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Have you ever daydreamed of turning back the clock to a more youthful, more energetic, more carefree time in life? Or perhaps having at your disposal a magical cosmic undo button that could erase certain effects that have accumulated over the course of time—from stress, abuse, or other erosive habits that have left you with less-than-perfect health or a waning enthusiasm for life.
Science and religion alike have studied and documented the vast number of benefits of meditation, revealing that meditation has a positive effect on people suffering from or at risk of many physical and mental health conditions, including high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, stroke, diabetes, menopause, ADHD, memory loss, anxiety, obesity, and much more. It was even found to be twice as effective in helping people to quit smoking than the other popular remedies. Since smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S., this is no small benefit! The studies also show advantages in other areas of our lives, such as making us more effective on the job and in school.
So what is meditation, and how does it create so much good for our bodies and minds?
A big part of meditation’s success in improving conditions like those listed above is its powerful ability to reduce and release stress, as stress is often a precursor to so many of our physical and emotional problems. But the manner in which it does this happens at a lot deeper level than many people might think. Meditation works at the level of our consciousness.
There are four states of consciousness: waking, sleeping, dreaming, and meditating. So, meditation is actually a different state of consciousness from our waking life. It is a far more expanded state. Many people think that the purpose of meditation is to tune out, to get away from it all. While that’s partially true. the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in—to take the journey into expanded consciousness that meditation provides.
Meditation expands our consciousness by helping us to get into the space, the gap, between our thoughts and taps into the incredible energy that exists there. So you have a thought and then another thought, but between the two, there’s a little space. According to the ancients, this space between the thoughts is the portal to the infinite intelligence of the universe, our Source. Some people call this energy “Spirit”; some call it “God”; some call it the “Universal Energy Field” or the “Unified Field.”
Once you get into that gap, you’ll find that, through this all-pervasive web of energy, everyone and everything is connected to everything else. You also discover that this universal field of energy is unlimited; it’s pure potential, and anything can be accomplished when you’re connected to it.
When we connect to the Unified Field through meditation, our bodies and psyches are cleared, leaving us refreshed, restored, and balanced. Just 20 minutes of meditation offers as much rest as 1-2 hours of sleep! The effect is truly a turning back of the clock, where we look and feel healthier and younger.
We can experience other profound changes by tapping into the Unified Field through meditation. To heal ourselves and fix our lives, we need information. We need to root out the true cause of what is ailing us and find the most expeditious and effective route to a cure. I certainly learned this from my experience with cancer. When you tap into the Unified Field, you are accessing life’s great encyclopedia—where every fact of the universe, past, present, and future, exists and is accessible. You are also connecting to your own highest wisdom, and the insights that come from meditation help us to heal every area of our lives.
In this way, meditation paves the way for emotional healing. On an energetic level, it helps to remove any blockages that come from holding on to anger and resentment. Meditation thereby ushers in what is perhaps the most crucial part of the healing process, forgiveness. It opens us up to our connection to other people and to All That Is. In this way, meditation also paves the way for global peace and well-being.
That brings me to the most important reason I can think of to meditate. Even after all of the benefits I’ve touched upon here—better health, becoming wiser, doing better at school or work, experiencing forgiveness, having less anxiety, more creativity, greater joy, looking and feeling younger—I still haven’t told you the real purpose of meditation.
The most important outcome of daily meditation is that by expanding your awareness, bringing yourself into balance, and experiencing greater peace, by raising your consciousness—you are actually every other person and creature on the planet to do the same. Remember, we’re all connected by one vast field of energy. The ripple of energy you send out into the world is a reflection of your inner state of being. Your ripple touches and affects others. If you’re uplifted, you uplift them too. If we’re all in a higher state, we might feel more inclined to help one another and develop some harmonious and creative solutions to our global problems. What a different world that would be!
I can’t recommend enough that you learn to meditate—for your own well-being, for those you love, and for making a positive difference on the planet and fulfilling your life’s potential. If you’d like to learn to meditate, let my teacher, Deborah King, teach you by video—that’s how I learned, and it’s been a lifesaver.
“Meditation gives us peace of mind without a tranquilizer; the peace of mind we get from meditation does not fade away. It lasts for good in some corner of the inmost recesses of our aspiring heart.” ~ Sri Chinmoy
Do you feel like you are being pulled in a thousand directions? Are your work, family, school, and personal interests all competing for your time and attention? Do you feel overwhelmed by obligations and commitments? Do you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see your to-do list? Is there any place on that list that says you take time out for yourself? As if you have the time!
Well, the good news is you can make the time, and you don’t have to leave the world to do so! Here are some tips and meditation techniques to help you get on the right track to finding your sense of calm and connecting with your soul with some daily meditation.
Take a few minutes to meditate first thing in the morning when you wake up before you leave the bedroom, take your shower, check your email and phone messages, check on the kids and animals, or eat breakfast. Just 1-20 minutes of daily meditation in the morning will start your day in a much less frazzled manner.
Afternoon Wake Up
If you are having a particularly difficult afternoon, give yourself a 10-min meditation break. If you have an office, shut the door. One of the meditation techniques that is handy if you are on a bus or train is you can pretend that you are taking a nap (just be sure no one will startle you as you do not want to come out of your meditative state too suddenly and get a headache.)
Creating a Calm Space
Make your space “Quiet-Proof”—Preparing your space can be as simple as closing your door, turning the sound to your computer and phones off, leaving a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door for delivery folks who may ring the doorbell, or taking your dog for that walk just before you meditate. If you are super sensitive to noise, you can try putting on a pair of noise-cancellation headphones.
Nodding Off is Okay in Daily Meditation
If you find yourself falling asleep during the time you’re making for your daily meditation, that is 100% okay! If your body is demanding a few minutes of sleep, you should give yourself the sleep it needs. However, if you find that you are falling asleep every time you sit down to meditate, then you may need to look at giving yourself more hours of zzz’s in the night and consider going to sleep at an earlier bedtime.
Late Day Tranquility
Another great tie to fit in some daily meditation is towards the end of the day, around 5 or 6pm (adjust as needed for your own schedule), before you eat dinner and start to unwind for the evening. Again, just try 10-20 minutes of quiet “me” time and see if you can make this part of your daily routine.
The more often you make the time for it, the more you will find that daily meditation will not feel like a chore or something from your “to-do” list. You will look forward to these moments of tuning into your higher self and connecting to source. There are boundless benefits of daily meditation.
Meditation is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. As a result, many people miss out on one of the most amazing gifts they can give themselves, one that connects them to their universal self.
Here are some common MYTHS about meditation techniques:
Meditation Myth #1: Meditation is simply letting your mind go blank.
Proper meditation techniques involve turning your attention inward and focusing your mind to a place where you are connecting to source and your universal self. While you may go to a “quiet” place during your meditation, the real purpose of meditation is to actually tune in to yourself more. By tuning in, you will be reaping the benefits of meditation, which include connecting to your higher self and the universal energy field—the field of All That Is.
Meditation Myth #2: Meditation is a form of avoidance.
Meditation is the opposite of avoidance. While you are clearing your mind from distractions, you are not running away from problems, fears, annoyances, or whatever your daily concerns may be. Rather, the benefits of meditation will help you focus better and gain clarity on handling these troublesome issues.
Meditation Myth #3: Meditation is sitting cross-legged and saying OM.
While some meditation techniques do call for the “lotus” position, there are several different types of meditation that require you not to cross your legs. “OM” is one mantra. There are several mantras used in meditation techniques. Deborah King’s meditation techniques include Deborah personally choosing a mantra for you that is unique to you, generally originating from an ancient seed sound.
Meditation Myth #4: Meditation is for religious people.
This is a common misconception about meditation. While one of the many benefits of meditation is connecting to source or God, one does not need to be religious to heal and empower oneself through meditation.
Meditation Myth #5: Meditation is difficult to learn.
Anyone and everyone can learn meditation and put those meditation techniques to good use! You can be young, old, active, disabled, male, or female—absolutely everyone can and deserves to have this wonderful blessing in their lives. We are all connected at the spiritual level, and we can all reach a better understanding of both our society and ourselves if we tune in. The best way to learn meditation is through a trained instructor who can guide you properly and teach you correct meditation techniques.
Meditation Myth #6: Meditation doesn’t have any real benefits.
Even western scientific studies are coming forward with proof that meditation has real actual benefits. The benefits of meditation include physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. From reduced stress and anxiety to increased clarity and awareness, meditation can lead you on a path to true happiness and relaxation, as well as boost your immune system and help you fight illnesses!
Meditation Myth #7: Meditation solves all problems.
