Simply Calming


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First, an introduction or just skip below to web link, below, of the sweet Suzuki Roshi breathing practice of exhalation. It is so simple people with Alzheimer’s can do it. So instantly calming.

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It is best to practice while we are young and build a solid practice, make it part of being with your Self. The Divine Self. It is so simple and so sweet. It is who we are.

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A wonderful practice and highest teaching. We are all the divine essence, the serene soul. Enjoy how simple and calming…..relax and be in the moment of which the highest teachings speak, as far back as the Vedas and Upanishads, Buddha and all spiritual traditions have taught. 

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There is no god but God. There are no other gods. Not dreamy woo woo stuff. It just Is. Omnipresent. 

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“This is no world. It is God Himself. In delusion we call it world.” Vivekananda (6:371) “Complete self-surrender is the only way to spiritual illumination. Vivekananda (5:258)

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Acceptance. Enjoy who you already are. 

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Just be. You are That. We forget our true self. This is real. No kids play. 

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We all experience these moments. Being. Just being. Simple as breathing. 

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“ There is no question that breathing is taking place. Can you see that there is no breather to be found anywhere? The body is empty, the breath is empty and you are empty.” 

 

The Upanishads describe that stage as turiya pure consciousness. Turiya is the background that underlies and transcends the three common states of consciousness.

Buddhists call this emptiness. Advaita calls it fullness. The Divine Essence. God. The self that merges into the Absolute beyond, time space and causation Beyond name and form there is nothing else but the Self, Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. And this pure simple breathing out brings it into this very moment.

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from the dharma message of Zen priest and teacher White Lotus Judith Ragir.

click above name to go directly to the website for this  dharma teaching – it will be easier to read. 

 

Exhaling and dissolving.

Here are some quotes from Suzuki Roshi in “Not Always So” (chapter: Calmness of Mind) that emphasize working with the exhale while meditating:

Calmness of mind is beyond the end of your exhalation. If you exhale smoothly, without even trying to exhale, you are entering into the complete perfect calmness of your mind. You do not exist anymore. 

Inhaling without effort you naturally come back to yourself with some color or form. Exhaling, you gradually fade into emptiness – empty, white paper. That is shikantaza. The important point is your exhalation. Instead of trying to feel yourself as you inhale, fade into emptiness as you exhale. 

To take care of the exhalation is very important. To die is more important than trying to be alive. When we always try to be alive, we have trouble. Rather than trying to be alive or active, if we can be calm and die or fade away into emptiness, then naturally we will be all right. Buddha will take care of us. Because we have lost our mother’s bosom, we do not feel like her child anymore. Yet fading away into emptiness can feel like being at our mother’s bosom, and we will feel as though she will take care of us. Moment after moment, do not lose this practice of shikantaza.” 

This is very impressive quote to me. It is in alignment with the fourth Tetrad of the Anapanasati Sutra. The Anapanasati Sutra is composed of sixteen contemplations, which divide rather neatly into four sets of four: The body group, the feelings group, the mind group, and the wisdom group. They are in a “somewhat” developmental order in that mindfulness of the physical movements of the breath is the first emphasis in any concentration practice. The feelings group is ***becoming sensitive to rapture and joy in meditation***and then calming or letting go of rapture. The third group is the mind group – becoming aware of the mind, gladdening the mind, steadying the mind, and liberating the mind. (See “Breath by Breath” by Larry Rosenberg. This is a book Clouds in Water studied several years ago).

The fourth group the wisdom group is very similar to Suzuki Roshi’s quote above.

From a Thich Nhat Hanh translation:

13. I am breathing in and observing the impermanent nature of all dharmas. I am breathing out and observing the impermanent nature of all dharmas. He practices like this.

14. I am breathing in and observing the fading of all dharmas. I am breathing out and observing the fading of all dharmas. She practices like this.

15. I am breathing in and observing liberation (cessation). I am breathing out and observing liberation (cessation). He practices like this.

16. I am breathing in and observing letting go (relinquishment). I am breathing out and observing letting go (relinquishment). She practices like this.

This sutra demonstrates how the breath can take you all the way to the deepest realizations. The breath often is used as the first object of concentration. But it also can practiced as a complete teaching which leads to insight.

