Tell Me A Story: Stirring Up Cellular Memories with Meditation

I have been meditating for almost twenty 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.


Feeding Body & Soul

| by Cheryl Shainmark

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I’d be following a virtually wheat free, 90% vegetarian — hell, 90% vegan diet, I’d have said, “That’s nuts.” Now I’m likely to say, “That’s raw cashews to you, and by the way, do you know how many recipes you can make with them?” It’s safe to say that I’m not alone in making a big diet and lifestyle change, either. Based on the latest bestsellers, opinion pages in the New York Times , increase in vegetarian and vegan websites and buzz on the Internet, it seems we have reached some kind of “tipping point” toward a radical change in the way we eat and what we will accept from the food industry.

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A Few Thoughts About Thinking

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I recently finished reading “Anathem” by Neal Stephenson, for the second time, (not something I usually do) and I was struck by an offhand observation that the young main character makes about another man who may be hundreds of years old. At one point, the old man is chanting and holds the same note for hours, (clearly some kind of re-breathing technique), and the young man ponders what it’s like to have such a different notion of time that you would want to chant the same note for hours. Then he has the insight that a mind that has done that probably has very different thoughts from a mind that hasn’t.

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Have You Seen the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas in Montana?

| by Cheryl Shainmark

This video has lighted up our imaginations! Can you say road trip? Dateline NBC has captured the peaceful and sacred feeling of this wonderful site, called The Garden of a Thousand Buddhas. Located just north of Arlee, Montana, the multi-acre garden is nestled on a beautiful valley that is part of an Indian reservation for the Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Created through the visionary guidance of Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, the Garden aligns positive properties of the physical world…

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If Plants Are Consciousness, What Happens When We Eat Them?

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Last week The New York Times ran an article, Sedate a Plant, and It Seems to Lose Consciousness. Is It Conscious? The new evidence that plants have a type of “conscious,” joins a host of other research indicating that plants are intelligent, understand where they are in space, respond to threats and obstacles, and communicate with each other. We’ve known for years that plants grow faster and lusher when you play the right music or speak nicely to them, but now there is evidence that plants form memories. Does that mean they remember that you were kind to them? And what does it mean now to eat them? What, if any, are the moral or ethical implications?

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Asking the Big Questions

| by Cheryl Shainmark

A dear friend of mine, Nick Borrell, says that when you ask the BIG questions, you open a window into the Universe. As he puts it, “It creates the opportunity for fresh air to flow in and for a fresh answer to emerge.” It invites the enormous energy of creativity to pour in, and you must be very careful to leave the window open long enough to get the answers you seek — you must be patient. Now, in the beginning of the New Year, is the time that we traditionally ask the big questions: what do we want in our lives? What do we want in our world?

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Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I just finished reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It,” by Kamal Ravikant. I have to say that this slim volume completely jumpstarted a whole new spiritual practice for me. I don’t usually rave (in print, at least)… but this is one of the most accessible, transformative books I have ever read — and at 57 pages, you’d have to be in a coma not to get through it. Actually, if you are in a coma I will come and sit by your side and read it to you, because I want “Love Yourself” to be the earworm that gets stuck in your head. You’ll thank me later.

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Moved By Mountains

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Moved By Mountains – Several years ago I dreamed I flew as a hawk, high above seared mountains, gazing down on granite soil marked only by occasional stunted evergreens. In my dream I soared and twisted, riding the air currents until I actually felt dizzy and then, as soon as I thought, “This is too much!” I woke up in my bed. I remembered the details vividly, though I had never seen those vistas in real life. Last week I saw the mountains of my dreams, that is, the dry stretch of the Rockies where the rain does not fall.

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Zen and the Art of Home Buying

| by Cheryl Shainmark

It used to be that buying a home – a house or condo – was one of the more fraught experiences we had as adults. People seem to move more frequently now, but I think for many of us it can still be stressful. It’s still one of the most expensive purchases many of us will ever make and, no matter how well researched, represents both a gamble… and a commitment. Most of us would be immobilized and still living in our first home if we really thought about it too much — so we do our due diligence and then take a deep breath, cross our fingers, and jump.

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Take A Walk on the Wild Side: Encounters With Animals in Nature

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Most of us have had the experience — wonderful, heart-stopping, sometimes terrifying — of unexpectedly encountering an animal in the wild. It may be the tranquil sight of deer off in the woods, or a hawk circling in the canyons of Manhattan. It can be scary, as in some of the recent bear sightings on the East Coast, or inspire reverence for the raw beauty of the creature sighted.

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