Finding Cancer Energy

The elevator doors of Tokyo Imperial Hotel glide open and I walk towards the crisp white door framed by a glowing white entryway. I walk down the clinic’s sterile white hallway, enchanted by the glowing modernity, to meet one of Japan’s best plastic surgeons.

A series of fateful connections bring me here, and I have the fortune to meet Dr. Utsugi, a kind mentor who introduces me to the world of alternative and integrative medicine in Japan.

Navigating the stream of humanity in Tokyo’s business district, we make our way to the clinic of Dr. Karo Maeda, M.D., Ph.D., who is the president of the Association of Cancer Energy Annihilation Therapy (CEAT).

Before Dr. Maeda shares his time with us, he receives two patients, and I observe a practical demonstration of the Bi-Digital O-Ring test (BDORT). Discovered by Dr. Yoshiaki Omura of New York Medical College, this is a non-invasive test for detecting the presence of imbalances in the human system – such as cancer.

Dr. Maeda begins by explaining that cancer develops in stages. In between DNA mutation and prior to the development of a detectable tumor, there exists a latent period during which cancer is undetectable by conventional methods, yet cancer energy is already present.

IMG_20160524_165131

Dr. Maeda uses this graphic to illustrate the trajectory of cancer development. To the left of the y-axis, cancer is not detectable by standard means. To the right, conventional medicine detects what has already developed into tumors.

The underlying principle of BDORT (and all cancer treatment, ostensibly), is that the earlier the cancer is detected, the greater the chance of eradicating it becomes. Unlike conventional detection methods, BDORT is able to detect cancer earlier. That’s the simple premise of this technique.

300px-BDORT-fig2

Bi-Digital refers to two digits of one hand, forming an ‘o’. With one hand, the patient holds a sample of a particular cancer tissue and with the other hand the patient holds an “o” shape, maintaining consistent pressure.

The clinician tries to move the patient’s fingers apart while passing a sensor (mental or laser) over specific points on the patient’s body.

IMG_20160524_165145

Samples of various cancers, used for BDORT

The principle behind detection is that when the sensor passes over an area of the body which contains the same energy as that in the sample held by the patient, the frequency levels of the respective energies coincide and this causes the muscles of the patient’s hand to weaken briefly despite consistently maintained pressure, which allows the clinician to pull them apart easily and visualize where and what type of cancer is developing.

Interestingly, an experienced clinician (such as Dr. Maeda) can make the detection with the help of an assistant. In this case, the patient stands before the assistant, who holds a sample in the hand that moves the sensor along the patient’s body and the other hand is reached out to the clinician, who attempts to part the closed O-ring.

BDORT clinician

Should the O-Ring test reveal the presence of cancer energy, the treatment that Dr. Maeda prescribes is microwave irradiation therapy.

IMG_20160524_165524

Dr. Utsugi demonstrates how a patient might receive targeted microwave irradiation therapy

The idea behind this therapy is to kill cancer cells with heat, while leaving normal cells intact. One main difference between normal and cancer cells allows for this to happen: normal cells have a high level of vessel vascularization, while cancer cells have little to no vascularization.

When the irradiation hits the targeted group of cells, cancer cells heat up while normal cells retain their temperature of 37°C since they are exposed to the cooling effects of their surrounding blood vessels. Vessels act as a cooling system, and those cells which lack this system (the cancer cells) perish due to rapid heating.

Dr. Maeda points out that the change in energy frequency (and subsequent heating of cells) must occur very rapidly, since a gradual change in frequency will overpower the vessels’ cooling capacity and both types of cells will be harmed.

Since we’re speaking through an interpreter, some things get lost in translation, but I find Dr. Maeda’s explanation clear and very interesting nonetheless. Below: Dr. Maeda with Dr. Utsugi and me in his office.

While hearing about “cancer energy” might render some skeptical, the logic behind the methods seems clear to me. I’m left curious to learn more.

