New Civilization News: Meditation and developing an Open Mind    
 Meditation and developing an Open Mind29 comments
picture15 Jun 2005 @ 20:11, by Gerald Vest

In this web log, I am introducing some thoughts and observations about my meditation practice as a living experience. I also am including some quotations from Openness Mind by Tarthang Tulku. Professor Tulku has been a leader in the field of human development and while serving as a teacher in the profession of Social Work, I have extensively drawn on his books and practices for my integrative health courses and workshops. [link]

I am beginning to appreciate and become even more aware of these teachings and the meaning of Open Mind now that I am experiencing arthritic pain in my body-mind during this past year. While turning 70 years of age, I’ve learned that I have some serious arthritis problems in my L4&5 vertebrae, left shoulder joints and some other places. As we all know, pain in the body is also experienced in our mind and takes precedence over all other feelings, blurs our perceptions, affects our relations, and often prevents us from being as open, flexible, strong and balanced as we’ve been during our earlier life.

I’ve also recently learned that I have a cancer lesion in my prostate gland and will undergo surgery shortly. I realize that most men, 75% or more over 65, will have prostate cancer. But, this isn’t something we’ve planned for so it came as a shock to me. I am choosing to have this removed because the other alternatives don’t look so good either. I’ve even thought and meditated on the idea of just observing this cancer for awhile and wait and see how it changes.

This brings me to the point of this discussion – Openness Mind and meditation as introduced by Tarthang Tulku. The following excerpts may serve to assist others experiencing pain and surgery while learning to maintain an open mind. In this book, Tarthang introduces us to meditation as an experience of living that can aid us in developing our whole being.

“How we live, what is happening in our lives, how we are affected by our experience—this is the ground of reality, and the source of spiritual awareness.”(TT)

I remind myself that I am not my body, I am not my mind, I am not this pain. I observe my breathing and let everything inside and out become as one, with total acceptance.(JV)

“As our awareness develops, our entire frame of reference slowly becomes transformed. We see the interrelationships of thought and action, and consequently become more sensitive in our communication with others. Our observations penetrate to deeper levels—we discover how feelings are produced, and how thought functions. As our awareness deepens even further, we can even perceive the link between past, present, and future, and therefore learn to pattern our actions so that our lives are satisfied and fulfilled.”(TT)

I am beginning to see how I respond, even before I react, to circumstances or persons that do not appear to be serving my best interests. (JV)

When patience is strongly developed, awareness appears even from within our negativities, and from that awareness come our meditation. We see that everything that occurs is a manifestation of energy, which itself is a form of our awareness, and we realize that all experience, each of the twenty-four hours of the day, is a part of the enlightenment nature.(TT)

Openness mind to me means that I am open to all that I experience without judgment or label. Seems that I am learning to become more open minded and especially enjoy life fully when playing and being as one with my grandchildren and other free spirits. And the pain no longer becomes the center of my universe. Everything and my entire experience is now my meditation(JV)

The dream and the waking states aren't so very different from each other. When we realize that all existence is like a dream, the gap between sleeping and waking no longer exists. Experiences we gain from practices we do during our dream time can then be brought into our daytime experience....Thus we can use our dream experiences to develop a more flexible attitude.(TT)

I remember an axiom that hit home with me several years ago while attending an Arica workshop...."All is my own dream." I love this dream and am very happy that we are in this one together, my friends.(JV)


Tarthang Tulku, formally educated in the Buddhist tradition in Tibet, is a pioneer in introducing the benefits of meditation. As founder of the Nyingma Institute, he is well known for his innovative programs in Human Development. His writings include Gesture of Balance; Skillful Means, Gentle Ways to Successful Work, Time, Space, and Knowledge; Kum Nye, and Love of Knowledge.[link]

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16 Jun 2005 @ 01:09 by martha : Meditation and pain
Thanks Jerry for sharing all the above information. I can confirm that meditation can help relieve pain. Many years ago when my brother in law was dying of testical cancer he used meditation quite successfully to help him with pain relief. I have also been using it recently myself when I became ill in January. While meditation isn't the complete answer to pain relief, it certainly is one more tool that can help those that are suffering.
Good luck with your operation. I am sure you will make a complete recovery.
(err since I don't have any grandchildren yet why don't you lend me the one in your picture...LOL)
Daeja (3yrs. old)is such an experience...she keeps me laughing for hours on end.  

