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I am writing this post, basically passing along a story I heard.  I have not tried this yet, so don’t know if it actually works.  However, I am thinking about getting my paints out and doing some artwork.  Maybe I will also do a few pieces along these lines.

A friend sent me a story about a woman in Germany who was in poor shape health-wise due to a chronic Lyme’s infection (and maybe some other co-infections).  She had tried antibiotics and did not have much success with that route.  Then she tried several herbs and I think her infection was too far along, so she was in right bad shape…

So, maybe out of desperation, one day she did some research and looked up what a Lyme’s spirochete looks like.  Then she started doing some sketches and then she did some paintings.  She painted the Lyme’s spirochetes in her body and she painted herself in the spirochetes – showing that she fundamentally did not wish them harm.  She just needed the bacteria to know how much pain and suffering they were causing her.

She sat with these paintings for a few weeks and then one night she had a dream.  In the dream, it was basically evident that the bacteria spirochetes had decided that they would leave her body or turn themselves in to her immune cells (white blood cells).

She claims that a few weeks later, she was complete symptom free.  I kind of believe her.  [end of story]

Actually, when I read Buhner’s book about how complex a pathogen borrelia burdorferi is, it is mind boggling to think of a way for the body to overcome a bad infection.  The Lyme’s bacteria are exceedingly good at mutate and literally mixing up their surface proteins and even altering their genetic code!  The relationship these bacteria have with ticks is incredible (and a bit scary).  So why not try communicating with them in ways we have never conceived of before?  Either get along with them or continue to fight them – even though these bacteria have millions of years on us – in terms of evolving to adapt in dozens of different hosts!

Thanks for reading yet again,

KM

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This is a post about my recovery from Lyme’s disease.  If you are a regular visitor, you may have read a previous post describing my struggle with Lyme’s disease (borrelia burgdorferi).

I am now realizing that I have probably been infected with some sort of tick-borne issue for longer than I thought.  I say this because actually over the past 5 years or so, I have been noticing a very slow, but steady decline in my hand-eye-coordination and in mental clarity.  It definitely started before I was officially diagnosed with LD.  And now I think I have finally put a stop to that said decline (thank goodness!).

Go back and read my previous posts about Lyme’s for further information.  I will be describing what I am doing now and just briefly brushing on what happened in the past.

So what is different now than 6 to 12 months ago (you might ask)?

I am still taking (in low doses) the Lyme’s specific homeopathics – which I think do a great job of slowing and halting the LD progression, I’m not sure if it erradicates the Lyme’s by itself.  Rather I would suggest adding in immune boosting herbs like astragalus and andrographis (*** see warning below).

For about the past 2 to 3 months I have been taking the Cat’s Claw bark powder, the Eleuthero tincture (ginseng) and the Japanese Knotweed root powder – these are the main herbs in the Buhner herbal Lyme’s protocol.

In the past month, I have added in 4 things, which means I don’t know exactly what is making me feel so much better…  but I am just happy to have more energy and less inflammation!!

Here is what I have added in the past few weeks:

  1. I am taking an herbal anti-inflammatory blend – it has some knotweed (resveratrol), some turmeric, some green tea phenols, etc.  This is probably going to help reduce inflammation in the body – but by itself, this will not treat Lyme’s (btw).
  2. I have started taking Andrographis.  I am taking doses in the amount recommended by Buhner – meaning I started out taking 1 tablet every 4-6 hours (400 mg) for a week or two.  I did not have any reactions.  And now I have built up to taking 800 mg every 4-6 hours meaning I take 2400 mg of it daily.  Andrographis is rapidly excreted by the kidneys – Buhner mentions that in just 4 hours, 80% of the herb is excreted, meaning we have to take it often.  I might up my dose to 1200 mg every 4-6 hours soon.  Will keep you posted.  Andrographis is a known immune booster (and this is most of the battle against tick-borne disease infection).  In fact, a number of Northern European countries recommend their citizens take this herb in the winter.