While it is clear that the benefits of meditation are plenty, meditation does not and should not be used to “cure” diseases or change an individual’s complete personality. Meditation techniques can provide the tools and path for one to follow in order to improve one’s life, but it does not mean that every person who meditates listens to their inner self and acts upon it. It is up to each of us as individuals to not just listen and tune in but also to follow the guidance toward a greater self and inner consciousness.
Meditation Myth #8: Meditation is only an Eastern practice.
While meditation is often associated with Buddhism and thought to be an Eastern or foreign practice, it has become increasingly popular and even mainstream in the West. Meditation techniques are not limited to any religion, culture, or geographic location—anyone, anywhere in the world, can practice daily meditation. And people all over the world do!
Meditation Myth #9: Meditation is the same thing as relaxation.
While meditation increases your ability to relax and become a calmer person, it is not just a matter of thinking blank thoughts and letting your mind wander… there are proven and studied meditation techniques that not only soothe your mind but also connect you to your higher self and the greater energy field which connects us all. It is a technique that only gets better and better with practice and frequency.
Meditation Myth #10: Meditation can be learned from a book.
The best way to learn proper meditation techniques is from a qualified instructor who will work directly with you. Since meditation has become more mainstream and recognized by the medical and psychological communities for its stress-reducing benefits, it is super important that you learn correct meditation techniques to connect you to the unified field instead of simply learning stress-reducing exercises. You will see so many more benefits of meditation if you meditate properly!
Step 1: Invocation/ Set Intention
Sit in a comfortable position, preferably with your shoes off, as there are important chakras on the bottom of your feet. If you find you are sleepy, it’s best to either take a nap first or plan to do this process at another time—you need to be alert.
Invoke, out loud or silently, your higher self and any spiritual masters, angels, or other beings you resonate with and would like to have assisted you. Their assistance will make your process more powerful!
Step 2: Choose a person to recapitulate
Choose anyone in your life, e.g., mother, father, partner, child, boss, friend, or ex-friend, alive or dead. It can be someone you love deeply or someone you can barely stand; it can be anyone with whom you’ve interacted and excluded anyone where the situation involved acute fear or violence.
Close your eyes and place the person you have chosen to recapitulate in front of you. Visualize them, their face, their body, and their clothing. Take a few minutes for this step to let that person come into your awareness as clearly as possible.
Next, intend to visualize their surroundings, the place, or the room they are in, and let that come into focus for you. This may or may not come into focus initially; sometimes, this occurs later.
Step 3: Begin the “sweeping breath”
Breathe in as you turn your head from the center to the left, and breath out as you turn your head past the center and over to the right. Now, take another breath in as your head turns left, and now another breath out as your head turns right. After the first breath or two, you will want to breathe through your nose. Keep picturing the person you chose; you may notice that they come into sharper focus, or you may recall certain events with them that you have forgotten. Keep your internal focus on that one person you chose to recapitulate until it appears there is “nothing left” to process emotionally with that person.
The function of the breath in this practice is to restore energy. The shamans in this tradition teach that the human energy field contains cobweb-like filaments which are projected out of the luminous mass (what we call the auric field of the human energy field); they are propelled by emotions. Therefore, every situation or interaction where feelings are involved is potentially draining to the luminous body or human energy field. By breathing in from the right to left while remembering a feeling, the breath picks up the filaments that were left behind. The next immediate breath is from left to right, with an exhalation; with it, you eject any filaments left in you by the other person you are remembering.
By focusing on one individual at a time, there is a thorough retrieval of filaments and processing of attached stagnant emotions that are weighing you down and depleting you. It is the life-giving nature of breath that gives this process its cleansing capacity.
Step 4: Disconnect
In order to disconnect, do 3 sweeping motions with the head in the same pattern but with no breath. Then, let your head come to rest in the center. This intentionally disconnects you from the person you have been recapitulating. This step is crucial to the process.
Review of Sweeping Breath
While you recall the person, you breathe in, move your head from right to left, and pick up any filaments of that person’s energy left in your field. As you breathe out, your head moves from left to right and ejects those filaments just picked up from your field. It’s the breath that powers this process.
“What we seek we shall find; what we flee from flees from us.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Derived from the Latin word meditation which means “to think, contemplate, devise, ponder,” meditation is the practice of focusing your attention to help you feel calm and give you a clear awareness of your life. Meditation has been used and practiced in Eastern societies for many thousands of years and is now widely practiced in the West as well. In recent years especially, there has been an increasing consciousness of the positive effects meditation has on both the individual and society.
But what is meditation exactly? Meditation involves turning your attention inward and focusing your mind on a place where you are connecting to source and your universal self. While it is often considered a spiritual or religious practice, it has become much more mainstream in today’s Western cultures. Meditation is a tool many uses for personal development and growth, and many successful and happy individuals swear by its benefits.
There are several methods of meditation available to help you find the peace of mind you are seeking. A daily practice of 20 minutes, twice a day, can be an amazing gift to give yourself. Meditation will help you tune in to your waking life in a way you never thought you could experience. Your consciousness will expand, and you will be able to tap into a universal energy that will assist you in healing yourself and your life. It is here that you will unlock what meditation is.
Meditation paves the way for emotional healing. It is also an excellent method to balance your chakras. On an energetic level, meditation will assist you in removing any blockages that come from holding onto anger and resentment. Meditation ushers in what may be the most important part of the energy healing process, forgiveness. Forgiveness opens up our connection to other people and paves the way for global peace. By raising your consciousness, you are helping everyone else on this planet do the same. We are all connected by one vast field of energy.
It is essential, if you wish to learn meditation that you receive meditation instruction from a qualified teacher. Meditation is not a technique you can pick up simply by reading about it online or in a book. If you are interested in learning to meditate, please find a qualified teacher in your area, or learn with Deborah King. Deborah can walk you through the proper steps to learning what meditation is through her meditation workshops.
The Deborah Kind Center offers meditation instruction from Deborah’s live meditation workshops via internet download. Deborah will give you your own personal mantra to use as you learn and practice meditation in the comfort and tranquility of your very own living room.
Spiritual —Emotional —Energy Healing
Through countless generations before us, our ancestors developed energy healing techniques that drew upon the power of the universe to repair the body and nurture the spirit. But how can we employ these thousands of years of personal experience to impact our own modern daily lives? It’s easier than you might think.
Whether you realize it yet to not, you already are a practitioner of energy healing, the art of harnessing the unseen power of the universe. Any time you feel a positive shift as a result of engaging with life, you are practicing a form of energy healing. Sound complicated? It’s not. If you are considering a life devoted to healing others, you’ll be happy to know that you have already started your training in both big and small ways.
Learn to Forge a Direct Connection to Divine Energy in Everday Life
Guess what? Every time you connect with the world around you, you are participating in a form of energy work. That’s because everything in the universe—including our own bodies—is made up of constantly moving, invisible energy. It is the “fuel” that powers all life. Whenever life inspires you, you are tapping into that energy and promoting wellness, insight, and joy—just like a great healer or life coach would. That’s the essence of the best energy healing techniques.
- Nature: a simple walk in a neighborhood park can ignite a powerful connection to energy, which in turn can start to align all aspects of your life.
- The Arts: taking the time to connect with music, books, and movies can often lead to transcendent states that are indeed powerful portals of energy.
- Profound Life Experiences: significant and high-intensity events—both positive and uncomfortable—can connect us to tremendous currents of energy quickly.
Make it Intentional with Practical Energy Healing Techniques
Once you’ve tuned into the ways that you naturally connect with energy every day, it’s time to take your training as a spiritual healer to the next level. Specific, practical techniques can help you access, clear, and build energy—on purpose. Learning these methods is like being handed a secret “how-to” guide for being a thriving, happy human.
- Meditation: of all energy healing techniques, the simplest is the intentional calming of the mind. From that platform, you can invite powerful currents to flow through you.
- Clearing Chakras: the human body has 7 specific regions which are tuned to unique forms of energy. Learning to clear blockages in these channels and cultivate flow is at the heart of an energy healing practice.
- Cultivating Intuition: opening your mind to the power of the unseen begins by intentionally entering an expanded state of consciousness. Once there, you’ll receive the wisdom that will inform and positively affect all parts of your life.
Master Modern Energy Healing Techniques
Healing the mind, body, and spirit with the power of energy medicine is a time-tested art practiced in countless forms all over the world. In fact, even people who have never heard of spiritual healing engage in forms of energy work without realizing it, simply by engaging fully with the world around them. Now imagine the kind of powerful healing all of those people could achieve if they receive comprehensive training in the concepts, traditions, and techniques of energy work!
