness in the way she carries herself. She with her belly laughs and her insatiable appetite and her proneness to fiery passion. All eyes on her, thinking she’s hot shit.

Oh, that “too much” woman. . . too loud, too vibrant, too honest, too emotional, too smart, too intense, too pretty, too difficult, too sensitive, too wild, too intimidating, too successful, too fat, too strong, too political, too joyous, too needy—too much.

She should simmer down a bit, be taken down a couple notches. Someone should put her back in a more respectable place.

Someone should tell her.

Here I am. . . a Too Much Woman, with my too-tender heart and my too-much emotions.

A hedonist, feminist, pleasure seeker, empath. I want a lot—justice, sincerity, spaciousness, ease, intimacy, actualization, respect, to be seen, to be understood, your undivided attention, and all of your promises to be kept.

I’ve been called high maintenance because I want what I want and intimidating because of the space I occupy. I’ve been called selfish because I am self-loving. I’ve been called a witch because I know how to heal myself.

And still. . . I rise. Still, I want and feel and ask and risk and take up space.

I must.

Us Too Much Women have been facing extermination for centuries—we are so afraid of her, terrified of her big presence, of the way she commands respect and wields the truth of her feelings. We’ve been trying to stifle the Too Much Woman for eons—in our sisters, in our wives, in our daughters. And even now, even today, we shame the Too Much Woman for her bigness, for her wanting, for her passionate nature.

And still. . . she thrives.

In my own world and before my very eyes, I am witnessing the reclamation and rising up of the Too Much Woman. That Too Much Woman is also known to some as Wild Woman or the Divine Feminine. In any case, she is me, she is you, and she is loving that she’s finally, finally getting some airtime.

If you’ve ever been called “too much,” or “overly emotional,” or “bitchy,” or “stuck up,” you are likely a Too Much Woman.

And if you are. . . I implore you to embrace all that you are—all of your depth, all of your vastness; to not hold yourself in, and to never abandon yourself, your bigness, your radiance.

Forget everything you’ve heard—your too much-ness is a gift; oh yes, one that can heal, incite, liberate, and cut straight to the heart of things.

Do not be afraid of this gift, and let no one shy you away from it. Your too much-ness is magic, is medicine. It can change the world.

So please, Too Much Woman: Ask. Seek. Desire. Expand. Move. Feel. Be.

Make your waves, fan your flames, give us chills.

Please, rise.

We need you.

. . .

“Yes I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain”

 

Copyright © 2014-2021 Ev’Yan Whitney. All rights reserved.

https://www.evyanwhitney.com/blog/too-much-woman

image: https://www.dreamstime.com/

DIY Bentonite Clay Deodorant-Antiperspirant

A natural, safe and healthy alternative to commercial antiperspirants, that really works! I do have a history of breast cancer in my family, so it is suggested to never use commercial antiperspirants that clog your pores. I was looking for a safe, natural deodorant that works and this DIY All-Natural Deodorant is perfect! Not only does it stop odor naturally, but it contains an ingredient that actually helps to draw impurities from the skin.

Bentonite clay otherwise known as “healing clay,” is actually a volcanic ash, highly porous and absorbs the bacteria and other toxins, thus eliminating the chance to develop odor, without clogging pores. Bentonite clay deodorant can detoxify your body of toxins, parabens, and aluminum over time if you have been using commercial antiperspirants.

You can also substitute activated charcoal 1-1 for bentonite clay in this recipe, but I wear a lot of white, and the clay has a natural color.

Bentonite Clay also adds extra wetness protection by whisking away sweat, and pulls toxins from skin. Virgin coconut oil is a great natural antibacterial, and cornstarch or arrowroot absorb perspiration. You will notice it working immediately!

Ingredients:

3 T. Virgin (unrefined) Coconut Oil
3 T. Shea Butter
2 T. Baking Soda
3 T. Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder
2 T. Bentonite Clay
15-20 drops essential oil- my favorites are: Aveda Shampure, lavender, grapefruit, lime and tangerine

Instructions:

1. Place coconut oil and shea butter in a glass bowl or jar and place the bowl/jar inside a sauce pan.
2. Add water to the saucepan (enough to surround bowl/jar but not to overflow it) and bring to a boil.
3. As water is heating up, ensure to stir coconut oil and shea butter and continue to do so until it melts.
4. Once melted, in another bowl, add the corn or arrowroot starch, baking soda and essential oils, and stir together with a rubber spatula.
5. Place in a 3 ounce jar and allow to cool at room temp or in fridge (will harden faster in fridge) until it’s reached a solid state. The quantities above, once mixed fit perfectly into a 3 oz. jar, and it is enough for about 3-6 months.
6. Cover with lid until use.

clay-deodorant

activated-charcoal-deodorant

DIY-Bentonite-Clay-Deodorant-Antiperspirant

Bentonite-Clay-Deodorant-1

How To Use:

Wet underarms slightly, our use right after shower or bath.
Spoon out a small, 1/3 t. amount with a wooden scoop or with fingers and rub between fingers before applying directly to underarms.
For a regular day, one application in the morning is fine. For hotter days, workouts or if you’re particularly warm, feel free to reapply as needed.
After applying deodorant, wait a few minutes to dry, before putting on clothing.

clay-deodorant-1

clay-deodorant-1

DIY Bentonite Clay Deodorant-Antiperspirant

I was looking for a safe, natural deodorant that works and this DIY All-Natural Deodorant is perfect! Not only does it stop odor naturally, but it contains an ingredient that actually helps to draw impurities from the skin. Bentonite clay otherwise known as "healing clay," is actually a volcanic ash, highly porous and absorbs the bacteria and other toxins, thus eliminating the chance to develop odor. without clogging pores. Bentonite clay deodorant can detoxify your body of toxins, parabens, and aluminum over time if you have been using commercial antiperspirants. You can also substitute activated charcoal 1-1 for bentonite clay in this recipe, but I wear a lot of white, and the clay has a natural color. Bentonite Clay also adds extra wetness protection by whisking away sweat, and pulls toxins from skin. Virgin coconut oil is a great natural antibacterial, and cornstarch or arrowroot absorb perspiration. You will notice it working immediate!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 T. Virgin unrefined Coconut Oil
  • 3 T. Shea Butter
  • 2 T. Baking Soda
  • 3 T. Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder
  • 2 T. Bentonite Clay
  • 15-20 drops essential oil- my favorites are: Aveda Shampure lavender, grapefruit, lime and tangerine

Instructions
 

  • Place coconut oil and shea butter in a glass bowl or jar and place the bowl/jar inside a sauce pan.
  • Add water to the saucepan (enough to surround bowl/jar but not to overflow it) and bring to a boil.
  • As water is heating up, ensure to stir coconut oil and shea butter and continue to do so until it melts.
  • Once melted, in another bowl, add the corn or arrowroot starch, baking soda and essential oils, and stir together with a rubber spatula.
  • Place in a 3 ounce jar and allow to cool at room temp or in fridge (will harden faster in fridge) until it’s reached a solid state. The quantities above, once mixed fit perfectly into a 3 oz. jar, and it is enough for about 3-6 months.
  • Cover with lid until use.

Notes

Wet underarms slightly, our use right after shower or bath.
Spoon out a small, 1/3 t. amount with a wooden scoop or with fingers and rub between fingers before applying directly to underarms.
For a regular day, one application in the morning is fine. For hotter days, workouts or if you’re particularly warm, feel free to reapply as needed.
After applying deodorant, wait a few minutes to dry, before putting on clothing.

 

Easy French Custard Pastries

Hello Everyone! My family just returned from Sweden and each afternoon, it is part of their culture to have coffee and fika, meaning some type of cake or pastry. I was sadly ill for a few months, but am recovering and happy to have my family home to start cooking again! We have an urban homestead and raise 6 chickens, and they are now making 4-6 eggs every day, so I am finding creative ways to use our eggs. These pastries are decadent, but not altogether unhealthy, and are surprisingly easy to whip up on a Sunday afternoon.

Makes 18 pastries.

CUSTARD INGREDIENTS:

5 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. vanilla

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

1 packet of puff pastry defrosted

1 jar of organic apricot jam

TOOLS:

parchment paper

rubber spatula

basting brush

IMG_0354

DIRECTIONS:

1. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl and then stir in milk until blended. In another bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch. In a  large heavy saucepan, pour dry mixture and then gradually stir in a small amount of milk mixture, whisking until smooth.

2. Slowly cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 15 minutes, and then immediately remove from heat.

3. Cool custard in freezer quickly for 10 minutes or until thoroughly chilled about an hour. You can also place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice-cubes and water to expedite.

4. While the custard is cooling, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Open both square of puff pastry and place on a floured cutting board. Cut each into 9 squares.

5. When the custard is ready, whisk again to remove skin and clumps and place about 2T. of custard diagonal to each square. Fold each corner to close and pinch dough in center.

6. Cut parchment paper, and place onto two cookie sheets. Transfer pastries to cookie sheets and bake for about 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

7. While they cooling, brush with apricot jam and then make the glaze by slowly heating the powered sugar whisking in only a tiny bit a milk until it is smooth and creamy, add vanilla and whisk again.

8. Cool pastries and drizzle glaze, serve when cooled.

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custard-pastries

Easy French Custard Pastries

These pastries are decadent, but not altogether unhealthy, and are surprisingly easy to whip up on a Sunday afternoon.

Equipment

  • Parchment Paper
  • rubber spatula
  • Basting Brush

Ingredients
  

CUSTARD INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 packet of puff pastry defrosted
  • 1 jar of organic apricot jam

Instructions
 

  • Whisk egg yolks in a bowl and then stir in milk until blended. In another bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch. In a large heavy saucepan, pour dry mixture and then gradually stir in a small amount of milk mixture, whisking until smooth.
  • Slowly cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 15 minutes, and then immediately remove from heat.
  • Cool custard in freezer quickly for 10 minutes or until thoroughly chilled about an hour. You can also place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice-cubes and water to expedite.
  • While the custard is cooling, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Open both square of puff pastry and place on a floured cutting board. Cut each into 9 squares.
  • When the custard is ready, whisk again to remove skin and clumps and place about 2T. of custard diagonal to each square. Fold each corner to close and pinch dough in center.
  • Cut parchment paper, and place onto two cookie sheets. Transfer pastries to cookie sheets and bake for about 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.
  • While they cooling, brush with apricot jam, and make the glaze by slowly heating the powered sugar whisking in only a tiny bit a milk until it is smooth and creamy, add vanilla and whisk again.
  • Cool pastries and drizzle glaze, serve when cooled.

custard-pastries

 

 

 

Bulletproof Mushroom Coffee

Turn your morning coffee into a deeply nutritive health enhancement with collagen and adaptogenic botanical mushrooms! I’ve discovered the absolute best recipe for making a quick and easy and super creamy and satisfying morning coffee with decadent, vegan coconut oil based heavy whipping cream which inherently has a lot of healthy fats from MCT oil and coconut butter, and a mushroom master blend for vibrant health. If you’re not a vegetarian you can add a small scoop well sourced, hydrolyzed collagen for essential cell regenerative peptides (yes, I think that collagen is an invaluable fountain of youth!). This is no ordinary coffee, it transforms your ordinary morning drink into a powerful elixir of energy boosting, self care.

mushroom-bulletproof-coffee

 

About Adaptogenic Mushrooms

Adaptogenic Mushrooms are superfoods and have many life and “chi” enhancing benefits and are powerful substances, you only need to add the 1/2 to 1/4 teaspoon amount included in the pouch per cup. Included in this blend* are:

    • Agaricus Blazei – This tropical species is native to Brazil and is known for its high content of polysaccharide compounds. Agaricus blazei is also known for its effects on triglycerides and cholesterol management.

 

    • Antrodia – Native to Taiwan, Antrodia has an abundance of research related to its liver protective and immunity-enhancing qualities.

 

    • Chaga – Often referred to as the “king of medicinal mushrooms”, Chaga has been used extensively by Traditional Healers in North America, Europe and Asia for centuries. Chaga contains a complex array of bioactive compounds with significant antioxidant and immunity-supporting activities.

 

    • Cordyceps – Improves vitality and endurance naturally by supporting respiration, oxygen delivery and ATP synthesis. Cordyceps supports aerobic endurance in athletes and research related to general vitality in senior populations gives this mushroom species broad appeal. Cordyceps is also known for its ability to increase circulation and enhance male sexual performance.

 

    • King Trumpet – Improves vitality and endurance naturally by supporting respiration, oxygen delivery and ATP synthesis. Cordyceps supports aerobic endurance in athletes and research related to general vitality in senior populations gives this mushroom species broad appeal. Cordyceps is also known for its ability to increase circulation and enhance male sexual performance.

 

    • Lion’s Mane – Reported in many studies to stimulate the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), a protein that promotes the growth and normal function of nerve cells. NGF is important for cognitive and neurological health.

 

    • Maitake – Maitake contains an array of 1,3/1,6 beta-glucan compounds that have a positive impact on immune function. Maitake has also been shown to help support healthy blood-sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.

 

    • Reishi – Revered in Traditional Medicine as the “Mushroom of Immortality”, Reishi has a variety of attributes. Reishi acts as an immune potentiator and immune modulator – helping to balance and down regulate an overactive immune system. Reishi has also been studied for its cardiovascular health benefits. Considered a “superior adaptogen”, Reishi assists in adapting to mental and physical stressors.

 

    • Shiitake – Shiitake is an excellent culinary mushroom species with significant therapeutic properties that include liver, cardiovascular and immune support. New research on the properties of active ingredients in Shiitake has expanded the use of this mushroom to include applications ranging from oral health products to detoxification support.

 

    • Turkey Tail – One of the most researched of all medicinal mushrooms for its powerful polysaccharides. The beta glucans and other nutrients found in Turkey Tail support immune health.

*Text Courtesy of https://www.pharmaca.com/om-mushrooms-master-blend-90g

pexels-michael-telitsyn-9597366

INGREDIENTS:

You can double or triple recipe

8 oz. quality roasted coffee like the Swedish Gevalia
1 T. coconut based, dairy free heavy whipping cream (or 1 tsp. coconut butter and  1 tsp. MCT. Oil)
1/2 tsp. grass fed hydrolyzed collagen peptide powder
1/2 tsp. Master Blend Mushroom Powder (or equivalent of your preferred mushroom powder)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. raw honey (optional)
pinch of cinnamon, cardamon or nutmeg to top

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place all ingredients into a a small blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into your morning mug, sip and enjoy!

mushroom-bulletproof-coffee1

Morning bulletproof coffee in the sun. (Yes, that’s my kitten in the back photobombing!)

mushoom-bulletproof-coffee2

Bulletproof Mushroom Coffee

Turn your morning coffee into a deeply nutritive health enhancement with collagen and adaptogenic botanical mushrooms! I've discovered the absolute best recipe for making a quick and easy and super creamy and satisfying morning coffee with decadent, vegan coconut oil based heavy whipping cream which inherently has a lot of healthy fats from MCT oil and coconut butter, and a mushroom master blend for vibrant health. If you're not a vegetarian you can add a small scoop well sourced collagen for essential cell regenerative peptides (yes, I think that collagen is an invaluable fountain of youth!). This is no ordinary coffee, it transforms your ordinary morning drink into a powerful elixir of energy boosting, self care.

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz. quality roasted coffee like the Swedish Gevalia
  • 1 T. coconut based dairy free heavy whipping cream (or 1 tsp. coconut butter and 1 tsp. MCT. Oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. grass fed hydrolyzed collagen peptide powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Master Blend Mushroom Powder or equivalent of your preferred mushroom powder
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. raw honey optional
  • pinch of cinnamon cardamon or nutmeg to top

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients into a a small blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into your morning mug, sip and enjoy!

Notes

Adaptogenic Mushrooms have many life and "chi" enhancing benefits and are powerful substances, you only need to add the 1/2 to 1/4 teaspoon amount included in the pouch per cup.

 

Photo: Michael Telitsyn https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-mushrooms-on-the-ground-9597366/

AND HOW TO DO BETTER

 

SELF CARE IS SACRED

LETTING PEOPLE GO WHO CONSTANTLY HURT, BLAME AND DEVALUE YOU WITHOUT REGRET MAY VERY WELL BE ONE OF THE MOST LIFE SAVING GESTURES OF LOVE YOU COULD LEARN

One of the most hurtful and dismissive non-apology apologies is for someone to say: “I’m sorry you feel that way.” It has been said to me about half dozen times by people and communities that I previously thought valued and respected me, or that were friends. It is one of the hidden tricks in an abuser’s toolbox. So let’s examine it for one minute. You’ve come to someone after they’ve been unkind, and you have care, respect and value for that person. You bravely talk about something that might have been hurtful that needs to be discussed openly. You may be an empathetic person that values healthy relational resolution. You may have invested years of friendship or in a working environment, and actually believed that you were valued and cared about. Part of health, transparency and clearing up negative karma, would be in fact, to bring to light and openly discuss something that one has done that was hurtful or insensitive, in order to clear the air and move forward in healthy way. You take a leap and venture into a slight risk of confrontation and say “hey what you said/did was really hurtful or curt and I’d  like to talk about it so we can move forward.”

And here it comes…

The armored, dismissive, narcissistic gut punch…

I’M SORRY YOU FEEL THAT WAY

Ugh! Verbal violence extraordinaire, packed neatly into 6 small cutting words, usually followed up by a victim blaming, defensive counter blame and a litany of self justified excuses. You were not heard, cared about and the abuser has now doubled down, and threw your heart and all dignity under a bus. Where do we find these people, really? Where were they raised? I won’t say a barn, because my daughter works on a farm and the animals, sadly have more natural respect to each other than we often do.

Now, there is one caveat if you do hear these words, and in this case, there is sincere care. If I for example, were to wake up with a migraine and my husband says “I’m sorry you feel that way,” this is not the gaslight-y intention we are referring to above.

Abusers do not want to be accountable, ever. Let me say, ever. They are emotionally and developmentally immature, and their reactive pride is far outweighed over your feelings and longing to be heard and the pain, resolved. There are some versions of the dismissive non-apology, victim blaming to be on alert for:

 

“I’m sorry you feel that way.”

“I’m sorry you felt that way.”

“You are being dramatic.”

“It’s not my fault you feel upset, you need to own…”

“Why are you so sensitive/emotional/reactive?”

“Can we just move on, why are you holding this?”

“No one else [or insert name drop of another enabler] would have a problem with what I said.”

 

Please dear ones that care for others, strive for healthy, open and transparent relationships where there is mutual respect, appreciation and value. If you hear any of these false non-apologies, these are intended only to hurt and blame you further. I can recall two times, one recently with a girlfriend and one a few months ago where I got the “I’m sorry feel that way” non-apology and I regret to say it, but it is usually the blazing red flag sign of the end of the friendship.

I Resigned That Day

Another time, I worked for a particularly dysfunctional dharma community, and I was actually yelled at by the director. I was running their website and we had a teacher event coming and I was brand-new to the community. As a volunteer I mistakenly chose the wrong image of another teacher who was coming from Nepal. It was a digital image that I put on the website. As soon as the director told me about it I immediately made the correction apologized profusely for my error.

He turned around and yelled me and accused me of being careless even accused me of being racist, and I was so distraught that I cried. That’s no way to treat an unpaid volunteer, or even a paid one! It turned out that that community had a long list of people that could not work under this director. I recently discussed a lot of these people in these “dharmic” communities have narcissistic tendencies and can be just downright unkind behind the scenes.

They wanted me to continue working and I did too, but I said “how you treated me was very unkind and I don’t feel comfortable and it doesn’t feel safe to continue unless the director had some accountability.” This is what’s called a behavior change request in relationships. And I think it safe to say, you can imagine the response that I got from the director and his assistant. They said to me- here goes…. “we’re sorry you felt that way.” No apology for the unkindness that hedged on abuse, no regrets for my tears it is basically saying a gentleman’s “eff you.” I resigned that day. This pattern repeated itself to a greater or lesser degree with some supposedly dharmic organizations I volunteered for. For many years, I truly blamed myself, but now, stepping back and reviewing, it wasn’t all me.

sorry

Please friends, do not allow yourself to be hurt or gaslit and manipulated by unkind (non)-friends or unhealthy communities or workplaces. Do not allow them the power over you to make you feel bad about yourself. If you came to someone with sincerity, an olive branch of longing to be heard to talk about what was hurtful or what was not helpful and the person just dismisses you and has no accountability, it is time to walk away.

I do tend to be a bit Polyanna and codependent always hold on to friendships, oftentimes I’ll give them one more chance and say “hey that wasn’t really an apology I’m still hurt about X,Y and Z,” the original issue. If I’m ghosted, blocked or they respond to me with defense rather than any humility or regret, then it is time to stop the madness and put a firm shut to that door.

Before You Say “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Now, I know it is part of our survival system that human beings are hardwired to get defensive when confronted. If you do truly value the person and they come with some type of pain or misunderstanding or seeming conflict, and they long to be heard and for resolve, please self reflect as a first step. What they are saying to you just may actually have some validity.

If they truly misheard or misinterpreted something please don’t (ever) say “I’m sorry you feel that way.” You can always say “I’m sorry this happened between us” if you truly did no harm. The best is if someone expresses something to you, take a moment before reacting or defending yourself, sit with it, put yourself in their shoes. Try to see if there’s anything that you might have done and could have done better. I believe you will find something. Once you find it, you can say “you know what I was a little bit unkind or insensitive and for that I’m sorry.” It doesn’t take that much to heal friendships, we all make mistakes, sometimes we have ask ourselves if it is worth a tiny modicum of self-awareness and putting our pride aside to simply, apologize. I think it is. Accountability is kindness, compassion and health.

 


Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels
Photo by Vie Studio from Pexels

Reflections on Spiritual Narcissism and Structural Violence in Spiritual Communities and Beyond

With a heavy and full heart, I wish everyone a warm Tibetan New Year. I was practicing all week, and once again reflecting on all of the deeply traumatic religious scandals from our Yogic and Buddhist communities worldwide that were exposed after the #metoo movement. As you all know who follow me, I long to create a truly healthy spiritual community, free of some of the painful issues with narcissism, secrecy and cultish spiritual codependency that we have been propagating for years, centuries even. This is an audio-journal entry to my dear dharma friends who have left their primary sangha because they woke up, and saw that they were unhealthy, and they want to break the pattern, not perpetuate it. I am so proud of you all, and indeed metoo.

I was cleaning my retreat house, and wanted to informally jot down a voice memo of some of these insights, pardon if you can hear me washing, mopping and cleaning, a bit multi-task winded. It’s my first Soundcloud, not produced so bear with me being a neophyte. There is no intention to confront or harm any teacher, friend or specific community, I just feel like we have to be able to see clearly, learn, evolve and change, letting go of what is no longer healthy or sound, in order to make genuine spiritual progress. Covert or Spiritual Narcissists or people with any variety of Cluster B Personality Disorder, do not operate in a vacuum, it takes us to enable and sustain them. That for me has been really hard to admit. I worked for, funded and upheld these spiritual kingdoms where people were hurt, including me. Were many of us spiritual henchmen (flying monkeys) when in fact we believed we were emanations of protective “Buddha Activity?” One guess…

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_Dqczmp8Kc

I have endless daily conversations with people from various Tibetan Buddhist and extended communities who are reexamining the authoritarian control of Lamaism and our role in creating so much confusion. Many dharma friends have been hurt, felt trapped and owned and we have co-created structurally violent systems and unhealthy high demand groups. Many if not most of my closest friends are in full on “religious trauma syndrome” now. These patterns that we all participated in, are often reflective of unhealthy patterns from our families of origin, and that can and must change now. May we all co-awaken, with honestly, openness and transparency and create much brighter days ahead and attain true accomplishment in this life. Thank you for listening. So much deep, sincere and genuine love, brightness and hope to all.

Let us all heal- together, our intelligence and insight is much stronger than these deeply unhealthy ways that are in fact, not the dharma, any dharma. May warmth and truth prevail.

 

 

I also wanted to include this heart-wrenching video produced by friends here: https://vimeo.com/685246963/f7cb756850 (you may have to copy and paste link) who left their teacher and Buddhist community, based in my spiritual hometown of Crestone, Colorado. This expresses all they lost by misguided devotion, the vengeance, victim blaming, humiliation and shunning these dear friends experienced when they woke up. So very many tears.

May we all finally grow up and heal from this life wasting nonsense of being owned, controlled, exploited and furthermore being blamed and mistreated and even hated by those we loved. Dharma friends who are still trapped and used, please listen to every word, and let’s indeed find the light. I love you all, we can Go Clear.

Photo by Andre Mouton from Pexels

 

(trigger warning) We’ve been here before, right on the precipice of the very end of times with such global volatility. People and children are dying as we speak. Only 12 days ago, Ukrainian citizens were at home, warm with their families and now many have had to flee and thousands of lives lost. With our nuclear capability and valid threats from dangerous world powers, at any moment, all life as we know it on this planet could cease, conceivably, even by 5pm tonight. We are indeed at 100 seconds to midnight. The Indian Vedas call this the Kali Yuga, the era of destruction and grave loss of life. It is the culmination of longstanding acts of human greed, unkindness, conflict, abuse of the vulnerable, hatred, division and living out of balance with the earth’s natural resources. We all know very well, that we have arrived in this dark time in human civilization, but what can we do?

