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Newsletter Number 12 • October 13, 2005


Health is a topic in which most of us have a strong interest.  I just finished reading Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, M.D.  Kurzweil is a noted futurist, considered by many to be a great genius of our era.  He has been a very successful inventor, author, and entrepreneur.  He has teamed up with Dr. Grossman to produce a very readable and extremely thorough overview of how individuals can take the best from both conventional Western medicine as well as from holistic and alternative medicine sources. The authors argue that it is possible to optimize one’s health, defeat the process of aging, and perhaps to live long enough to allow genetic, biochemical, and nanotechnologies to provide enough discoveries, tools, and spare parts so that the body can live forever.

I, for one, am not sure I want to live forever, at least not in this body. I have this beat up old pick-up truck of a body. Maybe if I had a Porsche or a Mercedes of a body I might have a different attitude, but I have to play the hand I was dealt. Kurzweil claims that the speed of technology is increasing at a compounding rate, meaning that in the next 7 to 20 years we will learn more and develop more than in the whole 20th Century. I will leave the readers to judge whether or not his predictions are likely to come true.

What I liked best about this book was that the authors seemed to have no axe to grind. By that, I mean that they are open-minded and are not married to Western allopathic approaches or holistic alternative approaches, taking the best from each. I also liked the readability of the book. It was very easy to understand, and organized in a well thought out and logical manner.

My only criticism is that their approach is very mechanistic. I believe that the human being is much more than the sum of its parts. It seems to me that we are more than just mechanical robots and that you can’t just add grease and oil (vitamins and supplements) and bring in new parts and produce a human being that can live forever in the flesh.

Despite my misgivings I think we can all benefit from the approach and information in this book, even if it just reinforces ideas and approaches that we have considered before. I am sold enough on their methodology and suggestions that I am certainly going to add certain herbal supplements to my daily intake.

If you want to balance the approach taken by Kurzweil and Grossman I highly recommend one of our all-time best sellers, Contemporary Ayurveda: Medicine and Research in Maharishi Ayur-Veda, by Hari Sharma and Christopher Clark. This book is both complete and brilliant. It is the best model ever presented for the integration of mind and body to attain perfect health in a totally natural manner. This is a book I go back and look at often, and is a great reference for treating specific problems. [It is certainly worth reading our review.]

Ageless Woman, by Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf is another of our all-time best sellers. This deals with natural solutions for women, especially those experiencing pre-menopause, menopause, and those who are post-menopausal. Dr. Lonsdorf is considered by many of those who have had the privilege and pleasure of consulting with her to be “a real treasure.” For greater detail please read the review on this website.

Synthesizing much of what I have read over the years, I would say that one thing is very clear, maintaining the proper Ph balance (alkaline) is one of the most important things in staying healthy and avoiding the terrible ravages of cancer, diabetes, and premature aging. I would highly recommend reading The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim your Health, by Robert O Young and Shelly Redford Young. As more studies are done, the evidence is overwhelming that maintaining the proper pH level in your blood is probably the single most important element in maintaining absence of serious disease. As our review states, this book gives all the necessary guidelines for and dietary considerations for establishing the proper pH balance in your blood.

Whatever you may believe, or whatever your personal angle of analysis may be, the evidence is overwhelming that pH is critical. Other “truisms” are that you should eat organic, avoid red meat, drink plenty of pure water, exercise, and have a positive mental attitude towards life. Without a doubt, meditation is a very important element of any holistic health program.

Each of us is an individual, with unique genes, and specific nurture. In the area of promoting health, it is not clear that “one size fits all”. However, I believe that if you read all of the above and put together your own program you are very likely to increase the probability of enjoying a healthy, long, and joyful life.

To all L’Chaim (good health and long life),

Len Oppenheim

The gift of silence is the most precious of gifts one can give one self.
I have just returned from a spiritual silent retreat that was held in a Catholic retreat center in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The weekend retreat helped to instill in me a generous portion of silence that has stayed with me in my ordinary daily life routines.

I highly recommend a yearly, quarterly or even monthly spiritual silent retreat for everyone. Many facilities are available throughout the country at a nominal cost... most of these facilities are immersed in decades or even centuries of the eternal silent nectar. From the moment you step into this sacred environment the silence comes into the foreground of your being and all else retreats into the background.

Please allow yourself this special time... you do deserve it.

Some suggested titles you may want to take with you on your retreat.

Experience of No Self: A Contemplative Journey, Bernadette Roberts

A Catholic ex contemplative nun’s journey to the depths of being.

“ This is the personal account of a two-year journey during which I experienced the falling away of everything I can call a self. It was a journey through an unknown passageway that led to a life so new and different that despite forty years of varied contemplative experiences, I never suspected its existence. Because it was beyond my expectations, the experience of no-self remained incomprehensible in terms of any frame of reference known to me…. I have written these pages trusting that they may be of use to those who share the destiny of making this journey beyond the self”

Cave In the Snow, Vicki Mackenzie

A western woman secludes herself in a remote cave, 13,200 feet up in the Himalayas for 12 years of intense Buddhist meditation. She faced unimaginable cold, wild animals, near starvation and avalanches; she grew her own food and slept in a traditional meditation box, three-square feet in which she never laid down. Vicki later went on to find the first Buddhist monastery for women.

Silence of the Heart, Robert Adams

Robert Adams was a direct disciple of Ramana Maharshi. Robert’s book has been one of my favorites... reading its pages creates a stillness that is profound. He writes with a wonderful sense of humor that cuts through many preconceptions of what the realized state is.

One of our hottest novels the last few months and a sleeper that is becoming a national best seller is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Beautiful and heartbreaking.. An accurate portrayal of Chinese culture one hundred years ago when young girls were paired up with a like minded young girl for emotional support and love throughout their lives. The writing is some of the most beautiful and poignant of recently published novels.

Highly recommended.

We do not usually sell music CD’s on our website... but 10 NEW SONGS by Leonard Cohen is one of the most spiritual CD’s I have come across in a long time... It is recommended by Arjuna in his book TRANSLUCENT REVOLUTION.
I highly recommend it... the lyrics are very Advaita and have deep truth to them.

Let me know how you enjoyed your retreat.



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