Renowned spiritual leader and New York Times best-selling author Deborah King has created a powerful institution of learning that is a leader in the field of energy healing. Join Deborah on a journey of a lifetime as she draws upon the wealth of both traditional teachings and cutting-edge science to deliver a comprehensive education in the healing arts. Through online videos, powerful writing, and in-person workshops, you’ll learn how to employ practical energy healing techniques to ignite profound transformation in your life and the lives of others.
We are all already energy workers, flowing with the power of the universe to find insight, relief, and joy every day. Take that innate understanding to a new level by commencing a detailed study of energy work today.
Initiation is the process of connecting back to Source, level by level. It doesn’t happen all at once. In between each initiation, there are sublevels or layers that you must move through to complete that initiation. First and second level initiations are very subtle, and most people are unaware of having them. Beyond the second level, a facilitator is almost always required.
As you are initiated into the higher levels, you are expected to live impeccably in truth, integrity, and love. Spiritual gifts are received when you are able to maintain the higher levels of initiation and pass spiritual tests. Each individual’s tests depend on the lessons he or she needs to learn.
How can you know what your level of initiation is? Ask a qualified facilitator if you must, but better to keep on “chopping wood and carrying water,” doing whatever you can to help others—that’s the best way to keep moving toward your next initiation.
The Levels of Initiation:
- 1) Physical Self—Birth:
- This initiation happens when you find your spiritual path and are drawn to spiritual books, teachers, etc.
- The first initiation begins your path of mastery over the physical body and its hungers—sex, food, and so on—in service of the soul or Higher Self.
- Balance and moderation are the keywords.
- At this level, we have the desire to do good and develop an appreciation for nature.
- 2) Astral (Emotional Self) Baptism:
- Desire to know one’s true self.
- The second initiation starts the process of mastering one’s feelings and desires.
- It requires conscious intent and choosing to move towards the spiritual desire for liberation.
- Most people stay stuck here the longest because they have a hard time loving themselves, and that’s a prerequisite for the second level.
- This initiation kickstarts the awakening of the Kundalini.
- 3) The Soul Merge:
- The third initiation deals with developing some level of mastery over the mind and your thoughts.
- This is the first major initiation, merging the Earth’s psyche with the soul on Earth.
- It’s where the light of the 8th chakra, the soul star, fully downloads through the body, through the chakra system, and into the center of the earth.
- It completes the building of the first stage of the Antahkarana (the name used in the Theosophical tradition to describe the bridge of consciousness that links the personality to Spirit).
- The first stage links the higher mind to the soul and is built by mental substance; the second links the soul to Spirit and is built from light substance.
- It is achieved by dealing with everyday life in a purposeful and disciplined way.
- There is a desire to be loving, forgiving, and of service, and ripening into the first stages of Unity Consciousness.
- According to Alice Bailey, an individual at this level has fully developed intuition.
- Completing this initiation normally requires facilitation and can be quite physical.
- 4) The Crucifixion:
- A desire for complete knowledge of self.
- Now things speed up.
- In the fourth initiation, the soul body (the causal body) burns up, and the Higher Self merges back into Spirit—the “Mighty I AM Presence.”
- From now on, Spirit is your guide, not the soul.
- This level is also called the initiation of renunciation—letting go of all attachment to money, power, family, reputation, etc.
- It’s the “Job Initiation” where everything is stripped away. Jesus was crucified; Gandhi was shot; Nelson Mandela was thrown into prison for years. They all acted as channels for spiritual will and sacrificed their lives for their missions. This is the second stage of building the Antahkarana: by dedication to humanity, not to personal liberation. This is the level of the Paramahansa. Here you may remember past lives, which can affect your immediate environment.
- 5) Atma or Atmic Self (Higher Self or Collective Soul)—Mastery:
- Complete unification with peace and harmony.
- The fifth initiation is the beginning stage of the “Monadic merger,” the “I AM Presence.” It is the very first glimpse of ascension, where the personality on Earth, the soul, and the Monad become unified on Earth. It’s like being a “baby” Master. Brahmanic consciousness becomes Krishna consciousness.
- 6) Monad or Monadic Self (God Self)—Decision:
- The sixth initiation is the actual experience of ascension, which moves you into the fifth dimension, with full access to spiritual bliss and all the resources of the Unified Field; you start to use light energies, Shiva consciousness.
- At this point, you can choose to leave Earth or stay and serve humanity to help usher in the “new age.”
- You will basically feel the same as you did before, but you will be carrying more Light and be more connected to Spirit.
- The ascension ceremony can occur in a group situation. At this time, you choose which path of higher evolution you will follow when you leave this plane.
- 7) Logoic (Cosmic Self)—Resurrection:
- Complete liberation from Earth-bound functions.
- Development of transcendent ascension abilities.
- This is the highest initiation that can be taken on the earthly plane.
- The Logos is a group of all the Monads on this planet (about 200 billion souls).
- Those who are seventh-degree initiates are the World Teachers.
- The seventh initiation causes an implosion of energy in the heart chakra, and all the chakras become one column of Light.
- It is the beginning of transcending all physical laws and a total commitment to service.
- It has been referred to as the initiation of “resurrection” because the son or daughter of God has found his way back to the Father and to Source, that state called Shamalla.
- The seventh initiation begins with involvement with extra-planetary existence.
- 8) Group Soul—Transition:
- Taken on the inner plane after leaving the physical place.
- The Lower Self and Higher Self completely merge.
- The first full cycle of ascension is complete, and a new cycle begins, going from the Physical to the Astral level.
- The Lower Self occupies the foot, and the new Higher Self energizes the crown chakra, beginning identification with the Elohim frequencies.
- Communication here is through telepathy.
- 9) Group Monadic—Cosmic Astral Birth:
- Sometimes called “The Refusal,” this is the last contact with cosmic evil as it exists on this planet. This is the level of the “Lord of the World”/ “The Ancient of Days”—the governing deity of Earth.
- Consciousness is so expanded it can understand all life on the planet at once—omniscience.
- 10) Solar Self:
- This is the level of the astral baptism.
- 11) Galactic Self:
- This level is sometimes called the “Cosmic Astral Transfiguration” and involves Sirius.
- 12) Universal Self (Zohar Body):
- Sometimes called the “Cosmic Astral Crucifixion,” here, the energy purifies the planet and creates integration for the benefit of the universe.
- The Avatar of Synthesis is here (although some say at the 17th level of initiation.
Spiritual growth goes on far beyond planetary ascension. There is solar ascension, universal, and multi-universal ascension, followed by cosmic levels of initiation. Some say that there are 352 levels of initiation back to the Godhead, while others believe that the number of levels of initiation ultimately depends on the physical size of the Cosmos, in which case there could be even thousands of levels of initiation.
If you find yourself attracted to this material, chances are you are ripe for a higher initiation. Reach out to me if you feel that is the case, and I will help you determine the next steps for you.
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” ~ Catherine Ponder, author
A diagnosis of cancer can produce many reactions, one of which is the urge to blame the disease on anyone or anything else. You may blame your genes, your lifestyle, your job, or even your doctor! White it may help to direct your anger somewhere, but ultimately you’ll find that it’s futile to assign blame. Especially toward yourself! Cancer is not your fault. There is no way to go back and undo any of the factors like inherited genes or exposure to pollutants or synthetic hormones. And the process of placing blame causes more emotional stress, which interferes with the healing process.
We can’t change yesterday. It is only today we can change anything. Take a deep breath and decide that you are going to let go of any connection to an external cause. The only advantage to knowing there was an outside cause if it helps you minimize your risk today, like stopping smoking. Instead of feeling despair and anguish, feel hope for your own healing. Your body may be telling you that something is out of balance, that something more fundamental is wrong, but it is also telling you that you have the key to healing.
Part of healing, perhaps the most important part, is forgiveness. When we suffer a wrong or a perceived wrong, we can harbor intense hatred and bitterness. This can be caused by abuse, divorce, unfaithfulness, death, and other hurtful situations that we never resolve. Not only can this energy discord cause our illness (the heart chakra is associated with ailments ranging from asthma and pneumonia to lung and breast cancer), it can impede our progress toward healing.
Holding onto resentments and anger can ruin your quality of life. The only person who suffers from your failure to forgive is you, not the other guy. When we stay hostile or resentful, it tears down our immune system and increases our risk of disease. Get some help if you are troubled by a situation like a bad divorce or a child who went astray. Whatever the circumstance is in your life, you can let go of it. Also, forgive yourself for whatever unhealthy lifestyle or emotional baggage you feel may have precipitated the disease. Self-blame doesn’t help in healing.
Nearly every religion teaches that forgiveness is a virtue: “To err is human, to forgive divine.” What ancient cultures have known for centuries is now becoming accepted by Western medicine. Numerous studies have found links between forgiveness and health.
