Finding healing in the darkness

There are so many words of wisdom in Bernie Siegel’s books about self healing, and finding hope and love in your darkest moments. Something I read recently by him seems particularly apt to me today. I am learning in my healing process how, understandably, I avoid looking at my darkest emotions. As I’ve realised, we can avoid them, but they don’t go away – they lurk and cause all sorts of difficulties in our lives and relationships. So in order to heal them, we need to go into the darkness and face them. I’ve avoided this for so long, hoping to heal myself with the least amount of pain. Now I am learning to embrace the pain and seeing that the fear of the pain is worse than actually facing it! I’ll come back to this theme in more detail in future. For now, here’s Bernie Siegel (in relation to the cancer patients he treats):

“The mind can cure cancer, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. The paradox is wonderfully expressed by an old Sufi story.

A stranger comes upon a man on his hands and knees under a street lamp in front of his house. He’s looking for his keys and the stranger gets down on all fours to help him. After a time, the stranger asks, “Where exactly did you drop them?” “In my house,” comes the reply. Exasperated, the stranger asks, “Then why are you looking out here?” “Because it’s dark in the house”.

The light is better in our conscious minds but we must look for healing in the dark unconscious. The doctor works in the light. He is verbal and logical. The patient’s world may be dark, but there are sources of illumination. Within each of us is a spark. Call it a divine spark if you wiill, but it is there and can light the way to health. There are no incurable diseases, only incurably people.”

This is work in progress for me so I certainly don’t have all the answers, but do share your thoughts. ♥

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Yoga

Enhance gentle yoga practice with mudras

Your gentle yoga practice need only be sitting cross legged and concentrating on rhythmic breathing. Or you could add an extra dimension by using a mudra – the most well known is Chin Mudra, where you hold the index finger and thumb together and keep the other 3 fingers stretched out. This is how you see the hands in the traditional meditation posture. Rest the backs of your hand on your knees.

chin mudra

One of my favourite mudras is Apan Mudra, or “rabbit ears” as I call it. You may see this mudra used in a variety of yoga postures, particularly those based on the Hindu gods, such as Krishna playing his flute in Natavarasana.

apan mudra

Apan mudra relates to springtime, cleansing the body: it helps to detox the liver. It also calms the mind. It helps visualise new goals/beginnings. Use it if there is something you’d like to change in your life. Sit for 10 minutes with your hands in apan mudra and do the following visualisation (add as much of your own detail to the visualisation as you can: colour, plants etc)

Imagine sitting in a beautiful garden. Enjoy the various plants. Observe the mystery of nature: how a plant grows and blooms. In an empty bed, plant something that will bear rich fruit for you: a conversation, relationship etc. Imagine how it sprouts, blossoms and bears fruit. Who will benefit from these fruits? End with a big thank you.

Affirmation: I plant my seeds, care for them and receive a rich harvest that I thankfully accept.

(Special thanks to Gertrud Hirschi for her fab book “Mudras” which has been invaluable to me.)

Heart meditation #1

The Heart of the Universe

First of all, bring your focus to your heart. Imagine breathing deeply in and out of your heart. This takes the focus down from the mind/intellect, into the body. (If you have suppressed emotions you may find them coming to the surface as you do this – if so, stay with them and allow them to release with love, it might feel difficult at the time but you will feel better for it afterwards. I am often surprised at what emotions come up during these meditations)

Focus on whatever you see as the divine source – God, the Universe, divine energy. Visualise divine love flowing from the source to your heart, filling your heart with joy.

bliss yoga

I found a lovely image for this meditation recently on a website. After focusing on your heart, imagine the night sky, and take a leisurely tour around the heavens: the stars, other planets, comets etc. Use your imagination. Then imagine coming upon the Heart of the Universe – visualise this as you wish. Visualise love and healing energy flowing from the Heart of the Universe to you.

Ahh, bliss!

The healing power of love and creativity

Find your inner creativity and love for life!

If you want a heart-warming, inspiring read try Bernie Siegel’s Love, Medicine and Miracles. All of his books are deeply moving as well, so expect to cry a little! He tells how he made the journey from being a traditionally trained medical doctor and surgeon in the US, with little empathy for his patients and deeply unhappy with his job, to becoming a dream doctor who hugs his patients and teaches them how to take control of their health and life.

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He witnessed “miraculous” cures in his cancer patients and began studying what made the difference in those patients who coped well with illness and those who just gave up. He realised that in his role as physician he could be really important in this healing journey, as he could give his patients hope, rather than bare statistics about how long they had to live, and most importantly, be a human face, treating them like human beings rather than “cancer patient in room 2″. One of the things he noticed about the patients who coped well was that they felt they had something to live for, passion and love in their lives or an outlet for creativity. Dr Siegel encouraged his patients to express their creativity through writing, art, whatever made them feel happy, or through reaching out to people.This alleviates stress and releases the body’s own healing mechanisms.

Like everything I’m reading about, it’s all about how a positive state of mind can have an amazing effect on our health. Hence this week I have started painting…very badly! But it’s not about the finished product, it’s the process ;-)

Reflections for this week 24th Feb

Positive energy

I’m keeping in mind one of the Buddhist precepts outlined in “Discovering the Heart of Meditation” by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield this week. JK puts them into a lovely accessible form. The precept is Refraining from killing: reverence for life. What he says is:

“Undertake for one week to purposefully bring no harm in thought, word or deed to any living creature. Particularly become aware of any living beings in your world (people, animals, even plants) whom you ignore and cultivate a sense of care and reverence for them too. “

I particularly like the “no harm in thought, word or deed”. It’s easy to congratulate ourselves for not having actively harmed anyone but in this sense even thinking negatively about someone or ignoring them is harmful. And more than that, it is harmful to ourselves – if we want to be at peace we must first create a peaceful, positive mental environment in our own minds which will then send out positive energy to others. Ever wondered why you constantly attract bad energy from others? Think about what thoughts are in your own mind.

This can be a living meditation: no need to sit and meditate on it, just have it in mind as you live your daily life and see how it opens your heart.

The first post…

It’s quite daunting starting a new blog. But one of the main reasons I’ve started it is that I’ve been like a big sponge the last 2 months reading books about healing and changing your life. Partly I want to record what I’m learning so I don’t forget things, but also to have it on record for other people to access. This has been a big journey of knowledge for me and I’ve been lucky that I’ve had the time to immerse myself in it. Each book has referenced other books, which I’ve then read, and as I’ve done so my understanding has deepened. I’ve also discovered an interest in such things as quantum healing and epigenetics that I would never have imagined myself being fascinated by before. But if all of the references help someone else to find new ways of looking at life, as I have, then I will feel that this blog has achieved what I set out to do. At the very least I can give you pointers for where to find the information for yourself.

Sometimes we just need one inspiration to set us on our way. For me, that was Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life. I’d had it on my bookshelf for years and never read it and eventually took it to a charity shop a year or so ago. Then someone recommended it to me before Christmas. I ordered it from Amazon and before it arrived I discovered a talk by Louise Hay on YouTube of her basic principles of life and positive thinking. Her philosophy and affirmations pretty much saved me from going mad over Christmas when I was housebound for the second time in a year with a back problem. I have probably read the book 3 times now, in bits and pieces. A lot of people think her philosophy is a little bit simplistic or overly head-based when you want to be living more from your heart, but I can only thank her for being there when I needed some hope. The affirmations helped me remain positive when last year I was in the depths of despair. And along the way she referenced other compassionate writers such as Dr Bernie Siegel, who have inspired her, more of whom anon…

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