This is a guided meditation to help all patients with cancer. It is designed to bring deep relaxation and to cope with stress, pain and fear. It begins with a gentle breathing exercise and then using mindfulness we examine the pain, the fear and then step into those emotions and by doing this in a mindful way, we learn to cope with them.
There is fascinating medical research on the use of mindfulness in the treatment of cancer patients in relation to stress reduction produced by Linda Carlson in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Calgary which I would strongly recommend you study.
The full script of the video is set out below.
The music is by Dominic Beeton and is adapted from the track "Flute Meditation" which is on The Chakra Suite album. See meditation music page
Guided Meditation Cancer: Mindfulness for Cancer Patients
Let us start by finding a comfortable position to meditate in. Somewhere we will not be disturbed which is warm and safe and secure. This may be sitting on the floor on a yoga mat or large cushion with perhaps a cushion behind our lower backs to provide extra support with our legs crossed. Alternatively, we may sit on a hard backed chair with a soft cushion on it sitting as upright and straight as we can. We can also sit upright propped with cushions behind our back in bed. You may want to wrap yourself in a shawl or blanket to keep yourself warm as being cold will distract us.
Our bodies should not be tense but as relaxed as we can be. Lift your shoulders up and then let them drop. Open your mouth so that it is barely open and so that air can flow in and out. We are going to begin this meditation by taking some really deep breaths through our nose. Keep your eyes fully open during the meditation as we want to be fully conscious and present in the moment. These breaths start in our diaphragm and are so deep that we can feel our lungs rising as they fill with oxygen and when they are full, we pause for a few seconds and then slowly and gently release our breath out of our mouth. The slower we can release this breath the better. So all of our focus for the next 5 minutes is on the physical process of breathing. Imagine the oxygen filling our lungs. If you like, place your hands on your ribs and feel the oxygen inflating our lungs. If our finger tips are touching as our lungs inflate the fingers should move gently apart. Continue this slow deliberate deep breathing for as long as possible until you find your mind starts drifting.
Next we are going to do a mental body scan. We are going to imagine there is a probing wave scanning our bodies from head to toe to find where there is tension, where there is pain. When we locate tension, we are going to tense that part of our body even more and then release that tension. If you are tense all over then begin by tensing each part of the body starting with the toes, shins, knees, thighs, waist, stomach, chest, fingers, wrists, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, throat, jaw, temples, head and then take that tension to a thin silver cord coming out of the crown of our head and then mentally pull the tension up the silver thread until our bodies are free of tension.
Next focus on any part of the body, that is hurting. Examine this pain. Is it a throbbing pain, a stabbing, shooting pain or is it a dull ache? Does the pain increase when we inhale or does it increase when we exhale? Does it make any difference? Just for a minute step into the pain. Let it take control of your emotions for a short while and try to understand and experience this pain in its full extent. Now come out of the pain and return to the breath. Deeply inhale lungfuls of fresh air in through your nose and hold the breath for a few seconds. Then slowly and gently let the breath seep out of your lungs through your mouth and actually empty your lungs pushing the last drop of oxygen out. Hold for 2 seconds and then begin the slow filling of the lungs once again.
Now as we take our focus off the breath, we will notice our thoughts crowding into our mind. Don’t be aggressive to these thoughts. Look at them with fondness. Look at them as a shepherd might look at his sheep wondering all over the mountain. Just gently usher those thoughts off as you return to the breath. Each time your mind wanders off, gently usher those thoughts off gently like clouds that float into your consciousness and bring your thoughts back to the deep breaths filling your lungs.