- Researchers at Duke University found that people who had the ability to forgive experienced less depression, anger, and physical pain. The study followed people with chronic back pain; pain levels decreased when the patients used meditation techniques to forgive and release inner pain.
- A University of Tennessee study found that forgiveness improved heart health and lowered heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels.
- Research has also suggested that forgiving others—and yourself—can improve your immune system functioning. This is vital for cancer patients whose immune systems are already battered and who undergo additional attacks from chemotherapy and other drugs.
Forgiving others does not mean you excuse what they did. It means that you let go of the bitterness and the negativity. It means that you let go of your need for revenge or retribution. Many people equate forgiveness with weakness: they think that it means that you forget what has happened. In order for true healing, however, forgetting is as detrimental as not forgiving. You need to process what has happened, experience your emotions, and then find the strength to move on from here. Burying it will only cause disruption in your mind, body, and spirit.
Forgiveness does not mean we have to put ourselves in a position to be hurt again or even that we like the person who hurt us. Forgiveness requires us to get in touch with our pain and try to get to the point where we feel empathy instead of anger.
In Mary 1981, Pope John Paul II was driven into St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Adored by millions of Catholics all over the world, the Pope became a hero to many for his tremendous heroism. On this day, he was shot by Mehmet Ali Agca. The Pope survived this attempted assassination and went on to visit Ali Agca in prison.
Not only did he forgive Ali Agca, but he also took his hands in his own and called him “brother.” The Pope obviously did not forget the terrible ordeal he had been through, nor had he failed to learn from it. After the attempted assassination, for instance, the Pope no longer traveled in his open-air “Popemobile.” He did, however, understand that his life was chained to Ali Agca’s, and if he did not forgive, he would never be free.
Forgiving is tremendously difficult, and for victims of incest, severe abuse, and violence, it can seem impossible. The important thing to remember is that it is for you that you forgive the other.
Sometimes, individuals who have been diagnosed as terminal may feel: I have so little time left, and I don’t want to be angry and depressed, and bitter anymore. So they let go of those old feelings, and they start to talk to people that maybe they’ve shut out of their life for many years. Sometimes, the next thing you know, they’ve had a remission.
Expressing our spiritual truths about who we are and what we really want is the key to peace and spiritual wellness. By listening to ourselves, trusting ourselves, and acknowledging what we really feel, we are allowed to change what is not working and to live in a more meaningful, purposeful way.
Most often, our spiritual truths are translated into the language we know. For some of us, the religion we grew up with is the best language; for others, a system of our own choice makes more sense. Whatever your beliefs or spiritual path, know that the divine will manifest itself in the language and imagery with which you are most comfortable.
How Destiny Plays a Role
Destiny comes to us as small taps at our consciousness. If the little signals don’t get through to us, destiny may hit us over the head with greater force. Sometimes our destiny, or spiritual truths, can smash right through the wall that we have built between our life and our divine purpose, causing us to rethink our lives. If you are at a similar crossroads, the Deborah Kind Center workshops and programs can help you become more open to your spiritual truths.
Trusting ourselves is a challenge for many of us. Ask yourself: Do you trust that you are loved, protected, and supported? Do you trust that everything is working out for your highest good? If you don’t, you might want to start asking the divine for more trust and then wait for signs that your life and God are listening. Here’s how:
- Daily invite the divine to enter your life through prayer, meditation, or communion with nature. If you’re an athlete, connect with the divine through physical exertion.
- Be patient as you begin to open your connection. The process requires gentleness, willingness, truth, and, at times, discipline.
- Honor the connection you currently have, and other spiritual truths will open the door to greater levels of connection. I often guide workshop participants to ask their own higher wisdom for guidance and signs that they are on the right path. I encourage them to listen for internal messages regarding their purpose and direction and to visualize positive or peaceful outcomes.
Through this work, I have learned that we can run from our destiny for only so long before God makes it impossible for us to continue doing so.
Remember to keep your mind open while you seek your spiritual truths. And remember, trusting yourself is key. Good luck.
If you’re like most, you have learned that there is no shortcut to wellness. It requires us to take a holistic approach that honors our mind and body connection. It requires us to be painfully honest with ourselves. And it requires us to trust ourselves and gain insight from age-old teaching principles and a higher power.
Learning the techniques of energy healing and embracing a new state of consciousness can help you achieve your wellness goal. Energy healing has sparked an incredible amount of curiosity lately for good reason. It is completely safe and natural and has the potential to heal what ails us in every area of our lives, whether it is mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual.
- Do I often absent myself from routine tasks?
- Am I disorganized in my personal space or neglectful of my body?
- Am I unreasonably resistant to change?
- Do I push myself and others in harmful ways?
- Do I have a hard time honoring myself and setting boundaries?
- Do I feel I can cooperate with others as a team player, or do I need to hog the limelight?
- Do I need outside approval to feel okay about myself?
- Do I need to be perfect to be loved?
- Am I co-dependent, giving too much attention to the needs of others and not enough to my own?
- Do I have low energy?
- Do I have an illness whose onset coincided with an emotional event or loss?
- Do I have any addictions?
- Do I have an eating disorder?
- Do I have chronic pain?
- Am I listening to and following my inner guidance?
- Do I anticipate positive outcomes or negative ones?
- Do I trust a higher power, or do I feel abandoned?
- Do I long for the magical connection I felt to the universe and all it wonder as a child?
- Do I have a sense of joy that comes from my purpose in the world?
Is your body feeling weight down by negative thoughts and unconscious beliefs? Is your intuition telling you that there might be a tie-in between your recent illness and an emotional and painful experience? Is your heart yearning for more balance and wellness in your life? You are not alone. Thousands of Deborah’s clients started their journey toward greater mind-body healing with similar acknowledgment.
The mind-body connection is extremely powerful and potent. When both are in balance, they can heal and transform our lives. However, when they are not, they can lead us to shut down our beneficial energies and become ill. So it is very important not to ignore our mind-body healing potential. The more we can appreciate it, the greater means we have at our disposal to heal ourselves.
A Historical View
From a historical standpoint, we have gone from honoring and dishonoring mind-body healing to just recently embracing it once more as the optimal path to health and wellness.
Past cultures with low regard for the mind and body connection underappreciated the human ability to profoundly heal themselves and others. For instance, the Greeks and the Jews believed in a split between the mind and body. The Greeks felt sickness indicated disfavor from the gods and was seen as a matter of luck or fate. The Judaic view, on the other hand, regarded sickness as a punishment for sin. It wasn’t until Jesus came on the scene that healing became an attainable gift again, and the prior destructive mindset shifted. Jesus’ healing ministry ushered in a new consciousness that emphasized compassion and care, teaching that sickness was in no way a punishment, and it did not indicate any disfavor from God.
Through the adoption and practice of better mind & body integration, we can learn to heal the ailments that limit us—and remove the unnecessary roadblocks to our path to happiness and wellness.
A great first step is to learn more about energy healing, which focuses on healing you as a whole person using the teachings and techniques of past priests, shamans, and master healers. Ancient societies identified energy centers or chakras in the human body that had the potential for healing. Considered an exciting new field of modern medicine, energy healing is generating lots of attention.
Illness and Mental Health
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience which you really stop to look fear in the face.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Cancer is the ultimate wake-up call. Not only is your body sick, but your spirit is also sick. A diagnosis of cancer is devastating, but it can also be an enormous opportunity to achieve true healing. Remember the well-known quote, “Cancer is a word, not a sentence.”
What is it that is so powerful about cancer? If we can break down the power of this word, we can begin to see the light of healing beyond the darkness of the diagnosis.
What is Cancer
I’ve worked with thousands of individuals who have cancer, and the one thing I know is that cancer is nothing more than a part of ourselves that has forgotten who it is. When we are children, we take parts of ourselves that we deem unattractive—emotional responses to situations that are unacceptable, undesirable, or just too upsetting—and push them down deep in our bodies. When we try to stuff something down or hide it away, we literally stop a part of the energetic flow in our own body. So it is with cancer: any time we shove something down and the blood flow can’t get to that area, stagnation can occur, a likely breeding ground for a tumor. A tumor is nothing more than some cells that literally have forgotten they are part of you and start to develop at their own rate.
It is so important that you know that cancer is not a death sentence but an invitation from your body to your psyche to integrate that forgotten part back into wholeness. It’s equally important that you know that you didn’t do anything wrong: you are not at fault; you did not bring this cancer on.
Life forces and circumstances, many if not all of them out of our control, put us in situations where we turn to defense mechanisms that we learned as children that encourage us to deny parts of ourselves.
Think of cancer as a message from a part of you, asking you to bring that part back to yourself, even a part that before you deemed unloveable. It works with that deepest part of your yourself that will affect you the most. No matter what the physical result of your experience with cancer is, if you do this vital work to make yourself whole, you will be the winner.