SECRET TRANSMISSION FROM RETREAT

Since we may or may not have much time left, I’d like to reveal a secret or two. About three years ago I was working in state politics and even going to Washington D.C. and trying to be an activist as Trump had come into power, and many were living in constant fear and trauma. He was aligning with powerful, authoritarian dictators like Putin and North Korea, and this all seemed so dangerous. How can I take vows to be a help to our world and only escape into the opiation of my religion? I was disheartened that more of my friends didn’t get involved. I would go back and forth from meditation retreat to recharge and then back to the front line, hobnobbing with change-makers, activists and even some world leaders.

During that time, it was about a year before covid hit, I was here practicing in my meditation retreat house in southern Colorado. I was praying to the lineage of enlightened masters and Buddhas, our ancestral, collective wisdom. You could call it our collective unconscious, source, inner wisdom, insight, higher self, akashic, this body of wisdom has many names. Sometimes, I ask for advice, it’s not really praying to anyone theistically outside of me that exists like a god or spirits, it’s more of non-dual supplication to access inner wisdom and clear seeing. I was here for about a month meditating about 8 to 10 hours a day. We’re not really supposed to reveal anything happens on retreat but I will share this little snippet because it seems relevant.

I was asking the imagined lineage of enlightened masters (Guru Rinpoche) what I should do with my life to help our hurting world, and if I should continue to work as a political activist. I had applied to work for a progressive Senator in D.C., and had thoughts about running for office in Southern Colorado, etc. Then strangely enough, a whole entire piece of information came into my mind and I imagined that it was from this collective wisdom of the enlightened Buddhas. We had a conversation, if you will.

It was a bit foreboding, but I will share what they said- they said to me “Dawn we have something to tell you.” With a slight pause I listened to the information and more came. They said- in your lifetime you’re going to experience tremendous global upheaval and loss of life. They said- we want you to prepare now for these darker times. They said for me that I must stop being addicted to social media and wasting my life on “virtue signaling” and time wasting attention seeking, collecting endless “likes” on Facebook and Instagram and rather firmly CUT that addiction and recommit to my meditation practice.

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They said- “We want you to practice for a full two hours in the morning two hours in the evening, and that will give you about four hours of practice a day. They said- if you meditate and implement the powerful practices that we’ve imparted to you, you will develop an inner fortitude to be able to withstand these darker times. I asked is there anything I can do, I would offer my entire life to help our world, I’ll go to Washington D.C., I’ll put myself in front of world powers as a peacemaker; I’ll do anything, what can we all do to stop the momentum of this darkness?” Right now, we are now helping with what we can, e.g. I’m giving money to Save The Children, Doctors without Borders, we are writing letters to our reps and encouraging big companies and banks to sanction Russia. What else?

The “inner wisdom” as I recall, replied: “Unfortunately the dark forces have been gleaning power globally for a very long time now and there’s not a whole lot that people can do to completely stop the momentum of this karmic unfolding.” They advised, you as a private citizen can do some small things to lessen the harm, but in general, we just have to let most of it run its course. However, what ‘we’ can offer to you, if you do these meditation practices as we have suggested, you can get through this time without any fear.”

Right now, I have the safety and privilege to meditate, but even that could change, and quickly. No nation, no one is safe from being touched by this. It will not help for me to only read the news and internet feed all day, and panic, being overcome by hopelessness and fear. We can’t practice if debilitated and destabilized, nor can we take any social action. Now is the time to develop inner strength and fearlessness in the face of the darkest days. This is the ultimate protection.

THE HEROIC JOURNEY OF THE HEART

I often think of the quintessential heroic journey like Frodo from Lord of the Rings. He lived in such dark times, and his quest was to bravely retain his own goodness, heart, faith and inner light, even at the seeming end of times, even as he had to venture into the very molten front-lines of destruction. We truly don’t know how much time we have, ever. I have a good friend who used to live here in my mountain town, and just fell down with a seizure last week and is now on life support. He’s my age. Next week, another variant of Covid, may come into our population and restart the pandemic. If the global powers and Russian citizens and their military don’t put a stop to this bloodshed, midnight might be… tonite.

Stay strong, calm, clear, loving and grounded dear friends, now is the time to have accomplishment. Forgive yourself for all mistakes, all harm you did, all hearts you hurt, and completely forgive those that hurt you. I forgive everyone, including myself. The past two years were so hard for me and many of us: Trump, covid, such loss of life, economic challenges, constant fires even in my town and incessant natural disasters, an insurrection, my heart was utterly broken again and again by friends and family and sangha I loved and trusted. I lost the outer constuct of my religion because of dated theocracy, deluded spiritual codependency, and abuse to students and children. It’s been samsara on steroids. Welcome… we have indeed entered the Kaliyuga.

With that said, every moment is new, and in a instant, we can wipe all karma clear in our mind and heart, and be in the warmth of our love and human goodness. This is our nature, our birthright that can be cultivated and can never be taken from us, even with our last breath. The inner light always, always shines even in the darkest of times. Love to you all, always, no matter how many seconds we have left.

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A candle for Ukraine, a candle for us all. May we find our inner light in times of such darkness.

 


Photo by Cup of Couple from Pexels
Photo by Oyster Haus from Pexels

Smörgåstårta- A Swedish Sandwich Party Cake

My family is a Swedish/American hybrid and I am proud to say that I’ve learned to make a really healthy and decadent traditional Swedish Sandwich Party Cake called a Smörgåstårta, yes it’s like a smorgasbord. I rarely use any meat or seafood and very few animal products, but this follows our Whole Foods Plant Based Diet, so once a year, I make this shrimp, salmon and caviar cake for my husband’s birthday! We did discuss creating a vegan version of this, maybe we can create that for next year. Once you compile all of the ingredients, it’s easy to put together. Some people use edible flowers too, this cake is truly a work of art and can feed many at once.

Serves: 6-8

Smorgastarta

Ingredients:

8 oz. ready made- salmon, whitefish, krab or egg salad spread or home make your own
1 lb. medium cold water shrimp- cooked, peeled, de-veined and de-tailed, chilled
1 lb. Norwegian smoked salmon filet, (or gravlax) sliced
5-6 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced
16 slices of quality organic white/potato bread (1- 1lb. loaf of organic white/potato bread with crusts cut off)
8 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
8 oz. organic sour cream
1 cup Veganaise
3 T. fresh dill chopped
1 long organic British cucumber washed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup organic radishes washed and thinly sliced
1 organic lemon thinly sliced
1 cup organic cherry tomatoes quartered
Optional: Kalles Caviar to taste
ground black pepper to taste

gravlax

Smorgastarta-egg Smorgas-tarta-layers

Instructions:

First, prepare Smörgåstårta “frosting”: In a mixing bowl use a whisk to combine cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise until smooth.

Slice all vegetables as directed above.
Take 1/2 of the shrimp and slice lengthwise.
Place four slice of bread on a larger serving plate.
Spread all of the chosen [salmon] spread all over the first bread slices.
Layer with thin slices of cucumber.
Slather some of the Smörgåstårta cream frosting on another 4 pieces of bread and place over the cucumber layer.
Spread some of the Smörgåstårta cream frosting all over the second layer of bread slices.
Break up about 1/2 of the smoked salmon and place on top of cream.
Spread some of the cream frosting all over the bottom of the third layer of bread slices, and place on top.
Spread some of the cream frosting all over the top of the third layer of bread slices.
Place the sliced shrimp on top of cream, and then sliced eggs to fit.
Top with the fourth layer of bread.
Take the rest of the Smörgåstårta cream and frost like a cake with a rubber spatula.
Warm and wet a butter-knife and smooth.
Decorate the cake artfully with remaining ingredients, making smoked salmon “roses,” alternating with remaining cucumber, radishes and shrimp.
Finish with fresh ground pepper and Kalles caviar.

Swedish-Smorgastarta

Smorgastarta-swedish-cake

Smörgåstårta- A Swedish Sandwich Party Cake

My family is a Swedish/American hybrid and I am proud to say that I've learned to make a really healthy and decadent traditional Swedish Sandwich Party Cake called a Smörgåstårta, yes it's like a smorgasbord. I rarely use any meat and very few animal products, but this follows the Whole Foods Plant Based Diet, so once a year, I make this shrimp, salmon and caviar cake for my husband's birthday! Once you compile all of the ingredients, it's easy to put together. Some people use edible flowers too, this cake is truly a work of art and can feed many at once.

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz. ready made- salmon whitefish, Krab or egg salad spread or home make your own
  • 1 lb. medium cold water shrimp- cooked peeled, de-veined and de-tailed, chilled
  • 1 lb. Norwegian smoked salmon filet sliced
  • 5-6 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced
  • 16 slices quality organic white/potato bread 1 1lb. loaf of organic white/potato bread with crusts cut off
  • 8 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 8 oz. organic sour cream
  • 1 cup Veganaise
  • 3 T. fresh dill chopped
  • 1 long organic British cucumber washed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup organic radishes washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 organic lemon thinly sliced
  • 1 cup organic cherry tomatoes quartered
  • Optional: Kalles Caviar to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Slice all vegetables as directed above.
  • Take 1/2 of the shrimp and slice lengthwise.
  • Place four slice of bread on a larger serving plate.
  • Spread all of the chosen [salmon] spread all over the first bread slices.
  • Layer with thin slices of cucumber.
  • Slather some of the Smörgåstårta cream frosting on another 4 pieces of bread and place over the cucumber layer.
  • Spread some of the Smörgåstårta cream frosting all over the second layer of bread slices.
  • Break up about 1/2 of the smoked salmon and place on top of cream.
  • Spread some of the cream frosting all over the bottom of the third layer of bread slices, and place on top.
  • Spread some of the cream frosting all over the top of the third layer of bread slices.
  • Place the sliced shrimp on top of cream.
  • Top with the fourth layer of bread.
  • Take the rest of the Smörgåstårta cream and frost like a cake with a rubber spatula.
  • Warm and wet a butter-knife and smooth.
  • Decorate the cake artfully with remaining ingredients, making smoked salmon "roses," alternating with remaining cucumber, radishes and shrimp.
  • Finish with fresh ground pepper and Kalles caviar.

Notes

Serves: 6-8
The Polish Journal of the Arts and Culture. New Series 2
(2/2015): 29–41 [article]
DOI: 10.4467/24506249PJ.15.007.4635

Nying Lung Disorder, or Tibetan Medicine Perspective on Depression

Anastazja Holečko

Abstract
Traditional Tibetan medicine perceives so prevalent mental problems as an imbalance of the subtle Wind energy, or Lung in Tibetan. It is one of the three humors (rlung, mkhris pa, bad kan) that govern our health. When out of balance, Lung can cause such symptoms as emotional lab- ility, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, or bipolar disorder, to mention just a few. Over millennia Tibetan medicine has compiled a system of effective methods to rebalance the three humors and bring back the state of health. To the healing methods belong therapeutic diet and lifestyle, herbal compounds, and a wide range of external therapies, such as Tibetan massage kunye, moxa, horme, or yukcho. On top of that spiritual healing, connected with Buddhist tradition, is applicable.

Keywords: Tibetan medicine, depression, nying lung, horme, yukcho, nejang.

Lek. med. Anastazja Holečko is a medical doctor, graduated from the Medical University of Lodz, living and practicing in Prague, Czech Republic. She has completed the studies of traditional Tibetan medicine at the International Academy of Traditional Tibetan Medi- cine (IATTM), and did the internships in Dharamsala, India and Amdo, Tibet. She is the chef editor of the “Journal of Traditional Tibetan Medicine”.
e-mail: nastimi@gmail.com https://www.happyandhealthy.cz/en


Introduction

One of the most common complaints of our busy modern times is, gently speaking, lack of mental calmness. It extends from relatively mild forms like attention deficit, restlessness, insomnia, emotional lability, lack of concentration, anxiety, burnout, to more serious mental disorders like panic attacks, bipolar disorder and depression.

Defined as “a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or low self-esteem, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration”, it becomes a more and more frequent problem not only in the developed countries. According to the WHO, depression affects 350 million people worldwide, and it will be the leading cause of disease burden worldwide by 2030. If burnout, grief reactions and other stress related disorders were included in the diagnosis-criteria of depression, this could lead to a lifetime prevalence of about 80%.¹ People with depressed mood can feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable or restless. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, aches, pains, digestive problems or reduced energy may also be present.² While our Western physicians tend to concentrate on physical complains, ignoring mental state of a patient, this immense mental suffering can even lead to suicide. The treatment of depression brings many side effects and is not in long term successful.

On the other hand, traditional Tibetan medicine can offer a cure for such problems. It is based on a natural healing system, as well as on Buddhist view. Although Tibetan medicine originated from the Bon tradition approximately four thousands year ago, over the time the Buddhist elements soaked in and became an inseparable part of this medical tradition. Already in the second century ce two Ayurvedic doctors moved to Tibet from India, to spread their knowledge in the Land of Snow. However, the biggest impact on development of Tibetan medicine had “transplantation” of Buddhist teachings to Tibet by Guru Rinpoche (pad ma ‘byung gnas, 730–810 ce) in the 8th century ce. At these times, when Tibet was under a rule of a Tibetan king Trisong Detsen (khri srong lde btsan, 742–798 ce), there took place a significant historical event – the First Congress on Traditional Tibetan Medicine in Samye, where the most eminent doctors from all the neighboring countries came

¹Jean-Pierre Lépine and Mike Briley, The increasing burden of depression, passim. ²Depression, [www 01], 2012.
to share their medical knowledge.

It was then that outstanding doctor and a Buddhist practitioner called Yuthok Yonten Gonpo (g.yu thog yon tan gon po, 729–854 ce), became known as a founder of Tibetan medicine. He combined the knowledge from the ancient texts (like Bum zhi – first Tibetan text on medicine), his deep personal experience and wisdom, and teachings from the doctors from the other countries to create Gyu shi (rgyud bzhi), the Four Medical Tantras that became the basis for traditional Tibetan medicine.

Yuthok stressed that for achieving a stable health, both physical and mental, it is crucial to engage into spiritual development and work with mind. And so he wrote his second “jewel” – Yuthok nying tig (g.yu thog snying tig), the cycle of spiritual practices for Tibetan doctors and lay practitioners.³

Also the original name of Tibetan medicine – Sowa Rigpa (gso ba rig pa) reflects the importance of mental work. Sowa is usually translated as “healing” and rigpa as “science”, resulting in “healing science”. However, it can also be translated as sowa “nourishment” and rigpa as “awareness”, giving “nourishment of awareness”. It seeks the real causes of all suffering, both physical and mental, and is coherent with the Buddhist view on that.

So what is the principal cause of all suffering? According to Tibetan medicine, it is the ignorance of our true nature and the nature of universe (Tib. marigpa). Due to this basic ignorance we perceive the world in a dualistic way, which gives rise to 84000 of disturbing emotions. They can be summarized to three main emotions, called also mind poisons: attachment, aversion and confusion. Those are closely connected with the energies in our body, so-called Three Humors (nye pa gsum): Wind (rlung), Bile (mkhrispa) and Phlegm (badkan). Imbalance of the Three Humors manifests later on as a disease on a physical level.⁴

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Table 1: The Three Humors

³Dr Nida Chenagtsang, The Path to Rainbow Body – introduction to Yuthok Nyingtig, passim.
⁴Dr Nida Chenagtsang, Sorig basics – Root tantra, passim.

Chronic stress, extremely busy life style, lack of sleep, improper food, is something our nervous and hormonal systems are not handling well in longer term. It leads to chronic elevation of stress hormones like cortisol, and later on to adrenal burnout, which affects multiple functions of our body and mind.

From the Tibetan medicine point of view, it brings imbalance on the energy level, the three humors, and those affect both the mind and the body. The most often target of such an unbalanced lifestyle is Lung humor, responsible for the mental health.
The direct translation of Lung is Wind, and its nature is constant movement. Its functions are highly complex. Its subtle part (phra rlung) is inseparably connected with mind, constituting its movement aspect, à côté de awareness aspect. It can be compared to a horse on which the mind rides. Movement enables the constant flow of thoughts, emotions, and perception.
The gross aspect of Lung (rags rlung) manifests on energy level as five so-called karmic Winds. Each of them plays important role in the body functioning, from breathing, swallowing, excreting, to transmitting nervous signals to brain, and regulating heart beat. In the table 2 below the functions of each karmic Lung are listed in detail.

Depression in particular is caused by Lung disorder in the heart. Heart is one of the Lung locations in the body – the seat of All-pervading Lung. When it is in balance, it governs the heartbeat, controls sense organs, the skin pores, and all bodily movements. Abnormal function of Lung in the heart is called Nying Lung (snying rlung) and brings the symptoms of depression.

According to Tibetan medicine, the primary cause of Lung disorder is ignorance and excessive desire/attachment. However, there are also secondary causes, or conditions, that are necessary for a disorder to manifest. While primary causes can be compared to a seed sewn in mind, secondary causes are like soil, water and sun that enable the seed to grow.
To secondary causes in Tibetan medicine belong: diet, lifestyle, seasons, and negative external influences. From these, diet and lifestyle are of special importance, because we decide on them every day. Thus we can choose whether to support our health, or bring further imbalance to our system.

In the table 3 below there are specified secondary causes increasing Lung imbalance.

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Table 3: Secondary causes that increase Lung

We keep planning the future, we dwell in the past, regretting what has happened, and rarely enjoying the present moment – the only one truly existing. Our mind becomes in a way “detached” from the body, from the powerful moment being “here and now”. Such busy, unstable mind is easily provoked by so-called immediate causes that trigger the Lung reaction. It can be grief and sorrow, e.g. lost of dear ones, bad news and unpleasant events, stress and overworking, overexerting of body, speech or mind.
Particularly susceptible to Nying Lung are people of Lung typology who have an inclination to Lung disorders from birth. Deprivation of love, friendship, or wealth, also contributes to Lung imbalance. Predisposing factors are also unhealthy heart and disturbances in the central channel.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of Lung in the heart that a Tibetan doctor looks for while taking the medical history, are as follows:

  • sudden, uncontrolled movements of the body
  • tremor
  • intolerance to touch and noise
  • unclear answers
  • attention deficit
  • heart discomfort
  • fainting, dizziness
  • restlessness, unsettling thoughts, talkativeness
  • fear, panic attacks
  • hallucinations
  • insomnia
  • difficult inhalation and sighing
  • high or hoarse voice
  • pain in the joints

On top of history taking a Tibetan doctor checks also patientʼs pulse, urine and sense organs. The indication of Lung excess would be empty, floating pulse, clear, bubbly urine and dry, red, rough tongue.⁵

Lung treatment

What concerns treatment, the patient is always approached holistically in Tibetan medicine. When causes of imbalance are found, the treatment is aimed to remove the causes and re-install the balance on all the levels: physical, energy, and mental.
There are four main methods of treatment in TTM: diet, lifestyle, herbal medicines, and external therapies. They aim to find an antidote that would rebalance Lung. Lungʼs six characteristics are: subtle, light, cold, mobile, rough, dry. Therefore the substances, be it the food, drinks, or medicines, of same qualities will increase it, and those with the opposite qualities (heavy, oily, warm, stable, soft) will pacify it.⁶

⁵Dr Sonam Dolma, Nying Lung.
⁶Yuthok Yonten Gonpo, The Root Tantra and Explanatory Tantra from the Four Tantras of Tibetan Medicine, passim.

Characteristics and manifestations Antidote

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Table 4: Characterstics of Lung and its antidotes

In the table 5 below, there are specified the healing methods for Nying Lung.

Diet

Warm, oily, nutritious foods, like bone and meat broth, nettle, onion, garlic, tsampa, beef, sheep, horse meat, aged meat, aged butter, seed oils, milk, chang

Lifestyle

Enough sleep (8-9h); Warm, cosy, dark place, devoid of distraction; warm clothes; pleasing the senses, pleasant music and words, smells, colors, soft touch; company of beloved people; contact with nature

Medicines

Soups prepared from: nutmeg, red salt, asafetida, ginger, black salt, caraway, bones; alcohol infusions from: Asparagus, Polygonatum, Angelica, Tribulus terrestis, brown sugar, tsampa dough; powders and butters based on: nutmeg, asafetida, back salt, black pepper, long pepper, ginger, cinnamon, pomegranate, cardamom, Terminalia chebula, Tinospora cordifolia, garlic

External therapies

Tibetan massage Kunye; horme (Mongolian moxa) and moxa on Lung points; compress with oils; mild enema with warm aged butter; steam bath using bone broth
Table 5: Healing methods for Lung imbalance

The above-mentioned methods are very effective, especially when used all together. Improper diet and lifestyle has to be addressed to reach a better result and prevent recurrence of the disease. Tibetan massage Kunye (bsku mnye) has deeply relaxing and settling down effect, especially due to application of warm oil on all body surface. Horme and moxa applied on the therapeutical points connected with Lung help rebalance this humor.

    Screen-Shot-2022-01-06-at-12.14.34-PM

 

Figure 1: Warming up Lung related points with Horme

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Figure 2: Heating the Lung points with moxa

There is a number of herbal formulas that can be applied. Many of them are based on eagle wood (Agar), like Agar 8, Agar 15, Agar 20.⁷ Among other formulas there are Srog ‘dzin 11, Sems bde, Dza ti 5, Arnag 6, or famous Bimala (Dzati nyishu yang zer), named after its founder, Vimalamitra (dri med bshes gnyen). This great master who lived in India in the 9th century ce prophesized that in future the Nying Lung disorder will be widely prevalent, people will be confused, emotionally unstable, thinking about thousands of things at the same time, and having problems concentrate on anything. He invented a formula that would calm down these symptoms.

If Bimala, or other herbal formulas for Nying Lung are not available, there is a simple recipe one can do at home. This is a tisane of the three substances: 100g of ginger, 100g of asafetida, 5g of salt (halitum violaceum). Mix all the ingredients and put a teaspoon of this compound in a glass of hot water, drink hot. It helps in case of insomnia, emotional ability, sadness, and depression. A pinch of nutmeg in warm milk before sleep can also help to balance Lung.

Spiritual healing

On top of the above-mentioned methods, in Tibetan medicine there is a fifth category of treatment, spiritual healing. Here belong various types of meditations, like mindfulness meditation, Empty Body meditation, Breathing meditations, Medicine Buddha meditation, Mantra Healing, and other. An interesting technique called Yukcho (dbyug dchos), coming from the terma tradition, is a stick massage that introduces a gentle vibration on the points of Lung, releasing its blockages (see figure 3).⁸
Another method to unblock the Lung, is Tibetan healing yoga Nejang (gnas byang). It is a medical part of Tsa Lung Trul Khor (rtsa rlung sprul ‘khor, yantra yoga), coming from the Kalachakra Tantra tradition. It uses the breath combined with body movements and self massage to purify the energy locations in the body thus using the anchor of the physical body to bring the Lung energy down. When the energy becomes balanced, then the mind can become happy (see figure 4).

⁷Jamgon Kongtrul Yonten Gyatso, Зинтиг – капли нектара: заметки для начинающих врачей, passim.
⁸Philippe Gonin, Yuk Cho – Traditional Tibetan Stick Therapy, passim.

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Figure 3: Yukcho – stick therapyScreen-Shot-2022-01-06-at-12.15.00-PM

Figure 4: The interconnections between body, energy and mind

The patient must consciously participate in the healing process. Without taking responsibility for your own health the results are much less clear. In Tibetan medicine, the patient gets a great support on the physical and energy levels, which makes it easier to work with the primary causes of disease
– mind ignorance. Eating warm, nutritious food, taking Tibetan herbs and applying Tibetan therapies helps mind relax and settle down, tame the wild horse of Lung. But in this busy world we have to consciously create time for rest and calm, learn how to relax, find time for friends and family.

Other advices that Tibetan doctors give to depressed patients are: breathe deeply and slowly, concentrate on the positive, find inner peace. Stop complaining, donʼt blame others for what happened to you, donʼt try to explain
everything to yourself, just let it be. Accept defeat, but donʼt cling to faults. Train mindfulness, be here and now. Train bodhisattva way of life, focusing on how to help others rather than on your own problems.

The ultimate aim of healing in Tibetan medicine is convergent with the aim of Buddhist spiritual practice – to realize that the nature of mind is timeless clear light, and all its contaminations, emotions, thoughts are only transient. By dissolving the ignorance about mindʼs nature one dissolves all the suffering, be it mental or physical. Combining the profound methods of Tibetan medicine with Buddhist meditation can thus bring lasting results in treatment of depression.


