Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1)

The surgery to repair my torn meniscus has concluded. The doctor said that it went very well, and he was able to accomplish his objectives. Now, some weeks of healing and rebuilding, and I’ll be back to cross-legged sitting meditation soon!

After nearly 2 months of trying to let this more aged knee heal itself, and not seeing much difference, this surgery has been such a fortuitous gift to receive. The presiding doctor, Dr. Hartl, is one of the main go-to doctors for professional athletes in Bavaria. He is so respected and in-demand that he does not normally do surgery for people like me who are on the cheaper, legally-mandated health “total basics” plan. He only has time to focus on the “private insurance” class of patients. He was simply given my MRI photos for a second evaluation, and determined that he could fix this thing. And it looks like he has!

I am incredibly grateful to our long-term Zen Center Regensburg member/Tech Master extraordinaire, Nico “Ah Gong” Rohrmaier and his mother, Astrid, for getting me the second evaluation and an expedited slot in Dr. Hartl‘s impenetrable surgery schedule.

Totally drugged out in the recovery room. At least I got to experience a vital and significant new American tradition: the opiate fentanyl. Literally three seconds after that stuff entering the system — BAM! — inconceivable dissolution direct oblivion non pareil.

Returning to the Zen Center a few hours ago, how surprised and humbled I was to learn that the Zen Center community had gathered in the Dharma Room at 11:30 AM this morning, the hour of my surgery, to chant “The Great Dharani” for about one hour, very focused. This is community, or “sangha”.

The nurses and doctors expressed some shock and surprise that I was so clear and alert so quickly after the operation. No lingering grogginess, no droopy mechanical dysfunction. I experienced no feelings of any — even the slightest — hangover.

Would it shock you to consider that clear, purposeful “Zen chanting” is what “thoughts and prayers” can only aspire to be?

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