What Causes Cancer According to Traditional Medicine?
Cancer, medically speaking, is a general term we give to diseases in which abnormal cells grow, divide, and invade other tissues in the body. In a normal, healthy body, cells grow, divide, and regularly die, which allows for new cell growth. Cancer cells form when this process is disturbed in some way. The cell’s DNA mutates or is damaged, and it doesn’t die as it is supposed to. This leads the body to produce new cells when they are not needed, and these new cells form tumors. The tumors can be benign or noncancerous, and they will not invade other tissues. Benign tumors can be removed and usually do not recur. Malignant tumors, however, are cancerous and pose a serious threat as they can spread (or metastasize) to other areas of the body.
There are over one hundred diseases that fall under the cancer umbrella, but the one thing they have in common, according to the American Cancer Society, is that the body’s own cells “grow out of control.”
Leukemia is a type of cancer that doesn’t produce tumors; it forms in the tissues that produce blood, such as bone marrow. Abnormal blood cells then enter the bloodstream.
The other major categories of cancer are Sarcoma (cancers that form in bone, cartilage, fat, blood vessels, muscle, or connective tissue), Carcinoma (those that form in the skin or tissues that line organs), Lymphoma and Myeloma (those that begin in the immune system), and Central Nervous System Cancers (which start in the brain or spinal cord). According to the National Cancer Institute, there are 1,437,180 new cases of cancer diagnosed each year. There are 565,650 deaths each year.
What causes the DNA in our cells to mutate? Conventional medical wisdom tells us it is due to environmental factors, such as chemicals, toxins, tobacco smoke, too much sunlight, or to genetic disposition, and this would seem to be true. For example, the most prevalent type of cancer in the United States is non-melanoma skin cancer. Over one million people are diagnosed with this form of cancer each year. A leading cause is a prolonged exposure to harmful sunlight without protection. This seems like a clear case of cause and effect. Of course, this has led people to stay inside or never to go out without slathering on sunscreen—a good idea midday in summer, but a bad idea in terms of getting the sunshine and Vitamin D we are all lacking these days.
But there is more to cancer than environmental and genetic causes.
We all know that there are Type A or Type B personalities. People with Type A personalities are said to be unable to relax, very work-oriented, aggressive, hostile, and insecure. Type B personalities, by contrast, are said to be patient, calm, and relaxed. Some people have added a third category: the Type C personality. This is also known as the Cancer Prone Personality. This theory holds that some people’s very personalities make them susceptible to developing cancer. For instance, those who are overly cooperative, unassertive, accepting of external authority, patient, and who bury negative emotions are said to have an increased likelihood of being diagnosed with some form of cancer.
When we turn to science to see if this is true, there is no concrete answer. A recent Japanese study conducted by researchers at Tohoku University looked at 30,000 people who were grouped according to personality: extraversion (those who were socially oriented), neuroticism (anxiety and unstable), psychoticism (aggressive, self-centered, emotionally cold), and lie (conformist, passive, naive). There was no connection found between personality type and development or progression of cancer.
Stanford University professor David Spiegel, however, has discovered a fact that seems to support a link between personality and cancer. He found those who had joined a support group and tended to have a strong fighting spirit after their diagnosis lived, on average, eighteen months longer than those who didn’t join a group. Also, those who deal with cancer by displaying a sense of denial seemed to fare better than those supposed to be Type C personalities. This is because Type C people would be resigned to their fate. They would passively accept it and believe that they had no control. They would give up, causing their bodies to give up.
An important question to ask ourselves is: Do we indeed have any control? We may think that we have no control over our bodies, but, in fact, we do. Our emotions, our feelings, and our energy all impact our bodies.
Benefits of Energy Healing for Cancer
Energy Healing is an important component in the treatment of cancer. Because it can address the root cause, it can help the individual focus on the underlying factors and reverse them. It also opens the channels so that treatments such as chemotherapy can work more efficiently. Conversely, it can also remove chemo from the body after it has done its work, thus reducing the toxic load on the body. I have seen many individuals sail through chemo with no side effects who worked with someone from the field of Energy Medicine simultaneously with their chemo treatments.
“The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.” ~ Plato
When we talk about healing, we refer to more than just bodily cures. Yes, we may “cure” an illness, but are we healed? Healing encompasses our mind, spirit, and body. How do we achieve this balance? We discussed techniques for dealing with the stress surrounding a cancer diagnosis and treatment: these can be used with traditional medical practices to augment treatment. When we face something as serious as cancer, we should take a balanced approach with our eyes toward healing, not just curing.
While conventional (allopathic) medicine has focused on the physical treatment of cancer, complementary and alternative modalities offer other benefits. I recommend that individuals use their own intuition, listen to their hearts, and choose the modalities that they feel will work best for them. I encourage each person to listen closely to the diagnosis (but not the prognosis!) of conventional medicine, and if surgery is recommended, by all means, follow that directive. (Be sure to get a second or even third opinion in every case.)
It has been my experience that by the time a problem has festered to the point that cancer exists, we need all hands on deck to remove it—a surgeon to remove the tumor, an oncologist for stray cells, an acupuncturist to help maintain balance, and a practitioner of Energy medicine to address the core issues so that cancer doesn’t return. Other treatments that can be helpful are homeopathy for the root physical cause, naturopathy for overall balance, a nutritionist to build strength and decrease the toxic load, and tai chi, yoga, relaxation methods, and massage.
The use of counseling or psychotherapy can also be very beneficial. When treating cancer and other serious illnesses, it is important to get to the root cause and treat the problem, not merely the symptoms. Integrative medicine allows for a beneficial cycle: our work healing our wounded minds and spirits allows our bodies to open up and receive the benefits of conventional medicine. With a stronger body to open up and receive the benefits of conventional medicine. With a stronger body, we achieve a greater energy flow and, thus, a more balanced spirit and mind. They are interconnected, and more and more conventional doctors are seeing this truth.
The American Cancer Society says of complementary medicine: Some people believe that mainstream medicine is the only option they have when it comes to treating symptoms and side effects, relieving pain, and improving quality of life. Actually, there are many complementary treatment methods you can use safely, right along with your medical treatment methods you can use safely, right along with your medical treatment. For example, some people find that certain complementary methods—such as aromatherapy, biofeedback, massage therapy, meditation, tai chi, or yoga—are very useful to help control some of their symptoms and improve the quality of their lives.
They treat the mind and spirit, which in turn is essential to the body’s health. A basic tenet of complementary medicine is that the body has the ability to heal itself. Practitioners are there to guide us through this process.
To aid us in our goal of achieving greater balance in our energy centers, various techniques and therapies are available. Let’s quickly look at the most prominent.
- Very thin needles are inserted into the body at specific points. These points correspond to chi pathways called “meridians.” Chi is our life force, our energy.
- It is believed that acupuncture can be blocked pathways and stimulate energy flow.
- This is essential to having a balanced mind/body connection.
- Studies have shown that acupuncture can help relieve pain, lessen fatigue, relieve nausea, and reduce vomiting—all important considerations for cancer patients.
- Meditation is one of the quickest ways to calm the body and the mind and prepare it to heal.
- Studies show regular meditation lowers blood pressure, regulates heart rate, and reduces levels of stress in the body; perfect for those looking to heal or avoid cancer.
- Massage helps you connect to your body and emotions and is very nurturing.
- Using pressure on various points along the body, the therapist unblocks energy and restores a more balanced flow.
- Anecdotal evidence suggests that Shiatsu helps relieve pain in the shoulders, neck, back, and head and reduces muscle stiffness and tension.
- Religions worldwide advocate prayer for spiritual well-being, and now science is finding that it is beneficial for physical health as well.
- Both praying and being prayed for have been shown to improve prognosis and quality of life.
- By helping to reduce anxiety and stress and by fostering a more positive attitude, prayer can be a powerful tool in our journey of healing.
- Energy Healing:
- It is by balancing your energy and removing blockages that could interfere with treatments like chemotherapy.
- It helps the individual reach the root cause and make changes at that level.
These are just some of the many complementary techniques that are available for cancer patients. It’s a sign that our society finally realizes that the mind plays an integral role in the body’s health; more and more doctors are referring patients for complementary therapies, and medical schools do not offer training in CAM (complementary and alternative medicine).
Even insurance companies are coming on board as they are beginning to cover many of these therapies. The United States government even established the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The NCCAM is committed to studying the efficacy of CAM, training researchers, and providing coherent, thorough information to physicians and patients. All of these are positive signs that our society is beginning to understand the importance of healing, not just curing.
Cancer as a Healer
And, as extraordinary as it may sound, cancer can be healing in itself. The following cancer survivors have offered their views of their struggles and their triumphs.