Bibliography
Depression, [www 01], 2012.
Gonin Philippe, Yuk Cho – Traditional Tibetan Stick Therapy, “The Journal of Traditional Tibetan Medicine” 5, IATTM 2013.
Jamgon Kongtrul Yonten Gyatso, Зинтиг – капли нектара: заметки для начинающих врачей, Orientalia, Moskva 2014.
Lépine Jean-Pierre, Briley Mike, The increasing burden of depression, “Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat.” 2011.
Dr Nida Chenagtsang, Sorig basics – Root tantra, Sorig Publications, 2013.
Dr Nida Chenagtsang, The Path to Rainbow Body – introduction to Yuthok Nyingtig, Sorig Press, 2014.
Dr Sonam Dolma, Nying Lung, TTMIC Innsbruck, 2013.
Yuthok Yonten Gonpo, The Root Tantra and Explanatory Tantra from the Four Tantras of Tibetan Medicine, Men-TseeKhang Pulication, Dharamsala 2008.
Internet sources utilized:
[www 01] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml
https://www.sorig.fr/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/PJAC-20152-2-Holecko_-1.pdf
Permission to re-post granted from the author on Jan.7, 2022. Photo by Michel Piccaya from Pexels

FOR MORE INFO:https://www.happyandhealthy.cz/en

Cauliflower and Leek Mashed “Potatoes”

My family absolutely loves creamy mashed potatoes with pretty much everything. However I’m tending toward a more low-carb., nutrient dense lifestyle and mashed potatoes don’t really cut it anymore. However, I discovered the best alternative. I was making cauliflower mashed that was a little bit bland, so with the addition of steamed leeks it adds more of an onion-y, spicy depth and kick to the mashed potatoes. They are a really flavorful and nutritive side dish, you will want to make often. Here, I’m using heavy whipping cream but you could substitute that for half-and-half or any unsweetened nut milk and I’m using organic salted butter but you could also substitute that for vegan butter. You could also add grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese if desired.

Needed: Food Processor or Blender

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head organic cauliflower
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1/4 cup​ heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh or dried herbs like: parsley, dill, chives or oregano for garnish

Cauliflower-Leek-Mashed-Potatoes

Directions:

  1. Boil water in a large a large stock pan with a pinch of salt.
  2. Wash the cauliflower and the leaks and pull off any outer leaves.
  3. Coarsely chopped the cauliflower into florets.
  4. Slice the two leeks up until the tops where it gets really course and discard the course tops.
  5. Boil for about 10 to 12 minutes until everything is very soft.
  6. Drain.
  7. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until creamy.
  8. Place into a serving bowl and top with a garnish.
  9. Serve warm and enjoy!

Cauliflower-Leek-Mashed-Potato

Cauliflower-Leek-Mashed-Potato

Cauliflower and Leek Mashed "Potatoes"

My family absolutely loves creamy mashed potatoes with pretty much everything. However I'm tending toward a more low-carb., nutrient dense lifestyle mashed potatoes don't really cut it anymore. However, I discovered the best alternative. I was making cauliflower mashed that was a little bit bland, so with the addition of steamed leeks it adds more of an onion-y, spicy depth and kick to the mashed potatoes. They are a really flavorful and nutritive side dish, you will want to make often. Here, I'm using heavy whipping cream but you could substitute that for half-and-half or any unsweetened nut milk and I'm using organic salted butter but you could also substitute that for vegan butter. You could also add grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese if desired.

Equipment

  • Food Processor or Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large head organic cauliflower
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1/4 cup​ heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh or dried parsley or oregano for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Boil water in a large a large stock pan with a pinch of salt.
  • Wash the cauliflower and the leaks and pull off any outer leaves.
  • Coarsely chopped the cauliflower into florets.
  • Slice the two leeks up until the tops where it gets really course and discard the course tops.
  • Boil for about 10 to 12 minutes until everything is very soft.
  • Drain.
  • Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until creamy.
  • Place into a serving bowl and top with a garnish.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Holiday Roasted Chestnuts- With Easy to Peel Skins

Serves 2.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years in New York City since I have family that lives close by. One of the treasures that I remember during the holidays is to buy steaming warm chestnuts from the street vendors on mitten-handed cold afternoons. They were always warm and perfectly cooked and you get a nice brown paper bag filled with steaming sweet holiday treats!

However, over the years I’ve tried to make them at home and follow the instructions by doing the traditional crisscross slice each on of them and roasting them at 425°F. However, they never quite came out as well as the New York City vendors which had more of like a steaming process, so I found the perfect home recipe. The trick is to make one simple slice that breaks through the skin on either side and then boil them first about 10 minutes, this softens the skin that pre-cooks them prior to roasting so you won’t get the fibrous hairy, barky skin sticking to the chestnut.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Chestnuts
  • 4 T. Olive oil and/or Vegan Butter
  • 1/2 t. salt/ to taste

chestnuts-roasted-directions

Directions:

  1. Fill a small sauce pan with water and bring to a boil.
  2. With a small pairing knife, make a diagonal slice through the skin on either side of each chestnut.
  3. Boil the chestnuts covered for about 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. Drain chestnuts and lay on a cookie sheet and mix in in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil or butter.
  6. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes the check for done-ness after 15.
  7. The chestnuts should expand and the skin slightly opens.
  8. The chestnuts are ready when you can squeeze the skin and they pop out easily and smoothly and have turned slightly golden yellow color and inside is not too dry, not raw and not too chalky.
  9. Add the final tablespoon of oil or butter in a little bit of salt to taste stir, let cool for 3-5 mins.
  10. Squeeze them on either side of the Chestnut to pop right out- ready to eat, perfectly cooked!

chestnuts-roasted

chestnuts-roasting

chestnuts-roasted

Roasted Chestnuts with Easy to Peel Skins

I've spent a lot of time over the years in New York City since I have family that lives close by. One of the treasures that I remember during the holidays is to buy steaming warm chestnuts from the street vendors on mitten-handed cold afternoons. They were always warm and perfectly cooked and you get a nice brown paper bag filled with steaming sweet holiday treats!

Ingredients
  

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Chestnuts
  • 4 T. Olive oil and or Vegan Butter
  • 1/2 t. salt/ to taste

Instructions
 

  • Fill a small sauce pan with water and bring to a boil.
  • With a small pairing knife, make a diagonal slice through the skin on either side of each chestnut.
  • Boil the chestnuts covered for about 10 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Drain chestnuts and lay on a cookie sheet and mix in in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil or butter.
  • Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes the check for done-ness after 15.
  • The chestnuts should expand and the skin slightly opens.
  • The chestnuts are ready when you can squeeze the skin and they pop out easily and smoothly and have turned slightly golden yellow color and inside is not too dry, not raw and not too chalky.
  • Add the final tablespoon of oil or butter in a little bit of salt to taste stir, let cool for 3-5 mins.
  • Squeeze them on either side of the Chestnut to pop right out- ready to eat, perfectly cooked!

Over the years, I’ve consulted and mentored with a few experts in the field of anxiety, alternative medicine and functional medicine. These two doctors that helped when I’ve had questions or intermittent bouts of anxiety and insomnia had positive, encouraging and alternative views about anxiety. They offered treatments that do not involve taking anti-anxiety medicine, antidepressants or any type of allopathic medicine.

As a health and wellness coach, I of course, cannot advise people to either take medicine or not, and please never discontinue your prescribed medicine without a doctor’s careful supervision. My personal choice is to work with the propensity to have anxiety in a holistic, whole-person way, and these are invaluable tools irrespective of your medication usage. Every small change helps; I suggest making just a few incremental changes when we are trying to change a hardwired habit or propensity. This list of 12 steps came as a summary and mind/body suggestions from one of my excellent Mind/Body Medical Doctors here in Boulder Colorado, and I personally have benefited from these suggestions and resources so wanted to share them with you:

sleep-soundly-womens

 

A New Way of Thinking About Anxiety

The Mind/Body doctor wanted to emphasize that anxiety and insomnia is a very common problem, and not a psychiatric disease. Anxiety, as far as he is concerned, is a normal brain responding in a very common way to experiences it has had. He said that it was very important to understand that we are not broken and we do not have a “disorder” that has to be “fixed”. He noted that people who suffer with this, have some brain circuits that developed outside of our conscious awareness, and we can work towards self healing.

He states: “I think we do ourselves a grave disservice when we call anxiety a “disorder”. It is a physiologic condition (not a psychiatric “illness”) characterized by increased adrenaline, cortisol, histamine and other inflammatory chemicals. We may be having these symptoms more frequently than we would like, but this is not a disorder or a disease. Diabetes and appendicitis are disorders/diseases and can be treated medically, but anxiety is a condition that has been shared by almost everyone on the planet, so let’s not call it a disorder. Now that we understand how your own brain (autonomic nervous system) is causing your symptoms, we can take some steps to change the patterns your brain is running.” Bradley D Fanestil, MD.

Suggestions for Education and Treatment

1. Watch this TED Talk by Johann Hari. His book has way more great information and he usually recommends that EVERYONE with anxiety or depression read his book called “Lost Connections”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB5IX-np5fE&t=873s From his TED Talk: “If you’re depressed, if you’re anxious, you’re not weak, you’re not crazy, you’re not in the main a machine with broken parts. You’re a human being with unmet needs.”

2. Watch this TEDx Talk by Tim Box about anxiety. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZidGozDhOjg

3. Or this TED Talk by Kelly McGonagle about stress. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGyVTAoXEU&t=360s

4. Consider reading “Hope and Help for Your Nerves” by Claire Weekes MD

5. Read this blog by David Hanscom MD (author of “Back in Control: a surgeon’s roadmap out of chronic pain“. Also, internet and podcasts.

*If we have issues with anger (not everyone does), here is a podcast where David Hanscom is interviewed about anxiety and anger: https://vidalspeaks.com/podcasts/emotional-healing/dr-david-hanscom-anger-and-forgiveness-episode-84/

6. We might talk more about the power of mindfulness and meditation in the future. There is a LOT of scientific evidence that brain chemistry, brain circuitry and even brain VOLUME changes with mindfulness practices.

Active Mini-Meditation

For now, he recommended that we start doing an “active mini-meditation” – for just 3 seconds – multiple times per day:

A. Drop your shoulders.

B. Do a three second “active mini-meditation”, drop your shoulders and then take one slow deep breath in and out through the nose.

C. Repeat throughout he day, when needed.

7. If we have been told we have ADD or ADHD, consider reading  Scattered Minds by Gabor Mate.

8. Watch this 4 minute Gabor Mate video clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3bynimi8HQ

9. Watch this TED Talk by Phil Borges, director of the movie “Crazywise”-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_KSYu1Tqx8

10. Try expressive writing – ok to not continue with it if we do not perceive any benefit, but just try it for 2-3 days and see if we notice any less tension in your system or any other benefits. After that, we can decide if it is something we want to continue regularly or not at all or just on certain days.

11. Commit to engaging with the idea that we can take control over our own nervous system.

Mind Body Medicine is a form of Self-Care, and requires for us to do some work.

Our symptoms are in no way our fault. Instead they emanate from neural circuits in the brain that began outside of our conscious awareness. But even so, there are ways to rewire these neural circuits so that we can feel better. Medications and procedures might temporarily blunt symptoms, but only YOU can change the neural pathways that your brain is running, so he insists that we start educating ourselves.

12. Education, education, education. Look at the suggested videos, start reading books. We should learn as much as we can about new neuroscience in order to understand how our subconscious brain (our Autonomic Nervous System) is running alarm signals and to start believing that we can get control over it, and heal completely.

Working with these alternative doctors and both Mind/Body and Functional Medicine, has been invaluable to me over the years as part of my healing process. The doctor that I went to, Bradley D Fanestil, MD. was actually covered by insurance, as a lot of policies are now honoring alternative medicine like chiropractic, acupuncture, preventative medicine, wellness medicine and even Reiki healing. Dr. Fanesil, met with me for almost two hours awhile back and he was so excited about his craft and his understanding of the bio-mechanics of anxiety. He passionately wants to impart to all of us, how these issues are hardwired into our autonomic nervous system and, according to him, are not considered a mental illness. Anxiety and insomnia are natural, common and normal responses to trauma, stress, adrenal fatigue and certain life experiences. With a few small mindfulness techniques, education and self care, over time, he believes that we could heal and restore our systems completely.

 

Photo by Los Muertos Crew from Pexels

East meets west, a modern “Cleansing Panchakarma” detox retreat! Traditional Indian Ayurvedic cleanses offer a holistic approach to taking time off for oneself to detox, cleanse and restore body and mind. John Douillard, a noted Ayurvedic Doctor, says that Panchakarma means literally to “punch your karma,” or make a bold step toward stopping unhealthy patterns in body and mind that would otherwise give way to disease. How can we function well if we are over-stressed and overworked and… overweight? We need regular self care, tune up time.

Create a Sacred Space

Life these days is traumatic, period, and we don’t generally process stress, grief and loss well in our culture. Preferably it’s best to undertake this mini-program on a weekend three day vacation so that you could escape your daily grind. Whether you have family life, or rent a cabin in the forest, try to find a spot where you can observe some silence, at least while the family is away or create a quiet retreat room in your house. I try to do one of these every month. It’s recommended to keep away from excess stimulation, media, cell phones and invest your time resting, walking in nature, reading light material, as well as practicing gentle yoga and meditation.

This mini-retreat can be used for healing and weight loss as well. The Indian curry dhal-bat diet called kitchari that’s traditionally used for three meals however, isn’t great for westerners exclusively, as it consists mostly of mung beans and rice. Those are generally considered high carb, survival foods. In the west, we have a different constitution and time and I found simple, high protein foods that are much more appropriate to add to the cleanse for weight loss. However, you will make a big pot of this kitchari, it is very easy to digest and after day 1 you will notice the digestive cleaning process.

Healing Body, Mind and Heart

I wanted to offer something as simple as possible that could go for all three different doshas or body types. This diet is focusing on Kapha body types, ones with slower metabolism, and with some extra weight. I personally have found that a hybrid of the Indian system and the keto work well for a three day personal retreat and if you like you can extend it to six days or nine days, however long you have. This could be done on a weekend or just taking a few personal days off to be alone in the comfort and quiet to do in your own home. Adjust your own portions, listen and your body will tell you how much or little it needs.

This retreat can release unresolved emotions stored dormant in our mind and heavy connective tissue. To cope, avoid the urge to re-suppress anything and use exercise and meditation to soothe your heart and soul. Walk, laugh, cry, allow whatever needs a voice to be released. My teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche said “if you let the mind come out, it will.” Be gentle with yourself and your experience, joys comes often after the purging of tears and fears, likewise health comes after the purging of toxins.

Simplifying your diet allows your body to divert it’s energies to mobilizing and releasing accumulated toxins. According to Ayurveda, a few foods are easier to digest than others and therefore are preferred whenever you undertake a detoxification. Here is my hybrid, holistic “recipe” for Panchakarma:

Before you begin:

  • Schedule specific dates for when and how long the cleanse will be, like a Friday am until Sunday pm.
  • Prepare to eat a simple nutritive breakfast and two meals of cleansing Kitchari only.
  • Remove excess caffeine (morning ok), all tobacco, alcohol, or other substances from the daily regimen.
  • Drink a detoxifying herbal tea throughout this time and 8-10 glasses of water.
  • Evening Oil Massage and warm lymphatic massage brush bath every day during the cleanse.
  • Quiet, alone time for yourself during the cleanse.
  • At least 12 minutes each, of yoga, meditation and cardio every day.

Morning Panchakarma

1. 12 minutes of Yoga, sun salutations, outside is best, do whatever flow you are used to.

2. Keto creamer organic coffee or Kapha keto creamer chai tea with ginger and cinnamon, and a pinch of clove.
For the keto creamer, I add 1 tbs grass-fed whey power, stirred together with almond milk add stevia if needed.

3. 1/2c organic yogurt and 1/2 c raspberry, blackberries, and blueberries, or apples and pears
or 1/2c organic cottage cheese and 1/2c sliced red peppers and cucumbers (if dairy free, soy yogurt can be substituted)

4. Morning after breakfast meditation for at least 12 minutes, you can recite a calming mantra or affirmation.

5. Mid Morning, drink a quick shot of 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar

kitchari-102882436_horiz-1040x430-1

Courtesy of: https://www.marthastewart.com/1165773/kitchari

Afternoon Panchakarma

Since your digestion is strongest when the sun is brightest, it’s best to eat your biggest meal at noon, also have a little lighter dinner.

 

Recipe for Kitchari

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked split red lentils
1 cup uncooked organic white basmati rice (rinse with water until water runs clear)
1 tablespoon of ghee (can substitute olive oil)

I used 4 tbs of quality bulk curry powder or you can use:
[2 tbs turmeric and 1 tbs fresh grated ginger root or 1 teaspoon ginger
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon per black mustard seeds, cumin, and garlic powder
Optional: ½ teaspoon each coriander powder, fennel, and fenugreek seeds]

6 cups water
½ teaspoon salt (rock salt or sour pink salt is best)
Sliced carrots, and or chopped spinach, chard, or beet greens
Pan fried, cubed tofu.

Instructions:

Rinse the mung beans till the water runs clear. I soak mine overnight or a for a few hours before cooking. Bring beans to a boil 6 water cups
Cook beans and rice together until until become soft (about 30 to forty minutes).
The the beans and rice are cooked, I heat up 2T ghee or olive oil in a fry pan and cook the spices lightly, and then add them to beans and rice.
Add vegetables and tofu, cilantro leaves as a garnish just before serving, if desired. Add salt to taste.

1. 2 c. kitchari with vegetables and tofu.

2. Lemon or mint water room temp or warm, 8-10 glasses per day, ginger or mint tea or tea and dairy free chai can be alternated.

3. Cardio walk or workout interval is best for at least 12 minutes.

4. Listen to healing music, read, light spiritual or poetic reading, long walks outside, 5 element nature bathing.

Early Evening Panchakarma

1. Eat 2 cups of ready made kitchari.

2. Add 2 teaspoons of oil- flax, ghee, olive or coconut.

3. Early evening sunset walk, celebrate each night and try to see the magical sunset to seal the day.

4. Massage your body for 15 to 20 minutes with 8 oz of lightly pan warmed organic sesame or coconut oil, from head to toe, hair too! The coconut I warm in my hands.

5. I then do my evening meditation for 12 minutes with a towel under me, to let my skin absorb the oil, then take a shower or bath. Scrub your body with natural or Dr. Bronner’s soap and use a dry brush over whole body toward your heart as this provides a lymphatic massage, but let some oil to stay on the skin before bed. You can do the oil and bath in the afternoon instead as well.

6. Get at least 7-8 hours of good, nourishing, self care sleep.

 

Basic Retreat Shopping List:

✓Dry Wooden Brush

✓ 2 Jars Raw, unfiltered organic Coconut Oil

✓1 lb. Basmati Rice

✓1 lb. Red Lentils

✓Bunch fresh spinach, carrots

✓1 block organic Tofu

✓Large bag of bulk Curry Powder

✓1 large container of Organic Yogurt

✓Berries, Pears and or/ Apples

✓1 small carton almond milk or sugar free soy creamer

✓Grass fed whey powder

✓Mint or ginger tea

✓Fresh lemons or lemon juice bottle

✓Coffee or black tea (mornings only, as desired with almond milk)

Download Recipe Here

Check with your doctor before beginning any diet, exercise or weight loss plan, and not recommended if pregnant or lactating. This diet is not intended to diagnose, cure any disease, this is what I personally have found, heals me… Try it if it’s safe for you, and please let us know how it worked for you!

Here’s to your new, yogic and healed self!
Dawn Boiani
Owner

Originally Published on: Jun 24, 2019 on Sakura Designs

I am grateful to live part time in southern Colorado in a small, remote spiritual community in the Sangre De Criso Mountains called Crestone. We have a lot of varying spiritual centers here, about 34, and a number of them are Tibetan Buddhist. For many years my Bhutanese friend Tsering and his family ran a local restaurant called the Desert Sage that sadly just closed this month. We will miss the restaurant and his family but in celebration of the many treasured years, I tried to make our very favorite stir fry dish at home- a vegan version of Tibetan Shapta. Ours came out well using vegan Be’f tips, but it is… spicy and warms you from the inside!

Vegan Tibetan Shapta Recipe

Shabda or Shapta is a traditional Tibetan dish of stir-fried meat and vegetables with a little bit of chili and herbs.

tibetan-shapta

Ingredients:

• 1 tsp. powered ginger or 1 T. fresh chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
• 6 chopped crimini mushrooms
• 1 tomato chopped
• 8 T. organic tomato sauce
• 1 sliced organic zucchini
• 1 small head of broccoli florets, separated
• 1 organic red pepper chopped
• 9 oz. vegan be’f tips sliced
• 4 T. soy sauce
• 1 large organic onion chopped
• 1 tsp. garam masala (optional), 1/2 cup peanuts(optional), 1 tsp. honey to taste (optional)
• 6 dried red chilies cut in half
• 6 T. olive oil
• 1 cup vegetable stock, from vegetable bullion is fine
• 1/2 cup chopped green onions
• 1 cup cooked basmati rice, with salt, olive oil and vegan butter to taste

Instructions:

1. Slice the be’f and marinate in a bowl with soy sauce and ginger.
2. Make rice, and season with salt, olive oil and vegan butter to taste.
3. Heat 4T. of the olive oil on med. high heat, and saute garlic, ginger and onions in a large skillet or wok.
4. Add hot peppers, tomato sauce and spices.
5. Add a bit more oil and lightly fry vegan beef tips with soy on the other side of the skillet then add broccoli, cook on low.
6. In a separate frying pan add oil and pan fry the mushrooms and zucchini.
7. Add all items to main skillet, add vegetable stock.
8. Place a lid on the skillet, stir and simmer on medium heat.
9. When ready to serve, mix in green onions and use some on the top for garnish.
10. Serve with warm basmati rice!

Serves 4.

 

tibetan-stir-frys

tibetan-shap-ta

Vegan Be’f Tips

 

tibetan-stir-fry

 

tibetan-stir-fry

Vegan Tibetan Shapta Recipe

Shabda or Shapta is a traditional Tibetan dish of stir-fried meat and vegetables with a little bit of chili and herbs.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tsp. powered ginger or 1 T. fresh chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 6 chopped crimini mushrooms
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 8 T. organic tomato sauce
  • 1 sliced organic zucchini
  • 1 small head of broccoli florets separated
  • 1 organic red pepper chopped
  • 9 oz. vegan be'f tips sliced
  • 4 T. soy sauce
  • 1 large organic onion chopped
  • 1 tsp. garam masala optional, 1/2 cup peanuts(optional), 1 tsp. honey to taste (optional)
  • 6 dried red chilies cut in half
  • 6 T. olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable stock from vegetable bullion is fine
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup cooked basmati rice with salt, olive oil and vegan butter to taste

Instructions
 

  • Slice the be'f and marinate in a bowl with soy sauce and ginger.
  • Make rice, and season with salt olive oil and vegan butter to taste.
  • Heat 4T. of the olive oil, and saute garlic, ginger and onions in a large skillet or wok.
  • Add hot pepper, tomato sauce and spices.
  • Add a bit more oil and lightly fried vegan beef tips on the other side of the skillet then add broccoli.
  • In a separate frying pan add oil and pan fry the mushrooms and zucchini.
  • Add all items to main skillet, add vegetable stock.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, stir and simmer on medium heat.
  • When ready to serve, mix in green onions and use some on the top for garnish.
  • Serve with warm basmati rice!

chai pumpkin bread

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread- Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free

Honestly, this fall pumpkin bread recipe is incredibly satisfying even without there being any wheat flour, dairy or sugar. It’s perfectly sweet and moist and your whole kitchen fills up with the warmth of harvest baking. My daughter who is a precocious teen, doesn’t really like much of what I cook because it’s generally on the “healthy” side- says “mom your bread slaps.” I suspect that means said she liked it because she asked for a few pieces. Have this warm bread standalone or with some vegan butter slathered on it.

Ingredients:

1 stick vegan butter, softened
1 T. coconut oil
1 cup Truvia/ Stevia, Xylitol or Monkfruit equivalent
2 organic eggs
1 (15-ounce) can organic pumpkin puree
2 cups gluten-free rice based flour (not almond flour exclusively)
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cardamom and more to top
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. raw honey and 1 tsp.coconut oil to baste on top when finished

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Cream the vegan butter, coconut oil and sugar substitute together.
Crack eggs and add to pumpkin and vanilla and hand beat, about 20 strokes.
In another bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, spice blend, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the creamed ones and blend.
Well grease a 9×5-inch bread pan. Pour in the batter, it should look similar to peanut butter in texture, thick.
Bake for about 1 hour and 1/2 at high altitude.
Glaze with 1 T. honey and coconut oil and cardamom while still warm.
Let cool before serving.

