SELF-HEALING CANCERS –fact or fiction

The October 27th New York Times had an article regarding cancers which can "vanish" without treatment.  Written by Gina Kolata who referred to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it analyzed the rare but documented phenomena which has occurred from time to time.  Apparently certain breast and testicular cancers can and do shrink and disappear.

The exact mechanisms by which such cancers can spontaneously disappear are not fully understood.  But clearly the immune system must contribute to this phenomenon.

Yet under what circumstances could the immune system, previously incapable of preventing the malignancy, now stage a powerful comeback?

Perhaps we can invoke some degree of mind/body interaction.  Perhaps the individual's immune system has become energized due to a reduction in those factors which may have impaired it to begin with.

Perhaps one's emotional status has improved–less chronic stress, physical or emotional–may have empowered the defenses against cancer.  Perhaps a new, powerful spiritual awakening has done the same.

It is, at present, impossible to know.  We also need to be aware of the danger of "blaming" the patient when their cancer does not go into remission but continues  relentlessly towards the patient's death.

The relationship between mind, body and spirit is far to complex to be understood fully at present.

This study does offer hope that there may be factors which may be accessible to personal intervention.

MEDITATE LIKE A CAT

Patrick Ophuls in his book BUDDHA TAKES NO PRISONERS offers an interesting analogy between the meditative state of mind and household pets.

He points to cat as exhibiting the primal state of awareness that human beings seek to emulate when they meditate–a state of being completely "in the moment".  Dogs, on the other hand, have become "more or less deranged, thanks to their neurotic masters".

This state of pure awareness is particularly difficult for thinking, cognitive beings.  The complexity of our thoughts and feelings seem to ensure the difficulty of achieving the state of quiet observation nearly impossible.

The challenge of quieting our ever engaged minds will be the 21st century's greatest obstacle to healing.

I can almost imagine the agrarian society of Siddhartha Gautama's time.  Solitude would be built into the framework of daily existence.  Communication between individuals essentially involved face-to-face contact.  Meditation would be achievable far more easily than in our world of cell phones, Blackberries, I phones with 24hr instantaneous contact with other human beings. Twitters, tweets, texts and calls seem to literally overwhelm us.

Along with 24hr news announcements, we have become frenzied, jittery, anxiety ridden, unsettled and completely messed up.  I am sure that there has been and will continue to be a rise in emotional and physical "dis-eases" as a direct consequence of these devices and our addiction to them.

Ironically what we need most, meditation, seems further from us, more impossible  than ever.

We will need to make time to meditate, to turn off all communication with the outside world.  It will be the only time that we can be alone with our own thoughts and feelings.

What we need more than another social network website, than a more powerful hand held communication devise, is to emulate the cat.  Sit in uninterrupted mindful awareness.  It will be difficult, but it may very well save our lives.

KABBALAH RECOVERY — A NEW PATH based on ANCIENT TEACHINGS

We live in an age of addiction–be it alcohol, hard drugs, sex, our blackberries or whatever.  There seems to be a 12 step approach to overcoming any addiction imaginable.  In general, it has been a powerful tool for healing for millions, and continues to be so.

The problem that some "addicts" have with it deals with its basic metaphysical (philosophical) underpinnings: 1} -one is powerless over one's addiction, 2} one is incapable of personally overcoming the conditions which lead to the addiction, 3} one must turn oneself over to a "higher power" outside of oneself in order to succeed, 4} one must continuously  deal with the "disease" of addiction which is inherently incurable, 5} one is dependent upon a community including sponsors who are available whenever one is tempted, has a craving to return to the despised path.

There are a group of alternative approaches known as "non 12 step" which view the condition/problem from a completely different metaphysical perspective.  In general, they deny any spiritual element to addiction or recovery.  They endeavor to empower the individual to acquire skills in order to avoid re-addiction.  They do not consider anyone to be "diseased" for life.  They do not advocate the use of sponsors or lifetime meetings.  They utilize cognitive /behavioral techniques to empower the individual.

There may be an alternative approach which in some ways synthesizes the previous two which appear so divergent.  The Kabbalistic path to recovery is deeply spiritual yet empowers the individual as well.  It rejects the notion that we are inherently weak or sinful.  It emphasizes the power of individual choice and individual responsibility.  The addict is not viewed as "diseased" when not using drugs.

Kabbalah recognizes the inherent fragmentation and adversity of life but offers hope for healing and renewal.  The notion of tikkun  acknowledges that healing is not only possible but necessary for the healing of the individual soul and the world.  It acknowledges that the "higher power" is not an external, transcendent force alone, but resides within each of us as a spark of divinity.

In Kabbalistic healing, we are capable of finding inner, personal strength from a spiritual source.  It does not denigrate or deny the power of fellowship and groups.  They are necessary for many in recovery.  It does, however, ask the individual to accept responsibility for their own acts and to strive for personal healing.

It is an alternative approach which may appeal to individuals who have problems choosing between the previous opposing options.  One should be open to whatever approach works.

INHALING LIGHT–A KABBALISTIC BASED BREATHING MEDITATION

In my search to find a meditation which offers meaning to me I have been experimenting with a concept derived from Kabbalistic sources which can be combined with mindfulness meditation.

It is based on the conceptual framework in which we are spiritual beings possessing a spark of divinity within. Our physical bodies  are the 'space suits' we acquire at birth and which enable us to function in this physical plane known as assiyah. 

As physical beings we have forgotten our spiritual core.  This ignorance leads to confusion, sadness, fear. We feel weighed down by our earthly concerns.  We often speak of being in a 'dark place'.  As a consequence we add layers of suffering to that which life already provides us.

We don't need more! 

Light and darkness offer metaphors for joy and suffering.

Light and breath become one and this meditation involves visualizing the incoming breath as being the light of God, or Or Ein Sof in Kabbalistic terms.  The light fills us with each in-breath.  Darkness is then breathed out.

We can visualizing Ein Sof willfully doing this to maintain our existence and accepting our out-breath as potentially our last.  We realize that our lives are gifts that should be cherished.

The light 'refills' our inner light, the spark of divinity.  It recharges our spiritual batteries.  It lightens our emotional state. 

 It offers us the opportunity to soar like a hot air  baloon.  It lifts us to higher spiritual realms–  to the world of yetzirah, the world of our emotional being. It provides us with tastes of pure joy.

This spiritual re-charging connects us further with the world of mind and thought,the creative domain of  beriyah,  and ultimately to atzilut, the most spiritually refined  domain of emanation.

We can visualize ourselves as being filled with divine light as well as being surrounded by it. We feel protected, energized, joyful and healed.

It is a meditaiton of remembering, of re-charging our spiritual batteries, of lightening our emotions and thoughts, of re-establishing our connection to higher spiritual worlds.

It then allows us to flow into other concepts such as mindfully observing our thoughts and feelings as we focus on the light/breath entering and exiting our noses.  We witness them from a perspective of strength and connection, of lightness of being.  We lose our fear that they can harm us and therefore we can experience them in the moment without rushing to suppress them or escape them.

Light can clear away darkness and the fog of despair which slows and impairs our healing. It can remind us of our true nature.

Try it.