During my time in Tokyo, Dr. Utsugi also introduces me to Dr. Yoshitane Akiyama. Dr. Akiyama is a physician and lawyer, who has not eaten for the past 9 years. I’m really surprised when Dr. Utsugi explains this for the first time. I have a chance to meet Dr. Akiyama in person, albeit briefly, and learn that he has transitioned to using prana-nourishment (energy nourishment) instead of food.

IMG_20160526_194438

From left: Dr. Utsugi, Dr. Akiyama, and Masuaki Kiyota

This time, it is a stretch for me to wrap my mind around the idea. Dr. Akiyama mentions Jasmuheen, a proponent of prana nourishment, who inspired him to embark on this path.

Writing this, I’m decide to research further and come across a fragment from a documentary called “In The Beginning There Was Light” – which details a scientific study conducted on Yogi Prahlad Jani who has not eaten/drunk water in more than 60 years. Watching this, I became less quick to dismiss the idea of pranic nourishment as impossible.

Lastly, Dr. Utsugi introduces me to a man by the name of Masuaki Kiyota, a psychic who is able to bend metal with his mind.

IMG_20160528_175037

Kiyota-San invites me to his home and shares his practice, demonstrating how it is possible to twist, and “cut” a metal spoon with the mind. Being likewise skeptical about this at the start, my mind is changed when I see the phenomenon occur right before my eyes.

Kiyota-San explains that in order to achieve this, he concentrates on a vision of what the outcome will look like. By focusing on it with extreme concentration, he is able to achieve the unlikely transformation.

It seems too incredible to be true, but there I am, holding a twisted spoon in my hand.

IMG_20160528_204843

This week teaches me some things about having an open mind. By being open, you open your eyes to seeing something that was always there but you would never have been able to see before. Once again, I’m left with a growing curiosity to understand energy-based healing and the vast power of the mind over matter.

Advertisements

Yogic

IMG_20151213_143057

A still river spirit

“Do you know what the word “yoga” means?” my teacher asks me, sitting directly across from me in the Yogashala hall, in the lively crowded part of Mysore. Old Mysore, close to the famous palace.

There are no trendy-yoga-pants-wearing, starbucks-in-hand, gucci-handbag-toting ladies here. For our evening session, 6-8 women come after work, wearing their saris. Donning our sweatpants and t-shirts, we begin the evening practice.

On Saturdays, the ladies don’t come. It’s a coveted time of spending time with their children, resting from work. But Kanchen, my teacher, kindly meets with me one-on-one. I’m glad she does, because this whole Ashtanga yoga thing is very new to me.

The first day when I try to follow along with the other women, I make a lot of mistakes. Something crunches in my tailbone area, the sharp jolt of pain reminding me that I can harm myself trying to keep up with everyone else.

I’ll need to ease into this new practice, my 22-year old body an old soul, more akin to that of a 50-year old human.

To answer Kanchen’s question, I spout out something I’ve heard before: “yoga is a practice that unites the body, mind, and spirit.”

“And…?” she questions. I’m drawing a blank. “And a higher power? The universe?” No, she laughs. I like this teaching method. It feels like I’m being shown up by a wise guru who easily dispatches of me in a martial-arts battle of words. Not in a hurtful way, but in a way that teaches me humility, and more importantly, curiosity.

What is the point of asanas (yoga postures) anyway? What is the point of yoga? First thing that came to my mind was physical health, but our discussion quickly leads me to see that this is just a by-product of yoga practice. It’s not the point.

Yoga, Kanchen explained, means “link.” It links four things: breathing, posture, gaze, and stamina (being able to hold position with comfortable stability). In sitting meditation, we focus on our breathing. Yoga is a form of meditation in which you pay attention to these four elements together. Definitely not an easy task!