IMG 5618

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread- Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free

Honestly, this fall pumpkin bread recipe is incredibly satisfying even without there being any wheat flour dairy or sugar. It's perfectly sweet and moist and your whole kitchen fills up with the warmth of harvest baking. My daughter who is a precocious teen, doesn't really like much of what I cook because it's generally on the "healthy" side- says "mom your bread slaps." I suspect that means said she liked it because she asked for a few pieces. Have this bread standalone or with some vegan butter slathered on it.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 stick vegan butter softened
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 1 cup Truvia/ Stevia or Xylitol or Monkfruit equivalent
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups gluten-free rice based flour not almond flour exclusively
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom and more to top
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. raw honey and 1 tsp.coconut oil to baste on top when finished

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Cream the vegan butter, coconut oil and sugar substitute together.
  • Crack eggs and add to pumpkin and vanilla and hand beat, about 20 strokes.
  • In another bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, spice blend, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed ones and blend.
  • Well grease a 9×5-inch bread pan. Pour in the batter, it should look similar to peanut butter in texture, thick.
  • Bake for about 1 hour and 1/2 at high altitude.
  • Glaze with 1 T. honey and coconut oil and cardamom while still warm.
  • Let cool before serving.

pumpkin seed smoothie

I have a new, healthy and nutrient-dense addiction. I must confess that I regularly indulge in this newfound recipe that happens to be in celebration of our October harvest month where we have pumpkins and pumpkin seeds galore! It is a cardamom, pumpkin seed milk that uses no sugar; all of the sweetness is plentifully supplied by the natural sugars from pitted dates. This makes about 4 to 5 servings and I keep the remainder covered in the blender pitcher and then give it a quick blend right before I drink it as the pumpkin seeds can settle a bit as they tend to be heavier and separate. One glass of this is a meal in itself and pumpkin seeds have a mind boggling amount of health benefits to your heart, digestion, they help as an anti-parasitic and for cancer prevention. They are loaded with with Omega 6 oils- this chai-spicy smoothie is so amazing that I’m sure that you too will become a pumpkin cardamom milk addict! Cheers and warmest fall wishes to everyone!

Ingredients:

5 Cups of Fresh Water

1 Cup Dry, Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds

6 Pitted Dates

1 tsp. Cardamom Powder

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until smooth.

 

Repost from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8.


The Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are one of the most commonly consumed types of seeds, and are good sources of phosphorus, monounsaturated fats and omega-6 fats.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of pumpkin seeds contains (37):

  • Calories: 151
  • Fiber: 1.7 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 6 grams
  • Manganese: 42% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI

Pumpkin seeds are also good sources of phytosterols, which are plant compounds that may help lower blood cholesterol (38Trusted Source).

These seeds have been reported to have a number of health benefits, likely due to their wide range of nutrients.

One observational study of more than 8,000 people found that those who had a higher intake of pumpkin and sunflower seeds had a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer (39Trusted Source).

Another study in children found that pumpkin seeds may help lower the risk of bladder stones by reducing the amount of calcium in urine (40Trusted Source).

Bladder stones are similar to kidney stones. They’re formed when certain minerals crystalize inside the bladder, which leads to abdominal discomfort.

A couple of studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil can improve symptoms of prostate and urinary disorders (41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).

These studies also showed that pumpkin seed oil may reduce symptoms of overactive bladder and improve quality of life for men with enlarged prostates.

A study of postmenopausal women also found that pumpkin seed oil may help reduce blood pressure, increase “good” HDL cholesterol and improve menopause symptoms (43Trusted Source).

Summary: Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil are good sources of monounsaturated and omega-6 fats, and may help improve heart health and symptoms of urinary disorders.

nutrivive pumpkin milk

IMG 4949

Pumpkin Seed Cardamom Milk

I have a new healthy and nutrient-dense addiction. I must confess that I regularly indulge in this newfound recipe that happens to be in celebration of our harvest month where we have pumpkins and pumpkin seeds galore! It is a cardamom, pumpkin seed milk that uses no sugar, all of the sweetness is plentifully supplied by the natural sugars from pitted dates. This makes about 4 to 5 servings and I keep the remainder covered in the blender pitcher and then give it a quick blend right before I drink it as the pumpkin seeds can settle a bit as they tend to be heavier and separate. One glass of this is a meal in itself and pumpkin seeds have a mind boggling amount of health benefits to your heart, digestion, they help as an anti-parasitic and for cancer prevention. They are loaded with with Omega 6 oils- this chai-spicy smoothie is so amazing that I'm sure that you too will become a pumpkin cardamom milk addict! Cheers and warmest fall wishes to everyone!

Ingredients
  

  • 5 Cups of Fresh Water
  • 1 Cup Dry Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds
  • 6 Pitted Dates
  • 1 tsp. Cardamom Powder

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until smooth.

Notes

This makes about 4 to 5 servings and I keep the remainder covered in the blender pitcher and then give it a quick blend right before I drink it as the pumpkin seeds can settle a bit as they tend to be heavier and separate.

 

Enliven and preserve your eternal inner goddess! I lived for quite a few years over in Nepal and India, and the women of all ages there have long, dark, gorgeous, healthy hair. They didn’t use hair dyes as much as they like to use natural plant based henna- the stuff of belly dancers and burgeoning goddesses!

I found one that’s already ready to go from the company called Lush which makes natural, mostly packaging free cosmetics that I adore and often try to reproduce at home. Here they sell a ready-made block of nutritive henna with cocoa butter and coffee. This does not chemically damage your hair. Henna can be a bit drying, and it’s a long-lasting color deposit. It can not lift your existing color, but pretty good for tinting any stray, pesky greys (not that any of my readers or I have any greys of course!)

lush henna

It is pretty simple to use. Each block offers 6 coloring squares, use 1 for each coloring.

Tools:

You will need a bowl, spoon, boiling water, gloves and a plastic head wrap.

Directions:

Use a knife and cut one square.

Boil about 1 cup of water and place henna brick in a bowl.

I add 1 T of hair oil to add more moisture.

Cover the henna with hot water and stir with a spoon until it forms a thick cake like batter. Let cool.

Then, with a gloved hand spread henna onto hair, henna is great for root touchups!

Next, place a cap on and leave henna for two hours.

Then rinse all henna out with gloved hand in warm water.

Use a light sulfate free shampoo and then condition. Rinse. Style as usual.

 

 

Every week I use color depositing conditioners to keep hair toned and… lush!

Remember: Do not use home or salon color over hair that has been hennaed, as there can be damage.

For more info: https://www.lushusa.com/stories/article_how-to-use-henna-hair-dye.html

angles on bare skin

The natural almond and lavender soap-free facial cleanser is one of the best selling products at Lush. It can be quite costly though, it’s about $16 for a small 3.5oz. jar and you can easily make a similar replica at home yourself for a fraction of the cost. Once you have the ingredients you can make it again and again with the same supplies and I don’t recommend doubling the ingredients because this makes enough for about one to three months.

It’s an all natural almond based gentle exfoliant cleanser, that has clay, vegetable glycerin and essential oils. You can also use it as a detoxifying mask and leave it on to pull out toxins for about 10 minutes and let it dry then wash office you would any other clay mask. The way that this is mostly used is that you take a small pea sized amount your hands and add some warm water and press into your palm to form an almond milk-like cleanser, that can be used every day, it’s like an edible almond treat for your skin!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CTsm4P5vw05/

How to Make One Month’s Supply

This replica recipe my approximation and very similar to Angels on Bare Skin™
Natural Almond Facial Cleanser Recipe

lush cleanser

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of ground raw, Organic Almonds, ground semi fine, retaining some texture

3 T. of Bentonite or Kaolin Clay

1 T. Vegetable Glycerin

1 T. Honey

1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 tsp. Rose Water

1T. Lavender Flowers or Purple Russian Sage Flowers Dried

6 drops of Lavender Essential Oil

6 drops of Rose Essential Oil

2 T. water (+/-)

Directions:

Place all ingredients except water in a bowl and mix well.

Add water and mix with a spoon into a thick, dry paste.

Roll into a ball, and form a tube shape.

Roll formed tube into dried flowers.

Store in an airtight covered container, to prevent mold, or refrigerate if you live in a warmer climate.

Use a pea sized amount with water to clean face, daily, rinse.

 

angels on bare skin diy

Lush's Angels on Bare Skin Replica DIY Natural Almond Facial Cleanser Recipe

The natural almond and lavender soap-free facial cleanser is one of the best selling products at Lush. It can be quite costly though it's about $16 for a small jar and you can easily make a similar replica at home yourself for a fraction of the cost. Once you have the ingredients you can make it again and again with the same supplies and I don't recommend doubling the ingredients because this makes enough for about one to three months.It's an all natural almond based gentle exfoliant cleanser, that has clay, vegetable glycerin and essential oils. You can also use it as a detoxifying mask and leave it on to pull out toxins for about 10 minutes and let it dry then wash off as you would any other clay mask. The way that this is mostly used is that you take a small pea sized amount your hands and add some warm water and press into your palm to form an almond milk-like cleanser, that can be used every day, it's like an edible almond treat for your skin!

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup of ground raw Organic Almonds, ground semi fine, retaining some texture
  • 3 T. of Bentonite or Kaolin Clay
  • 1 T. Vegetable Glycerin
  • 1/4 tsp. Rose Water
  • 1 T. Lavender Flowers or Purple Russian Sage Flowers Dried
  • 1 T. honey
  • 6 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
  • 6 drops of Rose Essential Oil
  • 2 T. water +/-

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients except water in a bowl and mix well.
  • Add water and mix with a spoon into a thick, dry paste.
  • Roll into a ball, and form a tube shape.
  • Roll formed tube into dried flowers.
  • Store in a covered container.
  • Use a pea sized amount with water to clean face, daily, rinse.

Tsoknyi Rinpoche

“Advice on the Path”

Teachings given at Swyambunath, Katmandu, May 2006 This is an advanced teaching for tantric practitioners, but may benefit anyone who experiences stress, anxiety or insomnia. Permission to repost on FemTechOnline.com given by Rinpoche on Sept. 3, 2021 May it be of benefit.

Day 1

Good morning, I would like to begin the teaching with a short meditation. Then you can ask some questions. But first, please bring your “lung” down, below the navel.

I have been teaching Westerners for about 15 years. In the beginning I didn’t realize that Westerners have so much “lung”. “Lung” and clarity are connected, the clarity-mind. Tibetans in the east don’t have so much clarity; so that doesn’t bring up so much “lung”. “Lung” means speed, wind, restless energy in your body. Between the gross body and the mental, there is the subtle body. It is connected with “tsa”, “lung”, and “tigle”. The lung’s main place is below the navel. But because of lifestyle circumstances, subject and object, with the fear and wanting to accomplish so much within a short time, all your attention goes out through the five senses, just flies outside and lands on the five objects and then there is glue there, strong glue. You glue onto the objects and then there is a mixture of glue with hope and fear. And that comes back to you as lung. Then you have this buzzzzzzzzz.

When you stay in New York City, there is buzzzz, speed-buzz. Although you think “I have no job, but I have plenty of money, my relationship is good”, but New York City’s blessing is buzzzzz, you feel you must do something! That is also connected with the fear. So we have this I think. I call it “fear of existence”. And that creates some kind of speed, restlessness and then worse, it becomes anxiety. I think that is the major disease in this speedy world, and it needs to be brought down. If you don’t bring it down – even if you practice meditation, then it becomes like the car-engine, without going. Just wheeee ! You are not going anywhere! So you sit there with this speed and you chant mantras, and it becomes worse. You try to meditate, but it becomes worse…I think the mind, needs to connect with the body, the subtle body. And then find this lung and breath it down. There is traditionally a technique called jamlung that might help. If not, just mentally find that restless energy in your body. Not in the mind. Of course the mind and the body are connected but sometimes the lung is not connected with the mind. It just becomes a physical buzz. And that is also sometimes connected with tightness. So find that and bring it down.

This is becoming your weak point and ego tries to own that. So ego, the speed, the fear, all becomes one lump. And then it becomes very tight, tight inside. And it becomes your life-program. You always live with that, no matter what you are doing. Even when you are talking, listening, reading, even when you are in an airplane, there is some tightness there. That tightness is actually connected with the wind.

We have five different winds. One is called upper-going wind and that wind is supposed to stay below the navel. So it goes up and connects with the nerves and then becomes locked up. Then it gives you muscle-problems and creates a lot of emotions at the wrong time, in the wrong place. When this wind goes up, it becomes very emotional. It’s like a bottle of mineral water – half is water, half is air. So your head is like half is the brain and half is like open air. Your head feels so big… That is wind, which went up in the head. And then the face becomes red, eyes becomes burning, then agitation. All this is the subtle body’s problem. Of course it is created by the mind. But once it becomes physical, although mentally you think, “Oh, no problem, I am fine”, this problem remains in your subtle body. So basically you need to bring it down.

On Loving Kindness

Loving kindness, compassion, devotion and feelings are very good for bringing this lung down. If you do it authentically, it gives another kind of buzz – devotion-buzz: “Om mani peme hung, om mani peme hung”… It’s like listening to good music. So this blessing settles the lung down. Clarity will not necessarily bring the lung down. But if you do very good rigpa or Mahamudra-practice, free from any clinging, then there is nothing that can get hooked. So the stress or restless lung just drops. But sometimes there is an undercurrent of some ego-clinging. Although you think your clarity is up here, deep down you are still holding something on the view. So there is one thread, subtle thread…

When lung is up here, then your lifestyle is like that of a teenager:” What to do – new boyfriend – new girlfriend?”…. So hope and fear brings lung up all the time. Then when you sleep, it goes down. In the morning when you wake up – zoom – up again! Because the lung already knows how to go up. You already made a habitual pattern in your physical system. As soon as you grasp, this lung comes up. I have had this experience because I did one project and then this lung came up. I worked 15 years with Drukpa Kagyu-book project. So that was very tough. But then I developed a method to bring the lung down.

Bringing the Lung Down

There is no way without going through the mind. Mindfulness on the mind and then sort of scanning to find this speedy lung and then mind, speedy lung, again connect. My example is: if you have children and if the children stay in the childrens’ room, then there is no problem. But if the children come into the shrine-room, then there is a problem. Is it the children-problem or the location-problem? It is the location-problem, not the children problem. So lung actually is no problem, we need that lung. But if it goes in the wrong location, then it makes problem.

The best way to bring down lung is rigpa, but rigpa is sometimes too open, too much clarity, it’s easy to be distracted. So you need some focus, subtle focus. So mind, mindfulness connected with the mind and mind slowly scans down the lung, with the help of external breathing. There is a technique where you can hold your restless lung down and then also smile. If you can do that, then it’s very good. I think H.H. Dalai Lama is always smiling, but I don’t see any lung in his face. He is a always clear, not cloudy, not burned, red, watery eye. His eyes are always bright. Very engaging but I think he knows how to bring his lung down. Some lamas because of their lifestyle, like H.H. Khentse Rinpoche always sat like a mountain. So his lung was like a solid rock and then he engaged within that. H.H. Dalai Lama – always engaging – that kind of style is easy to bring lung up. But being motionless like Nyoshul Khen or Khentse Rinpoche, that doesn’t create so much lung. But our modern lifestyle creates too much lung. So bring it down.

When you have too much lung, you have almost two personalities. It is like a big screen CNN showing something and then below there is a message-wave. But it doesn’t connect. One is talking about Mr. Bush, an other is taking about the Share Market in Taiwan. So you have this double personality. When you have lung and you are engaging with something, the subtle, undercurrent is talking about something different. Then you are really tight. That’s a sign of lung or non-focus. So fully synchronize, focus on your body, bring lung down and then rest in Shamata without support, Mahamudra, Dzogchen or do visualization. Then everything becomes very good, because of clarity, there is full potential. Otherwise it brings up a lot of cloudiness and extra emotions. The whole point is you need to have guts. I think a lot of people have no guts. They become hollow, easy to scare, almost like panic will come. So when there are no guts, you become very emotional, very cloudy. This is the problem. So bring lung down. Make very solid guts here and then this becomes clear, and the emotions are not upside-down. The mind is pure clarity. Based on that structure you have to practice Buddhism. It is not even Buddhism yet; just the foundation.

When you bring lung down, you should not feel dull. If there is dullness, that means your lung and also your mental cognition is down here. Then it becomes stupid meditation. So be sure…Between the Dzogchen and Vipassana we have this problem. Dzogchen is trying to be very clear, clarity went down here and this becomes numb. Vipassana tries to work here but in the end mind and mental cognition also gets absorbed into this stillness. So there is a middle way. Just keep your body completely relaxed. Rest lung in its own place and keep mind totally free from any concepts, any method or technique. Just freely rest, then lung doesn’t come after the clarity. When the mind is active, normally the lung also becomes active, like tail. So we don’t need the lung: “You stay here, this is your place (below the navel)”. So you keep it there. Then the active clarity, openness will be very, very useful I think.

Clever People

A lot of people who have lung, are usually clever people. They are very active. So because of their active clarity, their emotional life becomes upside down. Anytime I give Dzogchen or nature of mind-teaching, in the retreat they practice very well. Then when they are out of the retreat, of course they have lung-problem. Then they take all the other methods trying to bring the lung down. They try to do yoga, they do Vipassana, and they do breathing and all kinds of scanning. So during the whole year they try to focus on their physical comfort. But you can maintain physical comfort mainly by bringing the lung down. With this scanning, with this gentle vase breathing, if you do it well, it will stay. It can save a lot of time. And when you hold that, even when you go to the office, you will not suffer from restlessness. Otherwise if you stay in three-year-retreat and then you come out – a bit crazy, because the lung went up. So the challenge is that the raw material of lung sits here, below the navel and the heart is open. Mind, nature of mind, the cognition becomes clear. Then I think it can make a very good basic practitioner.

So now ask questions: what is the most difficult area in your life, or the most difficult when you practice meditation. (Three western monks arrive to the teaching) Oh, three “Nepalese” came! One hour late! So these three monks do not have any lung-problems..! So can we discuss what is the most problematic area in your general life? Maybe there is some advice from the Buddhist path. Or when you come onto the meditation path, maybe you have some difficulties. Or when coming to the Vajrayana, or to Mahamudra or, Dzogchen. So what is the most difficult practice of your life? Based on that then we can discuss. Otherwise you have heard thousands of teachings already, so it becomes just another technique.

STUDENT: Rinpoche, in dealing with the emotions I have heard for so many years that the different yanas have different approaches. And in the Vajrayana it always says we take the emotions as the path. In Jamgong Kongtul’s “Creation and Completion” text he mentions that when we have a particular emotion, we should visualize ourselves in the form of the deity. But honestly I don’t know how to apply that or the whole idea of taking the emotions as the path…

RINPOCHE: I think you have to have a certain attitude first. An attitude towards the emotions. Not as an enemy, not as abandoning them. And then sort of bring it in. But there is a trick. Don’t truly follow them but bring them in. It is a little bit like the Aikido method – you go with it and then kick it out. At the end you have to kick out the emotion but not bang it. So first you welcome the emotion and then it becomes part of you and it becomes a little bit relaxed. Then you apply the method so it is taken as the path. The emotion and you are going in the same direction at first. Then slowly you say bye, bye.

Within the emotions there are five poisons. Within the five poisons, there is one predominant element – the ego. You have to abandon that, no matter what. Remove ego and the five poisons become transformed. I think that is the best way. When you are joining with the emotion, it really transforms the ego, and it freaks out. Ego is very happy when you are challenging it, because ego then becomes important, and is holding onto the method, – object and method – so ego becomes very spiritual, very holy. But underneath is the same root, same wire…

When the emotion comes, we are sort of cheating the ego: “Ok, I am also emotion, I don’t mind, emotion is good, actually I follow it”. So the ego freaks out, and doesn’t know what to do. And from there you go out through the nature of mind. First welcome, transform a little bit and then look in. When the ego doesn’t know what to do, recognize rigpa. Then rest. To recognize rigpa at the beginning is sometimes difficult.

STUDENT: is it better to live with the emotions for a while rather than acting upon them?

RINPOCHE: Emotions come from your investment, from the alaya, habitual pattern stored in the alaya. Sometimes emotions are not created, but you just sit there and from your alaya – pop- it comes out. We need to know how to deal with that also. A lot of emotions come when you practice preliminary practice, ngondro. Some can cope with it, some cannot take it. So it is very challenging through that time. But when any obstacle comes, any emotion comes, this method is the best, to at first welcome it. Do not confront, just welcome. But don’t stay too long. Then you become part of the emotion. You understand more or less..? Technically you understood, but whether you can do it or not, that depends on your skill of practice.

STUDENT: Is the emotion always based on a thought?

RINPOCHE: Some emotions, particularly pure emotions are not necessarily created by the mind, but when the emotion comes, it informs the mind. Then you know it is emotion. But it comes sometimes not necessarily through the mind. Some emotions are already in your physical system, so when the physical system “clicks”, it comes up.

STUDENT: Like fear, when you walk and suddenly you trip up….

RINPOCHE: That fear we need, Buddhism also says. It’s called healthy fear. Until you become a rainbow body you need that fear. That fear is part of our relative truth wisdom. If you sit there and a tiger comes, then do something with your clarity. Run is better? Pretending you are dead is better? Or make funny noise is better? You have to do something to protect your physical body. If when a tiger comes, you can do like this “Oh, transparent, it doesn’t obstruct”, then it is ok. The tiger will not eat you because you’re a rainbow body. Until then, we need this fear. But what I am talking about is this buzz-fear. That fear is very unhealthy.

STUDENT: When fear comes you feel it from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head. You feel this kind of adrenaline rush. But I find with some emotions like anger, it is more than something I can intellectually talk myself out of, because it takes hold in the body. Your face becomes red or you feel some tightness. Then I try to think how to deal with that. It’s almost more overwhelming than any kind of intellectual fear…

RINPOCHE: This kind of anger has two systems, you have to deal with both the emotional system and the mental understanding. You have to “click” both otherwise it will not go. You have to do something with your physical body, like therapy, not Buddhist therapy. And then the mental understanding: “Oh, why is this anger?”  So you have to enlighten this understanding and still stay in your physical body. Then you do some mantras, some visualizations, and some transformation practice. Understanding practice and feeling practice need to go together, like loving-kindness, compassion, devotion. There is a feeling in your physical subtle body and there is one with no feeling. Just understanding, just clarity. You need both in order to work with the emotions.

STUDENT: It seems that you can let go of the object and mentally try to reach a state of loving-kindness or tranquility. But at least in my own experience, the body seems to take longer time to settle back.

RINPOCHE: That’s ok. As long as you stay in the mind, the ego grasping is gone. The feeling will not give you any karmic pattern. But it becomes uncomfortable for you. But it is not a sin. Sin, “dikpa” is created in the mind. So when your mental grasping on the anger is gone, that is not really “dikpa”, but it is distracting for your physical body if you don’t take care properly.

STUDENT: How do you separate your personality from the ego?

RINPOCHE: Buddhism talks about two things: cause and condition. Some personality comes from your past life package. Some personality comes from the environment where you live, how you are brought up. As long as you have the five skandhas, ego is in charge. But actually it is not really there.  So I think the best way of understanding of the five skandhas, is by an understanding of impermanence, understanding of non-solidity. So when you sit down and look: “Oh, this is the five skandhas, this is thought, this is emotion, this is I and this is my personality”, then you can see that there is a space in between, where you can find openness, insight. Otherwise everything is me, ego, my problem, my personality – we call it me, but actually it is not really me, me like holding all these things. (Rinpoche clutches a lot of different items). “This is me, my personality”. But then you start to see: “Oh, this is the air-condition controller, this is Rinpoche’s blessings, this is a statue”…Then slowly, there is no me. The grasping is a little bit loose and within that you see space, then you just rest. But still there is knowing, cognizance and you know that all these are connected. So the ultimate wisdom knows the relative phenomena. Ultimate wisdom, egolessness knows…In the Mahamudra we call it “rochig toma” – one taste, many. And “toma-rochig”- from the many, one taste. “rochig toma, toma rochig”.

So it is very important to balance the relative and the ultimate understanding. It is not like a black and white understanding. I know in the West you like to put everything in black and white, systematically. It works very well when running a country, but sometimes it does not work so well in the individual life. Too organized is maybe not so good, some organization is good. So make everything so there is a connection, but not one lump. There is connection with the space and the knowing of the relative function through not holding everything as one lump, as “me”.

STUDENT: To take the mind as the path or to take the awareness as the path..?

RINPOCHE: The mind as the path has two steps. Awareness as the path has only one step. If you are skillful, awareness as the path is better…one time I had a very good photographer in California. And I asked, what is the key-point of photography? He said:” Relax, be natural, look, and take”. When I did that, all my photos were up here! But for him that is his talent. He knows all the other techniques. Because he becomes very natural, he becomes himself, he looks at the view in the lens very openly, and then he can take a picture. Then it becomes a very good photo. When his inner lens, his mind, is not cloudy, then he uses the other lens to take the picture. But when his inner lens is very cloudy, it doesn’t know how to cooperate with the other lens.

