Thursday, June 29, 2017

Busy Moving 2

Got the Main Bedroom back in order.
Got an office workstation set up for Karen in 2nd bedroom.  Cable TV and high speed Internet.
Set up an area for potted plant nursery in southwest corner of back garden.  

Set up hoses and watering areas.
Cleaned off the outside back porch.
Keep a close eye on Bruno in the back yard: temptations include chickens, dogs, ducks.  Bruno can dig under fences.
Working today on installing wood shelving in Wood Room (large room with wood floor).  

Moving books from boxes to shelving.
Install sliding screen door on outside of sliding glass doors in the Wood Room.

I will include some photographs later today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Recover and Get Well, My Brother

My brother, Phil, has been slowly and with much difficulty, "recovering" from brain surgery to remove a non-cancerous but very serious tumor.  He still has painful headaches and some infection.  He needs home nursing and physical therapy.  He has been in and out of the hospital for five weeks.  Everyone is very worried!!

In July, we plan to attend the Blaize Family and the Garofalo Family reunion in the San Bernardino Mountains in Arrowhead, California.  We may stay at my brother Paul's house, with Paul and Janet, and families.  I will definitely go to see my brother Phil in San Diego.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Busy Moving

Karen and I are now moving into our new house.  "New" to us in June of 2017. This well maintained house was built back in in 1972.  It is 45 years old.  

We are very busy!  

We got the keys to our new home on Friday, 6/16, at 3:30 pm.  

On 6/19, we got connected online via our provider, XFinity/Comcast, to 266 television channels (news, sports, movies, documentaries, community, health), many HD quality channels, DVRs, 200 Mbps Internet, pay per view or pay channels, streaming, Wifi, applications, and a telephone with unlimited nationwide calling and messaging.  I think it is called the X1 Premier Triple Play Package.  What a substantial WiFi Internet upgrade from Red Bluff, at less cost. 

On 6/19, my son helped me replace all the door latches and deadbolts.  He assembled the new Toro lawn mower, and mowed the back yard and Karen mowed the front.  

I am trying my best to not do any strenuous lifting or pulling, not lift more than 10 pounds, and rest more until September of 2017.  I am hoping my heart pacemaker implantation surgery on 6/6 will continue healing well.  

On Wednesday, 6/21, we drove 500 miles south to Red Bluff.  We met the Valiant Moving Company movers at South Main Mini Storage at 3:30 pm.  We  rested in the Comfort Inn motel room.  They finished loading at around 10 pm. 

On Thursday, 6/22, we checked out of the storage office, rested indoors, and enjoyed Mexican dinner with Debbie, Marya, Jordan, and Tami.  Since temperatures soared to 107F, we rested in an air-conditioned room.  

On Friday, 6/23, Karen and I drove 500 miles north to Vancouver, Washington.  

On Saturday, 6/24, the movers arrived and unpacked all of our belongings.

On Sunday, 6/25, Alicia and Sean helped us get our beds set up, and moved our belongings from their house to our new house.  Both girls also helped.  We slept in our new home for the first time on Sunday night.  

On Monday, 6/26, Mick helped us with shelving installation and other projects.  

Obtaining and storing needed household supplies.  Learning and discovering.  Sorting boxes, unpacking, shelving ...  We have moved something into this house every day since 6/16.  

Since we live so close to our children now, we all help with house sitting and dog care and house care, when we travel.   We keep a security eye on all our homes.  
Travel in the Northwest USA and British Columbia

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dao De Jing: Resources, Indexing, Concordance

Tao Te Jing by Lao Tzu
Resources, Index, Concordance, Commentary, Recommended Reading,
Selected Translations in English, Spanish, and Chinese

Chapter Index to the Tao Te Ching

Concordance to the Tao Te Ching

English Language Versions of the Tao Te Ching - Translator's Index

Spanish Language Versions of the Dao De Jing

Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Bibliography

An Old Philosopher's Notebooks

Cloud Hands Blog Posts About the Daodejing

Tao Te Ching
 Chapter Number Index

Standard Traditional Chapter Arrangement of the Tao Te ChingChapter Order in Wang Bi's Daodejing Commentary in 246 CE
Chart by Mike Garofalo
Subject Index

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes up to 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.   

