Archive for July, 2013

Tao_Te_Ching_Verse_23_Quotes-resized-600Tao is one, but he moment it becomes manifest, it has to become two.  Manifestation has to be dual; it cannot be singular.  it has to become matter and consciousness.  The whole of life consists of these two principles, and behind these two principles is hidden the One.  

If you continue to remain involved in these dualities you will remain in the world.  If you become a little more alert and start looking into the depths of things, you will be surprised – the opposites are not really opposites, but commentaries.  And behind them both is one single energy.  That is Tao.


Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), the primary type of fat found within coconut oil, have been found to boost cognitive performance in older adults suffering from memory disorders as serious as Alzheimer’s — and not after months or even days of treatment, but after a single 40 ml dose!

imagesA groundbreaking 2004 study published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging found that the administration of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), the primary fat type found in coconut oil, almost immediately improved cognitive function in older adults with memory disorders.

The study involved 20 subjects with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment who, on separate days, were given either emulsified MCTs or a placebo.  The researchers observed a significant increase in blood plasma levels of the ketone body beta-hydroxylutyrate (beta-OHB) after only 90 minutes of treatment, and depending on the apolipoprotein E genotype of the subject tested, beta-OHB levels either continued to rise or held constant between the 90 and 120 minute blood draws in the treatment condition. Remarkably, cognitive testing revealed that this brief MCT treatment facilitated improved performance on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-cog) in 4 subjects within the study group. Moreover, “higher ketone values were associated with greater improvement in paragraph recall with MCT treatment relative to placebo across all subjects (P=0.02).”[i]

The details of the study procedure was described as follows:

The study was conducted with a double-blind placebo controlled design with two study visits. During each visit, subjects received one of two isocaloric conditions (690calories) in a randomized order: emulsified MCTs, or emulsified long chain triglycerides as a placebo.NeoBee 895 (Stepan, Inc.) was used for MCTs. To increase palatability, heavy whipping cream was used as a source of long chain triglycerides and as a source of long chain mono- and di-glycerides for emulsification. MCTs (40ml) were blended with 152ml heavy whipping cream to create the emulsified test sample. Heavy whipping cream alone (232ml) was blended to create the placebo.

Subjects fasted from 8:00 p.m. on the night prior to the study visit. They arrived in the morning and blood was drawn to determine plasma ?-OHB levels and APOE genotyping (first visit only). Subjects then consumed the test beverage and rested quietly for 90min, after which blood was drawn and a 30-min cognitive testing session ensued. After testing, a final blood draw was taken.

How Medium Chain Triglycerides Work

How could a single dose of MCTs (40 ml or 2.7 tablespoons) cause an almost immediate improvement in cognitive performance in those suffering from cognitive impairments as serious as Alzheimer’s disease? The explanation is found both in the unique metabolic needs of the brain and in the configuration of MCTs themselves. Whereas the primary fuel source for the energy-hungry brain is glucose, when insulin resistance and suboptimal metabolism (hypometabolism) develops in the brain, both the brain’s structure and function are compromised. Ketone bodies provide a much needed alternative fuel source to glucose that can recharge metabolic processes within the brain, resulting in an almost immediate improvement in cognitive function.

MCTs are not like most fats we consume. For instance, due to their smaller size they do not form micelles and are not stored in adipose tissue. Whereas up to 97% of the dietary fats we ingest are made up of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) which have been 14 and 18 carbons,[ii] MCTs have relatively shorter chain lengths of 5 to 12 carbons, making them easier to absorb and utilize. They are preferentially oxidized by the liver, and when provided in large enough quantities, they give rise to ketone bodies.[iii]

What is the best way to take MCTs? As we are advocates of whole food nutrition, coconut oil is our preferred source of these triglycerides, containing approximately 2/3rds MCTs by volume. Coconut oil also has a broad spectrum of other health benefits, which we highlighted in our previous article “13 Evidence-Based Medicinal Properties of Coconut Oil.”

Also, instead of treating coconut oil or MCTs as some new nutraceutical “magic bullet,” almost as if we are just loading natural bullets into the same old outdated allopathic gun, try incorporating it into your diet in a way that displaces less healthy fats. For instance, replace that rancid, pro-inflammatory ‘vegetable oil’ (e.g. soy, grape seed, peanut, canola oil) you are using to fry an egg or bake with, with sublimely saturated, rancidity-resistant coconut oil.

Or, enjoy a delicious curry with coconut milk as a base. Because 25% of coconut milk is fat, and about 66% of that fat is MCT, you are still getting a healthy dose. It is always better to eat smaller amounts of truly therapeutic foods, enjoyed in the context of sharing, preparing and enjoying good food, so that you will ideally never have to use the heroic “food as medicine” approach after a serious disease has had the opportunity to set in. Think: use food so that medicine never becomes necessary.   

For additional information view the testimonial of Dr. Mary Newport who discovered the benefits of using coconut oil to treat her husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease.


