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Our Trip to India: Dharamsala Day 10

October 30th, 2014

by Siegfried Othmer, PhD

Sue and I have just returned from a sojourn to India, where we taught our training course at the Tibetan Medical Institute, Men-Tsee-Khang.
Day 10

September 25 (Thursday)

It was day two of the Dalai Lama’s teaching, and on this occasion I already felt that I came to the event with an altered sense of time. Some of my customary time urgency had dissipated. I assume that this must be one of the fringe benefits of meditation discipline, a contentment with whatever the present moment offers. I did not mind standing in line. I did not mind sitting there for more than five hours. It did not even occur to me to think about all the useful things I could be doing if I had a computer keyboard in front of me. Meditation keeps one rooted in the present; it dissipates striving; nothing is left wanting. Likely meditation is restorative in a way that complements sleep, and integrates the body-mind in a way that is conducive to health maintenance. Perhaps the three or four hours of meditation every morning helps to explain why the Dalai Lama still looks so young, and can teach for four hours without notes, at the age of 79.

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Our Trip to India: Dharamsala Day 9

October 29th, 2014

by Siegfried Othmer, PhD

Sue and I have just returned from a sojourn to India, where we taught our training course at the Tibetan Medical Institute, Men-Tsee-Khang.
Day 9

September 24 (Wednesday)

This was the first day of the Dalai Lama’s teaching. We got up at 5:00 AM to get an early start at the line for security checks. Badges had already been obtained previously. The crowd management challenge was immense, with some 600 people expected inside the compound, and a total of 5,000 apparently here for the event. I never imagined myself on a pilgrimage of any kind, but really welcomed this opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama at some length.

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Our Trip to India: Dharamsala Day 8

October 28th, 2014

by Siegfried Othmer, PhD

Sue and I have just returned from a sojourn to India, where we taught our training course at the Tibetan Medical Institute, Men-Tsee-Khang.
Day 8

September 23 (Tuesday)

The day started early with the circumambulation of the Monastery grounds, in the tradition of the walking meditation of Tibetan Buddhists. First one had to run the gauntlet of beggars gathering outside of the monastery entrance. It occurred to me at this point that I had not seen a single Tibetan beggar. They were all Indians. On my way down to the monastery grounds I saw a young boy of about nine years of age with one leg totally misshapen. I have no idea about how such an odd shape could even come about. I stuffed a bill into his hand, and as I walked on I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he almost immediately handed it off to someone else, presumably his handler. Is that what is going on here? This kid is obviously a magnet for charitable donations. I am told that in Germany begging is a highly organized affair that is regimented by an Eastern European criminal syndicate. And now I find out that this is also the story of Slumdog Millionaire, which I never saw. If poverty is pervasive enough, it becomes institutionalized.


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Our Trip to India: Dharamsala Day 7

October 27th, 2014

by Siegfried Othmer, PhD

Sue and I have just returned from a sojourn to India, where we taught our training course at the Tibetan Medical Institute, Men-Tsee-Khang.
Day 7

September 22 (Monday)

On this, the first day of our course, only a few of us were needed for setup and lecture. The program offered all others the opportunity to visit long-term meditators who were living the life of hermits in the nearby mountains for periods of three up to a dozen years. At seven in the morning, the group struck out for the nearby mountain regions, along roads that were even more primitive, to reach paths that then led to the spare huts occupied by the hermits. Bags of goods had been prepared that included warm socks for the winter, food items, and other necessities. Barbara and Kara went along, hiking on paths that would challenge a mountain goat. Particularly for Barbara, the trek took a physical toll. Nevertheless, Barbara said that this was a price gladly paid in order to be in the company of monks whose devotion was to simplicity and self-discipline.


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The Educational Challenge of Irlen Syndrome

October 24th, 2014

by Siegfried Othmer, PhD

Irlen Syndrome (also referred to at times as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Visual Stress) is a perceptual processing disorder.
I s it not remarkable that the entire field of education regards the challenges faced in education entirely without reference to the brain? This holds true from Arne Duncan at the Department of Education down to the local school board and even to the teacher in the classroom. It is almost as if the brain were not involved in the process. It is as if the neurosciences do not exist.

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Our Trip to India: Dharamsala Day 6

October 23rd, 2014

by Siegfried Othmer, PhD

Sue and I have just returned from a sojourn to India, where we taught our training course at the Tibetan Medical Institute, Men-Tsee-Khang.
Day 6

September 21 (Sunday)

The day of our trip to Dharamsala had arrived. The hotel limo took us to the airport at 6:30 in the morning, a time remarkable only for the dearth of traffic at that hour and the liberty that provides for the resident monkeys, who were out in force. Entire monkey families were cavorting in the streetscape. Our driver took a number of side streets before hitting the main artery to the airport. That was not mandated by traffic concerns, so what was that all about? I cannot imagine dignitaries being taken along the same route. We did not ask.


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