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When Should Surgery Be Considered for Cancer?

 Majid Ali, M.D.

It is a grave mistake not to have early breast cancers removed with surgery. I have seen many tragedies when women decided to treat their early breast cancers with raw foods, herbs, bowel detox, or energy healing. It is an equally grave mistake to unduly delay surgical removal of early colon cancers. Again, I have seen many disastrous results when people elected to “cure” their early colon cancers without surgery. The situation with advanced cancers, that cannot be completely removed, is quite different and surgery usually is not the best course.
On the other hand, prostate cancers in men over 65 years should not be surgically removed. Such cancers can generally be treated with superior long-term clinical results using all natural oxygen and detox therapies (see the tutorial entitled “The Oxygen Protocol for Cancer” for a full description.)

 Surgical removal of cancer should not be unduly delayed whenever an experienced surgeon has a reasonable chance of removing all of the cancerous mass. Frequently, I have seen persons who refused surgery for months and years during the time the tumor could have been removed completely. Unfortunately on many such occasions, young individuals with cancer had been warned by practitioners of "natural medicine" that their cancers would spread if they had a biopsy.

 In my experience, the truly sad cases of cancer have been in young persons who ignored clear signs of the disease because they had heard that their cancers could be "cured" by diet plans, herbal "cures", or "energy" therapies. Worse yet are times when an ill-informed practitioner misled his patients who were under extreme duress. By the time I saw them, their tumors were beyond the point of complete surgical removal.

 There are exceptions to this rule as well. A man in his late fifties consulted me for prostate cancer. I had no doubt the best option for him was a procedure to remove the cancer and follow that with my Oxygen Protocol. In young men, prostate cancer is generally more aggressive than in older men. Of course, younger men have longer to live, and the risk of death from cancer increases with age. He adamantly refused surgery, saying:

 My dad died of prostate cancer. His surgeons had assured him the tumor had been completely removed. I watched him die a very painful death. The same thing happened when my brother developed prostate cancer and had surgery. I am not going to have surgery. That is my final decision. 

 I told him I respected his decision, but wanted him to be very clear about my advice. I outlined my program for him and he began his treatment. Again, this was an extremely well-informed, strong-willed, and knowledgeable person who decided to assume clear risks for himself.

 On the second visit, I again clearly stated my case for the removal of the cancer with a suitable procedure. I reminded him that he was a young man and also had to think of his wife and children. The unfortunate clinical outcome for his father and brother, however sad, was not a valid reason for him to categorically dismiss the option of a suitable procedure. He listened to me politely, then stated his position firmly. He was not going to accept surgery or radiotherapy. I changed the subject.

 On the third visit, I felt morally and ethically obligated to revisit the issue of removal of the cancerous tumor. He took my arguments with good humor, then emphatically said, "Thanks, but no thanks." I promised I would not bring up the subject again, then added that he could re-visit the issue any time he wished. He expressed his determination to closely follow my Oxygen Protocol Program. Now, nearly five years after I first saw him, I am beginning to think that in his case, he seemed to have been right in refusing a procedure to remove his tumor. His PSA is lower than before. He has no urinary symptoms. Clinically, there is no evidence that his tumor is growing. The Oxygen Protocol so far is working well for him.

 Some readers might ask what advice I will give to the next man in his fifties with prostate cancer. I will still recommend the option to remove the tumor with a suitable procedure — killing cancer with freezing (cryoablation), killing cancer with heat generated by sound waves (the HIFU procedure), laser treatment, and surgery — integrated with the Oxygen Protocol. Why would that be my recommendation? Because I have to think of the probability of success in the majority of the persons seeking my opinion. Will my advice change with passing years? Yes, if the good long-term results justify such a change in my position.

 I close this section by paying tribute to the man in the above case history. He is my hero. Men and women like him are blazing a trail. They are opening some new doors of hope for others with cancer, as well as for clinicians like me. The case of an ill-informed practitioner who opposes surgery, without any true-to-life experience in treating cancer, is different. He does not understand the cost of his ignorance to others. The man in my story, and others like him whom I care for, are a different breed. They open possibilities for others by risking their own lives.


After the Cancer Diagnosis:

First Things First

Majid Ali, M.D.

(Taken from The Dysox Model of Cancer, Volume 1 (2007)

When one first learns about the diagnosis of one's cancer, what does one really need to do?

