This week we talk to Koshin Paley Ellison
Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, cofounded the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, which delivers contemplative approaches to care through education, direct service, and meditation practice.
Koshin is the co-editor of Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End of Life Care . He received his clinical training at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center and the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association. He began is formal Zen training in 1987. He is a senior Zen monk, Soto Zen teacher, ACPE supervisor, and Jungian psychotherapist.
In This Interview, Koshin Paley Ellison and I Discuss…
- The One You Feed parable
- His new book: Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End of Life Care
- The influence of his grandmother on his life and his work
- The story that changed his life forever
- That to truly love someone means to love all of the parts of them, even the ones you don’t understand or like
- The importance of asking “where am I contracting away from things around me?”
- How we get into trouble because of our aversion
- The power of asking “I’m so curious about why you are angry?”
- Learning how to feel the feeling without becoming the feeling
- How his job is not to change people but to be with people
- That it’s difficult for someone to move until their cry has been fully heard and received
- The healing connection with other people
- That dying people reflect on how well they loved and who loved them in their lives
- The recipe of resiliency: Including ourselves in how we care, the importance of community and having a contemplative practice with a group
- The relationship between having a contemplative practice and caring for the dying
- Learning how to give and receive freely = generosity
- To show up with beginners mind, to bear witness and identifying the loving action are the three important teachings for service
- Operationalized meditation
Koshin Paley Ellison Links
A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other.
One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.
The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feedThe Tale of Two Wolves is often attributed to the Cherokee indians but there seems to be no real proof of this. It has also been attributed to evangelical preacher Billy Graham and Irish Playwright George Bernard Shaw. It appears no one knows for sure but this does not diminish the power of the parable.
This parable goes by many names including:
The Tale of Two Wolves
The Parable of the Two Wolves
Which Wolf Do You Feed
Which Wolf are You Feeding
Which Wolf Will You Feed
It also often features different animals, mainly two dogs.