So I think once you have a good stable rigpa practice, that is the best way. Just recognize rigpa, that’s it. Any emotion comes, just re-recognize rigpa. There is no other way. The emotions naturally become purified. It’s called self-liberation, liberation upon arising, liberation without benefit or harm. So that’s the best way. If there is still something lingering there, although you are totally in rigpa, then: “Oh, hello, I am sorry, I didn’t know you were here”. Then you engage with that and make some kind of handshake so the emotion doesn’t feel left out. It’s a big thing in America, left out – must include. If you don’t include then it’s a big problem. With this method you include the emotions:”Oh honey!” Just say honey, it doesn’t mean much but they will be happy, just like a mantra: honey, honey. Just say honey to your emotion and then you do what you want to do. Same technique we always use: “Oh honey, why don’t you clean my shoes”. You are pursuing the honey but at the end you do what you want to do.

This is just one hand, this side and that side. Both sides are ok. You more or less have to accept it. Emotions are your emotions, whether you are skillfully managing them or not. But it is your thing, the emotion is you. Emotions are your production but used properly or used wrongly that is it. From the Mahayana or Vajrayana point of view emotions are fine. But if you use them wrongly, these emotions are harmful. You need to know how to welcome emotions. It doesn’t mean that you follow all the way. That is the samsaric way of welcoming. If whatever the desire is, you follow it completely, then there is no freedom. This is close to Homeopathic and Aikido- technique, poison taken as medicine. It is poison material, but if you take the right dose, it becomes medicine for the disease. That means you are following the poison, but you also transform it.

STUDENT: Rinpoche, you said that sometimes we can have emotions without thoughts. Is that because we all have “tsa”, “lung” and “tigle”?

RINPOCHE: Yes

STUDENT: Emotions come with that because our bodies are made with those. So then meditation practices involve “tsa, lung, tigle”, is that another way of taking emotions as the path?

RINPOCHE: It is suppose to be that. But you need to know the right way, otherwise it doesn’t function. This Tibetan “tsa, lun, tigle” is designed for the Tibetan mind.

STUDENT: Do I have different “tsa, lung, tigle” than Tibetans?

RINPOCHE: No, but sometimes in modern life we have this subtle restlessness, an emotional problem which we don’t have in Tibet. So they assume you don’t have that problem and then they teach a lot of jumping, a lot of breathing. Sometimes it’s too much, you might get more lung. So instead you go a little bit like yoga: you really take your time, scan yourself and loosen up the knots. Over the years there is the collection of restlessness and underneath there is one’s ego. And you need to let it go. It takes a few months, a few years to really let it go. Then seal it by the mental understanding and it will stay there. So before we practice Tibetan “tsa-lung”, I think it is good to practice the preliminary practice, the Jamlung, subtle vase-breathing.

Speed Problem

Most Tibetan people don’t have this speed-problem. They have a dullness-problem, opposite problem. In most of the three-year-retreats they sleep. When they come out of three-years-retreat, expert on sleeping! So a lot of “trulkor” works for the clarity. In the West the clarity is quite ok. But if clarity is mixed up with emotions then there is a problem. Anything harsh doesn’t work for the body. But a very long time of gentle nurturing opens up. Then the heart is very good. So I think there needs to be a little bit of a new design. But both methods are in Buddhism. And chanting too much is no use in retreat. In some retreats they chant for the whole three years. But if you chant properly, with the feeling, then it is very good for the lung. But if you chant without feeling and the mind is thinking something else – from the mouth restlessly chanting – that is also very bad for lung.

STUDENT: That’s still relative level. When you say chant properly, that means resting in rigpa..?

RINPOCHE: Rigpa or with the mood. With Vajrayogini’s mood. The mood is very important. Vajrayogini and you and in between, the communication is the mood, with the mantra. It’s like acting. A good actor could have the whole of Gandhi’s mood when he is acting. So although he sleeps, it’s with Gandhi’s mood. Tomorrow he wakes up, he drinks just like Gandhi. So slowly, slowly, he can become exactly like Gandhi. If you stay 12 years in retreat practicing Gandhi’s visualization, with full trust, full love maybe you become like Gandhi. So it is the same. You have Vajrayoginis enlightened qualities, Vajrayogini’s love and compassion. Then there is communication, communication, acting, acting, with the feeling. Not dry acting, like Nepali actors:”Trululli lu”…No crying, no juice, nothing. Even 100 years of that kind of practice, it cannot become Vajrayogini. Some good Hollywood actors are told:” Please cry”, they cry immediately, it will not take more than three seconds: their high accomplishment of visualization, with the feeling. I think when Tibetans visualize; they come naturally with some feeling. In the West I think you are cut off from the feeling of the body. So you have no feeling, still you visualize but are dry. You must have feeling, appreciation, devotion and compassion. Every sadhana-practice is like that. But with no feeling then it become a mental drama. That is very bad for the lung. And that is why Vajrayana practice gets a lot of complaints: “So much chanting, so much visualization”. Because you could not get the full feeling. Then it becomes useless.

For westerners I think it is very good to first bring your mind into the body, fully into the body so that your mind becomes emotional, feeling, and sensitive of the body. From there bring the clarity- practice Dzogchen. Otherwise Dzogchen becomes maybe a little bit spaced out. One way is to bring in clarity and then zoom down, close. That is not good. It’s called stupid meditation. A few hours practice, nothing happens. One other way is: “I want to practice Mahamudra, Dzogchen”. The clarity zooms up, so the heart is cut off. So please practice correctly.

What is the most difficult – emotion, restlessness or discipline? I think discipline is the problem.

STUDENT: Do you have any advice about discipline?

RINPOCHE: I think discipline is the major problem for old practitioners. At one level you don’t practice, always staying there somewhere. It doesn’t go very far. People who come to the Dharma are usually quite smart people. They have some kind of understanding of emotions and negativity. Something is bothering them. Then they come to the spiritual path and after they practice a few years, they get this technique:” I know how to bring lung down, I know how to liberate a little bit”. You are quite happy with this technique and then you are stuck there. So you are satisfied with the wrong thing. From a Buddhist point of view, it is a wrong limitation. “This practice gives me joy. Morning one hour and then daytime here and there connect with the rigpa. For rigpa-practice no need to sit in one place, I can go many places, even go shopping”. You think you are practicing when shopping but most of the time you don’t. So you have some assurance that “I can practice any where, any place, any time and I am quite ok”. That becomes the major obstacle. Not going further. Do you understand? That’s why there is a danger for the “Grand Samsaric Master. Through the spiritual practice you know samsara well and the spiritual practice helps samsara to run better! So when you have accomplished that, then you don’t practice any more. When you have problems, lung comes up, bothering you, then emotions, then you practice. When everything is ok, then it is enough. So that is becoming a mundane therapy without having to pay others! That will not really give you a full picture of enlightenment.

If you think “I have achieved this, but I want to achieve more”. Then the next jump to enhancement is the bodhicitta-practice. “I am quite ok. If I can become better, do more practice, do more retreat, maybe I can help sentient beings”. So that’s the click we need. When you have that, then discipline naturally comes. (Rinpoche stops the noisy air condition). The lung went down. This lung we have all the time, with the fear. When you practice, then you turn on the aircon also: “Om benzra satu..”When you switch it off, then relaxed. This is a big difference, very important I think. If my practice goes well, when I practice I become more rested. Then the more you practice, you will not get tired. When this is “on”, then you get really tired.

This is, I am sorry to say, just stupid practice, there is no insight at all. You don’t need this in order to function. But when you become addicted to this, without it you almost cannot function, and then you are very sick already. Then you have to spend so much money on therapy…You understand? But maybe you don’t have this problem. You have stayed too long in Nepal. Maybe you have the opposite problem. “Huncha, Huncha, no problem”. Today always the same, tomorrow always the same. I have one gardener, he always says: No problem, I will come tomorrow at four o’clock”. But he never comes. So my gardener is really Nepali. One day I had a big talk with him, really rough Nepali way of talking. I never talk like that:”If you don’t come, I will kick you out”. But however roughly I say, he answers: “Huncha, Huncha”… He said he will come – still he didn’t come! Every time when taking money, then he comes…

STUDENT: Rinpoche, when you practice and get a bit tired, could that be a sign that actually…

RINPOCHE: There are two ways of being tired. One way is that you sit too long, the blood circulation is not so good, and the body might be tired here and there. This is a different way of being tired. The other is being exhausted mentally, with no mood, no uplift.

STUDENT: So there should always be an uplifted feeling after practice?

RINPOCHE: Yes uplifted, but not like black and white uplift. Not like that. Instead a very pure, clear kind of uplift. Almost unconditional openness. Not like taking coffee-uplift or sugar-uplift. Not like that. But very subtle and normal uplift. When you see Trulsik Rinpoche, Khyentse Rinpoche, Tulku Urgen Rinpoche, there is always uplift somewhere in their mind. In their computer-program there is always openness, uplift, juice. But they are not hyper-uplifted. It is very gentle uplift, organic uplift…

STUDENT: Sometimes Rinpoche, I think maybe I am fooling myself and I think I am recognizing rigpa when really I just achieved the calm state. So should I just carry on as if?

RINPOCHE: Carry on but with the three excellences: refuge, bodhicitta, meditation. At the end dedicate. Then you will not go wrong. Just carry on. To make sure your recognition is authentic you can depend on three things: your own experience, the oral instruction from your teacher and an authentic book, like Longchenpa. If these three things go together, then there is no way to fool yourself. You have to check that with the help of your intellectual mind.

STUDENT: Rinpoche, if we did some connection with the formless as the path in Mahamudra, what is the benefit of still doing for example, “Kyerim” or “Tsalung”-practise?  For example you see the great masters who really are resting in rigpa, but they still keep the form aspect of practice. So what does that add to Mahamudra and Dzogchen?

RINPOCHE: It is a little bit style but actually once you have very authentic, pure understanding of mind nature, either from Mahamudra or Dzogchen, then honestly if you only practice that, within that all the other qualities are naturally included. Then I think you don’t need so much. Within the rigpa, the essence rigpa is emptiness; the expression of rigpa includes all the other qualities like love, compassion, devotion, and pure perception. All these are within the rigpa. But if you also do some accumulation of merit, it will help to give better opportunity. Maybe the merit will give you a father who supports you the rest of your life. Or maybe you will have the right girlfriend or a wife who supports you and both of you practice the whole path. Or maybe you teach in the future, maybe you will have better students. So merit makes all these arrangements keep going. But if you really have all the qualities within the rigpa I think it is sufficient. But Tibetan people they don’t want to take such high risk, so they do both.

STUDENT: Because the best way of accumulating merit is to just rest in rigpa?

RINPOCHE: Yes, if you really can. But sometimes you cannot. It could become a dry rigpa, completely dry. Not expression rigpa, no display. Purely dry, with no thoughts, no emotions, just dry, vacant. That is not good. You have to have the juice, full juice. One great khenpo called Khenpo Munsel didn’t chant, he didn’t do anything for 20 years except for resting in Trekcho. But most of the Tibetan lamas they are a little bit scared. They don’t want to take a high risk so they do both. Khyentse Rinpoche is different you can’t count him. If he was chanting or not chanting or just sat there, for him it didn’t matter. So why not chant within rigpa. And maybe there is also some commitment, so he didn’t want to break that. When he got teaching, maybe the teacher asked him to practice this for the rest of his life. I think Khyentse Rinpoche followed such commitment. Some sadhana you also have to keep up in order to be able to give the teaching. Like the Sakyapa’s: everyday you have to chant the whole thing. If you miss it one day, then you cannot give the empowerment of that deity to other people. So that also makes a lot of lung..!

In the west I think you really need simple deep relaxation. Really, this is very important, I think. Your lifestyle makes you tight, very subtle; the tightness is rooted deep, deep down. Because of that you become successful in everyday life. Somewhere there is “Work, work, I must do it, I am not happy, do more, do something”…Because of that you do a lot of things and then there is success. But sometimes it is distracting for you. There is a way where you can do both I think…I call this modern civilization disease. In America children around 11-12 years old they already have these problems. Because the education is very high on clarity, not so much on emotions. The emotional development is very messed up.

One time I was flying from New York to California, it’s about five hours. Behind my seat was a girl about 12 years with her father. The father made the girl cry all the way, with a honey-smile. But she cried because he gave so many reasons why she was here to her. She understood the reasons, but she needed some flexibility with emotional freedom. So that is very suppressive. The more you get very high education here, then it is suppressive, you lose the carefree, lose the cute, wild openness…15 years old children are already like this:” What is the life?” Seed of worry already planted. That is very bad for opening the heart. But I am sorry; we are all too late already. But there is a way we can clean up. Bring the lung down and every time the bus comes: “Oh bus, let it go”. Then you walk and move without the air conditioner “on”.

STUDENT: Can you say more about how to bring the lung down?

RINPOCHE: First you have to make the connection between the lung and your mind. Just make connection, connection, just long breathing. Then once you have made this connection, then you bring it down with the mental scanning of the lung, with the help of the external breathing, slowly breathing in and out. Then it goes into the center channel and becomes purified. So restlessness, lung, need to become normal lung and then go into the center channel. If you train in that, one day you will naturally know. After 1-2 months practice, the breathing might help you to come down. I think yoga teaches a little bit like that. When you have good lung coming down, all the big muscles in your body also loosen up. You become quite light. Especially you will not become chicken-hearted, not that scared. Some guts is there, some bodhisattva-elements, heroic element.

Real Renunciation

I think we need to practice renunciation and a little bit modern way of renunciation. The old way is: “Life is too complicated, there are 1000 yaks and I don’t know how to handle it. In order to have yaks I need to go to the fields, go to town”…In order to maintain the lifestyle, there is some kind of suffering. But now this life is changed. If you have a bank account and money in the account, you will get a lot of immediate pleasures. Like this air conditioner – immediately on, immediately off. So we are caught by this now. Sometimes because of no air conditioner we might not practice. If you are a little bit dull, you don’t try to clear it from inside. You immediately depend on external clarity. So with a lot of dependence on that, you become caught by immediate comfort and you like it, it gives some immediate pleasure. So the real renunciation is gone. Do you understand? So a new way of thinking become: “Because of all these circumstances I cannot practice the Dharma”. So this is my renunciation object”. You feel sad about that.

“Oh, how I spend my life. The day I became a Buddhist I thought that after 20 years I will have accomplished something”. Now 20 years has gone. How you spent it: a little bit here, a little bit there… And now again you think: “After 20 years something will happen”. So last 20 years it didn’t happen. It might not happen after again 20 years if you don’t change lifestyle…Do you understand? Honestly, if you practice Dharma well, the Dharma will transform you. Look at many beings. Kalu Rinpoch, Chatral Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche are not born as rinpoches. They are just normal beings and they started from the beginning. And if you end up like Tulku Urgen Rinpoche I think there is no regret. If I end up like the Karmapa or Khyentse Rinpoche I have no regret at all even if the Dharma is wrong, even if the path is completely wrong. So the Dharma can achieve something. But the lifestyle is not like that. So the last 20 years, every single day more or less you think: “After 10-15 years I will have changed, I will have achieved some Dharma”. But then the days, the years are exactly the same. Yesterday is gone, today is gone similarly, tomorrow is similar to yesterday, day after tomorrow is also similar…2007, 2008, 2020! Who are you?!! So you can reflect. All these obstacles are not the suffering obstacles. All these obstacles are the pleasure obstacles, immediate pleasure.

Although you want to practice you think: “I need the best view and the best” kuti” with the right water. Good air, no one bothering, good view, good tree, no Mao problems, then I will practice”. But if you really work hard you might achieve this kind of location. You can find it in Thailand; you can also find it in Katmandu. It is achievable but then it becomes the obstacle sometimes. So you think of all these circumstances. Then you reflect on renunciation based on that.

When you have a real inside change, then renunciation is not a problem at all. You will be very happy and delightful wherever you are. Wherever you practice there is some joy with that simplicity. Because this unsatisfied fear with the ego-lung is changed, is transformed. For example yogis in Tashi Jong have a very simple life but are very rich in their mind stream.

You should use your practice and many of you know how to, but if you don’t, your life becomes a little bit like a hippy. Hippy-practitioner as a lifestyle. If you are happy with that then it is ok. But there is a possibility that you can achieve enlightenment also. That is missing.

STUDENT: How can you use discipline so it improves your practice and also find a balance?

RINPOCHE: You need to have discipline mainly on your action, not inwardly, otherwise it becomes uptightness. The focus of discipline is the laziness. “Oh I need to practice, this is my practice, I want to do”. Just thinking with your mind very tightly, but you don’t do it and you feel a little bit guilty. That kind of discipline is torture. But with healthy discipline, you drop everything even for only ten minutes. During those ten minutes you completely let it go and then practice the Dharma.

You need to apply immediate action. That kind of discipline is very good, without worry.

“Oh I need to practice. Last 20 years are gone like that. Now Tsoknyi Rinpoche told me and I finally realized it. Now these coming 20 years might also go like that. That will happen exactly at year 2020. So I worry”… But you are not acting; just to keep worrying won’t help. Just do! Just do it! Action! Just do it chanting, do it meditation. Just immediately do it. At any occasion, any time, just do it. In the taxi, in the home, when cooking, any time, just do it. And also see what creates more obstacles for not becoming disciplined. Try to change that through organizing yourself and then make discipline. I think daily practice is very good, three hours sitting every day at least. It is not so much, you need to sacrifice a little bit, and you need to change lifestyle a little bit.

You wake up at 5 o’clock. HH Dalai Lama wakes up at 3 o’clock every day. But he organizes it; he goes to sleep a little bit early. If you are a householder you organize it as a team, children, everybody. All talk together, big talk first so there is a common ground. Then respect each other and follow the system. Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche practiced at any place and his wife also practiced. Everybody becomes like one team of Dharma-practitioners. That is very good.

But please don’t follow the way I am exercising, then you will never practice. It is a psychological problem. I need to go to an exercise place but I have only 15 days in Katmandu. No point of going, I think. I should have at least two months time. So I am waiting for that. But there is almost never two months. Actually if you go 15 days regularly and when you are outside of Katmandu, you can do home-practice. Like Mingyur Rinpoche, he is so disciplined. Everyday he practices exercises. He is so slim, so thin, so shiny, no belly… So even if he only has ten minutes before eating, he practices something like jumping 100 times. And that is enough. I could do that also, I have more time than him. But I am waiting to join a club. And so I end up like this (points at his belly). Mingyur Rinpoche travesl more than seven months a year, but he still keeps that discipline, that health club. 20 minutes is so easy, you can find many places. So it is a state of mind. So the kind of mentality that is not OK for practitioners is: “I need to do retreat, to have a good circumstance, I have to talk to the family, and then I will practice”. But this never happens! Never ever happens.

STUDENT: What is the best way to exercise for reducing lung?

RINPOCHE: “Trulkor” – Tibetan yoga and walking in the forest is very good. Everything is green and then just walk and rest in the nature of mind. But when trekking sometimes there is a bad road, and then you have to think. That is not so good, and then the lung will also come up. Better not to use so much mental grasping. At the same time there is some clarity in order for maintaining walking but your mind is not activated.

If you have lung, shopping is very bad, especially for men’s lung. For woman it’s OK. The best way for woman’s lung to come down is to go to the department store. Then lung comes down. For men, one day inside the department store, you go crazy, so many things! In the department store they have a special light that makes you very tired. But it is different if you go as a practitioner. Then it’s OK. Then you go relaxed and that is also a very good practice. But everywhere, anything you are doing you have to have an inside program, a Dharma program and based on this program, you run the whole world.

STUDENT: Program – does it mean the same as motivation?

RINPOCHE: Motivation, plus your mobile phone is “on”, your rigpa is “on”, and your compassion is “on”. You are the computer and then you put in a program. “Today my program is generosity, today my program is resting in the nature of mind”. You go with that program. Then there is no problem. With motivation and attitude you then turn the mobile “on”, then you have what is called in Tibetan “sungjuk”. Then you have consecrated with the help of “yeshepa”. When you consecrate it means the wisdom being is brought into the statue. Otherwise it is just a statue, an object of reminder for the Buddha. But there is not much blessing. Here you are consecrated by the Dharma and with that “statue” then you go shopping! You should live your whole life like that! Then you become a spiritual being. Otherwise you switch off your mobile, come home in the car and then there is nothing, just hollow, no center. Then everything you see is distracted by that kind of state. Then there is no center-point. So you are lost, exhausted, scared. This kind of people the shopping centers really love because you keep buying! Otherwise if you are self-centered and relaxed, you look into the shopping mall and do offerings. When you see nice shoes, you offer: “Sazhi pocho jugshing metog tram”… You are not giving any money to the shop-owner, but you still offer! They don’t like you. When you are completely lost and hollow: “Wow, how nice, ok where is my credit card?” They really welcome you!

When you go into a big supermarket, you can make merit anyplace, anywhere. In a big food market in America, one section has 40 different toothpaste, 100 types of toilet paper, 50 different kinds of shampoo. So many fruits, nuts, dry, fresh, organic, flowers… You see it and feel a whole different world. Then immediately you offer it: “Sazhi pocho”…Let it go, appreciate the goodness of all these things. That is also Dharma-practice. You are changing the concept.

I can do that in America because I am not American. But I cannot do it here in Nepal. Whenever I see a bumpy road I get angry at the government because I was born here. I should offer the road also and practice compassion… When I am in America I am so happy. Those people are very intelligent but they often have emotional problems. If we could change that, then America is the best place to live I think. They have a lot of freedom and they can live in many different ways. The country is very open, the cars are very big, the roads are very big, and people’s thinking is very big…After three years I become American, I get citizenship. But I can’t become president, because I was born outside. Yangsi Tulku Urgen Rinpoche can become president! I thought I was ahead of him but he already has citizenship. He is still the father. For me so much struggle, stay one year, applying. He just came out in Washington DC. It’s close to the White House!

Anyway, please be happy, it’s important! Not stupid happy, but really happy. Loose the lung down and then apply a lot of discipline. Then I think it will be good. Life is a big thing but when it comes down to the simple basics, it’s just surviving. Just one dahl-bat, that’s it really. Dahl-bat is the basis of life. If that is gone, then there is big problem.

On Mental Restlessness

In the world there are a lot of unhappy people, more and more unhappy people. If you can make people happy, then maybe many people can become peaceful, unconditionally happy. The essence of love is just really to be fully open, now, just being happy. Our basic “buzz” needs to be like that. Then you engage with other things. But if the basic “buzz” is unsatisfied, fear, guilt and restlessness, then that is your main source of suffering. In the morning you wake up, something is wrong. Every morning you wake up, something is wrong. But what is wrong you don’t know. You look at many things, compare your life with other peoples’ lives and then it looks quite ok. But something is wrong. That is the disease of lung. So clean that let it go. If you do, it doesn’t slow down your lifestyle. You can still carry on with your project, your family, your Dharma, but without this extra unnecessary force. It’s very unhealthy.

In Nepal we have a different drive: “Oh, it cannot be done, it will not happen, it is so difficult, I will not manage this”. They have this fear. There is some kind of dullness in Asian people’s mind. I think the Dharma need to address all those things otherwise it goes “switch”. Your problem is here, the Dharma flies over it and you pretend “I am fine”, especially in front of the teacher “No problem, fine”. Smiling an artificial smile. But you still have the “buzzz”.

So completely look within and let it go. I think it’s a big jump if you can do that. I am trying to force that to happen and I am trying to make world-peace based on that. That really cools things down and then it is very peaceful for you. I am writing one book about this, connected with loving kindness, compassion and with this restless lung, how to bring it down.

Today the main subject has been lung. The symptom of lung is speed. But I am not talking about action speed, just mental speed, restless speed. That is unhealthy. First we need clarity but the symptoms in your physical speed we don’t want. That is the cause of stress, anxiety. In the West we don’t have so many methods to bring down the lung. Except for holidays! Go on holiday, make a lot of love, drinking, taking drugs, those things. It makes you happy and brings your lung down temporarily. But the side effect is so strong. You drink alcohol and you feel a little bit relaxed because the mind becomes a little bit drunk, so it doesn’t hold you, it gives a little bit of guts. But then you keep drinking, keep drinking and become alcoholic. You have a lot of relationships. Every time a new person comes, your lung goes down. But that person has also a lot of problems: yes, no, different opinions. Then your lung is brought up again. “This person is wrong, the other one is better”. So you go with the other person. In the beginning everything is fine and lung comes down. Then again: “This person is wrong. I’ll go to another”. So your relationship always changes.

When you have a good lung, guts, then everything becomes stable. The character of lung is instability. For the speed of mind and the subtle body, there is not so much advice. But once it becomes very bad “tsoklung, nyinglung”, then there is Tibetan medicine. If it is a very bad lung, then it is maybe not so helpful, so do, for example Tai Chi. Just sitting is good, stupid meditation is good, just sinking down. Like a cow in Boudha at Chabahil (the traffic-junction near Boudha), no lung at all if you look at them. If you have a very strong lung you need a good sleep, a good relationship and to do stupid meditation.

STUDENT: Warm oil massage also brings the lung down.

RINPOCHE: Tibetans say that to eat meat helps but meat makes you dull. Protein gives some earthy element, grounding. Because lung is light, it needs some grounding. And deep, deep down all these problems are grasping, ego-grasping. Really. Any of these problems are self-ego-grasping. You need to let it go, and then everything cools down.