Should one see a surgeon?

Should one consult an oncologist?

Or a radiotherapist?

Or a nutritionist?

Or a naturopath?

Or an energy healer?

Or an integrative physician?

Or a friend?

Or a priest?

Or, should one first seek strength and light through one's own Divinity?

First seek strength and light through one's own Divinity! How silly is that?, some readers may ask with irritation. Searching for one's Divinity at the first news of cancer? some others might protest. Tall order, isn't it? might be another question from someone annoyed by my words. Yes, I know that it is a tall order. However, it is either strength and light through one's own Divinity or half truths and untruths from others. So, I say the surgeon can wait for a while. And so can the oncologist, the radiotherapist, the naturopath, and the integrative physician.

Before one can consult with one's Divinity when cancer comes calling, there are crucially important issues of coping with the panic caused by the initial diagnosis of cancer—and of intensified anger, a sense of being a victim, and the famous Why me? question. In this chapter, I offer the following seven insights given to me by individuals with cancer whom I have cared for:

First Insight: If you remain panicked, you won't make it.

Second Insight: Hope with hype returns to haunt.

Third Insight: One can only know one's own pain and

experience one's own fears.

Fourth Insight: Practicing gratitude liberates, seeking

happiness brings unhappiness.

Fifth Insight: Giving love heals, demanding love depletes.

Sixth Insight: Anger cannot be resolved, it can only be dissolved.

Seventh Insight: Divinity can be sought and known only through the language of silence.


FIRST INSIGHT: If You Remain Panicked, You Won't Make It

If you do not panic at the time of the initial diagnosis, you are not in touch with yourself. If you stay panicked, you won't make it.

Everyone panics at the first encounter with a diagnosis of cancer. This is a physiologic response. It is one thing to engage in a dinner table conversation about someone else's cancer, and altogether different to confront one's own cancer. The shock of the initial diagnosis clouds one's judgment. I have often heard doctors tell me about their patients being in denial about their tumors—usually, of course, because the patient refuses to climb onto the operating table on cue from a surgeon, or rejects chemo infusions prescribed by an oncologist at the oncologist's convenience. I have personally not seen a person who denies her or his cancer. People process the initial information about a diagnosis of cancer in different ways. Regardless of the initial physiologic response to a diagnosis of cancer, here is what my patients have taught: Those who stay panicked usually do not do well. So, the first lesson is this: If you stay panicked, you won't make it. One needs first to escape the tyranny of one's thinking mind and then seek one's own Divinity.

Surgery for early cancer, when applicable, should not be unduly delayed. This is self-evident. Surgery is the best treatment for most early cancers. But here is the problem: No honest and experienced surgeon can ever tell you that your cancer is early enough to be completely removed. There is never any valid reason for not taking time out for a day—or a week —to seek and know one's own Divinity.

SECOND INSIGHT: Hope With Hype Returns to Haunt


During conscious life, hope is essential for healing. Hope is easy to create. It is hard to sustain. This is truer with the first encounter with a diagnosis of cancer than at most other times. By the time you finish this book, I hope you will have the courage to see through commonly told lies about curing cancer. Hope has lasting benefits in the treatment of cancer but only when it is based on a clear understanding of the doubt and uncertainties of life, and of vagaries of the behavior of malignant tumors.

At the first encounter with a diagnosis of cancer, what a person with cancer wants most is to be told that her/his cancer is curable—and will be cured. That, of course, is where the lies begin. False hopes are created by pathologists, surgeons, oncologists, integrative physicians, and natural healers in all of their working days. Pathologists commonly begin that process by including in their reports the following standard sentence: "The margins of resection are negative for tumor." Not unexpectedly, those who read the reports interpret them as indicating complete removal of cancer. However, pathologists do not believe this necessarily to be the case. They know that the tissues are stretched, shredded, and cut across during surgery. They readily acknowledge that they simply cannot precisely reconstruct or realign the tissues in a laboratory pan as they were in the patient's body. Thus, the inked margins of resection do not, in reality, represent the true state of affairs. So, why then do pathologists deliberately misrepresent their case? Because they are compelled to do so. The surgical organizations force the pathology associations to establish the "inking the margin" standard—a deliberately misleading standard—for their member pathologists. In the United States, pathologists are not at liberty to practice in their field without belonging to those associations.