“The sense world alone cannot satisfy the human mind.” – Lama Yeshe

When we experience pleasant feelings, attachment ensues, and when that pleasant feeling subsides, craving arises.  When we experience unpleasant feelings, aversion arises.  And when we feel neutral or bored ignorance arises.  This is the human condition.  The Buddha called it the source of all suffering.

SAM_1328Our problem is that we don’t accept this simple truth about ourselves and others.  Our superficial view, our fixed ideas and our wrong conceptions prevent us from seeing the reality of what we are and how we exist.  We must realize that we create all human problems ourself – we should not blame anyone else.

“There are three conditions of the human ego;  Wanting.  Thwarted wanting.  And Indifference.” – Eckhart Tolle

Wherever you go your dissatistifed mind is still with you.  Meditation explodes the belief that satisfaction depends on circumstances.  If you understand this spiritual principle correctly and act accordingly you will find much greater satisfaction and meaning in your life.

Change your mind.  Change your world.  

Had an amazing day today at Bluewater Beach with my sister.  A very special place for both of us.  A place of healing and fond memories.  The sun was hot, the water blissfully cool and the energy pure, balanced and alive.


A day filled with wonder and awe as we shared our past, our hopes for the future all the while remaining present with the day.  We spoke of the Tao and how life is a river in which you cannot resist.  To find your path in life means to let go of the ego and not resist the nature flow of life’s order.  Your existence is preordained.  There is a path for each of us.  If you are still and quiet enough you will hear its call.  Follow your intuition and not your ego and be patient.

The past only holds the pain of yesterday.  The future, anxiety, fear and illusion of what might be.  Only in the moment of now will the true gift of ‘presence’ emerge and you find the joy and peace that is your life.  Our time is limited;  make each moment count.

One of the truest realizations I have the honor to witness almost everyday is the amount of electronic waste that arrives at the company I work for.

2013-07-08 12.26.57

A global electronics recycling plant which processes millions of tons of electronics every week; toasters, computes, vacuum cleaners, TV’s, i-phones, you name it –  its here.   To realize that at one point each and every one of these ‘gizmo’s’, gadgets and appliances was considered a source of happiness to someone.  Someone who through their suffering and sense of disconnection from the ‘whole’, cut off from others, subconsciously felt attached to that new toaster, new laptop computer, big screen TV or i-phone that somehow could relieve or distract them from their suffering if even only temporarily. Grasping and attachment are the nooses of Mara and will only lead to more suffering because material things from the outside world can never fill the internal landfill of your soul; only Love, faith, kindness and giving to others can do that.

We do require some ‘stuff’ to survive, function and enjoy life in this materialist world.  Projecting our ‘ego’ and lower self into these items is the tragedy which most people unconsciously endure everyday.   Try to understand the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’ and always think of others and mother Earth the next time you reach out to purchase something.

Everything flows upon the river of the Tao – What you purchase will end up back here (hopefully to be recycled) or into mother Earth – this is a truth which you cannot deny.

Contemplating impermanence is very important, because without that we will become very lazy in our practice. You need to investigate phenomena. Each thing changes from one moment to the next. Most important is to think, “Yes, I will die. Death, my death, is certain. impermananceBut when we will die is not sure. It’s uncertain.” So that is the frightening part, the scary party, what we fear: that the time of our death is uncertain. Worse than that, when I die, what can I carry with me, what can really help me? Whatever we earn, spend time on, stress out or suffer over, get depressed or worry about, the clothes we wear, the places we stay, the cars and motorcycles we drive, this paper we call money, shinning credit cards, shinning gold, shinning diamonds, a Rolex watch–honestly I’m not saying that these things are bad, but I am saying we have to leave all these things behind. We have no choice. You don’t have any way to run from your death.

So, the second mind-changing is impermanence. Impermanence of family, impermanence of time, impermanence of the great masters, impermanence of all phenomena, everything you can see and experience. Impermanence of yourself, how time goes so fast and you cannot go back. Focus on the reality of impermanence. What is the benefit of doing this? The benefit is that when you think about impermanence you want to use your precious time on something precious, something worthwhile.

“Like the rising and the setting of the sun and moon, composite things are impermanent.

The time of death lies uncertain, like a flash of lighting in the sky.
At the time of death nondharmic things are of no help at all
So practice the sacred and sublime Dharma correctly.” -Padmasambhava

Kyabgon Phakchok Rinpoche.

1. Recognizing: Notice with equanimity a familiar stimulus that habitually pushes your hot buttons and triggers an unfulfilling, retaliatory response — such as harsh words or unfair treatment, which might very well provoke retaliation in kind. Stop for a moment, however brief, simply to breathe, collect yourself, reflect, and relax.

