March 25, 2008, 12:52 pm
NOW HERE BE WELL
A Way To Use Meditation for Healing
by Ed Buryn
copyright 2008 all rights reserved
Part 1 – Healing with Sitting Meditation
The well-known admonition “Be Here Now” brilliantly and succinctly sums up today’s New Age wisdom for spiritual seekers. This present essay focuses on the “Be” portion of this statement, and offers a possible way to Be Well as a extension of it. It describes a relatively simple and flexible meditative process that I enjoyably and optimistically use in hopes of improving my health, in the firm belief in that All Healing Is Self-Healing. Maybe it will be useful to you too. So read on. Improve Your Health in Comfort and Privacy of Your Own Home! It doesn’t hurt and it’s free.
Anytime we meditate, the Here and Now parts are easier to understand than the Be part. The meditator understands the concepts of Here and Now but understanding what it means to Be is more elusive. Active Being is difficult both to imagine and achieve. And how do we go about doing that in its fullest sense?
I offer the idea that Being can be better understood if you Open or extend yourself beyond your normal actions or reactions, which then stimulates what I call Flow. Using these terms, Flow is the pragmatic and full experience of Being. This concept of Flow, of which more later, is also the means to Being Well; that is, being healthy or fully Being. In sum, consciously Opening to Flow is a functional means of Being, and a creative process for healing ailments and maximizing health. When you feel healthy and in the flow, you do Be. So this is about how to Now Here, Be Well!
In meditation, we can ‘stop the world’ and focus our minds on what we wish to attract into our lives. I do not refer here to Buddhist meditation, which seeks to quiet the mind to complete emptiness in a quest for the underlying truth of existence. Instead, I mean what is sometimes called New Age meditation, with definitely no slur intended. Here the mind is quieted for the purpose of focus upon whatever ideation it chooses. The degree of focus that can by achieved by this technique, when harnessed to our imaginations, enables us to create images in the mind that then become commands for the fulfillment of our personal destinies. This also sometimes called the Law of Attraction, the so-called “Secret” recently revealed by a book and film. I even saw a copy published in Polish! Yes it’s true! We tend to attract into our lives whatever we visualize with our minds. The more powerfully we can do this, the more likely we are to achieve the object of the visualization. We may ignore this possibility as a folly but maybe it would be wiser to see if we can employ it to our benefit.
In this case, I want to suggest how this power can be used to improve one’s health and maybe even cure illness. No promises, only hopes. And in the process of doing this, we might also get a better understanding our capacity to Be. That’s fair enough for any Fool.
In order to better Be, it’s good to rev up Flow. By this I mean the meta/physical motion of energy throughout our physical bodies and our extra-physical bodies, if any. But trust me; there are. In your meditation, this motive healing energy is readily accessible, is what I believe. You can do it without extensive training, without a guru or leader, without knowledge of any particular dharma or body of teaching. The concept of Opening is a useful key to unlocking this process. To understand the truth of something we have to open ourselves to let the truth in. This should include the truth of our situation, particularly in health terms. In your healing meditations, you are going to take this concept literally, using your own body as the instrument and focus of your attention. For example, in this meditation can be used to OPEN:
– depending on what interests or what ails you.
By doing this, the focus of the meditation is to enhance the FLOW of:
– depending on what’s needed and what works for you.
The method itself is simple and easy to understand.
Meditation allows you to focus your attention as you choose, without outside distractions. You simply visualize the process of “opening up” whatever organ or part of the body you choose to. Normally this will be a part of the body that is afflicted or otherwise needing some sort of healing, as defined by your own personal situation. But it can also be done as a “tune-up” or just for the fun of it.
The simplest way to explain this is to simply to do it.