STUDENT: You were saying that bodhicitta and loving kindness-practice was good for bringing lung down. So maybe that?

RINPOCHE: If you know how to do it in the correct way, otherwise it will bring more lung. So slow down and think: “I have 100 days of doing nothing, I have all the time in the world”. That is very good for the lung so then practice bodhicitta. I am talking more or less from my own experience. When I have lung, it is always connected with timing: “I have to do this, to do that, to go here to go there”. All this brings lung up. So the antidote is “Ok, I have all the time”. Talk a little bit to your restlessness. It is really important. Otherwise because your system already has a pattern for this restlessness, when you practice Dharma you will follow the same pattern. I make a big deal of this as a preliminary practice for anything you do. Sit down and talk to yourself. Even though you have only one hour, you think it is 100 hours. “If I finish the practice it’s OK. If I don’t finish it’s also OK. I am not just going to practice. I am really, really going to relax”. OK, do that!

 

Day 2

Rinpoche begins with meditation.

Bring in your feeling or sensation into your body and then settle down. The root of the visualization is appreciation for the Buddha, Dharma and the lineage-carrier in the form of Sangha. So you have a strong appreciation and based on that visualization you can visualize Buddha Shakyamuni in front of you. Buddha is looking to you and is free from all obscurations. Buddha is the embodiment of love, compassion and wisdom. Vividly visualize Buddha in front of you, life- size and looking directly at you, then communicate between your inner Buddha and the external Buddha. Then supplicate: “From now until I reach full enlightenment I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha”. Really do this with the devotional emotion. That will be very helpful for you to transform your neurotic emotion, your uptightness. Then you will feel safe and secure. The ultimate refuge makes you feel completely safe from your own negative thoughts and emotions.  You feel utterly and basically safe and that is different from subject and object. So the relative refuge and the ultimate refuge sort of work together. Based on that mood and that understanding orally we take refuge.

And then slowly Buddha melts into light, and the light dissolves into you. You, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are inseparable. If you can, rest in the nature of mind. Within the nature of mind the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha’s qualities are there. So you rest with that.

On Rigpa

You are not stuck by the method, or clinging to the technique or the meditation. So let it go. But at the same time don’t be distracted and don’t meditate. If you meditate, your mind becomes conceptualized. If you are distracted, then that is how you spent all your life. So there is no distraction. Simply rest within the essence of mind. I think you can pursue phenomena through the five senses and understand through the clarity of the mind, but without registering. So it is called “knowing without grasping”. If you grasp, you are registering. But if you don’t know, you are cutting off one part of the omniscience. So especially in the Dzogchen meditation you are allowed to perceive the five sense phenomena. The sixth conscious memory is also allowed to come. Not only that, but all the 84,000 emotions are allowed to come in. But don’t follow, don’t record. Don’t push the saving button. If you can rest without concept, that’s the best. Concept means understanding based on subject and object. Here knowing, understanding or being aware is without relying on an object. The subject itself is the understander. Fully rest. You record, but don’t press the saving-button. It just comes up on the screen. Then let it go. This is called liberation based on arising.

If you can, don’t do anything. This is very subtle. The emptiness is very casual, knowing is very lucid but not intoxicating. So just be here but without being. Your butt is on the ground but not stuck, not glued.

Especially your eyes need to be very alive, just like fresh flowers. If the eyes become a little bit two-dimensioned, then it affects the brain cells, then it affects the mind. So nowness without stuck on the now. 360 degree open but you are not stuck on the openness. When it’s stuck you are missing one quality of the rigpa, the third quality – empty essence, natural clarity and unceasing compassion. So you are blocked and that mind cannot be omniscient.

So we are looking for this kind of cognition. Cognition without grasping, without subject and object. And the senses are very fresh in the nowness, and you are able to rest and to continue. Knowing that is called the view, trying to sustain that is called meditation. Whenever you are lost, coming back into the view is called conduct. Keep doing that for a while.

Keep on with this but not blocked, not stuck and with a very normal consciousness. If you practice this well then there will be the juices of rigpa. Without losing the essence rigpa, the expression rigpa comes as devotion, love, compassion, and sometimes it comes as insight. If you have that, then I think your meditation is going well.

Even if you practice for very long, six to seven years, no juice at all, that means that any time you practice something is stuck in the rigpa. So you have to break that. It could be the alaya, it could be shamata without support, it could be a little bit spaced out, and so unceasing compassion is not there. So you have to destroy the stuckness. I can see sometimes people have these problems. Not only you, sometimes I also get stuck! You know that you are stuck and you have to practice.

There are different ways to break this stuckness. Sometimes you do a bit of rushen or you do the three-fold space practice. But that could make you stuck again in space. You do a bit of enhancement practice. Then one day I think you will be very normal, but very rich. Very clear but not like light clear. Very mineral water clear. Not electric light clear. Very clear from the bottom and even clear from your bones. Clarity is when all the senses are very normal; all the currents in your body are very normal, very in harmony. Within the harmony, deep down there is clarity. So please try that.

When you come to Katmandu, there are many religious things you can get stuck with. In the West you are stuck by external obligations. When you come to the east, you get stuck by the methods. Some inner holding is useful, there are many different methods, but somehow you get stuck by the method itself. In the East many people and teachers are also influenced by different techniques. In Tibetan Buddhism we have so many techniques so everyone says: “this technique is good, that technique is better, you should do this, do that”. Of course you should do that but then you get stuck and overwhelmed by Tibetan Buddhism’s many methods. Then you lose the key-point again. It’s called a spiritual trap. You run from the worldly economical trap and then you come to the East and to the religious Buddhist method trap. I think it’s slightly better than the other one. You need to let it go but not abandon it: “Oh, I’m not going for “kora”, not doing mantra” – Then you abandon the Dharma. Within it you have to find the essence. Our human mind has this black and white understanding.

Khyentse Rinpoche did all the methods but he was not caught by them. He was not really emotional about his chanting or got stuck with his chanting. It was just part of his practice. But he also had the translucent clarity of rigpa. Within that he practiced.

I think if you really want to use your time properly in Nepal, you use both the practical and the spiritual path, both methods. At the same time understand the essence of nature of mind. When these two are combined, then it is useful. I think that many students are stuck by so many methods. And now Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche is not here so you will not get so much support for practicing the nature of mind. He is one of the heroes in Katmandu valley. So he really supports you. If you do all the methods, then he also supports very much just resting, sitting in the nature of mind. Nowadays you cannot find so many Dzogchen teachers. They are a little bit afraid of talking about it and instead, say: “Oh, you must do all the regular practices first otherwise it is very dangerous”. Then you start to feel: “Oh, maybe I am doing wrong, maybe Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche was wrong, maybe simply resting the mind is not sufficient, maybe I have to do all this first, do all that first”. To attend many years in the Shedra, do again the whole Ngondro, do billions of mantras – maybe too old for that. So I feel this is very much happening, in the West and in Nepal also. Less guts to go directly to the nature of mind. Teacher afraid, student afraid!

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche always said you should do one Ngondro and have one good yidam, nature of mind practice, accumulation, and devotion. Upper, devotion, lower, compassion, in the middle, the right view supported by one yidam and then go on. Keep going, Jonny Walker! Just keep walking, keep going, keep going! You who received Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s teachings and did not study all these things, it’s ok. Just keep going with his teaching. Full devotion to him and the Dharma and keep walking. And practice with the discipline.

Those days at Nagi Gompa arriving at three o’clock, at seven o’clock there are already teachings on the nature of mind. So happy going up to the mountain! Nowadays when I go and see other teachers, there is a lot of tantric smell, very good and pleasant. But you cannot hear at all about nature of mind. The nature of mind is hidden or maybe not there… Maybe they don’t know, who knows. You cannot be too much romantic about lamas. Maybe sometimes they do not know about nature of mind! The West has a romantic feeling about Tibetan Buddhism, which is very good. Not against it, but…

Please come back again and again. Do the yidam-practice, bodhicitta, compassion – they are so important. But at the same time, the non-conceptual clarity view is extremely important! Our mind is very conditional, like a hungry dog. Wherever there is a smell of food, you go there and then you are stuck there. It is very dependant. Long time ago I didn’t understand about the Western concept of having support. Nowadays I think support is very important, spiritual support.

Before I didn’t want to buy a computer but now I have bought three times. Why? Because of so much influence and support from advertising that you should have it. If you don’t have it you are not OK! So they sell by instilling fear – “You are not happy because you don’t have a computer”. You are caught by that, buying a computer because your inside is hollow – no love. You are looking for conditional love all the time. Because no human value, no inner value is there, so you are looking for external value all the time. For a short time you become happy. You think it is inner value when you get your new computer and for the first few days, so happy! But when it gives a problem, you think, “My inner value is giving me problem”. But actually it is the computer. So everything is mixed up. Not such a wise way of living. So you must have an inner chip, inner program. Buddhism is set up very well with an inner chip program. And rigpa’s program is like a mini chip. Everything is there, everything is included. So if you really practice nature of mind well, all the Dharma is included there. It’s like a mini chip. But you can also have different discs. You can buy refuge disc, compassion disc, but then they are left here and there. Better to have one small, click! So please have more guts on the practice.

The computer sellers are doing their job so well and we have to do our job – not to become sucked in, not to promote our lung. Looking too much into a computer promotes your lung. Because you can do so much in the computer within a short time, you become greedy and then you want to do a lot, have full information authenticity. But you can’t, it takes time. So you rest, you change attitude and be more patient. “Ok I know it takes time, I’ll work slowly, if page comes or not, no problem. Ah so good, I have opportunity to rest in the nature of mind in-between”…

Anything you do I think has to have an inner program to deal with that. Then I think you will transform. Like Shantideva said: “You can’t transform the whole world and cover it with leather, so instead you put leather under your feet”. That is beneficial for you.

STUDENT: When practicing, there are undercurrent thoughts…, I can feel the clinging is definitely still there. How can one be free from that?

RINPOCHE: There are two ways. One is the traditional way; another is a modern way. The traditional way is: because you are not fully in the ripga, sometimes the clarity is resting but not fully united with the emptiness. That’s why you give some opportunity for the undercurrent thought. It is very important not to mix up the undercurrent thought with the normal thought. If you are in rigpa, as soon as the normal thoughts come they are self-liberated. So there is no problem. Everything is done on the spot. But with undercurrent thoughts, you just stay in rigpa but here it makes some story. It does not really come to the surface but behind is some story. There is some clinging, some hope, some fear. That means that natural clarity is not unified with emptiness. Then you re-focus so it becomes a little bit sharp, full. Then this undercurrent thought will go. Sometimes this undercurrent thought is worry and you have already built up a quite long history in the form of undercurrent thought. Although you are resting in nature of mind, because of the undercurrent thought, it becomes like two departments. So when you are resting in nature of mind, this other one is doing its own thing. They say it’s caused mainly by worry and fear and that makes subtle tensions in its own way. So when you practice and have this that is not good. So what you do is that everything goes down into this. Also the clarity – zoom – join it. Try not to cut it. Just let the upper practice really go into the undercurrent thought and join it, so one level drops down. Do you understand? You come down and really relax completely and look into the core of the fear, the fundamental core of the uptight fear. And within that you find rigpa.

This undercurrent thought – we call it thought but actually it is lot of subtle emotional fear. Fear, work and connection with different project: building monastery-project, translation-project, running Gomde-project. On the surface it is the practice but there is another mind working with this project. That needs to be brought together. If you don’t bring these two together, then it’s not healthy and that will create some major problem in the future. So either way – you synchronize or you go into that emotion, that worry and from there join, make peace talk between them. Then you make this into a habit.

Sometimes by resting in nature of mind it’s perfectly fine, no undercurrent thoughts. But then depending on your lifestyle, sometimes some worry comes because rigpa is too open. So rigpa gives too much freedom for thought and emotions, they are allowed to come. In shamata, you don’t give any freedom, it’s like a monarchy. Rigpa is fully democracy. If everybody is well educated, then there is no problem. If not, so many things come. All the time there are demonstrations because you are not occupied with one thing. So anything can come. So if you have a major big worry, that can also come into the rigpa, because you are not blocking or suppressing. There is no suppressing at all in rigpa. Everything is fresh and open. But then anything can come. So if something comes, forget about rigpa. Then turn your awareness to that, then within that you find rigpa.

All the cells, all the senses, all the thoughts, and all the emotions they are looking for liberation. All sentient beings look for well being or freedom. Anger needs love and compassion. So every cell in your body is looking for some well being. So happiness is our basic sentient beings’ right.

If you have a project this undercurrent thought comes up easily as lung, speed. Then it’s sometimes good to practice loving-kindness. Really go down to the undercurrent thought: “I think you need some love, you need some ice cream of compassion, and you need some moisturizing cream”. So you fully rest with that and then when they have become quiet, then I think you need the clarity also. “You are quite moisturized but you look stupid! You need some clarity”. Then you can approach emptiness, egolessness within that.

Sometimes Dzogchen gives you the impression that clarity is up here. Of course clarity is here. But if you are caught up down there, it you don’t bring down the clarity, it has its own world. Maybe the palace is very clean, but it doesn’t know what is happening in the street. That’s why the streets become the problem for the palace. So between the palace and the streets, it’s cut off. The palace stays so rich, so much food but the street is the problem and sooner or later there will be problems there. So zoom down, moisturize, therapy, yoga and then give clarity. Then in modern language: mind and heart are working together. New age way of talking, without religion. I think it is very important.

In Tibet if the mind is OK, then naturally the heart becomes part of that. So many teachings are on the mind, to make mind clear, because mind is not that clear sometimes in Tibet, sleepy. If you practice much feeling, mind becomes naturally clear also. But in the western world there is quite a big gap between the physical and the mental. The mental does its work; the physical does its work. No communication between them. Then the foundation will go down, without communication.

It’s a very good point, this undercurrent of thought. It is very problematic and we take a lot of advantage of it also. Because the undercurrent thought is somewhat connected with a hidden agenda. So the hidden agenda is working with this undercurrent thought: “Hi, so nice! But the undercurrent thought: “Maybe this person is not so good”. So there are two worlds and we give quite good right to the undercurrent thought to go on.

Compassion and Hidden Selfishness

So what is Buddhism’s hidden agenda? In everything we do there is a hidden agenda. I think Buddhism’s hidden agenda is bodhicitta, compassion. If anything you do is to achieve bodhicitta – relative and ultimate bodhicitta – then it’s fine. That’s the whole point. When you look at the bodhisattvas way, they teach bodhicitta. In order to fulfill bodhicitta you have to do the six paramitas, visualizations, prostrations, mandalas, all these different methods to achieve bodhicitta mind. In any Buddhist practice if you don’t have this hidden goal, it does not go the right way. If you don’t bring bodhicitta into the prostration and the prostration’s hidden agenda is to be healthy: “I am doing spiritual practice”, but secret agenda is “maybe I’ll get some muscles’, maybe my blood sugar will go down”…So its ok, but your hidden agenda is not bodhicitta. Sometimes this hidden agenda is missing I think. In any Buddhist practice the final focus is bodhicitta. In order to fulfill bodhicitta we do millions, billions of different methods. So we should not forget our mission, the hidden agenda. That’s why Nyoshul Khen always says: “Good motivation, check your motivation”. In the middle of the teaching he says: “Ok stop the teaching now, check your motivation”. He changes his motivation and he asks us to change our motivation. So this is to not forget our mission.

Sometimes practitioners’ motivation is quite selfish. High class selfishness: “Me peaceful, me joyful, me happy, me well being. In order for my well being I use other people because it’s interdependent. If I don’t make her or him happy, I will not become happy”. It is peace, selfish peace. Selfish peace becomes our hidden agenda most of the time I think. That’s why beings are always stuck in samsara.

Sometimes when you do many things externally it destroys your hidden peaceful selfishness. Then you lose the motivation to help others also. Quite often it’s like that. You want to help a project, “Wow, so happy”, but somewhere halfway – also everything goes well, but it doesn’t go according to the fulfilling of your hidden agenda – then you create some problems. Then halfway: “I am sorry, I am going”. Especially voluntary work, easy to get out. If you get paid, then it is different. Although you don’t like it, you cling to the cash! So you become tolerant: “Although I don’t like it, I must do it because I need these US dollar in order to survive. So I think your hidden agenda is very important to change. Then I think you will really have inner strength. Tulku Urgen Rinpoche, Khyentse Rinpoche and HH Dalai Lama they never get tired, exhausted to see people, to help people. If the people are happy, they are happy. It the people are not happy, they are happy also! So it means they are really well established in their hidden agenda, with bodhicitta and sealed by unconditional love, really sealed by unconditional love. Then you get real strength and you are not becoming like a Tibetan prayer-flag. Wherever the wind blows, the flag goes that way. No wind, no support, no excitement, nothing, then it goes down.

Whenever I get mentally tired it’s because of not having really good bodhicitta. One time Tulku Urgen Rinpoche stayed at Osel Ling for six months and I was staying about two months with him. He sees people, he put consecration in the statues, and he gathered all these things and he sent people to Kha-Nying and Nagi Gompa. So many things he did from morning to evening and I worked with that. I got really, really completely exhausted, really tired. So I said: “I would like to go to Pokhara”. He said: “What?” Really in my mind came the idea of wearing normal cloths and going on the lake, drinking some Coca Cola, just resting, looking at the lake with no obligations. So I said “I want to go to Pokhara”. He said: “What?”. I said it three times and he said “Why?” Then I felt a little bit funny. He asked: “Why are you going?” I said I like to go there a bit to rest, relax…”What, why?” So he asked all the reasons why I need to be relaxed and rest in Pokhara. Why not rest here. And he pretends he doesn’t understand. He takes advantage of his lack of hearing. Which he don’t like so much he said “What?” Then you ask two, three times and then your mind becomes loosened up or something. He used that method quite often. So then I gave up, I didn’t go to Pokhara. But there is a big thing in my mind: he is about 70 and I was about 30. I am really exhausted, he was not exhausted. He was still full of enthusiasm. I think it’s the mind, deep down where you really stay. Your hidden agenda is not fulfilled: To rest in the folding-chair with remote-control, sit there and drink coffee, watch the news and relax… So maybe you have this kind of agenda sometimes in the mind, hidden. But he doesn’t have that. So when his lifestyle doesn’t fulfill my hidden agenda, then I got exhausted. All the time I was looking for some gap to relax, some gap for a folding-chair… So you want this kind of lifestyle sometimes I think.

His inside is really motivated by helping people, seeing people. No matter what people are offering – money or not money. Money is not the issue. People who don’t have money, he gives back the money. He is quite famous for that. If people are quite poor then he checks with the nuns: “How much does this cost?” Then the nun will go and calculate. Then he added a bit more than that and when they come and say the final bye-bye, he put the money – prepared before – tied in a kata and put it around the person. So I think giving teaching is not really for making money. His fully hidden agenda is bodhicitta. Then he doesn’t get tired. I am talking about the emotional tired, the mental tired, not the physical tired.

In town I see many people whose eyes are really hopelessly exhausted and a little bit sad down there. That is the poison, take out that. The standard problems are anger, attachment, jealousy, pride and ignorance. We have these standard problems, all sentient beings, wherever we go. But the culture problem, the environment, new problems like restless lung – some countries have, some don’t. To feel bad about yourself all the time, like hollow – some countries produce it, some don’t. But all have the five poisons; these are the standard for all sentient beings. But sometimes you have to take out this culture-created suffering before you practice authentic Buddhism.

Tibetans need more clarity, westerners need more emotional healing. I call it wounded love. In the west it is very high. The love-area is very hurt. Wrong expectations, wrong approach and in order to feel love, you have to have some external thing to love you.

Essence love is together with nature of mind and Buddha-nature, unconditional love. I call it essence love, expression love and boundless love. I think essence love we are missing completely. We are only experiencing expression love, which comes with attachment. The pure essence love is gone. The essence love is almost like well being, just love, why love, how love. Love is like a noun, not as a verb. When you have this then you practice engaging love or expression love and that is coming from the essence love. So it’s more pure love. And that you practice together with the four boundlessnesses. Otherwise just jump to the boundless, I think it might not work, because it will not start from the essence love.

I think human beings are really sensitive about love in general and their love is completely mixed up without the essence love. All love is connected with attachment and it becomes subject and object. Then there is the wound, hurt and it becomes very sensitive, a big confusion of love. The fundamental unconditional essence love is missing in all cultures. In the western culture more so because your wounded love comes from expression love with attachment. You are not satisfied with that but there are no other alternatives. There is no teaching, no one talks about it. So it becomes unclear. Some poems might tell something or some song might point to something, but there is no full technique or support for that. Then it comes back into the attachment love.

Boundless love is what Buddhism talks about – to share, to feel the same love for all sentient beings. What you feel for your child, for your parents, you should feel for all sentient beings exactly the same.

STUDENT: What is essence love?

RINPOCHE: Essence love is important. It’s just well being like love, love to your cells, to your body. There is no restlessness; your mind is not harsh. Just rich, well being, love, lovable. Then when you are there then you love. Then it’s not so much me, me, me. You become the love. No need to feel me happy, me important because you are sort of imbued with love.

STUDENT: Rinpoche that sounds like a quality of Buddha nature.

RINPOCHE: Yes one part of Buddha nature, loving-kindness. Every quality is in the Buddha nature: the fundamental peace, the fundamental clarity, the fundamental love, the fundamental compassion. So these things are missing. Because everything is subject – object love, subject – object peace, subject – object compassion, subject – object clarity. Then there is no basic ground.

You feel very peaceful with this incense. When this incense is finished then you are craving more. You put so much value on this incense. Why? Because it gives you some mental peace. But this mental peace is temporary and the real value is not on the incense, it is on the mind and this incense is emptiness. Support and life are different. Life means you are addicted, without this you cannot stand it. Support means if you have, it’s good, if you don’t have, it’s also ok. That attitude we also find in the Vajrayana, where you are not abandoning the merit circumstances. You use that circumstance to do more prayer, more offering, more dedication and more merit-recycling. You should recycle your merit, otherwise your merit will be exhausted. One time used – gone!

STUDENT: Could you give a definition of merit.

RINPOCHE: Merit is making better opportunities in your everyday life. That kind of energy is created.

STUDENT: Opportunities for experiencing your own mind?

RINPOCHE: Opportunities for your mind, for your life according to spirituality. Focus on the spiritual path in order to be successful on your path.

STUDENT: So whether something achieves that or not is the function of both action and motivation?

RINPOCHE: Action and motivation, both and dedication also. I think it is a little difficult to understand merit but one easy way is that it makes habits. That kind of merit is easy to understand. In Tibet wherever you go it gives you a spiritual merit or habit. You see the rock and there is a mantra with “Om mani peme hung”. You see the water where some “Mani”-mantra are running with the help of the water, you see monastery… It’s like advertising. Advertising makes some kind of merit. Like buying Sony-computer. Accumulation of that, then after four, five years I bought it one day. You plant seed in the alaya and one day all these seeds and maybe you also have some cash, then boom – you buy! Instead of buying something else, like a statue, you buy Sony. So merit works like that. Every time you conceptually pray “mani”, you dedicate it. This makes you a spiritual person. Because of all these circumstances of merit it is easy to rest in the nature of mind, because good circumstances are there. One day you might want to go for a three year retreat. If you don’t have the merit, you will not go. There is the visible accumulation of merit and there is the invisible way of accumulating merit, like doing “tsok”, prayers for Mahakala. I think in order to live a proper life you need to have both the visible and the invisible accumulation. So merit does both of these. Sometimes you prepare everything but then something else happens. So the invisible force is not enough.

STUDENT: We didn’t have enough merit for it to happen..?

RINPOCHE: Sort of. It’s out of your plan. Your planning condition is very good, but something happens. That is not enough merit and not enough aspirations. Aspirations are important. It seems like aspirations are not important but I think they are very, very important. So please pray at the stupa. There are two great stupas here in Katmandu. Make aspirations really authentically: “May I have time for practice in retreat”. If you have good aspiration you will not get so many problems. Even though you stay six years in retreat, it’s just easy! You don’t need to force so much because the aspiration merit gives you good circumstances. You will not get tired, you will not get exhausted…

STUDENT: The circumstances might not be different but my attitude to them might be…

RINPOCHE: The circumstances might change also!

STUDENT: Could you speak about the essence of coemerging wisdom – emptiness and appearance as a unity?

RINPOCHE: Theoretically you can explain it in one way, experientially you can explain in one other way. If you want to explain through experience, you have to understand the nature of mind. First empty essence and within empty essence of mind you look, you come to the phenomena. The phenomena are there but they are not really there, like solid. So emptiness and phenomena are a unity and these phenomena are mere reflections of your karmic experiences. They are not really there but right now there is no choice because your karmic experiences did not yet become exhausted. So at this point you deal with it by respecting it relatively.  The clarity of the empty cognizant, “nangtong sungjuk”. “Nangwa”, appearance, “tongpa”, emptiness. “Sungjuk” means unity, inseparability. It’s not like two things coming together. So within the phenomena, just realize the emptiness. Emptiness and phenomena, then there is unity. If you give up appearances then it cannot be a unity with emptiness.

