Meditation is a powerful preventive medicine tool. It can facilitate self-healing and inspire a deep sense of well-being. In this article, you will learn four ways to use meditation for health and wellness. You will also read an in-depth story about how mindfulness and meditation cured a woman’s cancer.
Let’s start with this miraculous healing story from “Meditation: A Detailed Guide” (Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penguin, 2011) by Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson.
Bernice cures her cancer
(p. 274-278, MAIG)
In 1980 Bernice Groeke was diagnosed with melanoma on her calf, which had been surgically removed. A year and a half later, doctors found melanoma in a lymph node in the groin and also removed it surgically. A year and a half after that, the cancer had spread to his lungs, at which point doctors said it was inoperable. They said there was nothing medical they could do for her and she only had months to live.
Bernice decided to join a 12-week cancer self-help group. Shortly after joining the group, the discussion focused on the effect of mindset on the management of physical pain and the mental and emotional suffering of cancer. Bernice had never given her thinking much thought.
However, as the group discussed the power of mindfulness and positive thinking, Bernice quickly recognized how negative her habitual mindset tended to be. In fact, he had made it his duty to be on guard and warn his family and friends of anything that could go wrong. On the other hand, she was also quick to warn herself and others not to get too excited about the new possibilities because they would likely end in disappointment.
Bernice realized that her way of thinking was defining a “glass half empty” approach to life. So after learning the benefits of thinking more positively, you decided to change your usual way of thinking. To do this, she decided to repeat the statement “I am a positive person” each time she recognized that she was turning negative.
About six weeks after her new mindfulness and affirmation practice, she was sitting with her husband after dinner when she experienced one of the melanomas pressing uncomfortably against her spine. Her husband noticed her agitation and asked her what was wrong.
Bernice replied, “Maybe the doctors are right. Maybe I’m kidding myself. Maybe I should just accept the fact that I’m going to die and give up all these other things.” (p. 275, MAIG)
Her husband sympathized with her pain and was also aware of her new affirmation practice. So instead of just sympathizing, he replied, “Oh that’s interesting. What are you?”
“What do you mean what am I?” She answered.
“Oh, I thought you were a positive person now,” he said.
Bernice reflected on this and replied, “You’re right, I am.”
Bernice remembered that as she said this, she felt a palpable change within her body, as if a switch had been flipped. From that moment on, he was able to see the positive in every situation.
Shortly after this inner change, he was meditating and praying in church and had a deep mystical experience of the Presence of God in which he understood the biblical phrase “Be still and know that I am God.” From that moment on, his faith grew stronger. She found it easier to stick with her healthy diet and healing efforts with meditation. He was also enthusiastic about serving others.
Within six months, scans revealed that her lungs were clear of all tumors. And within a year, to her surprise, doctors proclaimed her cancer free.
Soon after, Bernice volunteered to speak to meditation groups at the Gawler Foundation telling her story. She beamed as she spoke and her zest for life was infectious. Bernice became an inspiring spiritual force.
Several years later, her husband died in the late eighties. Her friends and family wondered how Bernice would take her death. After all, they had been together for over sixty years.
While she was appropriately distressed and deeply saddened, she surprised them with her resistance. She said, “Well, you know, it’s really sad that Wain died and I’ll miss him terribly, but it’ll be interesting … I’ve never lived on my own before. I wonder what it’s like not to have to. Still keep Wain in mind? ? “
Soon after, to help with expenses, Bernice hosted an intern student from abroad. They quickly became best friends. She taught him life in Australia and he provided companionship and financial support. It was a beautiful new chapter in his life.
Then in 2009, at the age of 93, and 26 years after his cancer was gone, it reappeared. This time, it quickly deteriorated.
At first, he thought he was to blame. She went to Gawler to express her disappointment with herself. Gawler was quick to remind him of his remarkable recovery. For more than 26 years, he had lived without cancer. It reminded him that we all die for something and that we don’t always know why. It also reminded him of his faith.
Berenice admitted that she had lost touch with her faith a bit and now had some doubts and fears of dying.
