An unpleasant swelling
Your story starts when you first discovered a small swelling in your breast. You immediately knew what it meant, became worried, and depressed. You rushed to the doctor who confirmed the diagnosis. For you the soft swelling proclaimed a death sentence.
This scenario happens to many patients and Medicine is at loss how to convince them that their future may not be so bleak. Indeed it is not that bleak, it may even be rosy, since this swelling has two meanings. First you need medical treatment, yet this is not enough. You will have to learn to accept cancer as your own and to live with in peace. In short your mission is to become a Cancer-Yogi.
This swelling was caused by specialized cells called a tumor. Soon it will be removed and you will return home with the nagging doubt: "Am I cured?" The surgeon will answer with statistics: "The likelihood of recurrence is small". But you want an assurance which he cannot give you since he does not know the outcome of your particular cancer. This is why you have to take care of yourself now. Be a Cancer-Yogi!
What is cancer?
you ought to find out what is the nature of your disease. Your doctor thinks
that tumor is the entire disease. Removing the tumor means for him that the
disease was cured. This site proclaims that the tumor is only one manifestation
of cancer, which affects your entire body. Its removal is only a partial
remedy to your cancer. From its very beginning cancer is controlled
by wisdom of the body (WOB). When WOB weakens, tumor grows and vice versa. Cancer-Yogi strengthens
his WOB and 'puts his cancer to sleep'. Medicine disagrees with this view.
WOB and Mind
is also a disease of the mind. Watch a newborn. He breathes,
cries, moves his legs and arms. All this is controlled by WOB. A newborn is
a pure WOB without a mind. He totally depends on his mother otherwise he would
die. As the baby grows it learns how to be independent. This knowledge
is called Mind. It helps the child to understand its surroundings, and think
rationally. Mind is an interface between WOB and the surroundings.
It receives messages from WOB and responds to it with other messages.
Among other, WOB controls our water resources. When they are scarce, it sends the mind a message of thirst, which means: "Get me water!" Since the baby lacks a mind, it cannot fulfill WOB demand and cries. Now his mother serves as a mind substitute.
informs WOB about danger. Fear is mind's message to WOB that it should start
running away. WOB is fearless, and lacks any notion of danger, or death.
When WOB is ill it sends the mind messages like pain, or malaise, which mean :"Get me (medical) help." Unfortunately some messages from mind to WOB are bad, like irrational beliefs. Mind may believe seeing a devil, and sends WOB a message of danger. Many futile messages originate in our culture, like the way how society comprehends cancer.
Let's return to your swelling. Yesterday before detecting it you felt well and healthy. Now you are lost. Why? This misery was not caused by cancer, since yesterday you felt healthy despite having cancer. WOB remained silent and did not send your mind messages of pain or distress, demanding (medical) help. Your suffering originates in your mind and has nothing to do with cancer.
Instead of starting your mission to become a Cancer-Yogi you face an irrational conviction of your society that cancer is an evil disease. Society wraps up your cancer with a terrible disease image and plants it into your mind.Cancer metaphor
In her book "Illness as Metaphor" Susan Sontag, living in New York, describes how cancer is perceived by our society. It has become the predominant disease metaphor in our culture. An evil disease. Cancer is the only disease that we wage a war on, with deadly rays, poisons, and nuclear isotopes. You may now appreciate why this site urges you to adopt the Cancer-Yogi metaphor, which stands for man's gift to live with cancer in peace. The cancer metaphor created by society, is the root of your misery. It is a stigma which originates in the irrational subconscious of our society, like the Gay-Lesbian stigma.Hex death
This stigma is as dangerous as a voodoo hex. You might wonder whether this comparison is not exaggerated. Not at all. In order to protect yourself you ought to realize the real danger of the cancer metaphor. In an article 'Hex death: voodoo magic or persuasion?' Meador (1) writes: Hex death is one that follows a ritualized pronouncement of death by a powerful authority, a phenomenon not widely accepted by the Western medical community. He then describes two cases, one of which is presented here. A patient who had a diagnosis of metastatic carcinoma of the esophagus, died believing he was dying of widespread cancer, as did his family and his physicians. At autopsy, only a 2 cm nodule of cancer in his liver was found. Meador adds: The case raises several intriguing questions. Is death from hexing limited to ignorant and superstitious tribes, or is it part of some general phenomenon basic to many forms of human communication?
The cancer metaphor is equivalent to the "ritualized pronouncement of death by a powerful authority." Society and its medical experts are extremely powerful, and they created this horrible metaphor. Medicine postulates that you are powerless to resist your cancer. Only they can rescue you and since they generally fail, they blame you for their failure: "You came too late. You missed a mammography, or you smoked". Who can withstand such a psychological torture by this "powerful authority"? Fortunately you can save yourself provided that you appreciate the danger.
You join a cancer support group. Among them you feel better. Yet the group does not shield you from the cancer metaphor. Cancer is accepted as a misfortune, and the group learns how to cope with death. The 'ritualized pronouncement of death by a powerful authority', permeates the group and its psychologists. You came to learn how to live with cancer, instead you are prepared for the morgue. Since society cannot alleviate your misery you have to do it yourself. First you have to silence the cancer in your mind and then boost your WOB.
Meditation for Dummies
Is the name of an excellent book written by Stephan Bodian (IDG Books). It describes efficient means to silence the cancer in your mind. With meditation you train yourself to direct your attention to objects which you choose, and ignore other. You learn how to control your mind. We shall be more interested in medical aspects of meditation, and less in its spiritual, or religious. Before probing the secrets of life and the meaning of your existence, you ought to attempt to improve your awareness of the power of WOB and direct your attention to its workings.
Initially it will be difficult for you to concentrate your thoughts. Buddhists liken our mind to monkeys that babble while jumping erratically from one branch to another. They say: When you meditate you calm your 'monkey-spirit'. Gradually you will learn to control your imagination and use it to put your cancer to sleep
Yet meditation is more than that. It is a way of life. You learn to appreciate events and occurrences. Before starting your chemotherapy, you visit the clinic, examine the bottles and tubing. Appreciating their existence since they were created to help you. Next day you watch the nurse inserting the (healing) needle into your arm. While meditating you observe the life elixir entering your body, spreading through your organs. Somewhere outside, monkeys shout : "It's a poison!". You silence them and imagine how this elixir puts your cancer to sleep.
'Meditation for Dummies' teaches you how to chose your meditation instructor (Guru). However you may prefer a healer instead. A known healer in Tel Aviv invited me to watch his treatments, after asking permission from his patients to accept my presence. One of them was a doctor who all his life practiced 'rational' and 'scientific' medicine. As he lay on the couch I wondered how did he silence his monkeys? He did not. The healer did it for him. Soon after the treatment begun the doctor sunk in shallow slumber maintaining his contact with the healer. Throughout the treatment he was aware of the healer's presence.
Meador CK. Hex death: voodoo magic or persuasion?
South Med J 1992 Mar;85(3):244-7.
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