Marianne Faithfull, an English actress and singer has said of her recovery from breast cancer, “It has been an extraordinary experience and, in many ways, extremely positive.”
Lance Armstrong, world-renowned bicyclist and hero to many has said of his battle with cancer, “The truth is, if you asked me to choose between winning the Tour de France and cancer, I would choose cancer. Odd as it sounds, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour because of what it has done for me as a human being, a man, a husband, and a father.”
And… “If there is a purpose to the suffering that is cancer, I think it must be this: it’s meant to improve us.”
These people and millions of others have found healing in the midst of suffering. They did not merely experience a “cure” for their cancer; they found lasting, purifying strength that led to the healing of the body and mind. I know it’s true because it happened to me too.
Let’s recall the words, “Cancer is a word, not a sentence.” Perhaps, though, it should be. Not a death sentence, but a sentence that mandates that we find balance and peace in our lives.
“You have the black dog on your back.” Winston Churchill famously referred to his depression as a black dog. Sometimes it menaces us with bared teeth. Other times, it lurks in the shadows. It’s almost hidden, but you catch a glimpse of it now and again, reminding you to be wary. There are hundreds of metaphors describing the pain of depression, but this one has always stuck with me. The pain, yes, but also the waiting… this is what makes depression so devastating to so many people. If you have had an episode of depression, then you are likely to have another, and it is the anticipation of another episode that colors even the good times with shades of gray.
Dr. R.W. Shepherd said, “If depression is creeping up and must be faced, learn something about the nature of the beast—you may escape without a mauling.” This is our goal; to learn something about the nature of depression so that when we feel the wolf breathing down our necks, we can push him back. We can eliminate this fear, as well as the oppressive weight of depression, but we must know it first.
What is Depression?
“Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.” ~ Dorothy Rowe
During any given one-year period, as many as 19 million Americans experience depression. During a lifetime, 25 percent of women and 10 percent of men will develop the condition. More people have depression than have coronary heart disease or cancer, and it is the leading cause of liability among those 15-44 years of age. Lost productivity and medical costs amount to over $30 billion each year. The financial cost of depression is enormous, and the emotional cost cannot even be estimated. Lost opportunities to see loved ones, lost chances to travel or to enjoy new experiences, lost days, weeks, or months.
If it seems to you that more people have depression now than 20 or 30 years ago, you’re right. At least partly, more people are being diagnosed with depression because it is better defined and understood as a medical condition, according to William Avison, professor of sociology at the University of Western Ontario. Professor Avsin says, “The diagnosis of depression is relatively new to medicine. It’s something that emerged in the 20s or 30s, and since then, we’ve refined our diagnosis of that, and we’ve refined our ability to identify people who have that illness.”
Another factor is the destigmatization of depression. Avison says, “I think it’s an illness now that people talk about… in the same way that we talk about heart disease or cancer to other kinds of diseases, unlike 20 years ago when people used to be somewhat stigmatized by mental illness and felt that they had to hide their depression and couldn’t talk about it.”
Despite this, depression remains both under-reported and misunderstood. Take, for instance, the following quote from A.B. Curtiss, author, and cognitive behavioral therapist, “Depression is a choice.” This seems like a devastating judgment on millions of people who suffer daily from depression—and yet, isn’t good health, to a large extent, a choice? This only adds to the confusion. Let’s eliminate some of the confusion and decide for ourselves whether depression is, in fact, a choice.
Over 19 million Americans suffer from depression, which can last anywhere from hours to months. Symptoms can vary but usually include:
- Negative feelings like hopelessness, pessimism, and despair
- Numbness, lack of feeling, or feeling empty
- Anxiety, guilt, helplessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of pleasure in once enjoyable activities, including hobbies and sex
- Low energy, fatigue
- Changes in appetite, weight gain, or loss
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Physical complaints, such as headaches, pain, and digestive disorders
There are different types of depression, the most common of which is a major depressive disorder or clinical depression. People suffering from clinical depression experience some or all of the symptoms noted above. Depression is different for everyone, and some people can experience remissions of several years when they have no symptoms. Others have recurrent episodes during a period with little relief in between. Those who have undergone a single episode of depression have a 50 to 60 percent chance of developing a second one. Of those who have had two, 70 percent will have a third, and if you’ve had three, you have a 90 percent chance of having a fourth.
Dysthymic Disorder is chronic, mild depression that persists for at least two years. In contrast to clinical depression, dysthymic disorder is a constant state. About 1.5 percent, or 3.3. million of the population over age 18 experience this condition in a given year. While the symptoms are not as severe as in major depression, dysthymic disorder is longer lasting and more resistant to treatment.
We all grew up with the stories of Winnie the Pooh. The gloomy Eeyore is a perfect example of someone with dysthymic disorder. He has a generally pessimistic view of the world, low energy, and low self-esteem, all of which are characteristic of dysthymia. I give the example of Eeyore not to diminish the severity of dysthymic disorder but to give you an idea of the pervasive gloom that it causes. Depression almost becomes a part of the personality of the person suffering from it.
Other types of depression include post-partum depression, adjustment disorder with depression (this is depression that occurs after a major stressor, such as the death of a loved one), seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and depression related to other medical issues. While the reasons behind depression may vary, one thing binds sufferers together—the physical and emotional pain of depression. This is what so many people fail to recognize, depression hurts. 97 percent of those with depression say that it negatively affects their work and home lives and impacts their personal relationships. It is very difficult to live with depression, whether it is you or a loved one who actually has the condition. Living with someone with depression can be as trying as having depression yourself. Like all serious illnesses, depression hurts everyone.
Depression and the Body
Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Robbie Williams has said, “The depression isn’t about anything, it’s not about ‘woe is me.’ It’s like the worse fight all day, and you can’t kick it.” Dr. Stephen M. Stahl of the University of California, San Diego Department of Psychiatry, writes:
…depression is also an illness that frequently presents with a large number of unexplained physical symptoms. Such symptoms are often not emphasized and are even excluded as components of the formal DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder.
Eight of the nine major diagnostic criteria for depression are related to emotional symptoms. The only physical symptom recognized as a criterion for depression is fatigue. According to Dr. Stahl, however, as many as 80 percent of depressed patients visit their primary care providers, presenting exclusively physical symptoms. These include headaches and neck, back, abdominal, and joint pain. Often, depression is misdiagnosed when the patient complains of physical symptoms. There is a mindset that depression will present with emotional symptoms; if the patient has primarily physical ones, there must be a physical cause. This is not the case; Western medicine sometimes fails to see the mind-body connection at work. This is what makes depression such a misunderstood illness. It is not all “in our heads.” Nor is it all in our bodies. Depression is a complex interaction of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves.
Depression does more than cause minor aches and pains; it has been linked to heart disease, stroke, circulatory problems, and osteoporosis. It has been accepted that depression and stress can worsen existing conditions. If you have heart disease, depression increases your risk of having a heart attack or blood clot. In people who have recovered from a heart attack, depression increases the risk of death. Among those without depression, the mortality rate after six months is about 3 percent. Among those with depression, it is 17 percent. Study after study attests to the danger of depression; more readmissions to the hospital, greater recovery time, and greater risks of further negative cardiac events.
Besides exacerbating an existing condition, depression can cause physical illnesses. A study done by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that a history of major depression was a bigger risk for heart disease than any genetic predisposition. The study looked at 1200 male twins, all of whom served in the Vietnam War. They were questioned as to their health in 1992 and questioned again in 2005. The researchers found that those with depression were twice as likely to develop heart disease as those without it. Another study, conducted at Columbia University, followed 63,000 women from 1992 to 2004. At the beginning of the study, none of the women had signs of heart disease, but 8 percent had symptoms of major depression. These women were more than twice likely to die from a sudden cardiac event, usually caused by an irregular heartbeat.
A recent study co-authored by Stephen Kritchevsky of the Stricht Center on Aging at Wake Forest University found an ominous link between depression and the specific type of body fat that leads to heart disease and diabetes. It has been found that fat in the midsection is an indicator of both of these illnesses; those with depression were found to be twice as likely to gain fat that surrounds the internal organs and deposits in the belly, called visceral fat. This specific study was conducted on people in their seventies. Dr. David Baron of Temple University School of Medicine says, “Depression is a physical illness. Maybe we should be even more aggressive in treating depression in this age group, whether through medication or talk therapy.” This is yet one more reason why depression should always be taken seriously; besides the devastating effects on our psyches, depression takes a tremendous toll on our bodies.