The next in line to participate in the deception game are surgeons. They famously underline the standard "margins-of- resection-are-negative for tumor" comment in the pathology report as they congratulate themselves for having taken out cancer completely in the presence of their frightened and gullible patients. The chain of misrepresentations continues with oncologists. The family practitioners know better, but see no point in rocking the boat. It just seems like the humane thing to do. Integrative physicians are not above misrepresentation either. As for "energy healers" who claim to cure cancer energetically, I do not know what planet they live on. They are blessedly unburdened by any real knowledge of cancer biology.

Hope for people with cancer can be created with truth. However, this takes courage, integrity, patience, and time. One cannot simply write a prescription for hope to be filled at the local pharmacy. There is also the larger issue of hope not residing in closed hearts and in constricted spirits. This openness is hard to come by in a culture of constipation—constipation of the heart and of the spirit. So at the first encounter with a cancer, where does one go for hope with truth? To one's own Divinity.



One Can Only Know One's Own Pain

and Experience One's Own Fears


"I've cancer and this fool is talking about his doggone barbecue."

"My breast cancer is spreading to my bones, and this airhead is chattering about her breast enlargement surgery."

"I'm dying of cancer and this dimwit is ecstatic about his new car."

When thoughts like these torment people with cancer, they need to realize that they have joined an enormous communion of humans all over the world who have been troubled or continue to be troubled by the thoughts that disturb them.

Life does not stop for those who live around a person with cancer, nor should it stop for the patient.

Why me?, I have not yet begun to live!

I was just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and now this!

Life is so beautiful, how can it end just like this?

If cancer kills me, who would take care of my mom?


When such questions drain energy and sap life from those with cancer, these individuals have joined an even larger community of people all over the world who fear death from causes other than cancer. Such is life!

In one of my WBAI radio programs in New York entitled "Science, Health, and Healing," my guest and I discussed the subject of the evolution of human awareness. I raised the issue of how one can become comfortable with one's own death. How can one accept one's death and be at peace with one's self? To make a crucial point, I quoted the following inscription on the base of a statue of a Babylonian Princess, who was believed to have died young:

Dear Friend,

Please know as you pass me by,

As you're now so once was I,

As I am now, so you will be,

Prepare yourself to follow me.

Two days later, I received a letter from a WBAI listener containing a news clipping showing a fresco called Trinity, painted by the Italian, Masaccio, in 1428. Recent investigation uncovered a painted skeleton below the alter slab, accompanied by an Italian inscription that reads in English:

I was once that which you are,

and that which I am you also will be.

Death is inevitable. Everyone recognizes that. Yet, does this knowledge give different meaning to one's life? Does it lead one to a higher plane of consciousness and existence? These simple questions have been addressed in all mythic writings, indigenous cultures, religions, and ecumenical philosophies. Consciousness of the transition from a state of life to the absence of life—and a way of life governed by that—has been a goal in all pursuits of enlightenment.

So, it seems to me that the only possible answer to the question of Why me? when cancer comes calling is simply this: Why not you?



Practicing Gratitude Liberates,

Seeking Happiness Brings Unhappiness


Happiness is an illusion, which is the primary reason why no two people ever agree on what constitutes happiness. No matter which way one chooses to define happiness, it is an empty notion—now you have it, now you don't. In What Do Lions Know About Stress, I wrote:

Few things make people more unhappy than the search for happiness.

The best reason for being grateful that I know is that it makes getting out of the bed in the morning less demanding. For others, it makes the morning hours a profoundly spiritual time.

Gratitude, of course, cannot be gained with clever rituals or by traveling to exotic places. It can be practiced anywhere, at any time. It requires neither any outside support nor any special inner capacity. I see individuals who live with widespread tumor metastases and with profound gratitude. They are simply grateful for being alive. I also see individuals with cancer who are so angry that the very word gratitude is a cruel joke for them.

Then there are individuals with cancer who live in rage but do not quite understand why they are consumed by it. Sometimes the situation is so difficult that I make a conscious effort not to broach the subjects of gratitude and Divinity. They need time to simmer down, to let go of their imagined demons. Then I wonder when the time for the wordless language of Divinity might reach them. Those among this group who cool off and persist nearly always succeed with time. Then they learn what is known to all who choose that path:

Gratitude is a river that flows endlessly, neither revealing its true origin nor its destiny.