So the purpose? The same as meditation. Kanchen referred to it as learning to recognize the “super soul” present within each of us. The higher power isn’t outside of us, it is simply within. We are already enlightened, we just have to realize this, a Zen Buddhist might say.

Yoga, with all of its various branches, is but a means to an end. The ultimate end, then, is for us to connect with our “super soul,” our inner Buddha, the God of Love within us. Humans have many words and guises for this phenomenon, but in the end, it is all the same experience, I believe. The mystic experience can’t be divided by the boundaries of religions.

***

It’s now been almost two weeks since I’ve moved to Mysore. Serendipitously, a friend I made at the Dr. Alan Wallace conference in Bangalore had introduced me to one of her dear friends in Mysore. This kind and loving family has taken me in, and I’ve been staying with them ever since leaving Cochin.

Each morning, Dolly and I get off to an early start at 5:30 am. We take an early morning moped ride to Audrey’s home (Dolly’s sister), moving quickly through the still-dark and crisp morning air.

Though the building’s stairwell is dark, an inviting warm light emanating from under Audrey’s door greets us. Inside, Audrey and Paul (a kind and wise yoga teacher friend from Ireland) have already taken their places on yoga mats. Sneaking in a few minutes late, we sheepishly sit down and Paul begins to lead our 6 am yoga class.

IMG_20151213_151625

The early morning Yoga team: Paul, Audrey, little Ava, me (+Dolly)

IMG_20151213_151753

Tiny yogi

After a restorative cup of green tea, Paul and I leave to travel to the Yogashala, yoga mats and multiple bags somehow tucked onto a moped already carrying two people.

I love the early morning hours marking the beginning of a new day in India. Lots of people commute to work on their mopeds and motorcycles, children dressed in school uniforms laugh together in small groups, street vendors prepare their vegetable and fruit carts, cows nonchalantly walk on the roads, grazing on grass and (unfortunately) some piles of garbage. Once, I saw a small group of monkeys making their way along the street.

IMG_20151221_122510

A small street in the old Mysore neighborhood near my Yogashala

IMG_20151221_102832

The Yogashala’s garden

I’ve convinced Kanchen, my yoga teacher, to meet with me one-on-one in the mornings, as the evening session turned out to be too advanced for a beginner like me. Kanchen is very knowledgeable and shares insights into yoga philosophy with me in addition to introducing me to the asanas.

Later, at 11, I join the students enrolled in the teacher training course at the Yogashala for Pranayama lessons. Pranayama is a practice of controlling the breath. Deep, controlled, very slow breathing stimulates the body to produce more red blood cells – Kanchen’s scientific explanation for the practice. More blood cells means more oxygen delivered to all of the body’s tissues, which results in increased strength and health.

Chant studies with Jayashree and Narasimhan DEC2015

Chant studies with Jayashree and Narasimhan (last row, middle). My yoga teachers, Kanchen and Paul (front row, woman wearing purple sari, man wearing white).

The course in Pranayama is taught by Guruji BNS Iyengar, a revered teacher.

Once the Pranayama course ends, I catch an auto rickshaw to ‘I Can’ – a wonderful and ambitious Montessori school founded by Audrey and Dolly. In addition to yoga, I’m also volunteering as a teacher. I’ve started working with the 40 lively young souls in I Can’s kindergarten class – an exhilarating, rewarding, and exhausting experience.

This deserves a post all to itself, and I hope to share with you how my efforts at integrating mindfulness games into the classroom go! For now, I’ve shared what a typical day in Mysore is like for me. Not to say there is anything like a typical day here, but just to share a glimpse. 🙂

IMG_20151211_123823

“I Can” kindergarten learns about Rome, dresses as the most adorable army of Roman soldiers you’ve ever seen

Seeking spirituality, finding solace

In the last few days before my departure to South India, I’ve been reflecting on my experiences exploring contemplative practices in Germany and France. As I think back on my time spent at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism and the three Christian monasteries I recently visited (read about this in my last post), I find one common theme that interlaces these spaces of spirituality: solace.