In addition to the above two supplements, I also got an acupuncture session a couple weeks ago which focused on my extraordinary meridians.  These are a mystery to me (look them up but make sure it is a good resource) – but I noticed myself feeling better about 3 – 5 days after this treatment, so I have to mention it.  The meridian that got worked on for me had to do with the Jing Qi and it ran up the inside of my legs, she also put needles in my neck (near the SCM) and on the inside edges of my inner cannulas (first time ever having needles so close to my eyes!).

Finally, what I did not mention in my previous post about going up to Pittsburgh…

I had a dream a few months ago – maybe back in January or February that doing a certain Buddhist Dharma protector practice would lead to my feeling better.  It is a rare practice – it is rare I think for anyone to do this specific practice on its own (rather you hear about this Dharmapala lumped in with the others).  But I have been doing it since returning from Pittsburgh a week ago.  I think this is an efficacious practice for me.  I was also told that this particular wisdom being was associated with healing – that nomads in Tibet request lamas and monks to do the practice when their Yaks get sick and start dying.  I wish I could say more about this, but I think you have to have the karmic connections (ten drel) to benefit from these types of practices.

In the meantime, if you are desperate, you could look up Green Tara mantras and chant along with them, or Chenrezig or Medicine Buddha mantras.  Better yet though, find a Tibetan lama who you trust and ask their advice about a healing yidam (deity) practice for you, if you want.

Whatever is causing my health and vitality to return, I am grateful.  Having spent the past four to five years watching my energy slowly sap away and my inflammation slowly creep up and up, I am very happy to be coming out the other side.  Which, in the realm of Lyme’s disease is often difficult to do.

I am still taking it slow.  No need to shock my system!  But I have the energy to give multiple bodywork treatments in a day or to go for a 10 mile bike ride or to have several activities in a day without being worn out or irritable.  So far so good!

Thank you for reading!

~km

 

*** a little word about andrographis: about 3% of the population is allergic to this herb, which manifests primarily as rashes and skin issues.  Most of the time this allergy is not serious.  However, due to this risk, always start out taking a small dose and work your way up after a week or two to make certain you are not in that small percentage of people.

I just recently got back from a trip to Pittsburgh, PA.  It is closer to Charlottesville than I was thinking, so I will try to head up there once a year if it is easy.

On Saturday there was an empowerment by H.E. Tritsab Rinpoche (Chenrezig).  That day was a lot of driving, so I kind of collapsed after that session.  I filled in as make-shift attendant.  My friend who I went up there with is from India – he does months of meditation retreats at a time (he is a bit of a dedicated yogi).  So I was the low man on the totem pole and I was happy to fill in as cook.

Saturday was at a beautiful church about 20 minutes away from the Dharma center.  At least 40 people attended – quite a nice crowd, an interesting blend of new-comers and experienced practitioners, and older and younger attendees.

Sunday was a bit more of a special practice.  His Eminence, Tritsab Rinpoche, is actually a highly regarded Lama.  Way back (like 600 years or so), an earlier incarnation of his was one of the lineage Lamas of the Drikung Kagyu.  And at that time, Rinpoche had a literal face-to-face with the Dharma protectress Achi Chokyi Drolma.  Tritsab Rinpoche was given a small scroll that had Dakini script on it (meaning he received a terma or a treasure text).  The current Rinpoche said that that lineage holder could not actually decipher the scroll – but that when he meditated, the words to the practice came to him.  Therefore it was more of a mind terma (I think).  Also, it is a little complicated in that this is a pure Drikung Kagyu practice – most termas are from the Nyingma tradition, having been hidden by Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal.

Anyway, on Sunday we got the Terma Achi empowerment.  This was held in the Dharma center (see below) and about 25 people showed up for this.  Great group, a little tight, and warm (because Rinpoche speaks quietly, we had to turn off the air conditioner!).  I did not have a seat 😦   until Khenpo said, you sit up here with me.  So I was literally front and center for this empowerment.  I appreciated how Khenpo had Rinpoche do all the technical details for the empowerment – he actually poured water from the sacred vase onto our heads, just a few drops.  There was a delicious pot luck lunch which most of the attendees stayed for.