Kopan Monastery - Nepal

Kopan Monastery – Nepal

2. Recollecting: With re-mindfulness, remember the downsides and disadvantages of returning hatred with hatred, anger with anger, harm with harm. Buddha said, “Hatred is not appeased by hatred. Hatred is appeased only by love.” And recollect the upside — the significant advantages — of practicing patience, forbearance, tolerance and stoic acceptance of karma and its repercussions. In this second step, find and mine the sacred pause. Rest in it. Breathe, relax, center and smile. Take a breath break; do yourself a favor.

3. Refraining and restraining, through re framing: See things through the other’s eyes/point of view; cultivating feelings of genuine compassion for those who harm you, knowing that they are merely sowing the seeds of their own unhappiness and bad karma. Examine things from the others’ perspectives: Turn this over like a gemstone to see all sides, recognizing others’ predicament, mentality and suffering. To take it one step further, practice recognizing the adversary or critic as a teacher, a friend, an ally in helping us develop patience and overcome unconscious, habitual, and unproductive reaction patterns. The most difficult person or situation can become our greatest teacher, our greatest opportunity.

4. Relinquishing: Give up habitual conditioned reactivity and let go of impulsive urges in favor of more consciously chosen intelligent responsiveness. Accept the fact that such urges arise, don’t suppress or indulge them. Let them be without acting on them, reflect upon them, and watch them pass by and dissolve. Change is the law. It’s not outer things that entangle us; it’s overmuch attachment and fixation which entangles us.

5. Reconditioning and deconditioning habitual reactivity through remindfulness: Recall the entire situational dynamic you have now reviewed, while refraining, relinquishing and reflecting on how little it will matter in a few months and years, and letting go of unwholesome reaction patterns.

6. Responding appropriately, intelligently, consciously, choice fully — proactively, rather than reactively: In some cases, this may translate into doing nothing or in other cases responding with equanimity; ultimately making wiser, more skillful decisions based on conscious awareness and experience.

From the teachings of Lama Surya Das, one of the foremost American Lamas in the Buddhist tradition, has been an integral part of Buddhism’s surge in popularity in recent years. From his first bestselling book, Awakening the Buddha Within (Broadway Books,1997) to his newest release Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now” (HarperOne, 2011) he has made Buddhism accessible and inspiring to serious practitioners and neophytes alike.

If you know “The Way”, then you know the goal, because the goal is not at the very end of the Way, the goal is all along thetaopath Way.  To be on the Way is to be at the goal.  The Way is not like a superhighway; the Way is like a bird flying in the sky – it leaves no footprints behind.  The Way is a pathless path.  You cannot just decide to walk on it, you will have to find it.  You will have to find it in your own way; nobody else’s way will do.   Buddha has walked, Lao Tzu has walked, Jesus has walked, but their ways are not going to help you because you are not Jesus, and you are not Lao Tzu, and you are not Buddha.  You are you, a unique individual.  Only by walking, only by living your life, will you find the Way.

Taoism is not an organized religion – it cannot be.  It is an organic religiousness.  You can be a Taoist if you live your life authentically and spontaneously;  if you have the courage to go into the unknown on your own, as an individual; not leaning on anybody.  If you have the courage, that choice is there.

Christianity, Hinduism, and Mohammedanism are superhighways:  you need not risk anything – you simply follow the crowd.  With Tao you have to go alone, you have to be alone.  Tao respects the individual, not the society.  Tao respects the unique, not the crowd.  Tao respects freedom, not conformity.  Tao is a rebellion, and it is the greatest rebellion possible.

heart threw a river

If you are sincere, you have success in your heart and whatever you do succeeds.

Through repetition of danger we grow accustomed to it. Water sets the example for the right conduct under such circumstances. It flows on and on, and merely fills up all the places through which it flows; it does not shrink from any dangerous spot nor from any plunge, and nothing can make it lose its own essential nature. It remains true to itself under all conditions.

Thus likewise, if one is sincere when confronted with difficulties, the heart can penetrate the meaning of the situation. And once we have gained inner mastery of a problem, it will come about naturally that the action we take will succeed. In danger all that counts is really carrying out all that has to be done- -thoroughness—and going forward, in order not to perish through tarrying in the danger.

“To be happy, you need only three things: To be content with who you are; to be content with where you are; and to be content with what you are.”

Kopan Monastery - Nepal

Kopan Monastery – Nepal

Unhappy people always want more: more money, more beauty, more youth, more power, more glamour, more fame, more popularity, more recognition, more intelligence, more whatever. They’re never content with who, what, and where they are now. They live in a world of unattainable entitlement, and thus in a world of misery, frustration, and recrimination against self and others.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we can’t strive, that we can’t grow, that we can’t change, that we can’t move. Usui Founder’s Reiki Principles urge us to aim high, to aim for serenity. And certainly giving up anger and worry, and embracing gratitude, our life’s work, and kindness are the keys to serenity, to perpetual happiness. But the real secret is to be happy every step of the Way, wherever we find ourselves upon it.

Just for Today, be happy


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