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Coming to Shiatsu

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

It is my great fortune to be born into this life where a pervasive under current of nature/spirit/ medecine rises periodically to the surface and meets my awareness like bubbling hot springs and sweet water pools.

Among my first memories as a child in this life are brief glimpses of meditation - following my breath; laying of hands - the buzz in my palms; bitter elixer in amber bottles - gathering roots. It was no big deal, just a baseline being set. With time came “the real world” of academics and economics, war and heartbreak. Nevertheless the seeds planted in my early years moved steadily beneath the surface, once in a while sprouting up to greet the sun.

In true Zen fashion my mindlessness bubble was burst by pivotal adversity. Cancer. Not me, but close enough. My roll was - caretaker - soup maker - realist. I learned that we all die but many never live. Seeds were forcing their way to the surface. As fortune would have it, I was on the look for a purpose and healer fit like a glove. Purpose: help people find life. That September, I shed my old ways with the falling leaves of the oaks and maples of the Adirondacks. My new chapter was open for writing.

Her name is Fate, or is it Faith? I’m still not sure but she is a very tricky lady. She walked me to school that first day, held me in gentle mother hand. “Learn to crawl” she said. With Beginners Mind I crawled, up and down the futon, all around the room. With Beginners Mind I listened and held/heard mother and child, the endless abyss of hara. My teacher, a vessel through which countless generations pour their wild dreams and miracles. With beginners mind I marveled at the microverse beneath my palms, finding my self there. Always finding myself there.

My favorite stage of the Dandelion has always been the airy globe of seeds that we wish upon. Blank slate beginnings given to the wind. The fulcrum of accomplishment and aspiration. The life being lived ripples out undefined.

Pedagogy of Beginners Mind:

1) Learn from giver

2) Learn as receiver

3) Learn as giver

4) Learn from receiver

5) Be the vessel that is both!

There is more, I’m sure of it, but that chapter is yet unwritten in my book.


Chilán Mustain is a Shiatsu Practitioner, Herbalist, Acupuncturist and above all a Student of Life. He has been studying Herbalism since childhood, practicing Shiatsu since 2003, practicing Acupuncture since 2014 and specializing in Japanese Meridian Therapy since 2015. He is currently practicing and teaching both online and in person in Tucson Arizona. This January he will initiate the second cohort of a year long online Herbal Alchemy Apprenticeship. For people near Tucson, there will also be a 2 day class with CEUs on Zen Shiatsu for Table. For more information go to

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