Tell Me A Story: Stirring Up Cellular Memories with Meditation

I have been meditating for over fifteen years now and find it an essential part of my life. Many have written about the substantial physical and emotional benefits, and while I’ve certainly found that to be the case, too, I’ve also noticed that there is a component of releasing “cellular memories” that is rarely addressed. People shy away from phenomena that are not so easily explained, but whether you call it “cellular memories,” “past lives,” or releasing “old patterns,” I have found that there is something extraordinary happening that also brings welcome relief to the body and the spirit.

I’m not out to define what is going on, either — while I may have some educated guesses, I don’t have any answers. But, between meditation and self-hypnosis, I do have a lot of experience with these odd little energetic pops of release. (Obviously, massage is another great method for releasing muscle “memories” as well, and one of my favorites — but that’s another article.) While I mostly meditate in silence, I will occasionally use a CD of guided meditation or music, if that’s my mood at the time. Over the years I have grown to love three CDs in particular, each a surefire guarantee to give me bursts of color, story, emotion, alternate lives, times or dimensions and, ultimately, a feeling of energy that’s been unblocked.

The first is Jon Kabat-Zinn’s “Mindfulness Meditation,” Series 1. Any of his CDs are great, but I especially like the “Body Scan Meditation” and the “Sitting Meditation.” Many of his CDs are designed to pair with books, but you don’t need them to get the benefits of the meditations. I just listened to the “Body Scan Meditation” this morning, after waking up waaaay too early to want to stay up for the day. I relaxed, and as I listened I had multiple pops of color, like fireworks, release from my legs and back, each representing a full story that I could only catch subliminally, and then they were gone. Mind you, I didn’t go looking for this happen, it just did, and the whole point of the exercise is about “accepting what comes up.” After that I felt great and slept like a baby for another three hours.

The second is Mickey Hart’s “Planet Drum” — although it’s a close tie with his “Music to be Born By.” “Planet Drum” is ironclad guaranteed to send you on trips to other countries, other lives, other emotional and spiritual dimensions. “Music to be Born By” will send you deep, and then leave you feeling refreshed, even, ahem, reborn. I save this one for a treat like I save the frosting until after I’ve eaten all the cake — I have this almost superstitious fear of playing it too often, for fear it will stop working so magically on me.

The third is Joe Dispenza’s “Reconditioning the Body to a New Mind.” This CD is the newest of the my picks, but takes up where his older CD, “You Are the Placebo,” left off. In this case, the goal is changing old patterns into new ones, but in the process you will get a wealth of information and some surprising “memories” or stories about what exactly is driving your old patterns. I find this one is never boring and guaranteed to lead to fresh insights every time.


Meditation Saved My Life by Phakyab Rinpoche with Sofia Stril-Rever

In 2003, Tibetan lama Phakyab Rinpoche was admitted to the emergency clinic of the Program for Survivors of Torture at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital. After a dramatic escape from imprisonment in China, at the hands of authorities bent on uprooting Tibet’s traditional religion and culture, his ordeal had left him with life-threatening injuries, including gangrene of the right ankle. American doctors gave Rinpoche a shocking choice: accept leg amputation or risk a slow, painful death. An inner voice, however, prompted him to try an unconventional cure: meditation.

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Peace and Where to Find It

| review by Cheryl Shainmark

Peace and Where to Find It is a slim gem, packed with insight and wisdom. For fans of Eckhart Tolle, Peace takes up where Tolle’s The Power of Now leaves off, (and, in fact, Eckhart Tolle wrote the introduction for this book), but it’s not necessary to have read one to enjoy the other. The author, Christopher Papadopoulos, has clearly walked the walk, done the work, and come back to share his transformative experience with us.

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Mindfulness In Schools Project

The Mindfulness in Schools Project began in the United Kingdom, but has spread to the US with its partner, Anima Learning. They’ve been featured on BBC, The Huffington Post, The Guardian and more. Started in 2009 as a non-profit by educators and long-time mindfulness practitioners Richard Burnett and Chris Cullen, MiSP seeks to help every child develop the skills needed to flourish fully and handle difficulty throughout life.

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What is Mindfulness, by Linda Lehrhaupt, PhD

Mindfulness meditation has been described in many ways in recent years, but I still find that one of the definitions by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, is very helpful. He says that mindfulness is “paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally. He added in an interview on YouTube…“as if your life depended on it.”

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Deep Awake by Tim Freke

| review by Cheryl Shainmark

Deep Awake is a wonderful addition to the fields of consciousness and spirituality. The author, Tim Freke, has put together a deceptively simple guide for “waking up” and living consciously. Unlike most of the genre, the ego, with all its strengths and weaknesses, is not vilified, but embraced. For those who have failed at prior efforts to meditate and reflect, this unique approach may help them to succeed.

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The Science Is In: Meditation Affects Aging and Telomere Length

Science is all about precision, controlled studies, and measurable, repeatable results. So for years researchers resisted working on alternative practices such as meditation, dismissing the few studies done as “fuzzy science,” “subjective,” or “impossible to duplicate.” But as research methods have advanced, so has the accuracy of the latest research. There is ample evidence now that stress leads to increased risk of health problems and that meditation reduces stress. What’s new are the studies showing how stress is related to aging and telomere length.

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Mindfulness for Parents by Amber Hatch

| review by Cheryl Shainmark

Much like the benefits of meditation, the quiet wisdom of Mindfulness for Parents sneaks up on you. Amber Hatch has captured perfectly the pitfalls of parenting and the remarkable equanimity that can be achieved by practicing compassion, loving kindness and mindfulness. Whether you are new to parenting, new to meditation, or both – you will reap the benefits of Hatch’s insights and practical advice.

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Cops Learning to Meditate: a Hopeful Image

In this year of so many shootings, riots and negative images of police officers, it’s heartening to share stories of police men and women who are making a difference and trying new things to help the public and themselves. In Peel, Canada, police and trainees are learning to meditate (video) to reduce stress, and attending classes in mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy at a nearby temple. As reported in The Huffington Post, the event is expected to be the first of many future classes and will include future sessions with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Peel Paramedics. In a country where the charismatic Prime Minster, Justin Trudeau, is known to embrace yoga and meditation, there has been a groundswell of support for these methods.

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Hale Clinic on Meditation: Research & Science

| by HaleMeditation.com

Centuries ago, yogis discovered that through the use of meditation and yoga practices, they were able to address physical, mental and spiritual imbalances that were arising in themselves. Many yogis maintained perfect health on all levels. The sacred knowledge of yoga has been passed down from guru to disciple for centuries and is growing rapidly in popularity in western society as people turn to yoga for answers to their medical and mental concerns. Ancient yogic techniques can be used in a fresh approach to living, as they address many of the problems that we all face in our daily lives.

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