Jonathan Foust

November 30, 2008

Slow Migration

Filed under: Nature, Observations — jonathanfoust @ 11:01 pm

These ducks landed last week and are in no rush to leave.  A shot from this morning on the river:



November 24, 2008

Happy For No Reason, Part 2

Filed under: Humor, Observations, Video — jonathanfoust @ 8:24 pm

Something about the weather I guess:

November 22, 2008

Happy for No Reason

Filed under: Humor, Observations, Video — jonathanfoust @ 11:34 am

At the retreat a few weeks ago Tsoknyi Rimpoche suggested we try something one of his teachers told him years ago and which was an aspiration he held close:  “Happy for No Reason.”

Radical happiness.  Here’s something you might enjoy along those lines.

November 17, 2008

Phase #2 Cleansing

Filed under: Health — jonathanfoust @ 12:22 pm

If you are at all interested in this cleansing process, here’s a bit of Phase #2, which goes on for a week.

Once good elimination is established through the digestive simulator and toxin remover of Phase #1, Phase #2 focuses on flushing the liver, gallbladder and goes after parasites.  Three times a day I take capsules and tinctures, being sure to get LOTS of water.

I’m feeling good.  Coupling this along with the elimination diet has me feeling pretty clear and relaxed.  No signs yet of intestinal parasites or worms yet.  How exciting!

November 14, 2008

Eliminate the Negative

Filed under: Health — jonathanfoust @ 9:55 am


More of These

More of These

Still on Phase #1 of the 29-day Cleanse.  Phase #1 involves taking a digestive stimulator before dinner and just before bed a packet of psyllium seeds and herbs with apple juice.  One adjusts the digestive stimulator capsules to three poops a day to ensure good elimination through the cleanse.


I like this approach.  Feels gentle and easy.  Going in and coming out of a fast are as important as doing it.  As George Bernard Shaw, a dedicated faster said, “Any fool can fast, but it takes a wise person to come off a fast.”

This reminds me when two brothers from the ashram stayed in a cabin for a week fasting on water.  They had a deeply spiritual adventure … then broke their fast on the way home at Burger King.  Oy. Needless to say, the rapture ended pretty quickly.

It’s important to establish good elimination.  Otherwise, autointoxication occurs in forms as varied as skin rashes, bad breath, listlessness, constipation, aches, pains and fever.  When I supervised fasts, we did daily enemas.  

In the supervised fasts, I loved doing the ‘enema demos.’ Great comedy material.  I usually used a big teddy bear.  One time I got a bathrobe, rolled up my trousers and acted as if I was going to do a live demo for the group.  Wonderful facial expressions, particularly the looks of relief when I stopped.

Fasting doesn’t require enemas or colonics if you are eliminating well.  That’s the beauty of a mono-diet like brown rice or brown rice and greens.  The digestive systems gets deeply rested and the whole process is quite gentle.

I’ve also done really gonzo aggressive fasts. Back in the wild days, I did a ten day “Master Cleanse” fast.  Nothing but water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper.  Pretty dramatic, but not the most balancing adventure.

As I transition, I’m now cutting out the extreme ends of my diet.  I’m a pretty clean eater, but in recent years I’ll have a little ice cream now and then, as well as a Five Guys burger, a beer or an expresso.  All that is now out for the month.  

I’m also cutting out my cup of black tea in the morning.  As much as I adore and worship caffeine, I discovered a few months ago when I cycled off it, that my energy level is much more steady without it.

As Michio Kushi, the main face of macrobiotics says, “It’s not what you eat occasionally, it’s what you eat every day that matters.”  Eliminating the extremes:  the yin and expansive foods like sugar and sweeteners on one end and the yang and contracting foods like salt and heavy meets on the other, helps you center in the middle of the spectrum.

I know I’m holding out on the poop photos, but here’s a great link to my friend Susan’s site where you’ll find everything you need to know in the Poo Video.

November 13, 2008

The Charter for Compassion

Filed under: Dharma, Video — jonathanfoust @ 11:24 am

Implementing the Golden Rule.  Three minutes of inspiration.


November 12, 2008

Where Does Suffering End?

Filed under: Observations — jonathanfoust @ 8:51 am


I was at the World Bank yesterday on my way to teach a class on meditation when I stopped to take in this statue.

I remember this image clearly.  I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa and every day I would hear the chanting of men and women led into town by small children.  

When you looked close, you could see the emptiness of their eyes from river blindness – from a black fly bite, worms destroy tissue, particularly the eyes.

