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15936RE: [Meditation Society of America] Meditation and Health

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  • Aideen McKenna
    Feb 3, 2008

      You’ve brought about real healing in your body.  It’s wonderful to read your posts.

      I have a very soft spot for Lawrence LeShan, whose book & tape “How to Meditate” saved my sanity years ago.

      If you google “psychoneuroimmunology cancer”, you may find the sort of thing you were searching for.  (I haven’t time right now to check that out thoroughly).

      I believe Jon Kabat-Zinn is doing work with cancer patients using meditation as a technique.


      From: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com [mailto: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of westwindwood2003
      Sent: February 3, 2008 3:03 PM
      To: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Meditation Society of America ] Meditation and Health


      --- In meditationsocietyof america@yahoogro ups.com, "jogeshwarmahanta"
      <jogeshwarmahanta@ ...> wrote:

      > Strange! No interest in either preventive or therapeutic aspect of
      > meditation or guided imagery.

      For using meditation for dealing with immune system problems such as
      cancer and arthritis, I thought of the book, You Can Fight For Your
      Life: Emotional Factors in the Treatment of Cancer by Lawrence LeShan
      (Paperback - Jan 25, 1980), which is still in print. LeShan
      counseled terminal cancer patients in a medical setting, evolving a
      technique where about 50% of his clients survived. The difference in
      his approach was to ask, "what is going right" rather than "what is
      wrong" in a clients life. It is not much to go on for other
      psychologists, who might want to duplicate his success and it seems
      not much is being done now days because when I Google the three
      words, cancer remission psychology, I find nothing significant.
      LeShan has also written books on beginning meditation and so I wonder
      if this also influenced his counseling technique. Perhaps meditation
      also gave him an orientation that helped his clients.

      If a psychologist asks what is wrong, the stressful and negative
      aspects of the cancer patient's life are brought into the
      consciousness and the patient thinks "what hope is there". If the
      question is what is right, then hope for the future is at least a
      consideration and avenues can be explored. This is similar to a
      procedure in meditation where a person can use a good emotion to
      cancel another negative one that keeps coming up in meditation. You
      can counter a negative emotion by substituting a positive one.

      The psychologist has to be open to what the client says and be fully
      engaged to allow a complete exploration. I think in some way, LeShan
      would allow the same kinds of feelings that would come up in
      meditation to be expressed by the client in counseling. For examples
      of type of feelings, see pages 26 and 27 in
      http://www.urbandha rma.org/pdf/ mindfulness_ in_plain_ english.pdf
      Exploration of feelings can then evolve into a way for the client to
      rationalize or otherwise find a way to reduce the stress in their
      life to allow their immune system to strengthen and eliminate the
      cancer. Another book, although not quite explicit as LeShan's, is
      Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal by Rachel Naomi Remen.

      Soon after I discovered meditation in my early thirties, I dealt with
      arthritis. I had fallen off a ladder onto my shoulder while working
      for my uncle in his orchard, and I had an arthritic back, and a
      disintegrating disk. They were talking about removing the disk. I
      was in some pain and needed a special bed. I though that if
      meditation could speed healing, then maybe I would work on my back.
      Well I tried to do imaging and found a feeling of a block. I then
      tried looking at my feelings by taking the thought of what I wanted
      to look at into meditation and found a reason for the bad back.
      Seems I wanted people to feel sorry for me. Since no one was doing
      that, I figured I had better give this feeling up since it was not
      doing anything for me. After that, healing moved along. In two
      months, I had no more pain, and to this day I have never had any back
      trouble, except for sore muscles when I work too hard, but the next
      day everything is back to normal.

      About ten years after I started meditating, I found I had a small pea
      size lump under my skin, but the skin itself looked normal. The lump
      had roots extending out from the lump with a half-inch radius. Now I
      do not know what that really was, but I did meditation, looked at
      emotional issues, found a reason, rationalized a solution, and the
      roots got rounded on the ends and everything shrunk to nothing in
      about five days. I though this may have been some kind of cancer,
      but we will never know since no doctors were involved.

      Move forward to March 2005 and I have been diagnosed with cancer of
      the colon. I found some emotional issues, but I could not work it
      out intellectually. Life was just too much for me, too stressful,
      but I felt I should be more positive about life so I meditated some
      more and was told that my time was not up. Confound it. I was going
      to have to work on life, not give up. I could palpate the cancer in
      my abdomen, low on the left side, but in ten days it went to about
      half size and got softer. At that point I was scheduled for surgery
      so I went ahead with it because it would have driven my wife nuts for
      me not to. The pathology came back, nothing in the lymph nodes and
      the oncologist said it was a `punky' cancer, non-aggressive.

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