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Nuclear Disaster

I am interested in solar power.  

I just finished reading:

Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster.  By David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.  New York, the New Press, copyright 2014 by the Union of Concerned Scientists.  Notes and references, index, 309 pages.  ISBN: 9781595589088.  

"On March 11, 2011, an earthquake large enough to shift the Earth's axis by several inches sent a massive tsunami speeding toward the Japanese coast and the aging and vulnerable Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactors.  The world watched in horror as the reactor's safety systems failed and explosions turned concrete and steel buildings into rubble.  In just a few hours a terrible natural disaster triggered a technological catastrophe - a triple meltdown that became the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl."

This book rigorously documents the tragic and unrecoverable losses from nuclear power plant failures due to flooding and electrical power disruption.  

Over 20,000 people died from the tsunami.  The earthquake was 9 level jolting for over 3 minutes.  

This book also covers the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania.  It draws out insider information about the nuclear power industry, regulatory controls, safety, vulnerability, planning, consumer demand, geography, technology, governmental management and oversight, scientific concerns and experts.  


Friday, June 16, 2017

What Do They Here?

"But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster─tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?"
- Herman Melville, 1851, Moby Dick, p. 13

Could we not add, in 2017, transfixed by televisions, glued to computers, plugged into AC/DC, moving things endlessly, wrapped in chores, ... "What do they here?"

So, what we are doing here is moving into our home in Vancouver, Washington. Our realtor gave us the keys to the house today.  

Living in a nice home, in an established neighborhood, will be one foundation of our upcoming experiences and adventures.  

Lots of family have volunteered to help us move.  I've hired movers to transport our stored belongings from Red Bluff to Vancouver.  We will hire other people as needed to help us move into the house.  

Personally, with my left arm, I cannot lift objects over ten pounds, push or pull vigorously, or lift my elbow above my shoulder.  These restrictions, because of my recent 6/6 heart pacemaker implant, will last until July 10th or later as needed.  I seem to be doing fairly well thus far.


Vancouver, Washington, Northwest USA is located in the Columbia River Valley. The general area has variety of many big plants: evergreens and deciduous trees, ornamentals, shrubs, broad leafs, pines, firs, spruces, cedars.  Trees are everywhere here in the "Evergreen State."  This is quite a dramatic contrast with the North Sacramento Valley orchards and farms where we lived for the last 19 years.  For anything to live in Red Bluff, we needed irrigation for seven months of the year.   

Annual Rainfall (Average) in places we have lived:

Los Angeles, California        14.93 inches 

Red Bluff, California            24.52 inches

Biloxi, Mississippi                64.89 inches 

Vancouver, Washington        39.30 inches

Alexandria, Indiana             41.00 inches


Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Wisdom of Sifu Patrick Kelly

I recommend that you take a look at Sifu Patrick Kelly's webpage. He teaches in Auckland, New Zealand.

"True Taiji Practice is not limited. It is open to all spheres of life while remaining centred on the refinement of inner spiritual essence. Taiji (Tai Chi), the Supreme Ultimate, is in practice what the 'Dao de Jing' (Tao Te Ching) expresses in principle. These principles remain universal throughout the known worlds, undiminished by their common reduction to intellectual ideas, emotional values, or religious rules, by the various races of the Earth. The universal principles and the method for bringing ourselves into harmony with them could be called the worldwideway, but are really beyond any name. True Taiji is an evolving connection to that.

The great purpose of Taiji is the great purpose of life itself - Spiritual Evolution. Named 'Emptiness, Immortality or Enlightenment' by the Daoists and Buddhists, 'Self Realisation' by the Yogis, 'To Awaken and Merge with the Source' by the Middle Eastern Gnostics and Western Mystics. All people come on to the Earth with this purpose, but most quickly forget why they are here. Once enmeshed in the outer physical world their whole life serves merely the survival of the body (which includes the brain). The great physical and social edifices of human society, intended as forms within which humanity may evolve, become prisons. Many dream of a way out but few find the practical path to freedom.