16 Jun 2005 @ 02:25 by judih : deepening experience
each time i delve beneath my habitual perceptions, i open myself to deeper understanding of life, physical illusion and how i often cling to unnecessary reactions. What are the limits of understanding? What does it take to penetrate into larger realities?

pain is one doorway - not the one i'd select out of choice, but definitely a doorway to enlarging my experience. The more i experience, the more i can help others. As Ram Dass says in "Still Here", a psychologist must intimately know the psychosis before s/he can attend to the healing of others. So, i expand what i myself can cope with in order to be of greater empathy to others.


So, you, Jerry by sharing your contemplations, have inspired me to fearlessly welcome life's challenges, and i thank you.  

16 Jun 2005 @ 02:26 by jerryvest : Thanks, are always so kind
and thoughtful. I thought about deleting this article, but decided it was a way for me to express how I am taking care of these challenges. Yesterday, I was suppose to have the operation, but my surgeon was bumped and his operating room given to another physician. My surgeon was very upset about this as I had been preped and made ready for him to operate. I was very pleased at how I handled this situation and grateful that my positive nature was there--in the moment. No Blame. On the other hand, I also felt relief as I have another week to become stronger and recover quickly.  

16 Jun 2005 @ 02:45 by jerryvest : I really appreciate you, Judih..........
I have such good feelings for Ram Das and thank you for bringing him up. I'll never forget his message in "Be Here Now" and have never been the same since receiving this orientation to life. It is so true that we will learn from these experiences and challenges and become more skillful and compassionate professionals. I know that I have a whole new feeling and insight about persons who have cancer and all they must go through to free themselves of this "bright light" that shows up on the radiologist's film. I hope others will read Jassolog's (Richard's) discussion of all that he has been through these past 2 or more years.

I can also happily report that Lou, my wife, who had her lung removed, brain surgery, chemo, radiation, and Gammaknife treatment, is doing great. We just returned from a week at the beach and are ready for whatever we must face.  

16 Jun 2005 @ 03:35 by judih : a positive beach speech
with that, i feel ready to start this new day! --judih  

16 Jun 2005 @ 14:00 by martha : Great to hear about "Lou" Jerry
and "Be Here Now" has always been one of my favorite books. Read it in my early twenties and it had a strong influence on me. Right now I'm reading a terrific book and Ram Dass was written one of the chapters in it. I'm preparing a log about the book so that is why I haven't mentioned it yet. Keep tuned.

I always find the beach a wonderful energy field to restore oneself and get a deeper connection with spirit. The mountains also have that energy.
Bummer about the surgery but it wasn't your time. Life does take curious twists at times so I am sure the delay was for the best.  

16 Jun 2005 @ 15:20 by ymca : Both Articles!
I really enjoyed both articles Jerry. You are very descriptive and I love your positive outlook and dealing with your innermost thoughts and feelings. My biggest problem is dealing with the state of our country now under the current administration. My physical pain is minimal compared to my my feelings about the lives we are loosing and the complete dishonesty and imorality of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfelt and Rove.
Love you and wish you the very best in your operation next week. We stay in constant touch and our children send their love and appreciation for you too.

16 Jun 2005 @ 16:10 by jerryvest : Know what you mean, Pat. It is very
painful to see such deceipt, out right lies and trickery by this administration. But, as we know, we must not react to things we can't do anything about. Or, better yet, let's begin preparing for some healthy demonstrations that are bound to occur in the next few weeks or months. I always feel better when I can take my drum and play some African rhythms. Thanks for your loving support. It's great to have a big, or rather, an older brother to love.  

17 Jun 2005 @ 02:58 by jerryvest : Change --we can count on it Martha...wil
look for your next article.  

18 Jun 2005 @ 12:11 by swan : Jerry,
I am glad you didn't delete this article. It is so important to share our experiences with each other. It is comforting to know that we are not alone,and that other people feel and experience similiar things, I especially like your meditative part in this article.  