Gawler encouraged her to tell him that doubts and fears were natural human feelings, especially in the face of death. He encouraged her to consciously acknowledge her doubts and fears and accept them for what they were: natural feelings toward the unknown. He also suggested to Bernice that dying was like “coming home.”
He reminded Berenice of her faith and encouraged her to imagine what it would be like to rest in the Divine Presence. He told her that “dying was easy, that she had led a good life and that she could look back with gentle satisfaction and no regrets. To die she just had to breathe out and not breathe in again. It would be easy.”
Supported by Gawler’s words, Bernice decided to focus on the Divine Presence and imagine merging with it when the time came.
Bernice died less than a week later, in peace. And his funeral was a joyous celebration of his life. Family, friends and crowds of those whom she had touched with her smiling service came to celebrate what she had meant to them.
A beautiful story.
4 ways meditation supports health and healing
So what can we take from Bernice’s story that can help us heal and be healthier?
1. Your way of thinking affects your ability to heal
As we saw with Bernice, her healing began with the healing of her attitude, her habitual thinking. He recognized his habit of viewing life through a negative and fear-based lens. She was always cautious, on guard, and expecting the worst. Before attending the cancer self-help group, she hadn’t really realized that it was a mindset or that it was harmful; she just thought she was being conscientious, responsible, and careful.
Bernice learned to change her mind by affirming, “I am a positive person.”
Now, having a positive mindset is not about inventing or improving things than they really are. It is about realizing the opportunities that present themselves in each situation. It’s about seeing what can be done rather than focusing on what can’t be done. It’s about being present with “what is” and realizing what you can do to move things forward in the right direction.
When you do this, you open yourself up to a wider range of possibilities and become more inspired to take positive action.
2. The decisions you make are important
As you open yourself to a wider range of possibilities, you realize that you can choose to take actions that make a positive difference to yourself and others. Things are not “just as they are”, they are the result of a series of choices that combine to create specific results.
Meditation supports a state of clear vision in which you can recognize options and make good decisions. Through meditation, you become better able to choose what works and let go of what doesn’t.
When Bernice opened up to the possibility of being cured, she began to make different decisions. She chose to say her positive affirmations to reset her mindset. He adopted a healthier diet. He meditated daily. She increased her efforts to serve others. She expanded her community.
Over time, these combined with other invisible forces to create healing.
3. Meditation itself supports healing
One of the most important things you can do to facilitate healing, be it physical or mental-emotional, is to activate your body’s natural relaxation response.
When you are in stress mode, too busy and overwhelmed, your body restricts the flow of energy to the digestive, immune and higher thinking processes. Your sympathetic nervous system directs all energy outward, and you lose your ability to absorb nutrients, repair your cells, and make good decisions.
Our bodies are made to alternate between periods of activity and rest. Most lean on the side of too much activity. We rush from one thing to another and don’t give ourselves time to consciously process the events of the day. Then we spend our sleep hours actively processing life in our dreams. This makes deep rest and recovery difficult.
When you consciously relax, using a tool like meditation, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, your natural mode of recovery and repair. This brings digestive, immune, and higher-thinking abilities back online. You also begin to process and integrate the events of the day and your life so far, so that you can let go of the past and be more present with what is.
For these reasons, it is vitally important to consciously activate the Relaxation Response at least once a day using a tool such as meditation for at least 10-20 minutes.
4. Meaningful images support healing
Bernice had great faith in God. Because of this, it was very helpful and healing for her to imagine herself immersed in the Divine Presence. This calmed and comforted her. Her faith also prompted her to take other actions to heal, serve others, and build community.
When we think only of ourselves and our own suffering, it is easy to get bogged down in the feeling of “Woe to me!” Expand your vision to realize your Unity with the wider field of Life inspires and heals. Health and healing occur naturally as a result of the Universal Life Force flowing strongly and smoothly through your entire being. Meditation is a powerful way to consciously acknowledge the blocks to this flow, release them, and focus on this deeper life-giving Presence.
Enjoy your practice!