Individual conscious perfection exists in potential as a spark within every human being. There is a pressure from within and without to develop this possibility. The forces maintaining the universe are complex and the reasons for many things in life unclear. Why do some struggle to realise their inner potential while others dissipate it through a life of ignorance, weakness and neglect? For those who sadly allow this spark to fade there is little individual hope, though their life and death still contribute to the general evolution of humankind. For those who actively choose inner growth there appears the question of the 'Path' or 'Way'.

True Taiji training begins with the physical, then centres itself within the 3 levels of the Deep Mind, while aspiring towards the Beyond and the final realisation of freedom from those 3 worlds of human existence. Ideally this aspiration towards the Beyond (which admits the first ray of light from the Divine Self) exists from the first moments of training, but if not then true training will gradually align the inner motives and intentions, hidden within the Deep Mind of all people, towards the Beyond, inducing this aspiration to appear. Without that aspiration the results of the training will be subverted by the ego - which has a presence on each of the 3 internal levels. True Taiji training methods change and evolve as each person reaches out for, connects with, merges into, then finally fully and naturally expresses the Beyond back into the 3 worlds of human existence. At this advanced stage, all methods disappear and life itself becomes the highest training ground."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Growing Up Oneself

"The secret of the Tao Te Ching is its idea of Tao, modeled on the life of a plant.  Just as a living plant is tender and yielding (Chapter 76), so is Tao weak and yielding (Chapter 40).  With plants the hidden roots support the visible leaves and flowers, which return to the roots upon perishing (Chapter 16).  Likewise, Tao is the hidden root (Chapter 6), the non-being from which all beings spring (Chapter 40 and Chapter 21) and to which all beings return (Chapter 34).  The life of a plant is conditioned by seasonal rotation.  So is the movement of Tao in four stages: great (summer), disappearing (fall), far away (winter), and return (spring) (Chapter 25).  In the same way does the Taoist model spiritual life after a plant.  A living plant is tender and pliant, whole a dead plant is stiff and hard (Chapter 76); one who is with the Tao is also tender and pliant, while one who departs from the Tao is stiff and hard.  The plant kingdom is a quiet kingdom (Chapter 16) that sleeps in beauty; Taoist quietude is the spiritual condition for regeneration.  A plant grows at its own pace.  One must not, like the farmer in the Mencius (2A.2), help the growth of the corn stalks by pulling them up.  In the same way the Taoist allows events to unfold according to their inner rhythms; he acts by non-action (wu-wei), which is acting with, not against, the inner rhythms of things.  A plant is always renewing itself; the Taoist celebrates perpetual childhood (Chapter 55)."

- Ellen M. Chen, Tao Te Ching: A New Translation and Commentary. Paragon House, 1998. Detailed glossary, index, bibliography, notes, 274 pages. The above quote is from page 41. (I have found this book very useful.)

Tao Teh Ching Chapter Index    Hypertext Chart by Michael P. Garofalo
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80

Son (Michael) and Father (Mike)
Two Gardeners in Vancouver, Washington, June 12, 2017
Backdrop of Western Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce, Firs, Maple, Green Lawn

In a sunny spot for a vegetable garden.
On the east corner of Michael and April's lot.
April, Michael and Karen all worked on this garden.
June 12, 2017

Spirituality and Gardening

Nature Mysticism

"The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience."
-  Henryk Skolimowski   

"A little too abstract, a little too wise,
It is time for us to kiss the earth again,
It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,
Let the rich life run to the roots again."
-  Robinson Jeffers

"In the assemblies of the enlightened ones there have been many cases of mastering the Way bringing forth the heart of plants and trees; this is what awakening the mind for enlightenment is like.  The fifth patriarch of Zen was once a pine-planting wayfarer; Rinzai worked on planting cedars and pines on Mount Obaku.   ...  Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment." 
-  Dogen Zenji, Japanese Zen Buddhist Grand Master , Awakening the Unsurpassed Mind, #31 