Addressing physical symptoms of depression is also important for treatment; Dr. Stagl writes:
The importance of removing physical symptoms of depression can not be overemphasized—the return of normal energy, motivation, and interest and the loss of the sense of fatigue and listlessness, as well as the elimination of painful physical symptoms, are required before a patient has a complete remission from a major depressive disorder. Neglecting the treatment of fatigue, low energy, and painful physical symptoms in depressed patients can lead to unsatisfactory outcomes, characterized by a failure of depressed patients to return to normal social and occupational functioning.
A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that the physical symptoms of depression often last longer than the emotional symptoms. The study followed 573 patients with clinical depression who were beginning courses of antidepressants, such as Paxil, Zoloft, or Prozac. After three months, the patients who reported severe pain were four times as likely to have a poor response to their medication as those who didn’t report pain. Those who reported moderate pain were twice as likely to respond poorly. Physical pain can mask underlying depression and decrease the efficacy of treatment.
Depression and the Mind
Rollo May, an existential psychologist, said, “Depression is the inability to construct a future.” This, really, is the crux of what depression is. We come mired in it and feel like we can never get out. I see countless clients with depression; one thing that ties these diverse people together is the imagery they use to describe their experience with depression. It is often described as a long, dark tunnel or a black hole. You fall into this black hole and cannot see the ladder to return to the light. Former soccer star Neil Lennon has said, “It’s a bit like walking down a long, dark corridor, never knowing when the light will go on.” the future seems like an overwhelming and frightening specter in front of you.
Actress Brooke Shield did much to help destigmatize postpartum depression as she detailed her own struggles in Down Came the Rain. 10 percent of postpartum women experience depression. Not simple “baby blues,” but deep depression. In this powerful book, Brooke describes the emotional pain that engulfed her after her daughter was born. She had always loved babies, and always wanted one of her own, and yet, when her daughter was born, she descended into a deep pit of depression. Here, she describes feeding her child:
“I sat there almost catatonically, staring out into space. Nursing Rowan made me feel drugged and temporarily comforted me. But the moment she was finished and taken from me, I started to sob once more. I sat up with my huge legs stretched out in front of me and, slowly rocking back and forth with my face up toward the ceiling, my arms limp at my sides; I sobbed. I couldn’t stop. What was I going to do? Was I ever going to stop feeling like this? Misery enveloped me.”
We can handle a bad mood; we can handle being stressed; we can handle feeling sad. What is so difficult is the feeling that it will never change; this is what makes depression so insidious.
The effects of depression on our physical and spiritual health cannot be underestimated. It affects our concentration, our ability to make decisions, our relationships, and our joy in one pleasurable activities. We feel guilt, anxiety, sadness, anger, and emotional pain. At its extreme, depression can lead to suicide. According to the Mayo Clinic, about two to nine percent of depression patients will commit suicide. Those who have been hospitalized for depression or a suicide attempt were at the highest risk—8.6 percent. The risk for those with depression who had never been hospitalized was about 2 present. Suicide is rare; the vast majority of people with depression do live and, if treated, live well.
“So great a power is there of the soul upon the body, that whichever way the soul imagines and dreams, thither doth it lead the body.” ~ Agrippa
Despite all the research into stress and disease, we tend to see our bodies as separate entities from our minds. But take a moment to think about this: when you have experienced a difficult time, say the death of a loved one, where does it hurt? Your heart actually hurtds, or your stomach is in knots, or you get migraines. Emotional pain shows up in your body. When you are nervous, do your hands sweat or shake? Do you breathe harder or feel queasy? There is a very real connection between what our minds are experiencing and what our bodies are telling us.
To understand the impact of emotions on our health, it is useful to know a little about how they interact. Many cultures around the world believe in an energy field, which surrounds everyone and everything. The energy in our bodies flows through and is regulated by chakras. Chakra comes from the Sanskrit word meaning wheel, and we can think of chakras like vacuums. They spin, taking in energy, and redirect it to the body. We have seven major chakras throughout our body, each of which is essential to our good health and well-being.
Ideally, these chakras are balanced, meaning they have just the right amount of energy flowing through them. In reality, though, our chakras become unbalanced. When this happens, it can cause us to have illness or injuries in the areas associated with the chakra.
Energy dysfunction often arises when a woman is confused about how to use both her loving (fourth chakra) and her creative (second chakra) energies optimally. The major conflict within women is that most of us still believe that in order to be loved, to receive love, and to guarantee that someone will need us, we must care for loved ones’ external physical needs.
I’ve worked with people who have cancers of every type imaginable, and I do see common patterns. For example, cancers of the reproductive organs, especially Breast Cancer, is often accompanied by feelings of having taken on too many responsibilities; total overwhelm. What woman today doesn’t feel like she is supposed to be superwoman, finessing her job, the kids, the house, her aging parents. She has little time left over for her own needs.
This care for external needs comes at the expense of internal needs. We opay attention to the body but not the soul, and this can make us ill.
Medicine may be able to cure our physical illnesses, but healing only comes when we look at the underlying causes. What we have inside of us, inside of our minds, in our energy field, affects our bodies, and if we don’t deal with that, we can never achieve healing. True, we may eliminate physical symptoms for a time. But what we are doing is covering up wounds that go deeper than the body. It is only a matter of time before new symptoms, new illnesses, and new injuries arise.
Burying emotions, feelings, or your past has a way of catching up with you. Everythign may appear to be going fine on the surface, but your body may be reminding you that you need to process and release the negative energy before your body can be truly healthy. The healing process, even for a disease as virulent as cancer, opens up when we look inside ourselves and discover what is at the root of our illness. Then we can begin the journey to making our mind, body, and spirit well. Indeed, uncovering the truths we have buried in our bodies can help traditional medical treatments work better.
“One must not forget that recovery is brought about not by the physician but by the sick man himself. He heals himself, by his own power, exactly as he walks by means of his own power, or eats, or thinks, breathes or sleeps.” ~ George Groddeck, The Book of the It
Excessive stress can be detrimental to anyone, but especially to those with cancer.
One of the cardinal observations in stress research is that stress dysregulates the immune system. This area of research, called psychoneuroimmunology, has now established that stress causes suppression of cell-mediated immunity, which is a primary defense against metastasis.
In order to find emotional healing, we need to combat the stress that can threaten to overwhelm us. The ultimate goal is to discover the root of the problem. In order to get our minds and bodies to that point, we first need to calm ourselves and move into a position in which this deeper healing is possible.
- Find a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes and imagine something calm and soothing.
- If you get easily distracted, it may work better to leave your eyes open and focus on an object.
- It does not matter what you look at or picture; it only matters that you are trying to clear your mind of distractions.
- Breathe in and out, slowly and calmly, through your nose.
- Start by doing relaxed breathing for a minute or two. gradually work your way up.
- You will find that this allows your energy to flow more optimally.
- Many athletes and business people use this technique to prepare for important events.
- When you have cancer, your visualization can entail an image of your cancer being processed in a healthy way and released from your body.
- Essentially, it’s imagining the body and mind defeating the disease.
- For instance, you can picture new healthy cells flowering in your body.
- Whatever image works for you can be helpful in giving you an image of success.
- Journal Writing:
- Numerous studies have been done showing the enormous health benefits of journal writing.
- Time and again, it is shown that those undergoing trauma of some sort actually feel physically better when they write about their stress.
- Not only that, they have more hope and a better outlook.
- When you feel the bleakest, write about it. This allows your feelings to be processed and released.
- Support Groups:
- It has been found that people suffering from cancer who join support groups live longer and have a more positive outlook concerning both their disease and their recovery.
- A great way to find support is online.
- When you are up at two in the morning worrying about test results or when you have started a new medication that is causing insomnia, you can get online and talk about it with others.
- There is no time or geographical restrictions imposed, and you can find the help and support you need whenever and wherever you can.
- You can often develop very strong bonds with those in these chat rooms and forums.
- When your family and friends don’t understand, you can be assured that these people do.
- You can even blog about your own experiences and extend a healing hand to millions of people who feel alone.
- This combines the benefits of support groups with the therapy of journal writing.
- ***Please see the list of support groups in the categories below.
- Focused Imagery:
- We have talked about the importance of balanced energy flow in maintaining and recovering health.
- When pain or despair threatens, you can try to restore your chakras to order and harmony.
- Close your eyes and imagine a ball of warm, healing light glowing in your body.
- Reall concentrate on feeling it as well as seeing it.
- Move the healing ball over your body, especially where you are feeling pain or discomfort.
- To end, imagine the ball moving away from your body, taking away all the negative feelings, both physical and mental.
- Positive affirmations can be used in conjunction with any of these techniques. They have statements, always positive, regarding the truth of your situation.
- You can create your own or turn to religion to help you.
- For instance, the Book of Proverbs says, “As a man thinketh, so he is.”
- This will remind you that the power to heal is in your mind.