Giving Love Heals, Demanding Love Depletes


My patients with cancer and other serious chronic disorders have taught me another important lesson: Love, like water, flows only one way. It may be offered, but cannot be demanded.

Giving love sustains one,

demanding love depletes one.

Demanding love is demeaning. Facilitating the healing process in others by offering love, on the other hand, has a powerful healing influence for the person. The ancients recognized this and counseled the sick to try to find ways to serve others. In my native Urdu language, the word for this is saadhaqa (saa-dhaa-kaa). To my knowledge, most religions emphasize the need to serve others in order to facilitate healing, and so did most earlier cultural traditions. Even the sacrificial rituals of the ancients were most likely performed in recognition of this same phenomena. However, I do not think that the spirits they thought were angry and thus needing appeasement by their sacrifices were really mad.

In What Do Lions Know About Stress, I suggested several ways to reach out and serve others, including helping an elderly person with ordinary chores, befriending a sick child, or being kind to an animal. This path to healing is especially needed by those who have been chronically sick. To paraphrase John Ruskin,

The true reward for one's service to others is not what one receives for it, but what one becomes by it.

The core aspect of this path to one's Divinity is through offering someone in need the gift of your silent presence—in a school, church, mosque, or a hospital room. That means developing a sense of what is really needed. For instance, telling a person with incapacitating tissue pain and brain fog to"get up and get on with your life" is callous and without merit. Telling a severely depressed person to cheer up is a cruel joke. The same holds true for common utterly frivolous platitudes used by people when speaking to the sick or grieved.

A true gift of service is the gift of presence, and the essence of that presence is listening to what goes unspoken.

The messages hidden in the silence of those who suffer are often difficult to decipher. The gift of silent presence saves one from that sort of detective work. The language of silence, in this context, is far more eloquent than any clever words or carefully crafted phrases. What the sufferers usually need most (when hunger and pain are not the dominant issues) is the comfort of being recognized and not having pity lavished upon them. Of course, when that person is ready to say anything, she knows she is free to speak up. Thus, the easiest thing for the visitor is to simply be. I do not speak here of silence with which one suppresses one's suffering.

Silence can bring suffering or serenity depending on what we keep — and from whom.



Anger Cannot Be Resolved, It Can Only Be Dissolved


My patients have taught me two lessons about anger:

First, angry individuals do not heal well; and

Second, the answer to the problem of anger is spirituality, not psychology.

Neither the chemistry nor the energetics of anger have been delineated. Yet, based on my work with many chronically ill angry individuals — including those with cancer — I concluded that anger is a powerful oxidizer. I am certain future research will clearly establish that. On a basic level, acute anger causes muscles to tighten up, producing excess acids and free radicals which, when present in excess, set the stage for oxygen dysfunction (dysox) and related severe adverse metabolic effects. Such acids include lactic acid, pyruvic acid, glyceric acid, 2-hydroxybutyric acid, and others. Cellular acidosis, oxidosis, and dysox are the three metabolic furies of cancer which actively cancerize non-cancerous cells. For persons with cancer who cannot dissolve anger through their Divinity work, chronic anger is worse than acute anger and causes chronically tightened muscles to produce chronic oxidosis, acidosis, and dysox.

Psychologists and psychiatrists recognize anger as the root of many disorders, which has also been my own observation. They think the solution to the problem of anger is in verbal unleashing of the hidden rage. They prescribe methods for positive thinking — for control and empowerment. Not withstanding the temporary benefits of these methods for resolving chronic anger, I have yet to see them yield enduring clinical results.

Anger is a child of the thinking mind—the cortical monkey, in autoregulation language. This monkey cannot be banished with mere words. Indeed, he thrives on clever schemes and convoluted theories. The mind forever recycles past misery and, when this is not enough, precycles feared future misery.

Healing is not an intellectual function. No clever mind can order healing in injured tissues. The cortical monkey decorates doubt and embellishes fear. Clever thinking is of little value in coaxing rebellious muscles to abstain from excessive contraction. Individuals with pain syndromes know that the pain of muscle spasm in the back or neck cannot be relieved by mere talking. Nor does the deep anguish of depression abate with so-called positive thinking. What is needed is true spiritual surrender.

