Chris Hammond

Introduction by Jonathan Penn: I met Chris when I was coming back to the DC area after sitting my first course in Australia. At the time I didn’t know whether there were even other old students or opportunities for group sittings in my home town. I met Chris pretty quickly, very likely at a 1-Day course at the Mehta’s home and then saw him at different group sittings after that. I was just returning and starting my career as an engineer, and Chris was just arriving in Maryland and starting his advanced degree and then career in acupuncture. We quickly started hanging out and discussing our desire to meet someone and then we both did! In a somewhat bizarre parallel path we both met a partner, got married, had kids… and then both got divorced around the same time. I’m deeply grateful to have had such a constant and grounded friend through all of my life events over the past many years in Chris. These days our daughters (my daughter Layla age 5 and Chris’s daughters Lilly age 6 and Zoe age 4) are close friends as well and we just enjoyed a great pool day all together this past weekend.

Dhamma Story: I’ve had an epiphany lately. It’s an epiphany that’s come and gone before. It’s the role of what I eat, how much water I drink and maintaining a consistent eating schedule each day affects my meditation practice and my life. I was feeling tired, restless and foggy on a regular basis and was observing that a lot in my sitting practice.

As we know from the discourses, the sensations we experience are due to the current sankaras, past sankaras, the food we’ve eaten and the climatic conditions that surround us. I was feeling that my diet was playing a significant role in my experience so I tightened things up. In the morning I would have lemon water, some chlorella and some fruit, which has a cleansing affect. At 1pm I would have a salad, steamed veggies, lentils, and potatoes. Mid pm would be some nuts and a piece of fruit. Then 6pm would be a lighter version of lunch. After that there was no later evening eating, which allows the body over 12 hours to cleanse and rest the digestive system. Also during the day I would drink lots of water. This has some resemblance to intermittent fasting that has gotten lots of good press lately. I learned of doing this from Terri Kerr who was a nutritionist and an assistant teacher in Massachusetts. She had a book out called Terri Kerr’s Ultimate Detox Diet. She has since passed and there are used versions of the book on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Teri-Kerrs-Ultimate-Detox-Diet/dp/B002O6YHR0.

I noticed an immediate affect of having more energy, a clearer mind, much more rested and calm and able to sleep more deeply. The body felt more fluid and less tight, I also experienced the mind as more fluid. The factors of diet, water intake and daily rhythm play such a supportive role in the quality of our meditation practice and our lives. I realized that i’d been dehydrated, hadn’t been nourished enough and my eating schedule had been off. Sure our job is always to observe reality as it is but then we need to ask what are we doing to create reality as it is. If we are angry, we work to come out of that. If we aren’t drinking enough water or not nourishing ourselves, we need to work on that. Our body is constantly alerting us to what is or what isn’t in balance and we need to listen with wisdom.

Dhamma Friends: Jamie Metzler

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

2 thoughts on “Chris Hammond

  1. This website started so nice, but unfortunately now it goes in the direction of ‘cleanses’, and pepper promoting books. How sorry I’m to see that. Can we keep it just about experiences related to vipassana practice?

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  2. The intent of sharing was to relate how food affects nama and rupa (mind and matter) and how that impacts meditation. The book has been out of print for awhile and there may only be a few used copies left. The reason for mentioning the book was to share with those who could benefit from it. It had been written by an Assistant Teacher who had knowledge of both vipassana and nutrition and brought a good synthesis of the two subjects together.

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