18 Jun 2005 @ 20:18 by jerryvest : Thanks, Swan....I really do love to read
Tarthang Tulku's books as I feel as though he is speaking directly to the reader. Whenever I feel a bit out of sorts, I pick up one of his books and find that I can change my mood and state. You are very thoughtful in all of your comments.  

24 Jun 2005 @ 10:38 by judih : best wishes out to Jerry
Join me, people, in wishing Jerry the best of energy and strength during these days of physical duress. Jerry, if you feel the warmth of supporting vibrations flying towards you, say Yes.


24 Jun 2005 @ 16:18 by jerryvest : Yes, Yes & Yes
I had my surgery yesterday and it went very well. The doctor is pleased with my progress and hope to go home on Sunday or Monday. Thank you Judih for you friendship and love. I am sure that this bountiful energy from NewCiv and my other groups helped me through this experience...and, am so grateful. I'll keep you posted.

Much love,


24 Jun 2005 @ 17:51 by judih : excellent news!
thank you so much for checking in and letting me/us know. If Lou can smuggle in real food, Sunday or Monday will come along all that better.

Best to you both! Grab some more energy. A wave is on its way.  

30 Jun 2005 @ 15:24 by jerryvest : A week since my surgery and I'm
feeling very good, got my staples out on Tuesday, my lab reports that I should be a 0 on my next PSA. Anyway, this healing process is a wonder to me. I know that things can always turn the other direction, but for now I'm generally free of pain, freely moving about and enjoying an appetite. Lou has been such a great help to me as I had never had surgery and she comforts me when I think things may not be as they having a good bowel movement. :)

I had a humorous experience with my doctor as he was taking out my staples. Lou asked him if I should be getting on my Inversion Table right now...he thought about it for a moment, after I described this table experience and how it works and said: "I don't think that it is wise to use these 'whacko' things. I laughed so hard that I almost opened up my belly. Anyway, I asked if he had ever considered Integrative Medicine as an alternative for his patients, such as Mass. General Hospital. He indicated that he was supportive of what they do as people will use these methods anyway...and if they work for them, that's good. I suggested to him that the AMA may not stay abreast of the research with these various approaches and he agreed. I am going to send him a link to my website so that he can review some of my research.

Anyway, Dr. Beri is a skillful and compassionate professional and we are very pleased with his contribution to my health and well being.  

30 Jun 2005 @ 17:14 by judih : humour, contra-indicative 2 post stapled
post stapled patients have been advised to refrain from all forms of humour, so reports Professor X after witnessing several cases of near-rupture while administering foolish comments to wise patients.

It has been suggested that stapled patients do their utmost to stay away from absurdities for a period of at least 2 weeks after staple removal.

(june 30/05 independent press syndication)

Oh my god, I almost burst my seams again..........Jerry  

8 Jul 2005 @ 16:03 by jerryvest : Catheter removed and am doing great...
I realize that it is a bit self serving to talk about my recovery from surgery. I've never had surgery so this experience is an awakening one for me. Like all experienced meditators, I am taking every day and moment as it happens with an open mind and a realization that there is a beginning, middle and end to all phenomena. I completed my second week toward recovery yesterday and am feeling such freedom with the removal of my catheter--an intervention that many courageous disabled persons may live a life time connected to.

I have not experienced any incontinence and am beginning to experience some returning sexual energies. Thus, as my good doctor describes, prostate surgery is a very individual experience and I only hope and pray that others who must go through this ordeal will do as well.

As I described earlier in my articles, I have been suffering from some serious arthritis and was able to overcome this pain early on by connecting to my Inversion Table. I did not have to contend with this pain throughout these past two weeks and am carefully resuming my gravity stretching.

Again, thank you all for contributing your positive support and waves of love and energy throughout this experience. Much love, Jerry.  

8 Jul 2005 @ 16:40 by martha : Good to read you are recovering
I am sure any operation can be a tramatic experience but you seem to have handled the invasion quite well. Sounds like you are well on your way to a full recovery. Thanks for sharing and being honest to help those like me who have never had any surgery. I still have all my parts intact even if a few are sagging...LOL  

8 Jul 2005 @ 17:44 by judih : yes! more well wishes
2nd week and this short period of time has been sufficient to already see your body revive. Shows how strong you are. All the best for continuing recovery.  