Setting out to explore Western and Eastern practices of contemplation, I was interested most in finding commonalities between the two. Is the element that draws people to seek contemplative practices shared by Buddhism and Christianity?

I am writing this from a personal perspective, simply wanting to share some of my own realizations and thoughts on the topic. I recognize that not everyone will share my point of view, and I respect those differences. As I’ve learned from my previous experience at the Russian Orthodox monastery, intolerance and a lack of understanding for other perspectives is a terrible thing to encounter in any of its forms.

When I was at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism (EIAB), I was reminded of a very simple, yet very powerful practice: taking refuge in your breath. I had first learned about this idea at the Blue Cliff Monastery in upstate New York, when a sister (with a spirit pure as a child’s shining through her kind eyes) earnestly spoke to us about taking refuge in our breath.

Taking refuge in your breath simply means this: no matter how stressed you are, how difficult the situation you are facing is, how uncertain the future, and how much fear you shelter in your being, you can just remember that you’re breathing. No matter what, you’re breathing.

It sounds very obvious: of course I’m breathing!! I am also stressed!!! That means you’re doing it wrong. I think a good analogy is this: look at the following picture:

For 16.10.2015 post - Jesus word optical illusion

At first, you just see the gray figures, the meaningless shapes. But then, something shifts in your mind, and you’re able to see the message written in white. The most interesting thing is that both the gray and white messages are present simultaneously. They are both reality, yet they have very different meanings. It is a matter of perspective which reality we will choose (whether willingly or unwillingly) to live.

It is similar with the practice of returning to feel the safety of our breath. We can remember to return to notice our breathing (just seeing the gray shapes) and we can return to our breath in difficult times with the realization of profound safety (seeing the message written in white). In the second reality, we find a deep feeling of solace – solace whose source lies at our core.

Yet this transition is as elusive as the optical illusion the gray and white image plays on our mind. Sometimes, you see the white letters right away. Other times, no matter how hard you try, your brain stubbornly refuses to see anything other than the gray shapes.

When the sister at Blue Cliff first introduced us to the practice of taking refuge in our breath, I saw the white letters, almost immediately feeling the sense of solace and warm comfort radiating through me. I haven’t found a good way to describe this feeling, but “wholeness” is the best I can come up with. Another way to describe it perhaps may be to use the term “sacred respect” – this feeling of connection to something that’s part of us, yet also ancient, much greater than us.

However, I forgot the message quickly. Even when I first came to the EIAB, and a special bell reminded us to stop all we were doing and return to our breath, I just saw the gray shapes. I noticed my breath, but I didn’t connect with that feeling of solace. Only a few days later did my perception shift to remind me of truly taking refuge in my breath. Suddenly, I saw the white letters once more.

In the Christian monasteries in Germany and France, I encountered the same idea of solace, but in a different light. Here, the solace came from the knowledge that no matter what situation we might find ourselves in, what difficulties we might be facing, the troubles we encounter, God has a plan for us and we must trust in the wisdom of this plan. We can plan for tomorrow, yet we do not actually know what each new day holds for us. We cannot see the plan in its entirety, only the present moment. Yet a force is there, guiding us through challenges, and we must learn to see it, connect with it, and appreciate it. In doing so, we find solace and the feeling of “wholeness” or “sacred respect.”

Based on my own experience, it feels that letting go of the idea that we are alone responsible for what happens in our lives and trusting in a guiding force can be a source of great encouragement and solace. Rather than questioning why something happens (or doesn’t happen) at a particular time, and instead simply watching events life events unfold, I have come to trust that there’s a greater force leading me than just my own decisions which are based merely on a limited knowledge (in the grand scheme of things) of the world around me.