"Gardening helps us realize somatically, viscerally, the laws of growth and gradual unfolding.  We can't pull the plants up to make them grow, but we can help facilitate and midwife their blooming, each in his own way, time, and proper season.  I have learned a little about patience and humility from my gardens.  It's so obviously not something I'm doing that creates this miracle!  I also like to reflect upon and appreciate the exquisitely, evanescent, transitory, and poignant nature of things in the garden.  If you love the Dharma, you have to farm it. Go to a garden.  Just stand in it.  Breathe in the air, the fragrances, the light, the temperature, the music of the different plants, insects, birds, worms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and butterflies.  Inhale the prana (cosmic energy) of all the abundantly growing things.  Recharge your inner batteries.  This is the joy of natural meditation."
-  Lama Surya Das, Awakening to the Sacred, 1999

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Leaving Some Foot Prints

"The Edwardian Apostles [an advanced and select discussion group at Cambridge University in England in 1905] were ambitious men who wanted their work to endure in memory. They even had a code-word, 'footprints', for the guiding-marks which they hoped to leave for posterity. The best test of the value of work, they believed, is that it continues to please or impress future ages. Bertrand Russell once recounted to G. H. Hardy a distressing dream in which he stood among the book stacks of Cambridge University two centuries in the future. A librarian was winnowing the shelves, taking down books in turn, glancing at them, restoring them to their places or dumping them into an enormous bucket. Finally, he reached three volumes which Russell recognized as the last surviving copy of his Principia Mathematica. He took down one of the volumes, turned over a few pages, seemed puzzled by what he saw, shut the volume, balanced it in his hand and hesitated: Russell presumably awoke with a shuddering cry, for the devaluation of their work, or the absence of footprints, was the Apostles' nightmare."
- Richard Davenport-Hines, Universal Man: The Lives of John Maynard Keynes, 2015, p.52
John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) is a famous and influential economist.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Very Grateful

I had a Pacemaker implanted on June 7, 2017.  I seem to be doing well thus far. 

I told my story a few days ago.  

I am now walking, slowly and steadily, three times each day for 20 minutes each time.  I try to increase the time walking each day.  Also, I am doing gentle modified Taiji every day.  

I often reflect on this fact: If I was living in 1917, no medical procedures or drugs existed to keep me alive with severe Bradycardia (very low heartbeat).  

I thank all the medical professionals, health care workers, engineers, scientists, and creative people who have helped so many people.  

I thank all those people, Republicans and Democrats and Independents, who in 1964 established Medicare.  I thank all the hard working citizens in the United States who support Medicare, and contribute part of their paycheck each month for public governmental health services.  I worked 54 years and politically supported these governmental health care programs, and paid for these programs.  My wife and I still pay for Medicare and other health insurance.  

I favor many of Senator Bernie Sanders ideas for improving health care in America.  

I am very grateful to all Americans for helping to keep me alive.  

I will try my best to return this great favor to me, and promise to work to help make America a decent, just, and productive place to live for all people.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Spontaneity and Pleasure

"No pleasure endures unseasoned by variety."
-  Publilius Syrus  

"The essence of pleasure is spontaneity."
-  Germaine Greer

"Why not seize the pleasure at once, how often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparations."
-  Jane Austen

"Perhaps all pleasure is only relief."
- William Burroughs

"Man, Nietzsche contended, is a being that has leapt beyond the "bestial bounds of the mating season" and seeks pleasure not just at fixed intervals but perpetually.  Since, however, there are fewer sources of pleasure than his perpetual desire for pleasure demands, nature has forced man on the "path of pleasure contrivance."  Man, the creature of consciousness whose horizons extend to the past and the future, rarely attains complete fulfillment within the present, and for this reason experiences something most likely unknown to any animal, namely boredom.  This strange creature seeks a stimulus to release him from boredom.  If no such stimulus is readily available, it simply needs to be created.  Man becomes the animal that plays.  Play is an invention that engages the emotions; it is the art of stimulating the emotions.  Music is a prime example.  Thus, the anthropological and physiological formula for the secret of art: "The flight from boredom is the mother of all art." "
-  Rudiger Safranski, Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, p. 23

Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness  By Willard Spiegelman.  The seven simple pleasures discussed are: dancing, reading, walking, looking, listening, swimming, and writing.  If you included Taijiquan as "dancing" then all of these can be solitary activities.  Picador, 2010.  208 pages.  ISBN: 9780312429676. 