8 Jul 2005 @ 19:41 by jerryvest : Thanks Martha and Judih, you are really
good friends. I am very fortunate to have you with me during these tough times.

Much love,


8 Jul 2005 @ 20:45 by jstarrs : Thanks for sharing...
...Gerry, it's pretty humbling.
May I also offer this?  

9 Jul 2005 @ 02:25 by jerryvest : Very humbling, indeed, Jeff. Thanks for
the offerings and support. I am looking forward to following these indications described in the LINK and advancing my compassion and love. Surgery and other intrusive practices do tend to zap us and I'm hopeful that my zest and vitality are restored very soon. I appreciate you contributions to my healing and well being. Love you, Jerry  

14 Jul 2005 @ 12:22 by jazzolog : Keep Us In Touch
My own experience in the first couple weeks was a bit difficult to objectify, given a bit of pain medication that I continued. Morphine had been used in the hospital, but I felt no addictions starting up to any of what they gave me. Nevertheless I got off all of it as quickly as possible. I must say after that I became more aware of what I had been through, and a return to zest involved some time and patience.  

14 Jul 2005 @ 14:14 by jstarrs : Yes, keep in touch...
..let us know how you're doing.
Good one, Jazz - I'm fortunate enough to have not been through all that hospital stuff (yet) but I notice certain irregularities as I get older, impatience, pride and stuff ;0)  

14 Jul 2005 @ 20:06 by jerryvest : Thanks Jazz & Jeff
I'm now 3 weeks out of surgery and am doing very well. Am experiencing my sexual drive so that must mean my vitality is returning. I'm not sure when I can get out to the golf course and swing my clubs, but do some putting and chipping. I'm also waiting to hear from the prison so I can begin teaching there, but am in no hurry. What is amazing to me is that since I have been using the Inversion Table, my back is totally free from pain. If you ever to get to my part of the world, do stop in and give it a try.  

14 Jul 2005 @ 20:16 by jstarrs : LOL!
You ol' dog you!
Keep have to, in order to impart your wisdom!  

15 Jul 2005 @ 00:09 by jerryvest : Thanks, Jeff...blush, blush....
You got the ol' dog right. :) Hey, during this process it has become more apparent to me that day dreams and night dreams are really one and the same, once we take down the barrier between them. There were times that I was having a nightmare, yet I wasn't asleep. Today, I am wide awake and having a lovely dream that I am healing, pain is leaving, more flexibility in my movements and "I can pee when I want." And, most of all, I can laugh and be free again--at least for this season.  

15 Jul 2005 @ 02:06 by judih : sounds good
may your spirit howl on


26 Oct 2005 @ 11:41 by rayon : Sorry not have to found this sooner,
Very sorry to hear of your tribulations, Jerry, I hope with the summer passed there was a chance to fully stablize. There are a list of things to be done for arthritis, you have seen my Indian web I know, there is an amazing oil, not cheap, but amazing, I used for 7 years now to rebalance the system, but won't do lecture mode here. They do mail order, it is precious stuff this oil, it is made in the prayer environment of the centre together with all the other observations practised on an annual basis. Puja's for instance are done not only for relatives etc, but also for the technical and physical support items, a garland of flowers was put on the main well (water) and flowers on the car chassy, and also the computer, etc, to thank each for what they did to ease their owner's life. The oil has to be used regularly, and can be assisted by diet, which you are welcome ask about in private if you are curious, my pleasure. It may be that some comments will coincide with your practice already. Very best wishes, ease and comfort. N.

Nicola, thank you for your comments and assistance with my arthritis. It has been about 4 months or so since my surgery and I am really doing well. I love physical activities and initially I had to limit my activities, but now I'm doing everything I can to restore my strength, coordination, balance and flexibility. I credit my "Inversion Table" for reducing my pain in my back and in other areas of my body. I think that the Central Canal in the back is more open now and I've noticed that my posture is more upright as well.

Thanks for staying in touch and for contributing to our health and wellbeing.

Best wishes,


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