A month or two after my diagnosis, I went to see Devatara Holman, a Buddhist doctor in Sausalito. Devatara studied acupuncture and Buddhist medicine in China. When I asked her if there is a book that details her work, she told me that it was only available through direct transmission, which is common with certain Buddhist practices. She had a way of calculating the years my tumors began, which she calculated as 1992. Yep, 19 years ago! She had me focus on what had occurred in that year. Luckily, I had my journals from that year, and went back to re-read them. This was the year I came out as bisexual to my family. Devatara helped me see that I had internalized some guilt over their reaction to my revelation. This was also the year that I traveled to Mali, West Africa and experienced a life-changing spiritual event that, aided by taking a Malaria pill now known to cause psychotic breaks, prompted a deep split in my consciousness; I had done some somatic therapy at that time to integrate my consciousness, but there was much that was left in the dark, which began to grow as tumors in my right breast. Devatara gave me a Buddhist meditation that I have been doing twice daily since I saw her in August. In it, I reflect on my negative thinking from ’92, and then I do a Qigong practice to balance each of the organs and emotions in my system, and then I return to the harmful statements from ’92, and after I read each one, I scan a list of “Buddha qualities” such as Infinite Compassion, Indestructible Bliss, Incalculable Luminosity etc. I choose one of those qualities and call that quality into my body. As I do this, I get a visceral sensation that counteracts and melts the old thinking. The more I do this meditation, the more I notice that I no longer fall into the destructive moods that I had endured monthly for many years. I realize now that these old feelings of helplessness come from having abandoned myself, and that caring for myself very deeply is the antidote to them. Also, consciously bringing my shadow into the light, instead of ignoring it and allowing it to quietly grow, is the solution to not only my tumors, but also the health of my mind and spirit. I find that this meditation is especially helpful when I have bouts of fear about my cancer. During those times I spend extra time chanting the sound that corresponds with the kidneys and fear; (this sound is something like “hiiii.”) When I feel grief I spend extra time on the mantra that has to do with the lungs and grief, (“shang,) and when I feel anger or confusion or overwhelm, I focus on the liver mantra (“giaau.”) I thank Devatara for this meditation.
Devatra Holman, Buddhist Medicine, Marin Oriental Medicine: www.marinorientalmedicine.com