Then in the afternoon, we did the Terma Achi practice.  I had heard of this before, but had never done the practice.  It is most fascinating because we can take Achi Chokyi Drolma as Lama (Guru), Yidam (deity) and Dharma protector (Dharmapala) and these are all included in the practice.  This is a short practice, so we finished early.

Then members of the center took the four of us to Mount Washington.  By the way, Pittsburgh is a very interesting city geographically – with the rivers and valleys and hills and tunnels, it would be a nightmare for a city planner (just saying!).  Also, I heard a quote I liked: “Pittsburgh is the city where you can’t get there from here.”

And it turns out that evening, that quote could not have been more accurate!  There was a gay pride parade downtown, and the Penguins were about to win the Stanley Cup (hockey tournament) and there was a big concert downtown as well.  On top of that, many of the roads were under construction.  So after driving around in circles for about half an hour, we finally found a way across the bridge to get to Mount Washington.  [side note: being stuck in a car with a serious retreatant and 2 authentic Tibetan lamas, even when lost and driving around frivolously, is still remarkably enjoyable!]

Mount Washington is a large hill (and I guess neighborhood name as well) that overlooks Downtown Pittsburgh.  It was quite beautiful – seeing the 3 rivers coming together, looking down on the concert and the parade and the sky scrapers.  It was well worth the journey!  Plus we had dinner up there as well, so we got to see the city as the sun was setting.

Monday, we went to the Pittsburgh Zoo.  This was actually a great experience.  As we were walking in, Khenpo Choephel, being a tougher Khenpo (which means Abbot) told us to chant mantras for the animals’ liberation and freedom from suffering.  He suggested we do Chenrezig or Vajrasattva mantras.  Therefore, at least for the first 30 – 60 minutes, I was mindful about how the animals’ might be suffering (although for the most part, the animals looked to be well taken care of).

There is an aquarium in the zoo as well, so we stayed for close to four hours total (including a long relaxing lunch).

I’m not quite sure, but I think we had some curious karma going on as a group (the four of us – Kirby, Ryan, Khenpo C and His Eminence) because on Monday we got stuck on a tight road that road construction forced us to detour onto.  I was literally pinned in (as a car) as I waited for several large trucks and garbage truck to creep by, praying they would not scrape the side of my fenders!  So Sunday we had driving obstacles, along with Monday.  It took us about 30 minutes extra to get to the zoo.  Which was fine!  I had great company around me in the car  🙂

Khenpo Choephel reminds me of a solid, modest, serious practitioner and teacher.  I suspect he has great levels of realization (and as a Dharma practitioner, I do my best to see him as Vajradhara or primordial Buddha).

The center is quite interesting though.  It is in a poorer neighborhood, but the neighbors are awesome, friendly, diverse and a few are curious about the Buddhadharma.  The house itself is very narrow – so there are only 3 rooms per level.  Ryan and I stayed on the 3rd floor, which was a little unfinished, which was completely fine!  I was just happy to have a bed and a roof over my head!  The nice thing about the location though is that the members were able to buy the house right out, meaning no debt to worry about.  They did have to put in about 1000 hours of labor over 3 months though as it was a serious fixer-upper.  But it gets the job done.  It has a beautiful shrine room with dozens of thangkas (Tibetan scroll paintings of deities and lineage lamas and Dharma guardians, etc).

I am very satisfied with my trip to Pittsburgh and I would go back in a heartbeat.  I received several impromptu Tibetan language instruction sessions as my Tibetan is okay (I probably speak at a 1st grade level, whereas I comprehend at a 6th grade level).  They were very happy to assist me and point out words that I was getting mistaken.  Plus, Khenpo even gave me a transmission of a specific practice at 11:11 pm on the night before we were about to leave – I had asked him for it a day earlier, but we hadn’t had time.