This message is represented equally well by the gray and white image I’ve spoken about earlier. In fact, it was shown to us by a brother during a bible study meeting at Taize monastery, and the message is the same, it seems to me. Our perception (again, willingly or unwillingly) sometimes allows us to see just the gray shapes, and we can come to believe that we are alone responsible for what happens to us in life. However, its also possible for our perception to shift, revealing the message in white, letting us know that we do not carry the burden of our fate alone – greater forces than we can understand are involved.

Although the traditions I’ve explored may be different from one another in many ways, both have a way of evoking the feeling of “wholeness” or “sacred respect” that I write about. I’m very glad to see this connection, because for me it reaffirms my innate belief in the wisdom of all religions, irrespective of their different teachings. I am glad that I can use the same picture to illustrate one idea: that our perception plays a central role in achieving “wholeness” or “sacred respect,” and the same realization may be encountered through the teachings of two different religions.

DSC04886

A cloistered life

The past few weeks, I’ve been exploring practices of contemplation, ritual, and prayer in several traditions of the Christian Faith. This journey has taken me to three monasteries in Germany and France.

Christianity has traditions of contemplation reaching far into the past, and my motivations for this exploration were to encounter new philosophies towards life and health, which I could compare with what I learn about mind-body healing from Buddhism, Shamanism, and other spiritual traditions.

The first step of this journey took me to a small monastery just outside of Munich. It was a Russian Orthodox women’s monastery founded in the name of the martyr St. Elizabeth. It was unusual to find a Russian Orthodox monastery in Bavaria, and I stumbled upon it by chance while searching for Cistercian or Benedictine monasteries in the South of Germany.

The monastery welcomed pilgrims, who would come to spend a few days, weeks, or months living with the rhythm of monastic life and working to sustain the monastery.

I knew that this experience would be different from the practices of meditation and mindfulness I had been exploring earlier, but I also didn’t know exactly what to expect. The first sister I spoke with upon arrival warned me not to ask the monastics directly about their experiences with “spiritual healing,” as I had proposed to do while cautiously explaining the purpose of my project. That wasn’t allowed, she told me, and suggested I focus instead on my own experience. It seemed strange to me to have a ban on questions, but fair enough, I thought.

And so began my week of monastic life. I lived in a simple cell, following the daily pattern of monastic life. The wake-up call was a rhythmic sound created by the pounding of a wooden mallet on a wooden board, held by a sister who walked along the hallways at 3:30 am. At 4 am, the daily prayers began, including the Divine Liturgy, and lasted until 8 am. After a fast breakfast, it was time to begin work, which would go until noon. From noon until 1:45 pm, there was a period of rest, and after quick tea, we went back to work – until 6 pm, when the evening prayer would take place. Following dinner, there was once again a prayer service.

Ritual was essential. In addition to the structure of the day itself, each prayer time also had its own structure and ritual. Before entering or leaving the church, one had to make a sign of the cross across their body and bow deeply, touching the ground with the right hand. There was a certain order to how one should walk around the church, bow before and kiss the icons. There were certain times one had to ask for the blessing of the head monastic, also in a certain way. One could not step on the rug of the head monastic’s chair, I quickly learned from stepping on the rug.

I made a lot of mistakes. So much of this was so new to me, and I simply didn’t know how to do many things properly. What must have seemed so obvious to the sisters who had spent years in this daily rhythm was novelty to me, and was not at all obvious when, where, and what I should be doing during prayer. It was mortifying to make these mistakes, especially because the reaction I encountered (especially from the head monastic) made it seem like my actions were completely unacceptable. I understand where her perspective might be coming from, but altogether, this made for a high-strung experience on my end.

I think that ritual can be very important. Perhaps it is our belief in ritual that allows healing to take place when one asks for healing. Two other pilgrims I spoke to had shared their stories that the rituals of the monastic life or of praying to certain icons had helped them navigate and recover from physical illnesses, which were often chronic and severe.