- You can also repeat, “I am strong. I am whole.”
- Whatever feels comfortable to you and will give you a needed boost of energy will make a great affirmation.
- Make it short, and make it positive.
- Repeat this and other affirmations to yourself many times a day.
These techniques and others can help your mind move into a healthier place, which is necessary before your body can follow. It may take practice before you are comfortable with techniques like imagery and deep breathing, which I teach at my healing workshops and energy medicine retreats. You may feel silly saying affirmations. That is our societal conditioning kicking in! Get past this, and you will feel benefits that extend to your mind and your body. The key is to find something that works for you, something that restores you to a sense of peace.
More and more, people worldwide are turning to the kinds of progressive, alternative medicine techniques taught at a spiritual healing centers. While traditional Western medicine treats only the outermost physical symptoms, spiritual medicine addresses total wellness at the deepest levels. No matter what obstacles the body faces, incredible relief is possible by drawing upon ancient wisdom and the timeless power of energy.
Where Western Medicine Goes Wrong
Playing “catch-up.” All too often, conventional medicine treats physical problems long after the initial imbalance which caused them. At a spiritual healing center, root conditions can be nurtured and balanced long before major manifestations of illness arise.
Over-medicating. Factory-made pharmaceuticals are often a blunt tool that can actually stifle true healing by simply masking the very surface of imbalance. Unfortunately, many prescriptions are as motivated by corporate profit as by a desire to help.
The rush to surgery. Which method intuitively sounds more reasonable—violently cutting open the body or gently restoring balance to its systems? Our instincts are usually correct; taking a nurturing approach to healing can have far more benefits than a harsh and potentially life-threatening operation.
Alternative Healing Methods You Can Study at a Spiritual Healing Center
Luckily, we have more options than just pills and scalpels. In every time and culture in the world, from the Aztecs to Native Americans to the ancient Chinese, medicine men have practiced a natural, non-harming method of healing, energy medicine. This balancing and application of the unseen energy, which courses through all living things, is a time-tested technique that has been studied and validated from traditional practice to the halls of today’s most respected universities.
Falling under the umbrella of “alternative medicine,” there are countless energy healing techniques that have provided powerful relief from every physical malady you can think of.
- You’ve heard of and maybe even practiced meditation, but did you know it is one of the most powerful healing modalities known to man?
- By accessing expanded states of consciousness, we are able to soothe internal imbalance and tap into vast wells of unseen power to bring our bodies into wellness.
- Chakra Balancing:
- The chakras are like invisible portals in every human body; think of them as vortexes that guide the flow of energy throughout all parts of our lives.
- By learning to clear and balance these gateways, we are able to bring a state of alignment and momentum to our life experience.
- Acupuncture/ Reflexology:
- These well-known alternative techniques you’ll find practiced at a spiritual healing center clear channels along the energy meridian in the body by stimulating very specific pressure points.
- Herbal/ Flower Remedies:
- What could be more natural than creating medicine from the planet we live on?
- These types of remedies need no factory or corporate agenda to restore wellness.
- Healing by Touch:
- A skilled energy medicine practitioner can move and release stagnation with the aid of physical touch.
- One such technique, known as Reiki, uses the placement of hands over and on the body as a powerful tool for energetic alignment and the promotion of overall well-being.
“A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ.” ~ John Steinbeck
There has been no direct link discovered between stress and the development of cancer, but in my healing work with thousands of individuals, I have seen that link. Here’s how it happens: when children develop the habit of holding in their emotions, a traumatic event as an adult, like a car accident or divorce, can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of your health.
Anything that makes us feel that we don’t have control over our life can throw us totally sideways. A personal tragedy may result in an access level of stress, which can create immune deficiency.
Combined with underlying personality traits and a habit of suppressing emotion, cells can start proliferating in an unhealthy way.
Western Medicine requires a visible proof, so they haven’t seen a link since it is difficult to measure stress quantitatively. It is also impossible to separate stress from behaviors caused by stress, such as drinking, smoking, eating poorly, and more. These factors can cause cancer too.
Cancer is not just a physical disease. It is a disease of the mind and soul as much as it is of the body. In our society, especially in the field of medicine, we tend not to believe something unless there is test after test and study after study attesting to its “truth.” Many believe that what happens in the body is strictly physical; there must be a reason why we get sick or why we hurt, and it can be explained by science.
But recently, the mind and its influence over the body have become a topic of intense interest in the medical community. We are finally beginning to realize what ancient cultures have known all along, that there is a strong mind-body connection and that what we feel has a direct relationship with how we feel.
Stress has always been a part of life. It was a survival tool for our ancestors. When faced with situations like famine, war, or animal attacks, their bodies produced adrenaline and cortisol, which gave them the added “boost” they needed to deal with the threat. Today, our bodies do the same thing, but the stress response can get out of control. A certain amount is needed to deal with difficult situations, but many of us feel stressed constantly. Many people experience intense stress even when there is no direct threat or triggering event.
Chronic stress has been shown to be a major factor in several diseases, particularly those related to the immense system and heart. A new thread in medical research is whether stress can cause cancer. Can an affliction of the mind produce such a big impact on the body?
According to the National Cancer Institute, “Stress also can lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as overeating, smoking, or abusing drugs or alcohol, that may affect cancer risk.” But can stress be a cause in and of itself? Several studies seem to indicate a link.
- A study of 36,000 Swedish women aged 30-50 who were followed over a 14-year period found that women in demanding jobs were 30 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who had less demanding jobs or who were not as stressed out about their work situations. Dr. Emma Pennery of Breast Cancer Care said to the results: Previous studies have failed to provide any convincing link between breast cancer and stress. One of the difficulties is that it is hard to measure stress; it’s an objective thing. But if people are stressed, that can lead to unhealthy behavior. If women feel stressed, they may not eat as well, they may drink more, and they may do less exercise. All these can increase the risks of breast cancer.
- A study conducted by Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia found that stress affected the body’s ability to fight HPV (human papillomavirus), which can lead to cervical cancer. Researcher Carolyn F. Fang said: An effective immune response against HPV can lead to viral clearance and resolution of HPV infection, but some women are less able to mount an effective immune response to HPV.
- A Swedish study followed 1000 women for 24 years. Those who reported experiencing “significant” stress in the five years before the study were found to be twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those who did not.
Studies have also been conducted into whether stress impacts the prognosis of people suffering from cancer. A study led by Barbara Anderson of the University of Ohio found that breast cancer patients who felt a high level of stress had few “natural killer cells.” Dr. Anderson said of her findings: Natural killer cells have an extremely important function with regard to cancer because they are capable of detecting and killing cancer cells. These results, although preliminary, suggest that psychological stress may play a role in how the immune system responds to cancer.
It’s clear from previous research that psychological interventions can improve the quality of life for cancer patients. The question is whether such interventions can have biological or health consequences. Psychological interventions might not only have important roles in reducing stress and improving quality of life but also in extending survival. We need to examine this possibility more closely.
Studies done by Professor Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu of the Tel Aviv University Department of Psychology have shown that the release of stress hormones like adrenaline “underlies much of the devastating effects of surgery on immune competence.” In other words, it is not the surgery itself or the disease’s effect on tissue that compromises the immune system; it is stress. A weakened immune system often causes tumors to metastasize after surgeries. Professor Ben-Eliyahu suggests that blocking the release of these hormones and reducing stress immediately prior to, during, and after surgery will improve people’s prognoses and their chances for long-term survival.
These studies tell us that stress has a very real effect on our bodies.
Examine your lifestyle for sources of stress. Are there some stresses that you can eliminate? The best ways to clear stress from your energy field are:
- Get more sun
- Get more sleep
- Avoid people, places, and things that really bother you
- Utilize relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, prayer, and exercise
- Laugh every day
Destress in any way that works for you.
- A reliable source of trained cancer information specialists who answer questions about cancer, connect you with local resources and give information on local events.
- The Gilda’s Club’s philosophy of providing an emotional and social support community as an essential complement to medical treatment when cancer is in the family enables the organization to serve as a beacon for the provision of healthcare services in the 21st century.
- The Patient Advocate Foundation offers help for patients who have been diagnosed with a chronic, life-threatening, or debilitating disease and are having trouble with the healthcare system, which can include specific issues regarding insurance, job retention, and/or debt.
- Patients who need the services provided by the Patient Advocate Foundation should call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 to be quickly connected to professional case managers and attorneys specializing in mediation, negotiation, education, and advocacy.
- These specially trained case managers work directly with patients and families to help overcome barriers to care.
- All services are confidential and free to the patient.
- Founded by Cathy Gabrielsen. Since 2007, Connect Thru Cancer has provided free cancer support services and resources to individuals and families in cancer treatment.