Oh – and the funny thing was, Khenpo is big into watching the local sports.  Apparently Pittsburgh is a huge sports city (which makes sense), and they have even gotten a Tibetan lama hooked on hockey and basketball!

Thank you for reading!

~km

I had an interesting experience in a bodywork class recently.  I help to assist with teaching various bodywork classes – Craniosacral Therapy, Working with the Vagus [nerve] system, Zapchen Somatics.  And occasionally, something comes up which I have not considered or heard before.  Usually the topics are subjects or situations I have heard of previously.  I have been taking these classes since 2005, so I have at least 30 classes under my belt as it were.

However, in a recent class, the topic of birth imprints came up, and specifically comparing our birth imprint with our deeper karma.

So the conversation went something like this:

“I have learned that exploring and stepping out on my own, tends to lead to my getting hurt.  I think it is my karma.”  The teacher heard this and pondered it a second.

Then the teacher skillfully and patiently explained how, if we did not get certain needs met, or if we had parents who did not protect us or provide us with good boundaries, then it made sense how this belief could arise.  The teacher went on to skillfully inquire about this person’s relevant history and they determined that certain needs were not met.  And I think this person may have changed their mind about this long-standing (possibly erroneous) belief.  But was this belief this person’s karma?

This is an interesting question to me.  Of course, if you have a birth imprint that is not resolved (or a developmental piece from when you are two years old for instance), then obviously it is your karma to work through that piece.  But I think what the teacher meant is that, the belief that you will get hurt for exploring and stepping out of your comfort zone, it is possible to penetrate to the misunderstanding (or inherited beliefs from your parents) that is fueling this belief and to clear it up, to resolve it.

As children, we have different needs at different phases of our lives.  Generally, there are age-appropriate needs and guidelines – for instance, young teenagers need to feel safe to explore on their own and to start figuring out who and what they are, to challenge their parents’ beliefs and to start differentiating as they make their way toward becoming adults.  But if parents have been overprotective up to this point, this trend might continue or if parents have not taught any boundaries and have not been very protective at all, then the child might have a difficult time knowing how to explore and who is safe to chat with (for instance).  Or the child could act out in a number of ways – the rebel without a cause.

Anyhow, if we hear a client make an interesting statement about getting hurt because we were exploring, this should raise a red flag that some developmental need was not met or it was met inappropriately.  If we have the skills, we can possibly help this person to realize why they might have this belief – maybe they learned it from one or both of their parents.  That might be enough to change this pattern or we can bring in some extra resources or refer them to someone who can help.

No matter what, this is a fascinating topic for me.  When we encounter beliefs that might be erroneous, especially in clients who are wanting to heal and to grow and change for the better, how can we skillfully work with these people?  Who can we refer to for additional assistance?

And does a birth imprint = deeper karma?  I don’t know to be honest.

But I personally believe that we all have the capacity to heal within us.  We all deserve happiness.  And we all make choices everyday which either lead toward happiness or lead toward dissatisfaction.  It is our choice.  However, until we meet a qualified teacher or mentor or coach, we might be ignorant of how to heal ourselves, or that true happiness even exists.

May all beings see through their surface imprints and realize the Buddhanature within!

Thank you for reading as usual.

~km

I am going to write about how clarity can arise during meditation.  And it can also arise when we are offering bodywork.

Garchen Rinpoche is one of my heart teachers.  He is one of the few individuals on the planet who I honestly think, loves everyone and everything around him.  He is the embodiment of loving-kindness in my eyes.  And he is more than that as well, his wisdom fire is vast and deep, so he also embodies the wisdom-gnosis of Manjushri.  If I get the chance to attend his teachings, I make every attempt to go.

