I’ve decided to share the following letter—written and sent a week ago, not knowing, or concerned, in fact, if it will even reach its intended destination. It’s fully surrendered.

It’s written to an individual whose path crossed mine in Haight Ashbury, 1967, and whom I haven’t seen or heard from since Seattle, about 1972—the blink of an eye. Further detail isn’t necessary, and I hope the message is universal enough to hold a contemplation for each of us.


Aloha, Joyce,

I’ve never used that greeting in a letter before, but in contemplating what I want to say here, gazing across the time and space of our respective journeys, it seems like the most appropriate choice.

Over the past several years, my appreciation for what we experienced together has grown—not one of those old age reveries of the ‘good ole days’, but keener perception of the trajectory of my life and the influences that encouraged certain outcomes. As those perceptions have matured, I especially treasure how your own journey and choices impacted my life. As I write, I realize that the real awakening to this appreciation began when I started writing a multimedia iBook, entitled Breakfast Like an Emperor. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last November, in concert with a profound inner experience, I finally, after twenty-two years, came face to face with full recognition of the grand illusion of being a doctor—and all the associated karma that comes with that illusion. In a graced three weeks of compressed time and space, I closed the doors of my practice of Oriental medicine without any warning, forethought, or preparation, and turned my back on this distortion in my understanding of truth.

That’s not quite accurate. I did have some warning years ago when a God-realized soul said to me, “You know, there’s going to come a time when you don’t want to do this anymore.” I recognized the truth in his words when he said them, and I had some idea of why, but it took the intervening years for me to realize it.

Oriental medicine, second only to the spiritual journey, had become my life… wait. That’s not true. Just in writing those words I recognize that lie, for the first time. I thought Oriental medicine was second, but that was an intellectual hoodwinking the mind was pulling on me. It was first. And that’s why he knew that, that’s why he said it, and he knew it would take however long for me to wake up.

This is already way deeper than I intended, Joyce. Please excuse me if it’s too much, but I’m going to go with it. Hang with me, and I think this will make sense. It’s starting to become more clear to me than ever before.

Very few Westerners—and even a surprisingly small number of native practitioners—understand, or live, Oriental medicine. It’s the most mature form of medicine on the planet. Its origins spring from the efforts of spiritual adepts in the antiquity of Chinese culture—a side effect, if you will, of the pursuit of Self and God. How else could such a precisely intact and coherent set of principles which perfectly guide and rule the physical journey of human life manifest?

The most profound modalities of this medicine are food and Chinese herbal medicine. Oh, acupuncture and other methods of stimulating the points and channels are remarkable in themselves, but those are not the most consistent and influential means of expressing the principles of the medicine. And here’s where you come in.

Were it not for your early interest in and pursuit of nutritional knowledge, I would likely not have been prepared to recognize and embrace this crucial distinction. And not only did you awaken me to the importance of understanding food, you simultaneously became devoted to the delight in good food. Seems like an obvious match, but in my life, I’ve found those two to be a rare combination. Those who are enamored with “fine dining” are most often oblivious to the health consequences of their choices. And those interested in nutrition are rarely great cooks. That paradox may be an overly broad generalization, but it’s what I’ve seen.

So, I was graced to be there with you when you were making these discoveries for yourself, and you passed on to me a wealth of knowledge and celebration of this delightful union. Yes, I’m sure I made some contributions here and there along the way, and I happily participated, but you were the moving force in this area. I’ve come to recognize the wealth of that gift, and appreciate having received it—immensely. It was a wonderful, magical journey, and I’ve carried its imprint with me throughout life.

Through Oriental medicine, I took it to the heights of the medicine itself. I used all the traditional modalities of the medicine and beyond, but it was a natural, almost inevitable outcome that I recognize food as the most consistent and potent daily influence on our experience of life. Rarely did I encounter, in a general practice of primary care, a health care dilemma that could not be reversed or strongly ameliorated through diet, via the principles of Oriental medicine and the brilliance of Chinese herbal medicine, itself a refinement of food.

Very seductive.

Why seductive? Offer to any mind/ego the apparent keys to the kingdom, in the form of a paradigm of universal principles describing and apparently ruling the lower worlds of matter, energy, space, and time, and it becomes a diabolically irresistible device for blinding the individual for lifetimes to the truth that the entire lower worlds themselves (including mind/ego) are nothing more than an illusory diversion—a cage preventing our gaze from turning upward, where truth, love, Self-, and God-hood reside. What a setup!

Yes, food and other momentary and long term choices have these precise and predictable effects on our constitutions and our experience, but, in reality, what really drives experience in the lower worlds is the simple and continual result of where we place our attention—attention being the most elementary and modest manifestation of soul in the physical body. And wherever we place this precious faculty, all else must follow.

Imagine my surprise while composing this appreciation, to realize it’s bringing me to full recognition of the reality that the very gift I’m grateful for, and has been and continues to be a tool of immense value in this life, ultimately stood between my self and its own liberation.

So, once again, the Master has, through this letter of humility, brought awarenesses to me that simply did not exist prior to writing it. I apologize for belaboring you with details perhaps unimportant or even unintelligible. He’s just showing me, once again, that it’s all for me, regardless of my intention. As I prepare for being in His physical presence this weekend, the floodgates of love are opening like never before. We are so blessed!

Aloha, Joyce, and please accept my deep gratitude for being an important and delightful part of this soul’s journey. I know your own has been no less perfect.