First, assume a sitting meditation pose, whether on the floor or mat or chair. It is important that your spine be held erect and straight to enhance the flow of psychic energy and as a continuing physical reminder that you are maintaining a state of attention. Place your palms on your knees with arms relaxed. Close your eyes. Calm your breath. Calm your mind. If possible, choose a meditation site that is quiet and with pleasant surroundings. You might also consider enhancing your meditation by listening to favorite music CDs or to repetitive shamanic sounds like drumming or rattling. One of those thing-a-ma-jigs that generate different sleeping-sounds (surf, rain, crickets, white noise) is good too, especially if there is distracting background noise. Whatever works.
When ready, focus your attention on your breath. Imagine it visually as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Imagine a point on the end of your nose, and see it in your mind’s eye; feel it as a literal presence on your nose. I find it helps me to dilate my nostrils to bring awareness to that point, as if providing a platform on which to rest your point of focus. Once you are able to do this, change this point of attention into a point of light. During the meditation, this point of light is the tool you will employ for healing, by moving it at will to different parts of your body. Eventually you should also be able to feel it as a physical presence at any selected point.
Since visualizing the point of light is the crucial skill you need for this process, some instructions about that may be helpful. You may be able to do this at once, from the get-go. That’s unlikely, however. It usually takes practice, but it’s not like moving mountains or shifting the planet in its orbit. You will get the hang of it through practice. It’s about focus and then focusing some more. If you find it difficult, don’t worry, be happy, and especially don’t give up.
When you first try to focus your attention into a point, you will probably find that at first your “point” of focus will be more like the size of your head. So the first task is to shrink this zone of focus through practice. Keep coming back to awareness of your breath and keeping your attention on the tip of your nose. Try to make the zone of focus smaller, like maybe the size of a grapefruit. When you can do that, practice making it the size of an apple. Then a plum. Then a grape. Then a pea. Eventually you want to visualize this point of focus as being a tiny spot that can very comfortably fit on the tip of your nose. Ultimately it should be dimensionlessly small.
The next task is to convert your point of focus into a point of light, which requires another qualitative step in your process of concentration. You can readily understand that shrinking your point of focus will make it correspondingly easier to ignite into a point of light. After all, it’s easier to light a point than a globe or globule, even in your imagination.
There are many ways to approach this process of imaginative ignition. But first of all, bear in mind that the goal here is not some pale incandescent light. What you want to create in your mind is a numinous and magical light, a light that never was in reality but which you can create in your mind as a Light of Power. Think of it as a point illuminated by the all-powerful sun of your imagination. Think of it as a crystal that resonates visibly to cosmic energy. Think of it as a speck of gold that attracts light to it and glows from within. If you are a migraine sufferer or ever had a detached retina, as I have, you probably have experienced what is called optical scintilla, which is a kind of indescribable brilliance within your field of sight. (When it first happened to me, I thought I was about to see God.) Anyway, this is the quality of light that you want to give to your meditatively focused point of light. Brilliant, potent, rich in healing potential.
One quick way to give you some idea of what is possible regarding this light is to gently but firmly use your fingers to press on your eyeballs (eyes closed, of course), gradually increasing the pressure until you see some terrific lights and thus get an idea of the kind of illuminations that are readily at your disposal. In this case, the lights and patterns come from exercising your physical eyes but suggest what you can achieve with your imaginative eyes.
Ok, back to the visualization. Center on your breath. Focus and create your point of focus, or if possible, your point of light. Imagine it at the end of your nose, as you flow your breath consciously in and out. Breathe first from your diaphragm by letting your stomach bulge out, and next fill your lungs to their fullest extent. When you exhale, first empty your lungs, then gradually pull in your stomach until all the air is evacuated.
Using my own health situation as an example, I wear glasses because I’m nearsighted, and I’m ok with that. Making myself 20-20 is not one of my goals. My more modest concern is that I also have “floaters,” which are small portions of tissue that drift in the aqueous humor of the eyeballs. They’re often visible and sometimes even obstruct my vision. So my goal is to Open my eyes in order to create more Flow of energy generally and particularly in the fluid in my eyes. Therefore, my process is to bring my focused point of light upon my eyes. Then I concentrate on “opening” my vision, not physically but mentally.
