Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tip #37: Meditate

This is another case of "take my advice because I'm not using it." And, thus, another chance for a challenge. I'll talk about that one a bit later.

But, first, let's see why I think we should all mediate, when, for me at least, this used to be a synonym with wasting time. Of course, I had heard that Buddhists monks have their brains changed because of it. But, who has the time of a Buddhist monk? I started to see that maybe I should try to make the time for it after reading Anticancer, where Servan Schreiber clearly says that lifestyle changes can affect the course of our cancers. Those lifestyles changes are not just diet and exercise but he mentions a third component, spirituality, support, anything to help you reduce stress. In his last book, written right before he died, he also stresses that this third element is maybe the most important and that he himself neglected it, as he was very busy promoting his anticancer message. He urged everyone, even his (psychiatric) patients, to meditate at least twice a day, for ten minutes each time. Interestingly, Dr Block in Life Over Cancer, also recommends exactly the same to his cancer patients. A similar message is part of Dr. Ornish Spectrum program, which is for everyone, although it is particularly recommended to people who need to reverse heart disease.

When I got my second cancer diagnosis, I did feel my brain needed help to cope with the fear and sadness (and stress) I was feeling. I got an app, Mindfulness Meditation, which helped a little. I also found a guided imagery podcast from Dr. Miller (free in iTunes) which was extremely beneficial, because it really calmed me and gave me a sense of strength. In this podcast, Dr. Miller describes how your own body will destroy the cancer cells in a simulated battle that somehow I would picture almost like a Star Wars adventure (nothing like Luke Skywalker to the rescue!). Although I love his voice and that podcast in particular, and I recommend it for anyone with cancer, I am now seeking something different. This year, as one of my resolutions, I wanted to start mediating on a regular basis, make it more like an everyday activity. I bought the book 8 Minute Mediation, an 8 week meditation program, and I actually completed it for those 8 weeks. But after that, I just stopped. I liked the program, but meditation is just very hard.

So, here we are with another challenge to myself and anyone who would like to join me. Here's the document with instructions. I decided to start it in October, so I have some time to see what kind of meditation I may want to do, whether just to sit down for 10 minutes and try to clear my mind, or if maybe some guided meditation would be more helpful. I have been looking at this site, thanks to a recommendation from one of my aunts, and I think I may do the meditations they have there (which are a bit longer, at15 minutes).

I have to say that, although I have not been successful at it so far in the sense that I clearly do not set a time to do it, I still feel all the "practice" I have done has helped me be more conscious of the importance of the present moment and not to let my thoughts run too wild. When I walk to school in the mornings, I do a type of walking meditation, trying to coach my "monkey mind" to come back to the air I'm breathing, the beauty in nature, the lights, the colors that surround me. Maybe, after the October challenge, my spirit will finally resemble the child in the picture. Or I may have to call Luke Skywalker to the rescue, again.

Do you have any recommendations for me? I do hope some of you will join me for the challenge! Thanks, as always, for reading my blog.

photo credit: Beni Ishaque Luthor via photo pin cc


  1. Thich Nhat Hanh's books are great. I have one (that I can't find!) that is filled with meditations for different needs. It'd help if I could find it on Amazon, but I can't!

    Here's one that I might get, though. I like the idea of walking meditations a lot!

  2. Thanks so much anyway. I have heard many good things about him and I see him regularly in the Soundstrue website, which is another thing I'm subscribed to (yes, one more). The book looks amazing. Let me know if you do get that book. Maybe we can walk together (in spirit) this summer!