Cancer, first and foremost, is a problem of dysfunctional oxygen metabolism. Cancer is erroneously considered to be a genetic disorder. I have challenged that view in several previous publications (see for those articles, as well as for a large body of clinical, bioenergetic, and experimental evidence that I cite to support my work).

The pain syndromes associated with cancer, I might add here, always reflect cellular oxygen deficiency. In individuals with cancer, there is a lack of oxygen in various tissues, as well as increased sensitivity to local and systemic oxidosis and acidosis. I have put local in italics because this matter is rarely appreciated by most doctors. Many oncologists and pulmonologists have criticized me for my use of nasal oxygen as a component of my Oxygen Protocol for treating cancer. Their argument has been that their blood oxygen studies showed what they believed were normal levels of blood oxygenation. I might add here that some cardiologists could not understand why I prescribed oxygen for people who became sick after environmental exposures caused by 9/11-related events. The fact that oxygen therapy had clearly helped those individuals—as attested by them—was dismissed by those doctors as a placebo effect. This amuses me.

The May 24, 2001, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine carried an interesting report. The authors surveyed dozens of articles which explored the issue of the efficacy of the placebo effect in diverse clinical conditions. From their extensive review, they concluded that the placebo has no real effects at all. This creates an interesting scenario for me: According to practitioners of drug medicine, the placebo effect works for nutrient therapies—as claimed by pulmonologists and cardiologists cited above—but not for drug regimens as promulgated by the Journal.









Divinity Can Be Sought and Known

Only Through the Language of Silence

Divinity (spirituality, the spiritual)—as I imagine it—is a state of light and love. In contrast to the physical and mental states of needing and wanting things, one's Divinity is a state of offering light and love. It is a state in which light and love permeate a person's complete being through the language of silence—a condition in which words are a clutter and reason is a nuisance.

What Is the Spiritual?

In 1994, in The Canary and Chronic Fatigue, I could not resist walking that definitional tightrope with the following words:

The spiritual to the early Man was unknowable. So we sort through our intellectual assertions and return to where we started from: The spiritual is being outside the capacity of our bodily senses and the reach of the mind. Spirituality lies outside the needs of the body or the demands of the mind. Good teachers of spirituality may take us to the limits of our bodily and mental experiences—to the gates of spirituality—but they cannot lead us into it. No one can show anyone else what is the spiritual, no one can make anyone else spiritual. This is what the early Man must have known—through some spiritual journey—when he conceived the mind-body-spirit dimensions.

In 2003, in Integrative Cardiology, the sixth volume of The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine, I made a second feeble attempt to explain my sense of the spiritual, as below:

My working definition of the spiritual, which I have used for several years, is this: It is a state of surrender to the larger unknowable Presence that one recognizes only by the way one changes through the light and love of that Presence.

One can know only as much Divinity— it seems to me—as exists within one's self. One sees that vividly only when in the throes of pain and suffering. We physicians, by and large, insist on the 'hard' evidence of blinded studies. We are uncomfortable with notions of healing with spirituality and one's own Divinity. I once read somewhere that it is better to say nothing and be considered a fool than to speak out and prove that. That has never kept me from speaking out about my personal quarrel with the mysteries of healing. I seldom have had difficulty seeing the fool in me. But fools do have wonderful insights sometimes. So I persist.

Divinity is a language without words. As long as one continues to struggle to define what spirituality might be, the state of one's Divinity escapes one. This is the fundamental limit of human perception and consciousness.

The wisdom of the ancient notion of a mind-body-spirit trio is this: Whatever can be sensed with physical senses or perceived by the mind cannot be spiritual. In order for the spiritual to be discrete from the body and the mind, it must be beyond the reach of either. One cannot reach the spiritual either by seeing, smelling or hearing clearly—nor by superior thinking. Indeed, if that were true, there would be no need for the trio; the mind-body duo would have sufficed. How does one go about searching for the spiritual? One doesn't!


The spiritual has something to do with surrendering in silence to the larger Presence that permeates each of us. Why is silence essential? It is essential because sights, smells and other sensory perceptions are aspects of the physical body—and language is the mind's turf, both of which do not constitute the core of the spiritual. Clever thinking, after all, is just that: thinking. Thinking, by definition, is not spiritual. A thinking mind cannot know the spiritual.