As you inhale this time, imagine that as you inhale you are bringing into your body a shining, gleaming, luminescent energy in through the crown of our heads and imagine that that white gleaming shining luminescent energy fills every single cell in our body and that cell then radiates and shines so that after 3 or 4 deep lungfuls of breath our whole body is literally radiating this extraordinary white shining energy. This is source energy. The energy that comes from source. Source, the creator of the universe. That from which all living beings emanate. So we are inhaling this white source energy and as it fills every cell of our body we feel its cleansing, renewing, invigorating power. We can mentally imagine ourselves glowing with this cosmos dust. We are feeling connected with the universe and we know that each and every one of us is made up of this energy and we are all connected with this energy. We feel that connection. The overwhelming feeling is one of love. We feel full of love. We know there are only really 2 emotions: fear and love and as we connect with this universal energy, we are connecting with love. We radiate love for all those around us. Our loved ones, the medical team helping us, our friends, all those wishing us well. We send back love to all of these people.
Now we are going to focus on the outwards breath and as we exhale we are releasing tension, we are releasing pain, we are releasing anxiety, we are releasing stress, we are releasing worry. So as we inhale in comes that white source energy and as we exhale think of the word “release” and literally do that. Release pain, release those fears, release those worries. In comes that white source energy and with the out breath. Release.
Now we are going to connect with one of our emotions, fear. There is no use denying fear. We are going to let that emotion into our body as we inhale and we are going to observe as if we were a scientist observing a symptom in the subject animal. We are going to observe where the fear lodges itself. Does it tighten our stomachs into a churning knot? Does it lock our chests into a vice-like grip? Does it centre itself in our heads? Does it lodge in the depths of our gut? Or does it envelope our whole body from head to toe? Can we rate this fear from 1 to 10, 10 being petrified and 1 being mildly anxious? Does this fear build? Does it have a smell? You have heard the expression “you could smell the fear?” Does it have a taste? When people are anxious their mouths often dry up. Do we feel our saliva drying up? Are there any other sensations in our body that occur as we savour that fear?
Now switch from focusing on fear and choose an emotion that feels good to you. Is it sitting by a pool in an idyllic holiday destination with a cool drink in your hand and feeling the sun’s warmth beat down? Is it standing at the top of a mountain and looking at an amazing view that has opened up at the summit. Is it looking at something we have created or strived for? Like a row of neatly growing plants in an allotment groaning with shining vegetables. Is it crossing the finishing line of a race and looking up at the clock and seeing a fabulous finish time. A new personal best. Is it being praised by your boss or colleagues for an extraordinary feat you have achieved at work or school or college or university? Just focus on the emotions which arise from this wonderful feeling. Bathe in the warmth of that emotion. Step into the emotion so that it envelopes you and surrounds you completely and then step out again to assume the role of observer. Where does this emotion centre itself? Is it in the head? the chest? the stomach? Does it feel strong and does it radiate outwards? Or does it feel like immersion like you are bathing in this warm glow of uplifting emotion. this is your moment. This is your glory. You are the finest example of a human being. You are at the crowning point of your life. You might imagine the repeated flash of the paparazzi’s cameras as they capture your glorious moment. You might imagine raising the trophy high above your head and feel the crowd roar. Just bask in this glorious feeling. Then step out of this emotion and return to your breathing.
Deep lungfuls of fresh air into your lungs. Slow releasing of the breath out. In comes the white source energy making our bodies shine and sparkle and out goes the negative emotions with the out breath. In comes the invigorating, renewing source energy and with the out breath, out goes fear, out goes tension, out goes stress, out goes worry.
In comes loving universal energy connecting us with every living being in the universe. Out go fears, pain, worry and anxiety. And now be conscious of your body after this meditation. Are you feeling relaxed? Are you feeling calm? Are you feeling peace? If those nagging worries come creeping back, smile at them and go back to the breath and they vanish in the ether. We are going to take this calm, this serenity, this stillness into our day or night. When we feel those worries, those anxieties come creeping back, we will return to the deep breaths, return ourselves to a relaxed posture and just count the breaths in and out. With practice, we will be able to ward off worries just by re-triggering these calming breaths and by letting go of the fears. We have complete confidence that we are exactly where we are supposed to be and that the love that surrounds us will protect us. We are peace. We are calm. We are love.