Pleasure and the Good Life: Concerning the Nature, Varieties, and Plausibility of Hedonism.  By Fred Feldman.  Clarendon Press, 2006.  240 pages.  ISBN: 978-0199297603.  VSCL. 

Pleasure and Enjoyment: Quotations, Sayings, Information

Epircurean Philosophy

The Five Senses  


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Use the Key

His Bagua practice, even at the age of 93, was very impressive:

Friday, June 09, 2017

Buddhist Understanding and Advice

Dharmapada Sutra

Verse 245 (18:245)
245. Life seems hard for one who ever seeks purity, is detached and humble, is pure and reflective. Narada 1959

245. But life is hard to live for a modest man, who always looks for what is pure, who is disinterested, quiet, spotless, and intelligent. Muller 1881

245. Life is hard for the modest, the lover of purity, the disinterested and simple and clean, the man of insight. Wagiswara 1912

Verse 24 (2:24) (II:24) 

The glory groweth Of one who is aroused and recollecting. Clean of deed, considerate in his doing. Restrained, righteous in life, and earnest.
- Edmunds 1902

Great grows the glory of him who is zealous in meditation, whose actions are pure and deliberate, whose life is calm and righteous and
full of vigor.   - Wagiswara 1912

The man who is strenuous, mindful, of pure conduct, and careful, who restrains himself, who acts after due deliberations and practices
Right Livelihood, becomes famous.   - Jung 2009

Energetic, alert, pure in deed, careful in action, self-controlled, living in accord with truth, the vigilant one will rise in repute.   - Cleary 1994

One who is energetic, mindful, pure in deed, considerate, self-controlled, right living shall arise in glory.   - Narada 1959

For the person of energy, thoughtfulness,
pure conduct, considerate action,
restraint, wholesome living, and diligence,
glory increases.   - Wallis 2007

If an earnest person has roused himself, if he is not forgetful, if his deeds are pure, if he acts with consideration, if he restrains himself,
and lives according to law, then his glory will increase.
- Muller 1881



Thursday, June 08, 2017

Nurturing Natural Peace

"You've probably experienced something similar after finishing a long and difficult job, whether it involved physical labor or the type of mental effort involved in writing a report or completing some sort of financial analysis.  When you finish the job, your mind and body naturally come to rest in a state of happy exhaustion.  This perfectly effortless state of relaxation is what is meant by natural peace." ...

"First, assume a position in which your spine is straight, and you body is relaxed.  Once your body is positioned comfortably, allow your mind to simply rest for three minutes or so. Just let your mind go, as though you just have finished ad long and difficult task.
Whatever happens, whether thoughts or emotions occur, whether you notice some physical discomfort, whether you are aware of sounds or smells around you, or you mind is a total blank, don't worry.  Anything that happens or ─doesn't happen─ is simply part of the experience of allowing you mind to rest.
So now, just ret inn the awareness of whatever is passing through you mind ...
Just rest ...
Just rest ..."

"Let me confide in you a big secret.  Whatever you experience when you simply rest your attention on whatever's going on in your mind at any moment is meditation.  Simply resting in this way is the experience of natural mind." ...

"In fact, experiencing natural peace is easier than drinking water.  In order to drink, you have to expend effort.  You have to reach for the glass, tip the glass so that the water pours into your mouth, swallow the water, and then put the glass down.  No such effort is required to experience natural peace.  All you have to do is rest your mind in its natural openness.  No special focus, no special effort is required."
-  Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, "The Joy of Living," 2007, pp. 55-58

So, I relax, breathe gently and easily, stand up straight, unloosen myself from thinking and judging, settle down into ease, rest the mind, and begin a slow and easy Taiji form ... one path to "natural peace."