First I visualize my point of light being located in the fluid of one of my eyes, I imagine it moving slowly back and forth and up and around the tissues of the eyeball, cleansing and flushing. Then I mentally move light into the fluid of the eye, locating and dissolving the particles that interfere with my vision. I visualize the tissues in the walls of my eye opening to reabsorb the particles. When ready, I repeat these visualizations in the other eye. Throughout the process, I visualize all the fluids involved in the use of my eyes as increasing in Flow so that my eyes can more fully Be, and Be Well.
And in this particular case (eyes), I also have the opportunity to physically exercise my eyes as part of the process, which is sometimes the case with other parts of the body too. Here is the exercise portion of the process: With my physical eyes closed but with my attention on my imagined eyes, I first look downward as far as possible, and hold that position for a few moments before returning my eyes to center. If done vigorously enough, this may cause some pain in the muscles involved, along with visual phenomena such as colored spots (blue spots in my case) Then I look upward as far as possible until the same results occur, then return my eyes to center. In like manner I continue to exercise my eye muscles by moving them to the left, to the right, to the lower left quadrant, upper right quadrant, lower right quadrant, and finally to the upper left quadrant. Finally, slowly rotate your eyes in a circle, extending them as far to the edge as you can; then repeat in the opposite direction. These exercises actually increase blood flow to the tissues of the eyes, but I also visualize this blood flow and imagine it being increased further. I also imagine my tears as cleansing agents, and may try to increase their physical flow by scrunching my eyes repeatedly to increase the lubrication of my eyes.
The foregoing example illustrates the essence of the meditative healing process. But be aware that you can always be modify this process according to your own healing intentions and the imaginative techniques you bring to your own healing. This process is not a matter of following detailed instructions or other such ‘painting by the numbers’. It is an inventive and creative procedure that you personally tailor to your own situation, according to your own physical issues, using your own imagination. You are both the patient and the doctor; you are the healer and the person being healed as an interactive and highly individualized personal experience. There are no monitors here. No exams. No grades. Every part of the process is totally up to you. Your inner critic, if any, is instructed to remain quiet!!
After any healing exercise, always return your awareness to your breath. Visualize your point of light at your nostrils again, and stay there with your breath for awhile. While being aware of your breath, consciously breath more deeply than you normally do. Expand your diaphragm and breathe first into your belly. Then continue inhaling and slowly suck more air into your lungs that usual. Feel your gut and rib cage opening and expanding as your draw extra oxygen into your body and lungs, opening them to greater capacity. Imagine your entire body being oxygenated by your breathing, and each cell in your body receiving this hyper flow of oxygen.
At any time that you lose your focus and find yourself thinking about something else or otherwise drifting off, simply bring your attention back to your breathing, and refocus your point of attention or your point of light.
Continuing my meditation, next I turn to my sinuses, another personal problem area. After first returning to focus on my breath, I move my point of light to explore the cavities inside my nose and my frontal bones. Knowing the anatomy of my sinuses is not necessary but could conceivably be helpful. If you think this is the case, you might study this anatomy in a book or by going to the internet. You can do the same with any physical problem you may have, because visualizing an organ other area of the body becomes easier with more information about it. Returning to my case, in my mind’s eye I explore my sinus tissues and give them my full attention. The particular problem I have is postnasal drip, which is an allergic overreaction to irritants in my system or my environment. It could be thought of as an overflow of mucus, so in my case the process is not so much trying to increase Flow but to regulate it within normal parameters. But since my sinus passages are often closed, clogged, or mucus-laden, the main part of my visualization is to Open my passages to allow the Flow of air and healing oxygen into my body more efficiently. And this is an example of the personal modification I spoke of in the previous paragraph.
