click here to read part 1
As I discussed in PART 2 Beginner’s Mind and the Physical Body, my wife Jewly has been going to school to learn a new vocation in massage therapy and holistic healing techniques. This has exposed me to a plethora of information about healing the body through alternative methods to our current “medicine-as-a-business” culture that often makes us sicker than we would be without it in the first place.
I am not against modern medicine. I am grateful for all of the miracles of modern science that we have. If you really can make improvements on the standard of living for somebody by utilizing every pharmacological or technological breakthrough money can buy, then I am all for it.
Despite all of our knowledge and expertise and scientific breakthroughs, doctors still make mistakes. Some have only practiced what they’ve learned in books or what the pharmaceutical companies and HMO’s have told them is most profitable. And just like people in every profession, some are just plain educated beyond the limits of their own intelligence.
Also, there are things medical science cannot always explain. Medical miracles of the power of the human body and mind surprise us all of the time.
One of the books that Jewly recently brought home for research takes on this concept from a perspective of personal empowerment. Modern Buddhist Healing by Charles Atkins discusses different techniques to utilize in visualizing the body healing itself. Meditation exercises that help the patient focus their energies are detailed. Atkins is a practitioner of Nichiren Daishonen’s Buddhism, which emphasizes a focus on the Lotus Sutra and the chanting of the powerful mantra Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Utilizing this mantra is believed to influence the karmic chain that is the source of disease, as well as the potential cure. Pronouncing the syllables of the mantra create vibrations of energy that permeate the body and unleash the potential to heal. Each word in the mantra corresponds to a different aspect of the human anatomy, and when properly utilized with visualization techniques, is believed to have the potential to help the patient heal the body or manage pain. In situations where the patient terminally ill, managing pain and anxiety can be essential in helping the patient die with dignity and peace of mind.
The interesting thing about these techniques is that they are applicable to everybody regardless of their religious background. Atkins talks about how many of the people he demonstrated these techniques to have little to no experience with Buddhism. Many were devout Christians. Having faith helps, but having faith in yourself and the potential power of the human body-mind is very important to.
In fact, there are endless examples of these very same principles well known in the practice of modern psychology. The power of positive suggestion, the use of hypnosis in therapy, visualization techniques are all well-known and documented. All are frequently utilized by patients and doctors to manage stress and pain. These practices assist patients in healing after surgeries, to overcome mental illnesses and traumas, to cope with death and dying.
I recently received an email newsletter from Deokwun Sunim, a local Buddhist monk from Grand Rapids Zen Center. He wrote an entry for his blog that fits in nicely with my current theme of mindfulness and healing the body.
“Over the past year there have been a series of research articles detailing the beneficial effects of a regular meditation practice. Here is a summary of what the research is finding. What follows is a short list of some of the areas where they have found that a meditation practice has had lasting benefit”
- stress (this is an easy one!)
- smoking cessation
- cognitive processing
- chronic pain
- eating disorders
- post-traumatic stress
“If you take a close look at this list you might notice that all of them have an underlying current of pain and suffering. If we call to mind the Buddha‘s teachings on the Four Noble Truths we can see that the First Noble Truth—suffering—still resonates 2500 years after he gave this teaching. And, the teachings on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness interestingly begin with the Mindfulness of Breathing. So what we can take away from the Buddha’s teaching and current research is that he was on to something—that a place to begin to relieve suffering is through Mindfulness of Breathing, i.e. through a regular meditation practice. Here we are 2500 years later acknowledging what he tried to get us to understand 25 centuries ago.”
click here to read part 1
- The Body-Mind Connection: Part One (hofholistichealingcenters.wordpress.com)
- Different Mind-Body Techniques to Improve Well-Being (brighthub.com)
- Massage and Body Image (hofholistichealingcenters.wordpress.com)
- Biking, Buddhism, and the Body-Mind Connection; PART 2 Beginner’s Mind and the Physical Body (analogmutant.wordpress.com)
- Biking – A Playful Approach To Exercise (via Stress-Less: By Any Means Necessary) (analogmutant.wordpress.com)
- Why did Bhodidharma go to the West? (West Michigan, that is) (analogmutant.wordpress.com)
- Biking, Buddhism, and the Body-Mind Connection; PART 1 Beginner’s Mind and Eliminating Obstacles to Success (analogmutant.wordpress.com)