In a recent post of one of his teachings, he mentions that with devotion to the Guru or to one’s root lama, that clarity can arise when we meditate.  If we have the dedication of years of practice, and if we are truly devoted to our heart teacher, then clarity can easily arise when we do Guru Yoga or offer a Tsok feast and Lama Chopa practice (offering a delicious feast to the blessing-bestowing lineage holders of one’s particular Tibetan Buddhist lineage).  If we have a question, we might not need to ask our root lama in person, unless it is easy.  [Of course it is good to check in from time to time to make certain we are not being blown about by the winds of delusion]  Rather, if we have a question, we can ask it at the beginning of a meditation session or before we do Guru Yoga, and Garchen Rinpoche says that by the next morning, we might have our answer.

I believe there are some definite parallels between meditation and doing professional, compassionate, skillful, ethical bodywork.  I personally practice Craniosacral Therapy, I work with a little bit of trauma resolution by working with the Vagus nerve and the Polyvagal system and I am starting to get into Pre- and Perinatal therapy (PPN therapy) and Birth Process work.  I have been giving and receiving bodywork for over 12 years now, and I feel that the levels of embodiment I am discovering are very difficult to describe in words and that my body communicates with me on a regular basis.

If we are doing bodywork and something comes up in the session, we can get to the point where we can ask our own bodies – “what is going on here?”  And we can get a definite, accurate answer.

Here is an example of this:

I was giving a treatment a little while ago when I started to feel the client’s pain coming out into my hands.  This can occur anytime someone has emotional or physical trauma and we as healing facilitators are both wishing them well and attempting to get their body to release old stuff.

The problem with the above situation though, is that I want to be able to give a treatment session and have some energy remaining to enjoy my day.  I want to be able to give at least four treatments in a day without feeling drained.  So if I am starting to take on my client’s stuff, I have to pause and notice the yellow flags my body is raising.  “Hello Kirby – do you really want to continue down this path?”  No, I don’t.

Therefore, I paused and asked my body – specifically my gut and my kidneys, “What do I need to know right now?  Why am I taking on this person’s stuff?”

And it was pretty wild.  I got an instant response of, “There is nothing to do, nothing to fix, nothing to make [as healing facilitator].  I am merely connecting to this person’s innate health which is never lost.”  I stated something like this out loud – that their body knows how to heal itself and that I am just coaching their process.

And within seconds, I stopped taking on anything from this person, despite my hands remaining on them the whole time.  I got them to do a little technique to move the energy through and out of their body (without me as middle man!) and they deeply appreciated the session.

It is always good to remind ourselves of the basics.  Going back from time to time to review the basics is very helpful for me.

I think I was taking on this person’s stuff because I had temporarily fallen back into an old pattern of trying to help or fix one of my parents (an old pattern of mine).  Once I named and noticed it and shifted my intention and my awareness, I was able to no longer be hooked by my old pattern.

Likewise, we can get questions answered when we sit on the meditation cushion.  Or we can answer our questions (sometimes instantly) by having years of experience working with our bodies and having a tradition enhanced with wisdom to lean into.  In other words, we can bring meditation into various contexts we are working in.

Thank you for reading!

~km

Dharma injection

If you want to be inspired to do more Dharma practice, host a Tibetan lama or even just a humble retreatant for a few days.

I was fortunate to do just this as I hosted a retreatant for a few days last week.  He has spent time learning the Tibetan language and he has spent thousands of hours now in isolated retreat in India for close to seven years or more.

Prior to his arriving, I was doing about 30 minutes (tops) of structured practice a day (on my own), along with a meditation group or two here and there each week.  However, in the days leading up to his arrival, I think my body could feel the improved energetic dynamic coming, and I started to do a little more practice.

It is difficult to describe.  And I’m sure if you asked him, he’d say that he has absolutely no special qualities.  But I felt inspired to create more when he was downstairs doing his practice.  I cooked almost every meal at home and it was easy.  Not just because I was cooking for a friend, but it was more than that.  The creativity flowed.

He was sharing my space for less than 72 hours, but it made a difference.  At least for a week afterward I felt a momentum I typically only feel after a retreat with Tibetan lamas.  I did more refuge practice and felt compelled to resist any urge to watch Netflix.  I did more yoga and more Zapchen somatics.  More self care.