In this case, I move my point of light successively into each sinus cavity, bringing healing light, figuratively cleansing and opening the passageways. Another personal approach to enhance the healing energy to my sinuses during meditation is to internally “speak” to my sinus cavities. I try to reassure them that their over-response, whose intention is to float away irritants, is also a lack of acceptance of the larger reality of my/our entire physical body, a kind of insensitivity to the truth of my/our overall health situation. Since I believe my body has an intelligence of its own, I try to reason with it, to communicate with it, to open up an intimate personal interaction. I want my dear but beleagured sinuses to know that their involuntary impulse to pump out mucus is sometimes an inappropriate response, one that could be intelligently modified through increased awareness of the whole organism — that is, the gestalt me/us that is the sum of all my/our parts. So, again, my focus is to Open my sinuses, this time not just physically but energetically and intellectually. I entreat them to cooperate with the bigger picture of Me/Us, and not to act so independently.
Next I shift my attention to my heart and arteries, which may have some degree of closure from presumable plaque buildup. Again, the procedure is simply to bring meditative focus on this area of my chest, and then to invoke Opening for the sake of Flow. Of course I am speaking literally of blood flow, but figuratively and energetically invoking healing processes of broader scope. Again, I “speak” and ask my arteries and tissues to Open to life and Flow, to a level of fully Being, and ultimately of Being Well.
In particular, after first returning to awareness of breath and refocusing my point of light in my nostrils, I move my point of light to my heart. First of all I ask my heart to open to Love, to face my fears, to give up past failures that may impact the health of my heart and my ability to flow Love into my life. Now I move my point of light to the valves and chambers of my heart, bringing light to its dark places. I move my point of light into the surrounding arteries and veins, scavenging away obstructions and accumulations. I ask my heart and arteries to forgive the toxins and hydrogenated oils that I inflicted upon it in the past because I believed that corporations told me the truth, because I believed in the healthiness of foods that my government approved. Now I know better and take personal responsibility for my diet, and disbelieve the systematic lies promulgated by irresponsible agencies in the name of greed and power. I ask my heart to cleanse itself and trust that the larger Me is taking more responsibility for the health of my heart, and offering gratitude for its daily work of flowing blood and oxygen to my entire body every day of my life.
Another technique I sometimes use just for working with my heart is to physically vibrate my chest and heart area by doing a kind of guttural humming sound deep in my throat. This creates noticeable vibrations in my upper chest that I then try to direct down into my heart area. The idea is to breathe in energy on each inhalation of breath, and then perform the humming and vibrating during each exhalation, directing the energy to my heart by focusing and meditating on it as I do this. I continue for as long as this feels helpful.
Yet another valuable technique, which can be applied to the heart and/or any other organ or part of your body, is to mentally create a light shield or shroud around it. To do this with your heart, create a picture in your mind of your heart, and then bring your point of light into the picture. Begin by moving your point of light all around your heart, around and around in a spiral manner, and visualize the motion of the light leaving behind a trail of light that gradually enshrouds your heart in a glowing shield. With each breath, try to fill your heart with this light, As you breathe, think of opening, flowing, being.
Any amount of creative visualization can be applied during your meditation. Whatever works for you, or whatever seems worth a try, should be considered. With infections, you might imagine inner armies of good microphages sweeping through your system to do battle with bad germs. You could employ disease-seeking bio-agents empowered by magical forces, fatigue-destroying chemical insurgents that regenerate and cleanse muscles, guardian angels descending to touch your wounds or tenderly hold your heart or other organ with their healing powers, bathing yourself in glowing fields of color, or whatever individualized instrumentalities you can imagine that might work to make you more fully alive, more open, more flowing, more able to Be and to Be Well.