Cancer can turn the mind into a tyrant—the relentless chatter of this cortical monkey then becomes insufferable. What this monkey cannot cope with is the silent energy of the spiritual. Throughout history, enlightened beings have struggled with this problem. The ancient Indian and Chinese literatures are replete with philosophic discussions of this subject. A large number of practical methods have been devised to facilitate the work of silence for the beginner. Here are two suggestions that I have found to be clinically useful:

Indoor meditation with the silence of a candle flame in winter.

Outdoor meditation with the silence of a stone under a tree during summer.

In essence, we can only hope that through a candle flame or a stone we will enter that domain and experience some of our essential link with the larger Presence. These two simple approaches are usually far more rewarding and revealing than any elaborate ritual created by shrewd schemes.




How does one lift the fog of panic of the initial diagnosis of cancer? How does one see through this terror? How does one learn to hear one's visceral voices under this kind of duress? How does one go about finding one's own Divinity? There are simple recipes. Looking like a pretzel in some yoga position is futile. Obsessing about the perfect technology for breathing through this nostril or that does not work. Does laying prostrate at the feet of some guru work? I am not sure. If the notion of the language of silence seems alien to one's nature or past experience, one simply has to learn about such matters.





Recently, a patient said, "Dr. Ali, you talk about one's own Divinity. What is my Divinity?"

"Try this," I replied. "Close your eyes and imagine the face of a woman whose only son was a Marine and was blown to pieces in Baghdad. It is not necessary that you see her face or her son's face. Try to see the depth of her pain through the eyes of your heart. That's your Divinity.

"Next, you imagine the face of an Arab carrying his dead daughter, killed by a stray bullet from an American gun. It is not necessary that you see his face or his daughter's face. Try to see the depth of his agony through the eyes of your heart. That's your Divinity.

"Or try this. Next time you see a homeless person or someone who asks for money, give him a dollar or two. Will that make a difference in the life of that homeless person? No, I do not think that will change the life of that person. But, then, at this moment I am not thinking of that homeless person's life, but of yours. I am thinking of you as you struggle with your initial panic at the first encounter with a diagnosis of cancer.

"Or, try this: Think of some old man or woman living alone in your neighborhood. Carry of a bowl of soup or a piece of fruit to that person; offer that person the gift of your presence.


"Or, try this: Suppose you are a Phyllis or a Debra. Or a David or a Philip. The Phyllis and Philip can be possessed by their fears of cancer and exist in a lower orbit of physicality. In despair, they search for salvation through miracles of the Star Wars technology. The Debra and David are capable of existing at a higher orbit of Divinity. Recall, at the level of physicality one can only need and demand things. At the level of one's Divinity, one can only send out love and light.

Can any Debra or David always exist in the orbit of their Divinity? I am yet to see this. Perhaps this is possible. Here I do not write of an all-or-none phenomenon. What is important is to treasure whatever time Debra and David can be at that level. Is every Phyllis and Philip doomed to forever exist in the low domain of physicality? No! That I am certain of.








A Day of Divinity

A Day of Divinity is:

A Day of Divinity is a day for seeing with the faculty of the

heart, not with eyes in the sockets of the skull;

A day for the language of silence;

A day for generosity of the spirit;

A day to suspend disbelief in the goodness of those who seem 'ungood';

A day for little acts of love and kindness;

A day for feeling warmly;

A day for speaking softly;

A day for acting gently;

A day for gentle gestures;

A day for taking a bowl of soup to someone living alone;

A day for giving someone a gift of one's presence in silence;

A day for rising above anger, as well as the sense of being a


A day to reach beyond the ugly words spoken by others;

A day to search for empathy for the inner turmoil from which seep up those ugly words;

A Day of Divinity is a day for a partial squint of the mind (the squint of the mind allows one to look at things others look at but see things others do not);

A Day of Divinity is a day of selective deafness (selective deafness saves one from the screams of the angry);

A Day of Divinity is for being well past yesterday's misery;

A Day of Divinity is for being beyond the feared, future


A day to be kind to one's body so that one's body can be kind to one (kind with right nourishment, kind with fluidity of motion, and kind with spontaneity of emotions; and

A day of one's own divinity, not someone else's.