In Larry Rosenberg’s book, he writes about Buddhadasa’s approach to breath practice and its use for going all the way to realization. He writes:

“ When we got to the thirteenth contemplation – which concerns impermanence, this is where real vipassana begins – he said that Anapanasati was one of the simplest and most effective means for realizing emptiness.” 

Buddhadasa said: “There is no question that breathing is taking place. Can you see that there is no breather to be found anywhere? The body is empty, the breath is empty and you are empty.” 

Perhaps this is where Zen and Vipassana meet. Where the Mahayana and the Theravada come to the same conclusion.

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.http://www.judithragir.org/2014/01/exhaling-and-dissolving/

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Ketamine for Bipolar Disorder Fear of Harm Phenotype Saved This Man’s Life


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Ketamine has given life back to so many who have been disabled by treatment resistant depression, bipolar disorder or intractable pain. It was approved in 1970 as an injectable anesthetic. It can be prescribed off-label from a compounding pharmacy inexpensively as a nasal spray or sublingual liquid or sublingual tablet for outpatient use or it may be given I.V. in a clinical setting. A patented nasal spray may be available soon (see below) for use only in a clinical setting.

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For many posts on ketamine since May 2009, use search function within this site at top left above small photo.

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NPR Morning Edition news today on ketamine for bipolar disorder “fear of harm phenotype.”

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For six years now, life has been really good for James. He has a great job as the creative director of an advertising firm in New York City. He enjoys spending time with his wife and kids.

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And it has all been possible, he says, because for the past six years he has been taking a drug called ketamine.

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Before ketamine, James was unable to work or focus his thoughts. His mind was filled with violent images. And his mood could go from ebullient to dark in a matter of minutes.

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Ketamine “helped me get my life back,” says James….

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…pharmaceutical companies are testing several new ketamine-related drugs to treat depression. Johnson & Johnson expects to seek approval for its nasal spray esketamine later this year, though the approval would be limited to use in a clinical setting.

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Meanwhile, doctors have begun trying ketamine on patients with a wide range of psychiatric disorders other than depression. And there is now growing evidence it can help people with anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and perhaps even obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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“I think it’s actually one of the biggest advances in psychiatry in a very long time,” says Dr. Martin Teicher, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program at McLean Hospital.

James found his way to Dr. Demitri Papolos, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

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“He was like a whirling dervish when he came into my office,” Papolos says. “He was extremely fearful and scanning the environment all the time and he overheated at the drop of a hat.”

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Papolos diagnosed James with a variant of bipolar disorder he calls the “fear of harm phenotype.” It typically appears in childhood and often doesn’t respond to traditional psychiatric drugs.

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But Papolos has found that the condition does respond to ketamine. “It’s been transformational,” he says.

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In January, Papolos published a study of 45 children with the problem. They inhaled a nasal mist containing ketamine about twice a week. Nearly all got dramatically better.

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Scientists still aren’t sure why ketamine works, but there’s evidence that it encourages the brain to rewire, to alter the connections between cells. That process has been linked to recovery from depression. And it may also explain why ketamine helps people who have symptoms associated with several different psychiatric disorders.

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“I think it’s having multiple effects, and that means it’s probably useful for multiple different disorders,” Teicher says.

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One of those effects involves a part of the brain involved in temperature regulation. And that could explain why patients like James usually stop overheating once they are taking ketamine.

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James started taking a ketamine nasal spray every other day. He says his response was dramatic….

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Ketamine Relieves Depression By Restoring Brain Connections

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NPR All Things Considered published on ketamine 3/20/2017:

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Ketamine For Severe Depression: ‘How Do You Not Offer This Drug To People?’

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Gerard Sanacora, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University, has treated hundreds of severely depressed patients with low doses of ketamine, an anesthetic and popular club drug that isn’t approved for depression.

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“If you have patients that are likely to seriously injure themselves or kill themselves within a short period of time, and they’ve tried the standard treatments, how do you not offer this treatment?” he says.

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Why insist someone be suicidal? How do you not offer it to people who have failed all treatments and are disabled by intractable pain or treatment resistant depression? 

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