Rick Issan Elkin

Rick Issan Elkin was born in rural New Hampshire to a Russian immigrant-family-father (Jewish) and Italian (Catholic) mother, both from the New York City area. 

An avid outdoorsman, hiking, camping, fishing, seeking solitude and communion with nature,  he spent his youth among the pine forests of northern New England, attended a small prep school in the mountains of NH and completed his formal education with a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and Art History from Elmira College in NY state. He has pursued a lifetime career as an independent studio craftsman in clay and as a metalsmith, with a 7-year stint as a high school teacher in the visual arts at the very prep school he attended as a youth.   

Deeply called early in life by the teachings and philosophies of many of the Eastern Gurus popular in the 1970’s, such as Kirpal Singh, Baba Ram Dass, Thich Nhat Hahn, the esoteric Christians like Thomas Merton and radicals like Matthew Fox, he simultaneously pursued the study of writers such as Thomas Mann, Herman Hesse, Gary Snyder, Kesey and Kerouac as well as naturalists like Edward Abbey, Barry Lopez and the root texts of various world religious and spiritual traditions.  This lay the foundation for his earnest inquiry into an archetypal search for meaning and clarity. Eventually his inquiry drew him to the core of the work of Dr. Carl Jung. Pursuing a Jungian course of study through the Jungian Foundation’s “Centerpoint” Program he became deeply immersed in dream work and through exceptionally fortuitous circumstances, serendipitously encountered Joan Blackmer, a well know Jungian analyst, translator and author with whom he engaged as an analysand in dream work until her death. 

Rick met Zen Master and teacher, Jitsudo Ancheta, Roshi, (Inka), a dharma successor of the Great Mountain, Taizan Maezumi Roshi (Dai Osho), founder of Zen Center, Los Angeles.  Both Rick and Jitsudo immediately “recognized” one another in the Dharma and began a formal relationship as teacher and student resulting in “Issan” becoming a recognized dharma heir (Sensei) through formal transmission by Jitsudo Ancheta. His education is never-ending, and he is currently engaged in the study and practice of Tantric Vajrayana (of the ancient Dzogchen root tantras.)

Most recently, in conjunction with Dr. Thomas Zenho Whalen, dharma brother and fellow dream worker, Rick has engaged in the creation of the Eighthwave Community.

Thomas Zenho Whalen

Tom was born in a small Vermont town, into an Irish Catholic family. All four grandparents emigrated from Ireland. His Maternal Grandmother was a Hennessey (the Seal Clan, the messengers between the underwater world and the everyday world). When young Tommy was 4, Julie Hennessey McCarthy began telling him “You remind me of my grandfather. He was 6’4” with long blond hair. He loved to dance and would throw me up onto his shoulders while he danced. He was a Druid priest and a Catholic priest.”

I began having memorable dreams when 5.

When I was 7, I had my first past-life experience: meeting 8 yo Bonnie B., we immediately recognized each other as a Native American couple from the Southwest deserts, Bonnie, the man, and I the woman (believe me, past life experiences were never a topic of conversation in an Irish Catholic family, nor in small town 50’s Vermont. Yet I suspect that many of you have had similar experiences).

By the time I was 8, I was acutely aware of the suffering of everyone around me, and a lack of ability to change that.

My Mom (Julia) and my Dad (Thomas Jr) did a pretty good job raising me, and I’m grateful for all their efforts.

High school and college between 1963-71. Those tumultuous years of Vietnam and sex/drugs/rock&roll. With too little formal studying and, perhaps, too many psychedelics.

Upon graduation, I became a hippie carpenter. Looking for something more sustainable than psychedelics, I came upon the book “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind” and began a regular meditation practice.

Still aware of the suffering in the world, I started to learn acupuncture and then went to medical school (University of Vermont), graduating in 1981. I then completed two Residency trainings, in Internal Medicine and Anesthesiology. I’ve been practicing pain management since 1987. For the last 15 years, I’ve been in private practice. I can spend as much time with my patient as I want. And I work together with Chinese medicine doctors, Chiropractic doctors, and behavioral health providers. And I teach meditation. Since 2016, I’ve been providing ketamine infusions for the treatment of depression and PTSD.

Between 1975 and 1991, I received four very important teachers: my children Katie, Hal, Brian, Roone. Each of them completely different. Each of them with much bigger hearts than I will ever have. Constant role models for me.

I began Archetypal DreamWork practice with Marc Bregman and Christa Lancaster in 1989. We continue to work together on a regular basis today, illuminating my blind spots.

Some pretty intense feelings began to emerge in 1991, and I entered into a four year struggle with active fentanyl addiction. I know the ravages of addiction inside and out. I am now exploring the combination of psychedelic treatment with meditation and dreamwork in the treatment of addictions.

1997 I met Jitsudo Mugai Ancheta, Roshi. I immediately accepted him as my teacher. I entered into sustained, deep Zen practice. From the outset, I combined Zen practice with Dream practice, sharing my dreams with Roshi every time we met. For his part, Jitsudo Roshi never commented on the dreams. For 13 years, no comment. One night, he and I were sitting alone in our small Zendo into late in the evening. It had gotten dark, and I could barely see him across the room. His voice suddeny emerged “You know, dreams are really important. You have the capacity to bring them into Zen practice.”

Jitsudo Mugai Ancheta, Roshi, is a confirmed teacher in the lineages of Taizan Maezumi, Roshi, and Bernie Tetsugen Glassman, Roshi. We practice and have authority to teach in Soto, Rinzai, Sanbo, and Zen Peacemaker traditions. Some years ago, Jitsudo Roshi formally confirmed me as a Dharma successor, authorizing me to teach. When his health began to wane a few years ago, he asked me to assume the teaching responsibilities for Mugai Sangha, our Zen group in Albuquerque, NM.

Since then, I’ve formally introduced Dream-Koan practice as a mainstay of our approach to realization.

Over 10 years ago, I began to practice with David Elliott, a wonderful Brother and teacher. David uses as mainstays of his practice Circle teaching, springing from elemental nature, creative expression, and BreathWork meditation, a pranayama style breath practice that is similar to holotropic breath practice. And importantly different. I now co-lead BreathWork groups with Julie Brinkley, David’s sister, on a regular basis.

Most recently, in conjunction with Rick Issan Elkin, Dharma Brother and fellow dream worker, I’m engaged in the creation of the Eighthwave Community.

We are really excited to introduce you to the life changing practices of Dream-Koan, Zen meditation, BreathWork. It is fun and life changing. And incredibly challenging and difficult. But you can do it.