Back to my own personal examples. Next I move my focus to my prostate gland, which is enlarged and sometimes creates partial blockage of urine flow from my bladder. So here I go again, giving this organ my full attention, speaking and cajoling, reasoning and communicating with it. After centering and returning to awareness of my breath, I again move my point of light to my bladder and prostate area. I move the light around the inside of my bladder, radiating healing. then I move it down my urethra and to the prostate gland that surrounds it. I visually scan my prostate gland in concentric circles, around and around until I feel it has been sufficiently irradiated with healing light. And in this case, as with my eye muscles, I can also exercise my prostate to some degree by constricting the muscles around the gland, an exercise that I incorporate into my healing meditation. I imagine my prostate releasing its grip on my urethra, relaxing and feeling less stressed about its plight, whatever that may be. As with my sinuses, I ask it to use its body intelligence to take its place in the larger view of the entire organism called Me/Us of which it is a part.
And so forth. In this same manner, you may address problems or issues with any of your various glands, or other organs, stomach, lungs, bowels, and more. Cleanse and heal them with your moving point of light. Locations of pain in your body can be addressed similarly. Move your point of light to the center of the pain, and ask it to open to increased flow of blood and fluids, and to release from stress and tension. Another approach is to ask the affected nerves that signal pain to your body to desensitize themselves to the pain, as a kind of merciful action.
Problems with bodily joints such as knees, wrists, hips, shoulders, ankles, fingers can perhaps be better addressed by using walking meditation, which is the next topic.
Part 2 – Healing with Walking Meditation
Based on similar principles but requiring a slightly different approach, healing of joint problems is approached by meditating while walking. Again, this is a simple and straightforward process. You should preferably be barefooted to feel the most constant with the floor, although wearing socks is ok. Walking (clockwise) in a circle around a room works best because you will not be distracted during the meditation by differing stimuli or surfaces. As you walk, keep your eyes open but directed somewhat downward to see where you are going and yet not become too distracted by other features of the room.
While do walking meditation for healing, one of the most important techniques is to walk as flat-footed as possible. The purpose is to stimulate the nerve endings on the soles of your feet to the maximum extent, and then to visualize the resulting nerve impulses rising up through your body and through all your joints as you walk. This method of walking also requires more of a jolting gait, which sends small shudders of vibration through your body as you walk, again to remind you of your intention.
I recommend a special walking technique that requires you to pay attention to it, and thus provides a means of continuous focus rather than merely unconscious walking. Here is the technique: As you take each step, land your forward foot – not on the ball of your foot but on the entire sole at once – and at the same time rest and balance your back foot only on its bent toes. At this point, briefly pause and rest in this position. Let energy flow up your flat foot, and use your bent back toes to keep you balanced in this position — for just a moment. Then take the next step and again pause for a moment on your other foot. This ensures that your gait is not continuous and unconscious, but deliberate and irregular, a kind of conscious stop-and-go.
Meanwhile, the main idea of walking meditation is to flex your joints while focusing attention upon them in the same manner as described previously for sitting meditation. It makes obvious sense to do this while moving because it flexes the ankles, knees, and hip joints naturally. To flex your fingers, wrists, elbows, and shoulder joints, plus spine and neck, requires but a small degree of consciously moving these joints in some manner as part of the meditative healing process — not so much to physically exercise them but to merely help bring them to the attention of your focus in succession.
As before, you bring your focused attention successively to all your joints, beginning with your toes and ankles and then working gradually upwards. Visualizing the joints themselves Opening to Flow is an integral part of the process, as before. Besides the action of nerve impulse from the soles of your feet, Flow also refers to increased blood flow to the joints as they open up according to your intention and attention. And it also refers to directing your visualized breath to all these same areas at the same time. In particular, you can imagine the flow of natural synovial fluid lubricating and healing your joints. Imagine whatever scar tissue you may have accumulated at inflicted joints to be melting and relaxing, affording greater range of motion and movement without pain.
When you bring your attention to the joints not directly involved in walking, you should gently flex those joints as you bring your focused attention to them. Regarding your fingers, open and close your palms as you walk. Flex your spine gently to and fro when attending to back problems. Raise your shoulders up and down, and then back and forth, when their turn comes for your healing attention and dialogue. Similarly with your neck, which can be gently flexed to left and right as well as up and down in its turn.