However, I wasn’t able to experience this power of ritual, because for the most part I just felt terrified of making further mistakes, which made it difficult for me to be present in my actions of bowing deeply or making prostrations, honoring the icons, and partaking in other parts of the ritual. Due in part to my lack of knowledge and familiarity with each practice, I felt mostly like an outsider – participating, but with a hollow feeling of inadequacy that was summarized by a feeling of being unqualified to participate.

There were some times, especially when I called my mind to be truly present together with my actions, that I felt a little bit of the same wholesome feeling I’d encountered when meditating, making prostrations to honor the earth, and practicing energy techniques (Qi Gong, Tai Chi, etc.). I think that had I felt safer, more welcome, and familiarized with the faith tradition of this monastic environment I might have experienced similar beneficial outcomes that I do with the ones I’ve mentioned above.

Unfortunately, towards the end of my stay, I also encountered very severe and intolerant views towards other faiths, including towards other branches of Christianity. I still feel traumatized by a conversation that took place shortly before I left, and to be really honest, I am even afraid to write about it here on my own blog. It will suffice to say that my project plans (even the very self-censored account that I made the mistake of sharing) were heavily disapproved of and I was advised to refrain from further travel and any involvement whatsoever with any faiths other than Russian Orthodoxy.

After leaving a place where I felt trapped, I had doubts about continuing on to my next planned project site. After all, I had been forced to lie at the previous monastery to say I would change my plans and refrain from visiting Taize. However, I ultimately decided I shouldn’t let one bad experience stop me from trying once again.

Arriving in Taize, an ecumenical Christian community in the South of France, I was glad I persevered. The atmosphere here felt entirely different – open and welcoming. Each year, around 100,000 pilgrims visit Taize, most of them young adults. The founder of Taize, Brother Roger, had a vision of uniting the divided branches of Christianity and returning to the core values of this faith.

DSC04320 DSC04339 DSC04346

Life in Taize was simple. People who came lived in tents and dormitories, eating outdoors, and praying three times each day together in the monastery’s church. The prayers at Taize were beautiful – we sang songs as one large community, together with the brothers. Some of the songs can be found here. This one is one of my favorites.

We sang songs in a variety of languages – French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, English, German, Polish, and several others. Each song was typically repeated many times, and became in itself a singing meditation. At each prayer, there was also a time of silence, typically following a reading from the bible. This was a time for reflection and prayer.

DSC04323

Prayer at Taize

What I enjoyed most was meeting with a larger Bible study group to listen to a brother speak about excerpts from the Bible, and later to meet with a smaller Bible study group, where we would speak about our own questions, doubts, and experiences.

My Bible study group + some honorary members :)

My Bible study group + some honorary members 🙂

Once again, this was an experience quite different from what I know about mindfulness and meditation, but addressed something very essential: community life. Below is a quote by Brother Roger, which best summarizes the importance of community life:

“Since my youth, I think that I have never lost the intuition that community life could be a sign that God is love, and love alone. Gradually the conviction took shape in me that it was essential to create a community with men determined to give their whole life and who would always try to understand one another and be reconciled, a community where kindness of heart and simplicity would be at the centre of everything.”

Brother Roger: “God is love alone”

Relating this idea back to our modern world beyond monastery walls, I think many people now lack this essential element of community. The nuclear family unit alone, I think, is not sufficient and it is difficult for people to be without a sense of community. I believe it has already been shown by scientific research that loneliness and isolation can contribute to poor health in humans.

I think it’s interesting to think about this notion of community from the perspective of healing. One of my original project questions was “how can mindfulness achieve healing not only for individuals, but also for communities?” I want to reformulate and try to answer this question with what I’ve learned by observing and participating in life at Taize.

The new question would sound something more along the lines of “how can awareness of community and solidarity with others be a healing force in itself?” Community is created by shared interests and values, a sense of belonging and solidarity with this community, and working cooperatively toward a mutual goal. All of these elements I think can help give people a sense of purpose in life. This purpose and shared energy with others can in itself be a force of healing, I think, which adds another dimension to the already-present power of healing that is present with a belief in healing (whether it is through God, one’s attitude of mindfulness, perhaps both…).

