Jim Parks, A Journey Into Light, Inc.
“Meditation works!” This is a simple, but profound statement. It is becoming widely accepted that meditation and its cousins: guided meditation, visualization, stress mangement, and hypnosis can have a substantial impact on improving our health.
I recently saw a list of current studies a mile long that prove it’s efficacy.
After reading these studies, it is hard to imagine anybody believing that these practices can’t aid in the treatment of anything from insomnia to breast cancer. My personal experience bears out the research: My wife suffered from “wanting-to-jump-out-of her-skin” Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly called “The Winter Blues.” The lack of light in our long dark Chicago winter had affected her deeply since childhood, and it wasn’t until the mid-90’s that she came to realize she was struggling with a disease that not only had a name, but that affected millions of others.
Her therapy consisted of sitting under a powerful full-spectrum light, but we also experimented with her listening to visualizations of sunshine that I had recorded onto a cassette (with cheesy-sounding waves in the background). We were so excited and encouraged by the results that we eventually produced a CD of guided meditations we titled A Journey Into Light.
Now developed into a CD of vivid imagery and lush musical backgrounds, the listener is swept away to sunbathe on a beach under an inviting summer sun, to a tropical spa to receive a massage of liquid light, and to a personal “shower of light.” (Judging from their comments and their smiles, our listeners appear to be enthusiastic with the results!)
The plot thickens: Through a happy accident, we discovered that what we intended as a treatment for “The Winter Blues” was being applied to other maladies as well. (One example: a bipolar teenager played it during her depressed phase, and her mother reported her being “remarkably better.” The CD that was intended as a treatment for S.A.D. is being used by people simply to feel better.
When I thought about it, it all made sense: who wouldn’t feel better while experiencing the simple joy of relaxing in bright sunlight? Which brings me to my point: Feeling better begets healing better. By “feeling better,” I mean that the feeling of panic which is brought about by trauma, pain, or dysfunction has been slowed and transformed into a state of stability and trust. In other words, wanting to feel better is wanting to stabilize emotionally. Before we can even begin to get on with the business of healing. Perhaps his explains why, when we are hurting, finding a doctor with a “good bedside manner” is so important. …It also explains why meditation works. Think of the human pulse. When we see it on a computer screen, it appears erratic in its ups and downs as it reflects the cacophony of everyday living; but when the person is involved in pleasant meditation, that pulse-line goes from jagged to smooth and rounded. Since what we see on the screen is what is being broadcast throughout the body, the implications are not all that difficult to grasp: what organism on earth wouldn’t fare better when surrounded by harmony and coherence rather than the dissonance and uncertainty that we are subject to in 21st Century America?
But attitudes are changing. Integrative healers have replaced the “Body As Machine” model with the “Body As Expression Of Spirit” model. The assumption is that disease is not, in essence, a physical phenomenon, but rather a mental, emotional, and spiritual one. I am proud that our CD can take its small place in a time of “full-spectrum healing,” a time of recognizing that our lives will be be better and our treatments will be far more effective when our jingle-jangled minds are calmed… A time of recognizing that feeling better begets healing better.