The grief they carried as families and villages never ceased to grip my heart.

Men, women and children offered all they could offer in such an impoverished country.  They would chant and sing, hoping for a handout.

 I was stunned by the contrast of a background of polished glass and chrome versus the mud and dust of Niger.

November 10, 2008

Starting a 29-Day Cleanse

Filed under: Health — jonathanfoust @ 4:44 pm


Living in the ashram I became fascinated with the relationship between food and consciousness.  As a community, we embarked on all kinds of dietary experiments.  Thursdays were for fasting (preceded by the orgy of Wednesday night dessert night) and we tried raw foods, living foods, ayurvedic influences and macrobiotics.  

The regime that worked best for me was macrobiotics.  I got a little carried away though, and for a few years you could classify me as macroneurotic.  For a wild stint I was a full blown macropsychotic before I came to my senses.  I was so rigid around the macrobiotic principles that I once threatened to leave the ashram because they weren’t pressure cooking the brown rice at every meal. 

I was finally set straight when one of the ‘seniors’ in the community sat me down and asked me, “What does a happy person eat?”

Two seconds later I replied, “OK. I got it.  Thanks.”  Spell broken.

For four or five years I supervised all the fasting programs at Kripalu Center.  Every three months a group of about 25 0r 30 people would gather for a few days of potassium broth and then juices, gently coming off on potassium broth again before heading home.  I’ve always been pretty skinny and somewhat hypoglycemic and found that I just couldn’t do the juices along with the guests and stay standing, so I found my pace with a mono-diet.  Eating very simple food, usually for me brown rice and greens, for a while is a wonderful and gentle way to cleanse.

Many of the great wisdom traditions speak of the power of fasting and prayer and I’ve certainly found the relationship between the two to be incredibly dynamic.

I’ve been thinking recently it might be interesting to do a deeper purification regime and through Robert Jordan, one of the most up to speed nutrition/raw food/health/cleansing/consciousness people I know (web site here), I’m going to try the Blessed Herbs regime.

Part of my impulse to do this is to share the process with my wife, who’s had some struggles with her health.  I’m blessed with good German peasant genes.   Other than migraines, I’ve been remarkably free of any major health problems.  

Tonight we start phase one, which takes a few days.  I’ll be taking a Digestive Stimulator and Toxin Absorber tonight.  Over the next few days, one modifies how much of this stuff one needs to manufacture three poops a day to keep the cleansing process moving along for the next month.  I promise not to write too much on this subject, but there are some AWESOME cleansing poop photos on the web I’ll point you to!

21 days of herbs is followed by a 5-day fast and colon cleanse.  While the 21 days of herbs can be done with any form of diet, the colon cleanse will be a full fast.

Non-Sensual Joy

Filed under: Meditation, Observations — jonathanfoust @ 12:49 pm


Morning Light on the River

Morning Light on the River

I’m just back from teaching in New England at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, in Western Mass.  My program started on a Thursday night and Tara arrived to lead her program on Friday night.  She rolled in with a pretty rotten head cold and over the weekend I’ve picked up similar symptoms.

I’m writing a talk on “Increasing Your Capacity for Joy.”  How does one increase one’s joy when one is snuffly, weak, achy and with a grinding headache?

This was my inquiry as I squatted by the river this morning with Tara and the dogs.

I wondered whether I’d have the strength to teach tonight.  Whether I should try to find a sub for my classes at the World Bank and for yoga and meditation tomorrow.  I thought about the garage I had to clean out for the construction crew.  On and on and with the churning worry, a deeper sense of dread.  The more caught up I got in anxiety, the more and more I felt rotten.

Something in my awareness shifted to where I was.  The sun on the side of my face.  The happy look on the dog’s faces to have the pack together again.  The geese bottoms turning up to the morning sun as they scraped the bottom of the river for edibles.

I remembered a phrase from the Third Zen Patriarch:  

The Way is not difficult – for those with no preferences …  Make the slightest distinction between good and bad, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.

If I let the future and past fall away, all that remains is a moment that has the potential to be suspended from any label of good or bad.  

As I squatted in the sun, dropping into the details of ‘here and now,’ there emerged a sense of well-being – a sense that in the moment, all is already OK.  

The joy I felt was not bouncy and vibrant, but complete.  Spacious. Free.

Buddhism talks of two forms of joy.  One is conditional.  You win the lottery, you’re happy.  The other form of joy is unconditional and non-sensual.  This form of joy suggests we can be happy regardless of what is going on around us.


I still feel lousy.  But a lot lighter.