Skip to content


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 Hennessy (and her maternal grandfather a Selkie, the Seal Clan, the messengers between the underwater world and the everyday world). When young Tommy was 4, Julie Hennessy 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 year old 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. I wonder if many of you haven’t 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.

High school and college between 1963-71. Those tumultuous years of Vietnam, the Civil rights Movement, and sex/drugs/rock&roll. College for me was filled 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: 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.  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 weekly basis. Illuminating my blind spots as revealed within my dreams..

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.

May 1997, I met Jitsudo Mugai Ancheta, Roshi. We immediately recognized each other, and I 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 in dokusan (formal Zen interview with the Roshi/teacher). 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. Late into the wintry evening. The altar candle had burned out, 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 Sacrd Circle teaching, creative expression, and BreathWork meditation, a pranayama style breath practice. 

Most recently, in conjunction with Rick Issan Mugai 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.