is there an app for this?

I’m crunched for time.  In two days we leave for Upaya and the Zen Brain retreat.  It promises to be another intense set of rounds with neuropsychology’s heavy hitters: Al Kazniak, James Austin, Amishi Jha.  Retreat participants received a set of articles via email by many of the  presenters and I’ve muddled through them.  It’s not that the topic is overly difficult; probably the most valuable skill my education gave me was the ability to scan a research paper, get the gist of it, and ear-mark it for future reference if it was applicable.

Now, that’s the sticky point: applicability.  The further I get into practice, the more my romance with research on meditation has faded.  It’s not that I have lost respect for the researchers and philosophers who try ever so hard to connect the practice of mindfulness/meditation to something substantive that may lead to good health via new interventions.  But there you have it: the convolution and expanse in that sentence alone makes me take a deep breath and ask: how is this helping me understand and live Dharma?

Of course, some of these folks – Evan Thompson, John Dunne, Al Kazniak – could expound on the telephone book backwards and I would defend that as Dharma.  But I’m partial to brilliant minds with charming smiles.  Hence my very successful 30-year marriage to He-Who-Tolerates-All-Things-Genju.

After Zen Brain and a three-day excursion around Santa Fe, I dive into the second retreat of the Chaplaincy with Fleet Maull and Jimmy Santiago Baca teaching us to live “Dharma at the Edge.”  Last week, I met with a hospital Chaplain and we discussed the intensity of being with those who are dying.  For two hours we dug into what it means for a family member to not look away from the suffering of a loved one, to make life-and-death decisions on their behalf, and what being a supportive advocate means in that context.  I was infected with her enthusiasm and her commitment to living her livelihood.  I’m glad I met her before I set out on this second phase because I am having a hard time folding aspects of this process into my practice.  Again the question arises: how is this helping me understand and live Dharma?

Yesterday, the answers was to download my garden as an app.  Over the next 10 days, who knows?

Thank you for practicing,


3 thoughts on “is there an app for this?

  1. Eating table scraps from other peoples meals is ultimately not very satisfying and in long run probably not all that nourishing. We need to prepare our own meals and be willing to eat everything on our plates. Also, when is practicing the Dharma, as fully as we can; not on the edge?
    Nice garden! Lots of nourishing food there…

    • Hi Helmut! How are you? Interesting and challenging insights. It definitely leads me to see this process as a class on preparing a good meal. Different cooks, some are chefs, different ingredients and a multitude of ways to prepare the meal. Some of this may not be to my taste and some may give me inklings to preparation techniques and practices that suit my time on this path.

      Yes, the garden is lovely and I am most distressed to be leaving it just as it is offering up its gifts! Making a stirfry tonight with the green beans, kale and squash just so I can say we received it all with love. 😦

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