This importance of community is something that I take away from my experience at Taize. I think this new perspective will be essential when moving on to explore other communities of contemplation across the world. As for ritual, I think I will need some time to work with this in order to better understand it and its potential for healing power. I think that in the future, I will specifically be interested in learning more about rituals of healing – both spiritual and physical. Both, I hope to find through my explorations of Shamanism in Peru.

Making communal work fun!

Making communal work fun!

The final monastery I visited was the famous Abbey of Cluny, a former Benedictine monastery. I learned that this used to be the center of a vast network of monasteries across Europe and was once quite wealthy and powerful. The day of a Clunaic monk was very strict – eight times during the course of the day and night the monks would gather for communal prayers. They lived in silence and spent other portions of the day in private prayer, reading, and work. One person, the Abbot, made all executive decisions for Cluny.

While it seems to be the same way at the Monastery of St. Elizabeth and at Taize, I’m not sure that I find this way of decision-making conducive to fostering community spirit, but that’s a discussion for another time…

Beautiful French countryside

Beautiful French countryside

DSC04316

The Secret Garden: finding the beautiful silk thread of fate

Reluctantly approaching the pile of books, boxes, pencilcases, strewn clothes, and other colorful assorted belongings near my bookshelf, planning to finally approach the ‘clean up room’ bullet-point of my pre-departure checklist – I did what most people leaving for one year of backpacking around the world would do with only 2 weeks left before their trip, and little planning done: I chose a completely unrelated book and started reading.

It wasn’t any book. It was a book that for some unknown reason I had a strong predjudice against as a child, when it had been given to me as a gift. And so, the beautiful hardcover, illustrated color copy of The Secret Garden sat on various shelves until the day I finally decided that reading a children’s book would be a better way of spending the little time I had left before departing for my odyssey than any sort of necessary planning.

Unexpectedly, the book turned out to be more relevant to my journey than perhaps anything else I could have chosen to read. It was a story of transformation, a story of how thoughts have the power to bring illness and cure illness. A story of healing through belief in one’s ability to heal themselves, and a story that reminded me of the thin silk thread of fate that winds its way through all of life, interconnecting people, places, events – in short, everything. Mysterious, little recognized, and almost invisible thread indeed.

My favorite quote from The Secret Garden is this: “thoughts – just mere thoughts – are as powerful as electric batteries – as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.”

Reading this electrified me, and not just because I love all things that speak to the mind-body connection and my choice of literature had seemingly coincidentally reflected this message. No, it was the realization that an effervescent thread had led me to this book, and in it I found just the message I had needed to hear. For the few previous weeks, I had been feeling really anxious about my upcoming journey. Rather than experience gratitude every day knowing that I had received such a blessing and opportunity to travel, my mind found ways to give into fear and self-doubt. How could I journey for a year completely alone? What if I squandered the opportunity and didn’t accomplish what I wanted? What if everyone else was doing better than me on their projects?

What if. I hope to throw away those words before, during, and after my journey. I hope to shatter them each time they come up, and to place my faith in that mysterious silk thread running through our lives. It is that very thread that led me to my bookshelf, to pick up the book I’d thought I would be least likely to ever read. Those words really are as terrible as the scarlet fever germ, and I hope that I will have the strength and mindful observation to throw them out when I find their seeds stealthily taking root in my mind.

Every detour, every obstacle, every frustration has something hidden in it. Look for the thin thread – it is there. It might be hard to see through anxiety, pain, worry, and emotion, but it is there. Have faith in that thread and in yourself, tend that faith to grow it as you would a garden, and you will overcome the obstacles to ultimately grow and triumph amid adversity.

Delights of A Secret Garden

Delights of A Secret Garden