January 27, 2009

UPDATE [elephant journal columnist] Frank Berliner is fine; please do tonglen for him.

The below update on our dear columnist (from our first issue, 6.5 years ago), friend, mentor, popular Naropa Professor and therapist Frank Berliner‘s health is via Brooks Witter…I’ll update this blog as soon as I hear new news.


Hello all,

I want to share with you the latest on Frank’s health and well being. He is
doing very well, and is very confident and cheerful about his state of
being. Frank was discharged from the hospital today and has returned home to
continue his recovery. He is very clear that he is not sick and is not
interested in people being overly concerned with his state of health. This
episode has brought into focus teachings on impermanence and there is no
reason to hold an attitude of catastrophic concern for his well being. 

Currently Frank is working on regaining fine motor control in his right leg
and arm. His walking and writing are compromised but both have shown
significant improvement over the weekend, and all signs point towards steady
gains being made day by day. For the next week, at least, Frank will need to
devote his energy and resources towards recovery, and for that he has asked
that he receive no visitors. He welcomes emails and cards expressing
support, but seeing people and talking on the phone are a bit draining at
present. I will send another update within a week’s time to communicate any
change to this request. 

I wish to stress that there is absolutely no need for alarm, and Frank would
appreciate that any alarmist rumors you hear regarding his condition be met
with natural confidence and cheerfulness that he himself is currently

Yours in the Dharma,


Here’s a link on how to do tonglen—sending and taking—a Buddhist meditation practice traditionally done for loved ones (and anybody, for that matter) in times of urgency (or any time, for that matter). It’s the best thing we can do for Frank and his wife—please again no visitors, emails etc. just now.

Good Morning friends,

Last night (Friday) Frank experienced a small but frightening intracerebral
hemorrhage. He is currently recovering at the ICU at Boulder Community
Hospital. He is in good spirits, and all the health professionals working
with him are indicating a positive prognosis of a full recovery in a matter
of weeks. Nan is returning from her planned vacation to be with Frank,
arriving back in Boulder this evening. They have asked that he not receive
visitors at this time so that he can dedicate his energies towards rest and
recovery. His neurologist believes he may be out of the hospital as early as
this coming Monday.

Please hold Frank in your practice and prayers in the coming days and weeks.
I will send out a follow up email in the coming days regarding Frank and
Nan’s preferences for visiting him.

Symptomatically, Frank experienced a slackening and decreased motor skills
on his body’s right side last night. Frank called for some help, and was
admitted to the ER around 8:45. Initial CT scan came back indicating a
ruptured blood vessel near the basal ganglia on his left side. The amount of
blood pooled was small enough to reassure his caregivers that the bleeding
was not severe, and that barring any other events, his condition should
stabilize and begin to improve shortly. This morning his second CT scan
indicated that the bleeding has, in fact, stopped. He has full faculties of
speech, his sense of humor is still very much in tact, and his attitude
continues to be one of recognizing the co-emmergence of phenomena and seeing
this as an opportunity to apply his training to the impermanence of his own

Again, I will let you know when he and Nan are ready to receive visitors and
the protocol that will take. They both appreciate your positive energy, good
thoughts, and support.

Be well,


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