The Day of Divinity may begin with prayer, meditation, or simple surrender to the higher Presence that permeates us at all times. That day may begin with a conscious effort to be kind to one's body so that it can be kind in return. It will include a considered plan to be kind to those around us at home and at work. It can proceed with a plan for a partial or complete fluid fast.

Recently I suggested to one of my patients that he consider my suggestion for celebrating a Day of Divinity during the week.

"What shall I do during the other six days of the week?"he asked with a twinkle,

"I don't know," I replied. "Perhaps your Divinity will spill over into the second day, possibly the third day."

Working/walking Meditation Clears the Clutter

Limbic exercise is my term for slow, sustained, noncompetitive and non-goal-oriented exercise. This is an essential issue for the human canaries. Any exercise that leaves them tired ten minutes after they finish or the next day is actually harmful. The fundamental molecular lesion of interest to individuals with cancer— I repeat often in this book for emphasis—is dysfunctional oxygen metabolism. Intense exercises for physical fitness lead to a rapid buildup of acidity in the tissues of highly stressed individuals which, in turn, fans the smoldering coals of oxygen dysfunction. Thus, individuals with stress associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment need to be circumspect about physical activity. It is also important to recognize that such individuals often have sluggish blood circulation and stagnant lymph, and both factors cause stiffness of muscles and soreness in tissues. The best approach to those knotty problems is gentle but frequent stretching that covers all parts of the body. And that is what I emphasize to my patients with cancer most for improving physical fitness.

Stretching followed by gentle limbic exercise done every morning, in my view, is essential for all persons with cancer. The crucial point here is to integrate physical activity with a deep spiritual awareness.

How does an African tribal messenger run on his wilderness trail? What state of energy is he in? How does an American executive run on his sidewalk? What does his cluttered head demand from his tired and hurt tissues? How do hurt tissues rebel? Can physical exercise provide a deeply personal, treasured retreat from the relentless chatter of the thinking mind? There are important clues for individuals with cancer in those questions.

Roosters flutter their wings to announce their morning. Canaries flap their feathers before they fly off their nests. Dogs stretch before they take their first steps. So do cats. We humans wake up to our coffee and begin to recycle the misery of our yesterdays and map out the feared future suffering of our tomorrows.

The core notion of limbic exercise is well expressed in the following words of Lao tzu in Tao te Ching:

. . .a state of body awareness in which the right stroke or the right movement happens by itself, effortlessly, without any interference of the conscious will....The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we can't tell the dancer from the dance....the doer has wholeheartedly vanished into the deed....It happens when we trust the intelligence of the universe in the same way that an athlete or a dancer trusts the superior intelligence of the body.

(Translated by Steven Mitchell)

On Growing One's Own Guru

When cancer comes calling, one accepts all available help. Most of my patients report positive results when they return from retreats organized by various groups. I then encourage them to consider some additional periods of meditation and prayers with similar periods of healing. Some of those patients also tell me wonderful things about the gurus they meet on retreat. It is evident to me that there is some bonding there that sustains them. Such bonding has additional benefits.

Notwithstanding, I believe that everyone also needs to grow a guru within. That becomes especially important when the diagnosis and treatment options bring on extra stress. There is an important and practical reason for that: One does not expect any guru to be on one's side whenever lifestyle stress builds up. During the initial diagnosis and earlier stages of cancer, there is often uncertainty and doubt that further fan the flames of stress responses. Not uncommonly, sleep is disturbed during those periods. Thus, when one needs a guru on one's side most—in the darkness of night when one's fears surge and one is alone—the words of other gurus seem distant and hollow. It is then that one needs most the guru grown within. Needless to point out, the guru growing within is never absent.

How does one go about growing one's own guru? That is not a difficult question to answer. Everyone is born with seeds of one's own guru. All that is needed is to allow those seeds to begin to germinate and grow. The fertilizer for those seeds is hope. Doubt and despair kill those seeds. So, then, the simple strategy for growing one's own guru is this: One learns to stay with hope—on the other side of doubt and despair. The guru growing within provides glimpses into one's Divine wholeness.

Most people confront some conflicts with the guru-growing- within along the way. However, with time those conflicts resolve by themselves. One begins to recognize that Nature, Goodness, and God are words for the same glue that holds the creation together. That reminds me of words attributed to Malcolm X' s mother. When she heard her son had left Christianity to embrace Islam, she said, "Don't belong to any religion, take from all."




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