I am having a change of heart I think.  For a while there I thought I was not meant to do any kind of structured, extended retreat in this lifetime.  But I am now rethinking that.  Not that I have any desire to do the traditional 3 year – 3 fortnight retreat that the Lamas typically all complete.  But even just a 90-day retreat in Ladakh would be incredible.  I wonder if I could even complete it (of course, if I set it up just right, I might not have a choice but to go through with it!).

Who knows what the future holds.  One thing is for certain though: if I get married in this lifetime, my partner is going to need to be open to the possibility of my doing a one to three month long retreat at a retreat center or monastery.

Thanks for reading!

May you be blessed and a blessing,

~km

I recently hosted a friend who is primarily a retreatant in India – as in he sits in a small room doing specific Buddhist practices day-in and day-out for about seven months a year.  He has been doing this for a number of years, which is inspiring in and of itself, but doing so requires a special type of dedication, good fortune and organization (most of us could not afford to take this kind of time off from our families, etc).

However, one thing he mentioned stuck with me, actually a lot of what he said stuck with me.  He has become skillful and patient in his time in retreat (surprise surprise!).

He mentioned that, in order for an animal to eat our food or to bite us (think ants in your kitchen, mice in your pantry, mosquitoes or ticks, etc), there must be a karmic connection to that animal and we must owe that animal a debt.  Maybe we ate that animal in a past life, maybe they loaned us money and we didn’t repay it!  Who knows?  But what we know is that we have to repay that debt before the animals will leave us alone.

So how do we repay that debt?  That is a great question.  I primarily have experience of this through Buddhism.  I was raised Christian, but you don’t hear about the methods for how to repay karmic debts in Christianity.  Just saying.  So in Buddhism there are many methods to repay karmic debts.  I know there are methods in other religious traditions – but we must be careful such that we do not create more negative karma in conducting a religious ceremony (do not sacrifice an animal or use animal parts if possible).

For one, we can do a smoke offering puja (ceremony) where we offer burnt substances to unseen beings – wisdom beings, local spirits and others.  Apparently there are some beings whose karma is such that they can only enjoy food when it is in smoke form.  Another method for repaying a karmic debt is to do a Sur Chod or feeding the ghosts offering.  I have heard that when someone dies, they go into the Bardo state for up to 49 days – this can be animals dying or humans or other beings.  The Bardo is an intermediate state where the being is ethereal in form – most humans cannot see Bardo beings.  And it is a state where they hang out and explore while they wait for their next rebirth.

The Sur Chod is the method for feeding these Bardo beings – because they too can only imbibe what is offered to them (and I am guessing this is through smoke).  I am not an expert by any means, however, I have conducted a number of these ceremonies – both Sur Chod and smoke offerings.  If you have questions, you should find a qualified spiritual teacher, like a Tibetan lama or monk or nun and ask them.  🙂

I suspect that another way to purify this karmic debt to animals is by freeing animals that are set to be killed.  Buying back a crate of live shrimp or lobsters for example and putting them back in the ocean – with the motivation of freeing them from harm, of preserving their life, might help to produce some positive karma.  This might start to add up though, as far as the check book is concerned.

Just be mindful though – if we poison the termites or ants or wasps in our house or deck, we are actually making our negative karma worse.  The pest problem can only get worse in the future if we do this.  Sorry to say it, but if you are involved in extermination, I can’t imagine how much negative karma is getting accumulated every week – unless it is a green pest control system?  Maybe we can use Have-A-Heart traps that trap a live mouse and transport it miles away from our house – this is better than poison or mouse traps.

This is a very precarious topic though.  So many people hate the pests in and around their homes (with good reason!).  But what if we gave a smoke offering a try first?  What if we participated in a Sur offering ritual?  What if this improved the situation with the ants in my house?  Wow – that’d be pretty cool right?

Thanks for reading as usual!

~km