STUDENT: Why do they call it co emergent?

RINPOCHE: Coemergent wisdom is: the wisdom is never separated from you. It’s together; it’s intrinsically there. Buddhism’s intrinsically doesn’t mean permanently. It is independently co emergent, called wisdom. We are not talking about the ground; we are talking about the path. On the path there are always experiences. Otherwise recognize rigpa: no need to recognize, it’s always there. Why do you need to recognize? Is rigpa a new thing? No, but in language we use recognize rigpa or not. Coemergent wisdom is the same. In language you have to divide it into three: ground, path or fruition. Ground is used a little bit different; fruition is used a little different. Path always has an action, subject and object, realize, understand, achieve, practice. It’s always verbs.

STUDENT: How can one identify and find one’s root-lama?

RINPOCHE: Sometimes it’s very easy, sometimes it’s not. Traditionally you have to search for three or nine years they say. But I think this is also connected with the karmic system. If you have a strong package of karma, then you will see. Just “shopping” around here and there and one day it just clicks in your mind: “Oh, this is my root-teacher!” But if you can’t find, then you have to study: what I am, the teacher’s background, the teacher’s lineage, reputation. Your teacher’s style, your style, your condition and then you see. Maybe you can’t find or you don’t have the capacity to see that the teacher is 100% correct. So if you see that 75% is good, then go for it! If you only see that 10% is good and 90% is not ok, then don’t go! It’s same like marriage! If you see the wife is 75% good, just marry! If you see she is only 10% good and 90 %is not ok, then don’t marry.

When you really have a realized understanding and you become almost the same as the teacher, then you will see the teacher as 100% ok. Until then, you can’t. So you look around. See the different web sites and then you go one month here, one month there. Then you also look at the style of the teacher: systematic style, more loose style, more yogic style, more scholarly style. And what type of person you are. If you are very scholarly and you see a yogi, you might get fed up. If you have a real yogic kind of approach and you see a scholar, your head becomes boiled. This you also have to check. Then there are some standard teachers you can go to, world recognized teachers with a bit of standing. But they are not necessarily very helpful for you. Sometimes a hidden yogi will have a lot of time. If you meet a very simple yogi or yogini with teeth upside down, a lot of puss in their eyes, digging their nose, they might have a very good insight, a very high understanding. Some yogis in Tashi Jong are exactly like that.

It you really want to practice, go to a small teacher, a really good small yogi teacher and then you can get a lot of time with them. If the teacher has no time, then there is no use. Like me, if you look at my web side then you will know: “Oh no!”

STUDENT: You say that the teacher doesn’t have a lot of time, it’s no use, but it’s also said that the blessings of the lama don’t depend on being with him.

RINPOCHE: That’s also possible, but if you really like to study then you need time. There are different types of people. For some that is ok. But for some other they need the physical time. Some students have psychological problems: “I must have time with the teacher. If you are this type of person, then the teacher who doesn’t have time for you is the wrong teacher. Some students you see at the teaching-time and a little bit private and that’s it. Private or not private time is not so different sometimes, but the human mind needs the private time: “This is my private teaching”. But actually it’s exactly the same teaching as in the group teaching. Teachings from Tulku Urgen Rinpoche in groups are even better then private. But your emotion: “This is one- to -one”. Me, me, you are proud, egos game again. But when you have a special experience then you might not want to share it with others. Then you talk private, maybe it’s useful. But in my own experience teaching in a group is much better. Khyentse Rinpoche, Tulku Urgen Rinpoche, Adue Rinpoche gave group teachings. And these days I think there is more chance to get group teaching then one to one teaching.

STUDENT: How is the experience of being caught by the alaya?

RINPOCHE: The subtlety of stuckness is there. Stillness and stuckness are two different things. Rigpa has also stillness, very pure stillness. But when there is a bit of gross stuckness – no thought, very clear, then it’s alaya. When there is a very normal translucent state, then it’s rigpa.

STUDENT: Can the experience of the alaya also be somewhat open?

RINPOCHE: Open and aware, yes. Alaya is quite a good thing, it’s close to rigpa. Many, many meditators are staying there, different traditions of meditators. Even non meditators are sometimes resting there, in the Sauna, somehow resting in the alaya. Alaya has different degrees.

STUDENT: I thought alaya was more dull.

RINPOCHE: The gross alaya is very dull but the subtle alaya is not dull, it’s very close to rigpa. But sometimes there is no choice. You stay in the alaya and from there through the devotion, through the effort, the understanding it will shift automatically to the rigpa.

STUDENT: The key to the shift is trying to generate devotion?

RINPOCHE: Devotion and merit and depending on some good book. Maybe there is some danger for coming into the alaya, so try not to. But don’t fear it, alaya is also ok, it’s not a bad thing. But stupid alaya is very, very, very bad, like dull, stupid. Stupid meditation, that’s not good. Dzogchen and Mahamudra are against that.

Rigpa and alaya are depending on two different materials, but they are very similar. For example, one is cotton, the other is plastic. The color is very similar but the basic material is different. One is nirvanic material, the other is samsaric material. But they look similar, like real flower and plastic flower. Quite often I thought the real flower was plastic because plastic is made so good. It’s two completely different materials but very similar in some areas.

STUDENT: So samsara and nirvana aren’t so different, it is easy to mistake?

RINPOCHE: It’s two different materials until the absolute nature of the alaya is realized. The absolute nature of the plastic flower and the real flower are both emptiness. The absolute nature of samsara and nirvana are not different, but the relative nature is different.

STUDENT: I have found that the wisdom is something that doesn’t arise within the meditation but during the post-meditation. So if you rest in the alaya there is no quality of wisdom or insight that arises from that or is there?

RINPOCHE: To some extent, but not real wisdom. Peaceful, some kind of awakeness, some kind of clarity. But not real omniscient wisdom but some siddhi might come. Siddhi comes from the stillness. Actually Shamata is also some form of alaya, alaya with mindfulness. Close to rigpa there is subtle alaya. I don’t think you need to meditate even . Just sit there and then you come into the alaya. But then there is always some kind of subtle glue, a little bit murky, not really crystal clear. So it is hard to distinguish. But don’t worry about that. Just pray not to go there and make accumulation of merits. And then try your best!

End with Dedication of Merit

“Advice on the Path”

Copyright Tsoknyi Rinpoche 2006

Teachings given at Swyambu, Katmandu May 2006

Transcribed and edited by Lodro Palmo and Madhu under Rinpoche’s supervision.

 

For more info, please download this text Retreat Lung: The Meditator’s Disease

or see: https://tsoknyirinpoche.org/teachings/all-about-lung-tsoknyi-rinpoche/

Photo by Lucas Pezeta from Pexels

Low Carb Shirataki and Kelp Noodle Stir Fry

I discovered these healthy low-carb noodles to make giant, guilt-free healthy and nutritive stir frys. It’s important to boil the noodle first to soften. I add pan fried tofu squares that I cook separately, and feel free to add other veggies like mushrooms and red bell peppers.

Look for these:
https://miraclenoodle.com/collections/all/products/fettuccine

Ingredients:

• 1 package (7 oz) shirataki konjac pasta, drained
• 1 package (7 oz) clear kelp noodles
• 1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 2 tablespoons minced ginger
• 1 yellow onion, large diced
• 1/2 cup chopped green beans
• 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
• 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
• 6 washed and sliced baby carrots or 1 large sliced carrot
• ¼ cup soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (optional)
• 1 tablespoon monkfruit sugar
• 1 teaspoon Tabasco or sriracha to taste
• 2T olive oil for cooking

Add the protein of your choice.

Directions:

Important: Boil 1 cup of water in a fry-pan and cook both noodles covered for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
Add olive oil to frying pan and cook on medium heat, sautéing garlic, ginger and then all remaining ingredients, and then add the sesame oil after cooking.
Serve with your protein, parsley or cilantro garnish.

Shirataki

Shirataki Noodle Stir Fry

IMG 4664

Low Carb Shirataki and Kelp Noodle Stir Fry

I discovered these healthy low-carb noodles to make giant, guilt-free healthy and nutritive stir frys. It's important to boil the noodle first to soften. I add pan fried tofu squares that I cook separately, and feel free to add other veggies like mushrooms and red bell peppers.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package 7 oz shirataki konjac pasta, drained
  • 1 package 7 oz clear kelp noodles
  • 1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 yellow onion large diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 6 washed and sliced baby carrots or 1 large sliced carrot
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar optional
  • 1 tablespoon monkfruit sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco or sriracha to taste
  • 2 T olive oil for cooking

Instructions
 

  • Directions:
  • Important: Boil 1 cup of water in a fry-pan and cook both noodles covered for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
  • Add olive oil to frying pan and cook on medium heat, sautéing garlic, ginger and then all remaining ingredients, and then add the sesame oil after cooking.
  • Serve with your protein, parsley or cilantro garnish.

Notes

Add the protein of your choice.

Dharma Friends: We have the excellent fortune of a little retreat this week live and on Zoom. It’s an exceedingly powerful and concise sadhana practice for our times, being taught by my close vajra brother Erik Pema Kunsang, live streamed from Denmark. The power and efficacy of this little practice is incomparable. I was on retreat alone in Crestone many years back and was having terrible obstacles and brought out this practice from my main teacher’s lineage that I had the permission (lung) for. After performing it only once, the deep seated obstacles instantly dissolved like snowflakes on a warm stone. If you can make it, even last minute do join us!

The image is Samantabhadra Padmakara in union with Mandarava that I drew a few years back for this practice, as there is no other image of them in existence that we could find and someday, I will color it in I hope and finish the thangka!  You can see all of the stages here: https://femtechonline.com/drawings/ Thanks to Phakchok Rinpoche and Michael Tweed for their support, I tried really hard to make the lines and them beautiful and passionate, and Guru Rinpoche’s gaze, unfathomable. The drawing kind of drew itself and took many weeks. Thanks so very much to Erik for using this image and teaching us. I’m looking forward to practicing via a zoom retreat with my always kind Danish sangha friends, and others worldwide this week!

lotus essence tantra

The Lotus Essence Tantra

“At Gomde Denmark – July 12 – 17 – we will study and practice this tantra.
“Bearing in mind how Padmasambhava extensively praised this profound tantra with his infallible vajra speech, study this tantra, contemplate it, train in it, memorize it, write copies of it, wear it, use it in your daily recitation, and correctly transmit it to others, fully and widely.”
“Thus, you will increase the activity of Samantabhadra Padmakara until it pervades throughout all of space. In this way exert yourself one-pointedly in constantly spreading its excellent light of benefit and happiness to illuminate not only your own mind but that of others as well.”
–Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
English registration:
Dansk tilmelding:

Words from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche about the Lotus Essence Tantra

“My guru uncle Samten Gyatso had many lay students and they all knew the Lotus Essence Tantra by heart. There wasn’t a single one of his students who didn’t know how to chant this tantra. Whenever they had a free moment or even while walking about they would recite it from memory. Many of his old students said that it was very good to chant because whoever hears it will be liberated. That is the kind of pure appreciation that they had.There is a long version of Liberation Through Hearing called the Single Child of All Buddhas Tantra, which is a much longer text but still there were many of Samten Gyatso’s students who knew that by heart as well.

Samten Gyatso once said that, “I have two things through which I can benefit other beings, one is the Single Child of All Buddhas Tantra and the other is the Lotus Essence Tantra. And there is absolutely no doubt about that!” Normally he would never mention anything of the kind, he was what is called a ‘hidden yogi.’ He would never talk about himself as being anything special, not even a single word. He was never heard saying, “I have realized …” or “I am special. I have special qualities.” Not once. He would move around just as if he was a completely ordinary person. But he did say, “There truly are two things that I have which can benefit others. One is the Single Child of All Buddhas Tantra and the other is the Lotus Essence Tantra.”

From Blazing Splendor, the biography of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.

Fond memories of the few times we visited the retreat center Gomde Denmark, where they are broadcasting from tomorrow night! If you can ever visit, it is indeed a pure land, and the kindest people ever. These are a few photos, I think from a few different years.
Love to all, always~ may the genuine dharma prevail.

kiwi
free weight loss course

 

 

Many of us gained weight during our Covid isolation, I’ve heard it called tongue in cheek the “Covid 19” meaning many gained just about 19lbs! I have compiled a scientifically proven weight loss plan that is healthy, simple and sustainable that I have used myself. It was recommended to me by other moms who’ve had great success with sustainable weight loss! This is not medical advice, this protocol below is from my personal experience only. For me it starts working on day 1. Please do check with your doctor before starting any diet, especially a reduced calorie one as there can be serious complications for certain people such as diabetics. This is a hybrid plan of about 4 diets all distilled into 1 easy to follow, healthy plan. It borrows from the Metabolic Factor primarily, Optavia® (Medifast®), Low Carb., Whole Food and Intermittent Fasting, all in one!

The main way that this diet is successful, is consistency. I failed a few times at it because I’d be really great and stick to it religiously for 4 or 5 days in a row, and then reward my efforts by~ cheating- a giant dinner out with family, with… dessert!  What my coach said is that it takes a few days to stoke your metabolism to start burning fat, if you cheat every few days, the body stops the metabolic process and starts storing fat again. Also, this diet differs from Optavia because it includes whole foods, and not unhealthy pre-paid, prepackaged, high carb. “fuelings,” with weird chemical sugar substitutes.  I have had better success eating more than less, if the calories are too restricted for you, you can get tired, dizzy, grouchy and god-forbid, put it all back on and then some, once you return to more normal eating patterns. A weight loss of 1-2lbs per week is considered safe. I’ve heard doctors say that any healthy diet that includes reducing calories and increasing exercise works, and consistency is the key– as Yoda reminds us “do or do not, there is no try.” Are you ready to commit for at least 30 days? Let’s do this!

 

8 STEPS TO A NEW YOU!

  1. Start with 6 Minutes of Burst Exercise Every Morning and 5-10K steps each day.

  2. Eat 5, whole food, high protein and vegetable (100-120 calorie) “snacks”  approx. every 2 hours.

  3. Eat 1 high protein and vegetable whole food “lean and green” meal per day (600-700 calorie), choose afternoon or early evening.

  4. Intermittent Fasting, it’s called 15:9 IF- eat all of your calories in a 9 hour, consistent block like 9:00-6:00.

  5. Drink 8 glasses of water each day.

  6. No alcohol, soda, fruit juice or sugary drinks.

  7. Stop eating refined sugar and refined carbs.

  8. Track meals and calories, water, fitness, steps and progress with an online paid app like Noom or for free, with MyFitnessPal.

 

1. Start with 6 Minutes of Intermittent Burst Exercise Every Morning and 5-10K steps each day.

Before you consume anything other than water, as soon as you wake up, do only 6 minutes of intense cardio, like jumping jacks, (or for Buddhists like me, we can do 100 prostrations which are like sacred squat thrusts!). I do 1 min. interval jumping jacks- 1 min. fast walk-jump 3 x 3 sets, or if you can run outdoors for 6 minutes. If you have an elliptical, do a fast 6 mins. on the interval setting, do push yourself! This jump starts your entire metabolism, and the body already begins to start burning fat. You can get a Fitbit or pedometer and walk every day, sun and fresh air does wonders for body-mind-spirit!

2. Eat 5, whole food, high protein and vegetable “snacks” approx. every 2 hours.

Eat proteins and fresh, organic, living vegetables. I created some perfect egg and veg. 100 calorie snacks and here are some more ideas.

3. Eat 1 high protein and vegetable whole food “lean and green” meal per day, choose afternoon or early evening.

Coaches call these “lean and green” meals. Create a basic high protein, low carb. veggie lunch or dinner. Some grains are ok, make the meal satisfying and nice, no need to count calories per se.

4. Intermittent Fasting: eat all of your calories in an 9 hour, consistent block like 9:00-6:00, it’s called 15:9 IF.

This doctor explains intermittent fasting and helps to undo some diet myths.

5. Drink 8 glasses of water each day.

Yes 8, full glasses, this helps to hydrate, detox, digest and keeps you full.

6. No alcohol, soda, fruit juice or sugary drinks.

This is essential, but sugar free coffee and teas are fine, if you have to, use stevia, xylitol or monkfruit sweetener on occasion, but rarely as even alternative sweeteners can affect insulin.

7. Stop eating sugar and refined carbs.

Yes, no flour and sugar dessert, pasta or heavily starchy foods. Some quinoa, amaranth, barley, wheat-berries, brown or organic rice and occasional potatoes are ok.

8. If need be, at least at first, track meals and calories, water, fitness, steps and progress with an online paid app like Noom or for free, with MyFitnessPal.

This is a 1200-1300 reduced calorie diet sufficient for standard weight loss for most people under 200lbs. You may need more or less caloric intake depending on weight, age, health, gender and level of physical activity. Please consult with your doctor, nutritionist or online weight loss coach for a custom plan and guidelines.

weight loss

Disclaimer:

The techniques, ideas, and opinions here are not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice. The information provided here is solely for informational purposes only. All information is generalized, presented for informational purposes only, not medical advice, and not to rely on this information as medical advice and to consult a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional for their specific needs. Sakura Designs, LLC and Dawn Boiani waive all liability for any harm. This information has not been evaluated by any government agency and the information is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

Photo by Any Lane from Pexels

healthy sunday granola

Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sundays

My teen daughter has… not one, not two but…three girlfriends staying over for summer vacation and it’s been hard to get them to eat a healthy breakfast. This is by far the most decadent of all of my recipes, but a sure fire way to get any sleepy breakfast-rebelling child to eat! A Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sunday topped with fruit, caramel or chocolate sauce, whipped cream and mint. I put them in fancy tall wine glasses so they can see the layers, and it works.every.time.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz fruit and nut granola
  • 12 T natural plain full fat yogurt
  • 1 c. Your choice of fruit: sliced strawberries, blueberries, bananas etc.
  • Chocolate or caramel topping that you use for ice cream
  • Ready Whipped Cream in a spray bottle
  • 4 Sprigs of fresh mint

Directions:

Layer ingredients as shown and top with mint!

yogurt parfait

parfaits

Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sundays

My teen daughter has... not one, not two but...three girlfriends staying over for summer vacation and it's been hard to get them to eat a healthy breakfast. This is by far the most decadent of all of my recipes, but a sure fire way to get any sleepy breakfast-rebelling child to eat! A Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sunday topped with fruit, caramel or chocolate sauce, whipped cream and mint. I put them in fancy tall wine glasses so they can see the layers, and it works.every.time.

Ingredients
  

  • 6 oz fruit and nut granola
  • 12 T natural plain full fat yogurt
  • 1 c. Your choice of fruit: sliced strawberries blueberries, bananas etc.
  • Chocolate or caramel topping that you use for ice cream
  • Ready Whipped Cream in a spray bottle
  • 4 Sprigs of fresh mint

Instructions
 

  • Layer ingredients as shown and top with mint!

Notes

Serves: 4

lemon almond cake

Lemon Almond Cake with Cashew Cream- Sugar, Wheat and Dairy Free

We were having friends over for Midsummer’s Day and wanted to create the most perfect guilt-free, healthy summer cake possible- so here it is! The base is a pretty dense single layer almond flour, shortbread style cake. You only need one layer of this cake because it becomes like a very filling marzipan. I found it best to use the spring-form pan to remove the cake when it’s finished but if you don’t have a spring form pan make sure to grease and flour it before you put the batter in. The cashew butter coconut cream frosting is incomparably delectable and all of this is dairy free, wheat free and sugar-free! Be careful when using monkfruit sweetener it’s about 200-400x sweeter than sugar, and some may like to omit it from the frosting. If you have an herb garden or fresh herbs from the market, top with fresh summer springs of mint!

Almond Shortbread Cake

Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 cups almond flour- superfine (not almond meal)
• 4 large organic eggs separated
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup granulated monk fruit sugar
• 1 T lemon zest
• 2 T lemon juice
• Sliced berries, mint and thin lemon slices for topping

Instructions:

• Preheat the oven 350F. Well grease and flour a spring-form or 9-inch cake pan.
• In a mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, egg yolks, sweetener, and lemon zest, and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat together your egg whites until there are stiff peaks.
• Gently combine the two and transfer the cake mixture into the greased cake pan.
• Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until it slightly browns on top. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan, as the shortbread tends to stick. Spring-forms work best and you can slide a knife under before removing.

Cashew and Coconut Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

• 1 stick of vegan butter softened
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 3T cashew butter
• 2 tsp. monkfruit sugar
• 1/2 can- 6oz- 200ml full fat coconut milk cream (use the fatty part)

Instructions:

• Add softened vegan butter to a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to cream butter until it whips add vanilla and mix once more to combine.
• Add monkfruit sugar until well combined and fluffy.
• If too thick, add 1T at a time of the remaining coconut milk of it too thin, add 1tsp of almond flour at a time to thicken. The texture should be similar to a buttercream frosting.
• Refrigerate when done for 1 hour before spreading on cooled cake.
• Spread on cooled cake and decorate with berries, mint and the remaining lemon, sliced!

lemon almond cake

Lemon Almond Cake with Cashew Cream- Sugar, Wheat and Dairy Free

We were having friends over for Midsummer's Day and wanted to create the most perfect guilt-free, healthy summer cake possible- so here it is! The base is a pretty dense single layer almond flour, shortbread style cake. You only need one layer of this cake because it becomes like a very filling marzipan. I found it best to use the spring-form pan to remove the cake when it's finished but if you don't have a spring form pan make sure to grease and flour it before you put the batter in. The cashew butter coconut cream frosting is incomparably delectable and all of this is dairy free, wheat free and sugar-free! Be careful when using monkfruit sweetener it's about 200-400x sweeter than sugar, and some may like to omit it from the frosting. If you have an herb garden or fresh herbs from the market, top with fresh summer springs of mint!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour- superfine not almond meal
  • 4 large organic eggs separated
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 cup granulated monk fruit sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • Sliced berries mint and thin lemon slices for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven 350F. Well grease and flour a spring-form or 9-inch cake pan.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, egg yolks, sweetener, and lemon zest, and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat together your egg whites until there are stiff peaks.
  • Gently combine the two and transfer the cake mixture into the greased cake pan.
  • Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until it slightly browns on top. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan, as the shortbread tends to stick. Spring-forms work best and you can slide a knife under before removing.

Notes

Cashew and Coconut Cream Frosting
Ingredients:
• 1 stick of vegan butter softened
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 3T cashew butter
• 2 tsp. monkfruit sugar
• 1/2 can- 6oz- 200ml full fat coconut milk cream (use the fatty part)
Instructions:
• Add softened vegan butter to a large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer  to cream butter until it whips add vanilla and mix once more to combine.
• Add monkfruit sugar until well combined and fluffy.
• If too thick, add 1T at a time of the remaining coconut milk of it too thin, add 1tsp of almond flour at a time to thicken. The texture should be similar to a buttercream frosting.
• Refrigerate when done for 1 hour before spreading on cooled cake.
• Spread on cooled cake and decorate with berries, mint and the remaining lemon, sliced!
christian

Dawn Boiani-Sandberg (Then I was Dawn Fiske) getting baptized at 10 by the Bishop, Emmanuel Church, Newport, RI

When I was 9, I joined the Episcopal Church in Newport, Rhode Island. This was my own decision, as I was close friends with some kind neighbors who invited me, who would later become my godparents, who I still keep in touch with today. My parents thought it was a bit odd, as they were quintessential 80’s somewhat self absorbed “yuppies,” and not really into religion. I became very involved with the church, went to Sunday school, community events and even joined the bell choir where we’d have to come to church to practice twice a week. I felt so much love and sincere kindness from this community, and it gave me hope and solace from a rather unsavory family life.

christian

Choir Girls from Emmanuel Church, Newport RI circa 1980- That’s me third row- second to last on the right

As far back as I remember as a small child, I was always pretty religious or maybe hedging more toward spiritual. Every morning I would wake up and pray into space and thank “God” or the universe, for another day of life. It was kind of strange in retrospect because my parents didn’t really talk to me about god or religion but somehow there was this innate knowing or belief or maybe just hope- that we were connected to something vast, greater and it was intelligent and compassionate.

I felt completely at home and enriched by my connection to this Episcopalian Community. They became the center of my life. I was impressed by how sincerely kind and compassionate people were as well as socially altruistic. We would raise money to sponsor children in developing countries, have bake sales, parties, trips to the beach, talent shows- arts and crafts- volunteer for those in need-  in or out of the community; it was a full and rich life.

Later on, when I left Newport and went to boarding school in Massachusetts, I started to read about all of the world religions and go deeper into religious philosophy and introspection. That’s where I found the Tibetan Book of the Dead and that pretty much sealed my fate for the next 25 years. Tibetan Buddhism seemed to offer a very complex, detailed system of how the world was structured and a deep understanding of the human mind. It provided a yogic path of inner development- for us to actually make spiritual progress that was beyond just doctrine or faith. As soon as I could, when I was 19, I packed everything up moved to Boulder, Colorado to go to a Buddhist University, The Naropa Institute- to study meditation, Tibetan art and tantric yogic methods.