When you have finished all your upward-rising attentions to your joints, bring your concentration to the top of your head. Try to make your scalp tingle with your focus on it, and then imagine a stream of energy entering the top of your head and going down through your body, through all your joints, and then entering into the earth or floor on which you walk. This last imaginative exercise is also an introduction to the final phase of the healing meditation, presented below as an optional closing exercise. When you are finished walking, resume your sitting posture.
Part 3 – Healing with Sitting Meditation, using a Light-Shroud
This is an optional healing visualization to be done following your Healing with Walking Meditation.
The idea of this final healing meditation is use the moving focus of your attention to create a spiral shroud or shield of energy around your body as you meditate. Begin as you did in the first part, by bringing your focus to your breath, to your nostrils. Feel it there as both a psychic and physical presence, as if your mind is touching your breath. Now transform this into your point of light, as before.
Now move your point of light to the very top of your head, resting on your scalp or hair. Begin to move your point of light by mental willpower so as to describe a small clockwise circle around the top of your head. Then, slowly, as slowly or quickly as you are ready to proceed, gradually move this point of light downward to create a larger circle around your scalp and forehead. As is moves, imagine it leaving a trace a light behind as a continuously glowing cord. Continue this meditation by creating a downward moving spiral of light following your moving point of focus as it spirals slowly down and around your body, a little at a time. Keep your point of light always in direct contact with your skin, not floating at some distance in space around you. The intention is to continuously “feel” or “see” the point of light upon your skin at all times, letting it touch to your body as it gradually ravels or weaves a healing shroud of light around you. Go as slowly as you need to to stay focused enough to weave this shroud or shield.
Ultimately your spiral garment of light will reach the floor on which you are sitting. At this time, bring the focus of attention to the base of your spine, while keeping an image of your complete glowing shield that describes the surface of your body exactly. Maintaining your spine straight, now begin to bring the focal point of your attention, which is still a point of light, upwards along your spine, vertebra by vertebra. When you attain the top of your head, launch the point of light into the space behind you as an extension of your spine. Visualize yourself as being completely encased in a spiraling garment of light that now extends a growing tendril into the air above you. “See” yourself as a light-being encased in a glowing shroud of energy — a healing force that you have created with the power of your own imagination, a divine power you can access at any time.
Now continue elevating your moving point of focus into the air, through the ceiling or space above you, rising ever higher into the sky, up into the clouds. This is your “antenna” that gathers energy and channels it to you. Keep it rising above the earth and heading out into space. Visualize the surface of the earth, with a line of glowing energy rising upward from the place at which you sit in healing meditation. Now widen or grow your line of light so that it includes more space at the leading edge, like a trellis or a tree or trianglular curtain at whose base you are sitting. The idea is to increase the size of your antenna to be able to gather even more energy. Continue raising your trellis of light through the solar system and into galactic space, and then go beyond into the furthermost depths of space. Remember that your imagination is an unlimited power that can take you anywhere you can imagine. Take it wherever you wish.
Imagine the trellis of light created by your consciousness as a net gathering energy from the universe itself, which you can then direct down into your spiral shield of Being. Visualize yourself being Open to it, letting in the Flow of universal energy, embracing and filling you with healing energy. Feel gratitude for this gift from the universe, called into being by your own intention and will. This creation is a true analogue of universal consciousness, which you can directly experience to some degree in this healing meditation.
This is a good time to focus on deep breathing using both your lungs and your diaphragm. With every in-breath, feel a rush of healing energy pulsing through your light body, radiating health into your entire body and all its elements; on every out-breath, let go and release this energy through your exhalation, carrying with it your toxins, ailments, and problems — evacuating them into the void beyond the protection of your energy shield.
Finally, when you feel sufficiently bathed in the light of cosmic energy within your personal shield, you may collapse your shield at any time on any given exhalation of your breath. If possible, lie down now and give thanks for your healing. Rest in this feeling. Relax and let go of tensions and concerns. Be Open to these moments of Flow, and fully let your self Be Here Now.