Relaxation, Sung, Fang Song, Rest, Ease

Tai Chi Chuan


Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Health of the Body and Tranquility of Mind

"If we look beyond Platonic sources, we will be reminded that Socrates "took care to exercise his body and kept it in good condition" by regular dance training.  "The body," he declared, "is valuable for all human activities, and in all   its uses it is very important that it should be as fit as possible.  Even in the act of thinking, which is supposed to require least assistance from the body, everyone knows that serious mistakes often happen through physical ill-health."  Socrates was not the only ancient philosopher to celebrate physical health and advocate somatic training and refinement.  Before him, Cleobulus, a sage "distinguished for strength and beauty, and acquainted with Egyptian philosophy, " "advised men to practice bodily exercise."  Aristippus (hedonistic pupil of Socrates and founder of the Cyrenaic school) claimed "that bodily training contributes to the acquisition of virtue," while Zeno, founder of the Stoics, likewise urged regular bodily exercise, claiming that "proper care of health and one's organs of sense" are "unconditional duties."  Though rating mental pleasures above bodily ones, Epicurus still affirmed "health of body and tranquility of mind" as the twin goals of philosophy's quest for "a blessed life.""
-  Richard Schusterman, Body Consciousness, 2008, p 17

“Recognition of somatic training as an essential means towards philosophical enlightenment and virtue lies at the heart of the Asian practices of hatha yoga, Zen meditation, and T’ai Chi Ch’uan.  As Japanese philosopher Yuasa Yasuo insists, the concept of “personal cultivation,” or shugyō (an obvious analogue of “care of the self’), is presupposed in Eastern thought as “the philosophical foundation” because “true knowledge” cannot be obtained simply by means of theoretical thinking, but only through ‘bodily recognition or realization’ (tainin or taitoku).  From its very beginnings, East-Asian philosophy has insisted on the bodily dimension of self-knowledge and self-cultivation.  When the Confucian Analects advocate daily examining one’s person in the quest for self-improvement, the word translated as “person” is actually the Chinese word for body (shen 身). Arguing that care of the body is the basic task and responsibility without which we cannot successfully perform all our other tasks and duties, Mencius claims, “The functions of the body are the endowment of Heaven.  But it is only a Sage who can properly manipulate them.”  The classic Daoist thinkers Laozi and Zhuangzi similarly urge the special importance of somatic care: “He who loves his body more than dominion over the empire can be given the custody of the empire [Laozi, C17].”  “You have only to take care and guard your own body .. and other things will of themselves grow sturdy;” the Sage is concerned with the means by which to keep the body whole and to care for life”; “being complete in body, he is complete in spirit; and to be complete in spirit is the Way of the Sage (Zhuangzi).”
-  Richard Schusterman, Body Consciousness, 2008, p.18 

Body Consciousness: A Philosophy of Mindfulness and Somaesthetics.  By Richard Shusterman.  New York, Cambridge University Press, 2008.  Index, bibliography, 239 pages.  ISBN: 9780521858908.  Theory.  VSCL.   

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Teaching Us About Healing

This past weekend, I read the most interesting book by Tim Parks:

"Teach Us to Sit Still: A Skeptic's Search for Health and Healing."  By Tim Parks.  New York, Rodale Press, 2011.  322 pages.  ISBN: 9781609611583. 

The author lives in Italy and has written over 20 books.  He was having many urological, genital, and pelvic pain problems.  He used conventional medical tests and some recommendations to help him with his problems; but was not satisfied.  He discovers the book titled "A Headache in the Pelvis" by David Wise, PhD., and Rodney Anderson, M.D..  The book advocates daily exercises and relaxation/meditation methods, and psychological methods to help with healing. 
Tim follows the regiment with some improvement in his condition.  

Mr. Parks experiments with regular Shiatsu massage therapy.  Finally, he participates in some Buddhist Vipassana retreats.  He shares, honestly and insightfully, his experiences with many alternative therapies he used to ameliorate his health problems.  

Men with prostate problems (prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), excessive urination, and pelvic pain) might gain some treatment and adaptation ideas from Mr. Park's journey.  

Mr. Parks thinks a great deal and complains of the "constant chatter in my head."  This active mind-set, he believes, hinders his progress in the body-consciousness practices he wants to integrate into his daily life.  His practice of Vipassana provides some clearer understanding of his psychological and bodily states and conditions.  

Tim usefully explores the relationship between writing, writers, and health issues throughout the book.  After a ten day Vipassana silent retreat, he decides to stop writing for awhile to reduce his stress and deactivate his analytical and judgmental over-thinking.  

Overall, a fine book by a skillful writer, full of cogent observations, a skeptic's questioning, humor, and personal revelations.