Looking for a Spiritual Path

We talked so much about benefiting the world, cultivating compassion and a bold vision of creating an enlightened society. The premise of the community was that if you developed yourself and cultivated qualities of calmness, wisdom and sharpened the skills of your human efficacy that you could actually attain enlightenment and at that point, constantly offer yourself to benefit others. We were told that we had  exceedingly fortunate lives, good karma from our past lives and that our task was to take a vow to be of service to our world. There were some heartfelt moments with one of my teachers, and some powerful experiences on retreats, and for these memories I am grateful. I followed all of their training diligently for many years, but noticed in myself and others that these qualities as promised were not emerging even though I performed all of their practices and studied.

During our covid isolation we’ve all had a lot of time to reflect on our life and what is meaningful to us. After the #Metoo movement, many organizations, religious and secular, were exposed for having unethical conduct and scandals behind the scenes, not just in Christianity, but in Buddhism too. What got exposed in our Tibetan Buddhist community worldwide, was pretty unsettling to say the least. We found out that teachers abused their roles of power and control and unquestioning trust and devotion, to take sexual liberties with their students of both genders, forced us to give money and property, swear us to secrecy under something called secret conduct, use violence regularly that’s what they called a “teaching method.” If anyone speaks out, expresses hurt, concern or doubt, they send out henchmen to silence, discredit and slander whistleblowers- basic cult and organized crime modus operandi. They collect small children as early as the age of six from families and ordain them into their monastic institutions worldwide, where children and teens are to this day, subject to daily, violent physical and sexual assault. The teachers in power all know and turn a blind eye, while they give daily talks about compassion and non-harming. That’s just a small snippet the problems with my beloved faith of refuge and solace.

Taking Care of Each Other

During the year where we were in isolation I actually caught Covid, and there were only two people from my Buddhist community of 10k, that called to check on me, offered to help or expressed any care. It reminded me of a few years ago when I was also concerned about my mom who had breast cancer and I was worried about myself too. Our main teacher here in Boulder, who we are to regard as a divine, enlightened “Buddha,” was performing a four day obstacle removing practice. I remember I was so worried about her and I reached out to my Buddhist community, the leader of a large dharma center and I asked if I could just come and practice with my teacher for an hour. They said to me curtly “the only people that are welcome are the people that are his closest students.” They have a graded, hierarchical system of who’s who, and I had little value. They couldn’t even be kind to offer any words of comfort, support and encouragement- it was just a back-handed slap, telling me that I meant nothing. I tried for years to lobby them to create healthy community, take care of each other, uphold ethics and relational resolution; but nope, they consider anyone who requests transparency and change to be “possessed by a demon or evil,” yes I’m not kidding.

The majority of the proceeds from our donations and attention are not on each other, helping the underprivileged etc. but were used to serve the teacher and uphold his royal, jetset, mansions, court lifestyle. This was the first time that I realized that this indeed, is NOT a spiritual community, they were not the spokespeople for enlightened society, they didn’t even have the basic entry level etiquette skills of human decency. My husband commented “most of your dharma friends don’t seem to be well at all, it seems like a narcissist training camp.”

I live in a town, chock filled with self-involved Buddhists who took vows of altruism, yet when in need, they don’t take care of each other if we are sick or dying. Older students who aren’t popular, noted teachers or major donors, are literally left for dead, alone.

The hurt and hypocrisy to me personally, as well as so many lives, has caused me to step back, start fresh and reevaluate what community, faith and what the religious “path” means to me. What do I need, what can really help me to grow and use this short life for something meaningful? I had to seek out religious trauma counselors and shed many tears about the hurt and betrayal of our spiritual leaders as well as the unkindness and callousness of a lot of people who I considered trusted friends. The Tibetan Buddhist community that I was involved with since 19, is falling apart now, they are hemorrhaging with a loss of funding and membership after these scandals, and this trend is global.

It’s About Kindness

So, a few months ago, out of nostalgia, longing and being community-less, I started to join some of the online zoom sessions with a local Episcopalian Church, that just happens to be right by my home. I met with their Reverend, Rev. Bruce Swinehart and he was very kind. I told them about all of my tears and woes, feelings of deep, core spiritual betrayal. This little tiny Episcopalian Church in our neighborhood raised one million dollars during our covid isolation toward building renovations. He also told me that the parish raises money to provide temporary housing to support immigrants and those seeking asylum who were stopped at the border by the Trump administration. He told me that their community is pretty tight knit, if someone in the community gets ill there’s a group of people that will check on them and bring casseroles to the family or when community members are in need. If there’s a couple struggling with their marriage or a teen in trouble, the priest meets with them for spiritual counseling. The clergy did not behave as holier than thou, inaccessible or untouchable, they want to help. What a difference between this community and my former “enlightened society!”

Here are some photos from the outdoor Sunday church, from Saint Mary Magdalene’s Episcopal Church where the bishop was there to offer communion. They sang a song about diversity and the voices of the LGBT population and talked about constant forgiveness, healing our broken hearts and world, and real love. I was moved. Everyone greeted and some hugged each other at the end. This warmth and benevolent aspiration is the magic of real human dharma.

Is my story the quintessential heroic journey where Dorothy goes on this elaborate, long, gold gilded path to encounter this fantastic giant faux authoritarian deity with magic, smoke and mirrors and then finds that everything that she needed she had already in her own backyard within her? Well no, that would be too simple and easy. I’m not willing to relinquish my investment of my 25 years in the belief system of my Buddhist tradition, one of my teachers who was always kind and some of the powerful meditation practices that I still perform today. My concern and aspiration simply pertains to community, ethics, viability and what it really means to create real love.

If you use your religion as a way to build yourself up and think that you’re superior, are arrogant, profit financially, use your tradition to sexually exploit and control others, or justify any intention or action of harm whatsoever, this is no less than the depth of human obscuration and what could be called- “evil.” Retribution and cruelty to others is not “protecting one’s faith,” hurting others, especially children is dead wrong and it doesn’t matter what you call yourself priest, monk, Catholic, Buddhist, there are universal, basic human ethical truisms.

It’s Not About The Outer Form

There’s a famous story of the Buddha’s tooth, where a woman reportedly attained enlightenment. She had so much devotion and faith that she had a relic of a dog’s tooth that she believed was from the original Buddha on her shrine and that inspired her to meditate fervently and become a compassionate person. It doesn’t matter if you are theist, non-theists, an atheist it doesn’t matter whatsoever, what outer form or methodology, practice, what doctrine you ascribed to- it comes to one thing and one thing only, are we kind? Do we treat each other with decency and respect? Do we care for each other when we are aging and ill? Do we use this life to learn and grow, be accountable for our mistakes and feel regret and vow to not harm? This is the essence of the spiritual path, the real Dharma, the real enlightened society, the real God or sacredness within. If you have a heart of kindness~ that is… everything.

Homemade Spearmint Tooth Powder

This easy to make home tooth powder makes my teeth feel very clean, white and polished! This is a modified recipe from my first peppermint tooth powder with the addition now of bentonite clay and xylitol. I love to continually perfect new recipes and the previous tooth powder cleaned well, but tended to be very salty and gritty. This this one now, is very minty and sweet and I look forward to brushing. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients:

• 1/2 c. Bentonite Clay (1 part)
• 1/2 c. Baking Soda (1 part)
• 1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt (1/2 part)
• 2 T Xylitol, Stevia or Monkfruit Sugar
• 2 tsp. of Spearmint Essential Oil

Directions:

Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.

When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.

Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

toothpowder 1

Homemade Spearmint Tooth Powder

This easy to make home tooth powder makes my teeth feel very clean, white and polished! This is a modified recipe from my first peppermint tooth powder with the addition now of bentonite clay and xylitol. I love to continually perfect new recipes and the previous tooth powder clean well, but tended to be very salty and gritty. This this one now, is very minty and sweet and I look forward to brushing. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 c. Bentonite Clay 1 part
  • 1/2 c. Baking Soda 1 part
  • 1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt 1/2 part
  • 2 T Xylitol Stevia or Monkfruit Sugar
  • 2 tsp. of Spearmint Essential Oil

Instructions
 

  • Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.
  • When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.
  • Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

 

Organic Dairy Free Potato Salad

How To Make The VERY Best Potato Salad Recipe. The base is my grandma’s recipe and I use organic vegetables and vegan mayo- and it’s hands down the best potato salad- ever. We have our very first urban homestead herb garden this year, so the parsley is fresh from the garden! This is a perfect side dish for every summer outdoor barbecue or gathering, and now that we are vaccinated we can finally have dear friends and family over. We tried the vegetarian Beyond Burgers on the grill and they cooked up really well, add a fresh salad and some light, cool rosé wine and you have a perfect event- enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 pounds Organic Yukon Gold or Organic Russet Potatoes peeled and chopped to 3/4″ squares
1.5 cups Veganaise or Hellman’s Vegan Dressing
8 small sweet pickles chopped or 2T sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons organic yellow mustard
5 celery stalks washed and diced
8 hard boiled eggs peeled
1/2 organic white onion diced
2 T fresh chopped parsley for garnish
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cut the potatoes into squares and place them in a large stockpot, add 1 tablespoon salt and cook the potatoes for 15 minutes, until fork tender. Do not overcook.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl chop the eggs until fine with a hand pasty blender or two knives crossed. Add the veganaise, pickles, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth.
  3. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and let cool.
  4. When cool, stir in the egg and veganaise mixture. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with parsley and paprika.
  5. Cover the potato salad and refrigerate. Serve Cold.

Dairy Free Potato Salad

Dairy Free Potato Salad

Organic Dairy Free Potato Salad

How To Make The VERY Best Potato Salad Recipe. The base is my grandma's recipe and I use organic vegetables and vegan mayo- and it's hands down the best potato salad ever. We have our very first urban homestead herb garden this year, so the parsley is fresh from the garden!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds Organic Yukon Gold or Organic Russet Potatoes peeled and chopped to 3/4" squares
  • 1.5 cups Veganaise or Helleman's Vegan Dressing
  • 8 small sweet pickles chopped or 2T sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons organic yellow mustard
  • 5 celery stalks washed and diced
  • 8 hard boiled eggs peeled
  • 1/2 organic white onion diced
  • 2 T fresh chopped parsley for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl chop the eggs until fine with a hand pasty blender or two knives crossed. Add the veganaise, pickles, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth.
  • Once the potatoes are tender, drain and let cool.
  • When cool, stir in the egg and veganaise mixture. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with parsley and paprika.
  • Cover the potato salad and refrigerate. Serve Cold.

My family and I used to travel to California every year and stop in an old Spanish missionary town called San Juan Capistrano, outside of San Diego. There is the oldest and best restaurant there where I called them later and asked for their authentic fresh table-side guacamole recipe. A fresh, cooling summer treat, we just love this!

If you can ever visit this town please do, this restaurant site has been recognized as a California State Historical Landmark. The northern section was originally the home of Miguel Yorba Adobe, built in 1797. The southern half housed the Juzgado (court and jails), so it used to be a jail- and was established in 1812. Visit if you ever can, it’s an amazing cultural experience with an old Mission Church and botanical garden right next door.

https://eladobedecapistrano.com/catering/las-flores-room/

Spanish Guacamole from Mission San Juan Capistrano

Prep Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins

mexican guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ripe organic avocados, not too mushy not too hard
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos finely chopped
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 2 T of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 organic Roma tomato finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced

Instructions:

  1. Cut the avocados in 1/2 and remove the core, scoop out into a bowl
  2. Mash the avocado with a large fork or hand pastry blender
  3. Add the onion, jalapeno and tomato and gently mix well
  4. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste
  5. Top with cilantro and serve with organic corn chips made from real Mexican style tortillas!

authentic mexican guacamole

home made guac

Spanish Guacamole from Mission San Juan Capistrano

My family and I used to travel to California every year and stop in an old Spanish missionary town called San Juan Capistrano, outside of San Diego. There is the oldest and best restaurant there where I called them later and asked for their authentic fresh tableside guacamole recipe.

Ingredients
  

  • 4 ripe organic avocados not too mushy not too hard
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos finely chopped
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 2 T of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 organic roma tomato finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • Instructions:
  • Peel the avocados and remove the core

Instructions
 

  • Peel the avocados and remove the core
  • Mash the avocado with a large fork or hand pastry blender
  • Add the onion, jalapeno and tomato and gently mix well
  • Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste
  • Top with cilantro and serve with organic corn chips made from real Mexican style tortillas!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Sangchö or Lha Sang, A Tibetan Native Smoke Offering Ceremony

I was at my home in Boulder instead of my retreat home this weekend and invited an old dharma friend over to perform a traditional smoke purification ceremony, borrowed from the Tibetan Bön/ Buddhist Tradition. In traditional shamanistic culture, it’s very common to gather outside by the fire, to connect to nature, the elements and each other. The smoke is said to purify, to burn away obstacles in our lives and has a way of immediately connecting to our ancestral sacredness. We start by sitting silently and then we recite a traditional prayer composed by Dudjom Rinpoche. As the smoke billows, you imagine clearing a new path for that month, and anything you wish to let go of or create, can be part of your aspiration, and you lightly imagine that nature “listens.” We offer fresh juniper dipped in water, that I am fortunate to have plenty of growing on my property, as well as bourbon and aromatic woods. Other substances like ground barley tsampa flour are often offered as well.

We use a little backyard chiminea, that’s placed in a fire-proof simple Japanese rock garden, where I put at little pagoda too, to act like a sacred reliquary garden stupa. It’s a powerful, healing practice that you can do on special days like the full moon, equinox or solstice. Just make sure that you don’t start an uncontrolled fire on high risk days, and that your county/ city allows chimineas! We also make sure to clear any tree branches above to be safe from fire, and douse fully when we are done. I’m including the traditional smoke offering text we use, if your dharma friends want to perform their own, it’s generally “secret” but if you are connected to this tradition, this is the best text to use, you can download it here:

https://lhaseylotsawa.org/texts/Riwo-Sangcho.pdf

Homemade Peppermint Tooth Powder with Baking Soda and Sea Salt

This recipe was given to me by my healthful, mountain yogi friend who uses it every day. I have read that brushing with sea salt and tooth powders can damage enamel, but I found a way to use this amazing cleaning recipe safely. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. I use this 1x a week rather than every day as a special cleansing paste. Some recipes call for 1 part bentonite clay powder, but this works really well without that. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. Baking Soda (1 part)
1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt (1/2 part)
50-75 Drops of Essential Oils like: Peppermint, Spearmint, Clove, Tea-tree, Eucalyptus or Cinnamon, blends are ok!

Directions:

Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.

When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.

Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

 

 

An intimate photo of my teeth after the tooth powder cleanse, quite shiny and white- Proof that it works!

IMG 4055

Homemade Peppermint Tooth Powder with Baking Soda and Sea Salt

This recipe was given to me by my healthful, mountain yogi friend who uses it every day. I have read that brushing with sea salt and tooth powders can damage enamel, but I found a way to use this amazing cleaning recipe safely. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. I use this 1x a week rather than every day as a special cleansing paste. Some recipes call for 1 part bentonite clay powder, but this works really well without that. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 c. Baking Soda 1 part
  • 1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt 1/2 part
  • 50-75 Drops of Essential Oils like: Peppermint Spearmint, Clove, Tea-tree, Eucalyptus or Cinnamon, blends are ok!

Instructions
 

  • Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.
  • When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.
  • Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

 

 

 

I don’t have central AC in my homes, and even if so, the grid may give out for awhile so we have to prepare and stay safe from heat exhaustion or stroke – here are some great tips to stay cool during this heat wave!

1. Stay out of sun, stay in shade or indoors during high heat hours.
2. Strip down and get wet!
3. Take it easy, rest, read, during the higher heat hours.
4. Take a cold shower or bath.
5. Use Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap/scrub for colder showers.
6. Use cold washrags on your neck or wrists and heat points.
7. Stay Hydrated! Drink lots and lots of cold water.
8. Freeze bananas and berries for a cooling dessert/ snacks.
9. Use box and oscillating fans.
10. Invest in an attic or whole house fan (we did this, amazing!)
11. Close your curtains or blinds, block out sun.
12. Sleep in breathable linens and a get a cooling gel pillow.
13. Sleep in the basement or lower level if you have one.
14. Close the doors of unused rooms.
15. Strategically Angle Fans (in living space-heat in/out).
16. Install Ceiling Fans.
17. Use Some Ice and Fans to Cool Things Down.
18. Use Portable Evaporative Coolers.
19. Keep Appliances Off.
20. Prep Meals and cook in the morning, with a slow cooker or outside on a grill.

 

Copy credit in part:

Photo by murat esibatir from Pexels

KEBAB  ✓ No attribution required.

Welcome to a new, positive way of thinking about anxiety. This is a very common problem that most of us experience at some time or other in each of our lives, and it’s not a disorder, illness or psychiatric disease. Anxiety is a normal brain responding in a very common way to the experiences it […]

Well, the first thing I’d like to say if you suspect that you may have mental illness or a personality disorder or you have gotten an official diagnosis is… don’t panic! The fact that you’re here reading articles like this or seeking therapeutic help is rare. Self awareness and treatment is invaluable for people who suffer with personality disorders and it’s a huge step forward to even begin to see that one needs help. Congratulations are in order! I do not purport to be a psychologist, I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and have worked as a mental health counselor and wellness coach. More than training, I have been the recipient of narcissistic abuse for the good part of my life from my primary relationships. As a survivor and hopeful thriver, I have a lot of first hand experience with the dynamics of relational abuse and have encountered many modalities for healing, that I’d like to share.

Compassion for All

A lot of the self-help books and trainings and even therapists are geared toward helping the people who are the recipients of abuse. However, I’m finding that there’s not a whole lot out there to help people if they find out that they themselves have a personality disorder. Many professionals and online forums consider people who are narcissists, or people to suffer from antisocial personality disorder (psychopathy) to be wholly dysfunctional, predatory and conscienceless. Many therapists refuse to work with deeply rooted untreated personality disorders like borderline as the borderline can be emotionally manipulative and harmful, even to the therapist. They talk at great length about cutting people out, no contact, boundaries from “toxic people” and how to walk away.

One of my Buddhist teachers in contrast said, the people that are unwell, hurt, angry and reactive are the ones that need our love the most. I still love the disordered person that is in my family, I know they will never seek treatment. Yet, I see their past, their trauma that caused them to become like this: reactive, rageful and never, ever admitting fault, it’s always everyone else’s issue and they are the poor victims of mistreatment. Inside, they are broken, hollow and alone. Education is the key, for me to be able to create a safe environment to be around this family member. What they had to endure just being them, is enough “punishment” for their lifelong and continuous hurt to me. I’m grateful actually, to have been raised by a full spectrum narcissist and then to seek out a spiritual community headed by someone with a similar psychological profile. I admittedly struggle with being a wounded healer, codependency and care-taking as the fallout of my upbringing. However, they say “take it to the path,” the pain, many tears and years of therapeutic and healing modalities has I hope, caused me to grow and love even more deeply.

There is Hope

I would like to offer a different perspective on how people with personality disorders came to be and feel that if they were to ever seek help, no one is beyond redemption. I believe that no human being, even hardened criminals, even if they go so far as to identify as a predator, abusers who uphold the persona of the “wolf in sheep clothing” con men, gang members, people in political power, people that hold trusted roles as spiritual leaders but are exploitative and use people to glean sex, money, power, control and narcissistic supply, could not be treated and learn to uncover their innate dormant conscience and no longer harm others.

If the disorders that we experience come from: early childhood physical or sexual abuse, neglect, bullying, loss of a parent, growing up with a lot of intensity or trauma, then in order to survive, the child learns to dissociate and protect the vulnerable part of them from being hurt. As they age they perceive people who love them as people who are going to hurt them, a myriad of maladaptive, reactive, controlling or dissociated behaviors can ensue. Experts say often that the age that the abuse started is the age where the person stopped developing emotionally. Often you have people that are adults on the outside but yet broken, the “walking wounded” on the inside. This is not evil, this is sad, and we must safely help each other as much as we can, both “victim and perpetrator” in this hard and fragile life.

This organization, The Compassion Prison Project does a lot of work to help us all to be “trauma informed,” having compassion for unfortunate people that come from trauma and abuse that results in committing crimes. The project offers ways for us all to understand and heal, rather than mere punishment of doing years of time. I myself, used to volunteer in prisons and saw large, muscled, grown men, with tattoos, seemingly hardened, cry and express real regret. These images stay indelibly, with me.

Indeed, some people are born with neurological deficits which are the constructs of antisocial personality disorder, the traditional psychopaths or sociopaths. These are traditionally defined as people that are not capable of feeling real love, compassion, empathy or having any conscience. The statistics are staggering- 1 in 20 people are considered to be on the spectrum of antisocial personality disorder so there’s a very good chance that each of us encountered someone like this in our lives or… maybe ourselves? If you have been diagnosed with a personality disorder and you’re trying to seek help you are not too far gone to be considered un-treatable, then it’s time to take this very seriously and begin the process of self-awareness and healing right away as to not hurt yourself or others any more. The pain of living with untreated personality disorders can create a lonely and hollow life for the person that suffers from this and the impact on people’s family and social relationships can be devastating.

If you suspect you may have a personality disorder, first and foremost, I would adopt this mantra-

“I am a good person but through this illness, I have hurt myself and many people. I am so proud that now, I’m brave enough to see it, and will diligently seek help. I know I can get better and stop these negative recurring patterns. I will someday become a loving, healed and helpful person.”

Here are some helpful steps as to how to get treated:

 

 

  • If your doctor or therapist suggest medication take it diligently.

 

  • If you have problems with alcohol or substance abuse, go to detox, often covered by insurance and then join a supportive 12 Step Community.

 

  • Consider consulting with a Functional Medicine Doctor, there are many powerful OTC supplements that can help.

 

 

  • Journal– Make an extensive list about every single thing you have done to hurt others in your whole life prior to treatment and if possible, contact all of them to apologize, even if it has been decades.

 

  • Real Self Love– Forgive yourself for any harm you have done by acting out of the untreated personality disorder or mental illness.

 

  • Self Energy Work– Learn how to do reiki healings, EFT tapping or self care acupressure like Jinshin-jitsu, take regular warm baths, support, cradle and re-parent a taxed, damaged nervous and adrenal system.

 

  • Seek Emergency or therapeutic help if you uncover memories that are too painful or encounter any mental or emotional state that’s too much to handle alone, or if you have any desire to harm yourself or others.

 

  • As you get stronger and better and are in treatment, if you have committed crimes, you may choose to work with your counselor and contact a lawyer and turn yourself in and explain that you were mentally ill when committing them, and plea for a lesser sentence or a mental illness waiving of sentencing.

 

  • Make sure that you follow the law, always, there are no exceptions or special permissions for you. If you belong to a rebellious group of friends or religion that gives you special permissions to break the law and harm others, leave any unhealthy culture or organization that supports and enables disordered thinking.

 

  • Vow to be mindful of your body, speech and mind, notice if there’s a tendency to feel hurt, reactive rageful and when you notice this come up, take a deep calming abdominal breath, feel your body, look at the other person with kindness and start again.

 

  • A well balanced nutritive diet, daily exercise and sunlight are the basics of any human mind-body-spirit health!

 

  • Contrary to popular thought, I do not recommend meditation, solitary retreat, withdrawal or solitude for long periods of time or any high yogic practices until you have been treated and are stable and psychologically healthy.

 

  • Self Talk– believe that each day is new, each day is a new you, full of potential and renewed!

There is no shame in being diagnosed with any type of depression, bi-polar personality disorder or mental illness. (!) The statistics for us all collectively suffering after the past few years with the disasters, pandemic, loss of life, isolation and economy are all pervasive. I know it’s easier to be in denial, project and blame others, that’s how personality disorders keep their stronghold on those who suffer, but I trust that somewhere, people know when they are unwell and need help. We must remove the mental health stigma, get whatever help needed, to create the best life for ourselves. I love the mantra:

Hurt People Hurt People, Healed People Heal People

Taking steps toward our personal inner health- mind-body-spirit becomes the building blocks of a healthier society, families and spans into the next generations. There are so many amazing powerful and transformative healing resources out there. We can bring light to our shadow, and admit if we are in pain and we’ve hurt others and need help. We can take whatever steps we can to become the best, most healed people we can be! As long as we are still here, with faculties intact, there is always… hope.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer and Emergency Information

 

Disclaimer: Please do not use these articles as a way to diagnose yourself or others. These articles are for educational purposes and they are links, reposts and personal opinions of the author. If you relate to any content, we have a list of hotlines below that you or a loved one can use to seek help for abuse, trauma or mental health issues. Some content can cause “triggers” as sensitive content is discussed.

Resources: National Child Abuse Hotline (US and Canada): 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)

National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233) TTY: 800-787-3224 Video Phone for Deaf Callers: 206-518-9361

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) TTY: 800-799-4TTY (800-799-4889)

Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741 (US and Canada) or 85258 (UK) National Runaway Switchboard: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

CODA https://coda.org/

 

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