Tell Me A Story: Stirring Up Cellular Memories with Meditation

I have been meditating for over 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.


Life is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age

| by Cheryl Shainmark

In his new book Life is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age Feiler notes that the idea that we’ll have one job, one relationship, one source of happiness for most of our lives is outdated, and that we now live in a non-linear world that forces us to make transitions. While this trend has been occurring for some time, what is new right now is that the whole world is going through these transitions at once. How we face these life altering changes, and what tools we can use to help the process these events is at the core of this book.

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The Buddhist Soul in Me

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I am many things, but I am not a Buddhist. Still, every so often the secret Buddhist in my soul demands to be fed: lighting a little incense, placing a flower in a bowl like an offering, sweeping a spider out the door (instead of squishing it), or taking a day trip to the Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, NY.

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For the Common Good

| by Cheryl Shainmark

What is the common good? The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy say that the common good “refers to those facilities—whether material, cultural or institutional—that the members of a community provide to all members in order to fulfill a relational obligation they all have to care for certain interests that they have in common.” Put more simply, it is whatever is for the benefit or interests of all.

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The Booming Market for Meat Alternatives

| by Cheryl Shainmark

White Castle and Fat Burger now feature Impossible Burgers, Del Taco has Beyond Meat on the menu, and Burger King is about to roll out a Beyond Meat Whopper. Hard Rock Cafes in Europe carry a veggie burger now, (though you’d have to skip the cheese to make it a vegan meal), and they expect to offer it in their US locations next year. As Phil Shainmark, our columnist for The Unlikely Vegan noted recently, “It’s quite possibly the best time to be a Vegan. There are so many amazing choices and places to go.” Even if you’re not a vegan or a fast food fan, the variety of meat alternatives is great news as many grocery stores and regular restaurants have also added plant based options to meet growing customer demand. According to Market Insider, the $14 billion dollar meat alternative industry is expected to grow to $140 billion over the next decade.

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Turning My Deck into Paradise

| by Cheryl Shainmark

It’s that time of the year again, when I start to fantasize about sitting out on my deck, surrounded by plants and cats, sipping a cold drink and enjoying a warm breeze.  I usually get into decorating my little outdoor space, but this year I plan to really do it up: more plants, more herbs, nicer cushions, fairy lights, and candles. Have I missed anything?

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When Your Body Speaks: Paying Attention to Food Cravings

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Several weeks ago I caught a doozy of a cold, leaving me with a stuffed head, chronically runny nose, sore throat and a bit of a cough. Bad enough for the first few days, weeks later it seemed like it just wouldn’t go away. I didn’t have the flu or strep throat or bronchitis, but the symptoms lingered. Finally, after weeks of getting more rest and watching my diet, it passed. During that time I ate lightly, (when I wasn’t sleeping,) but found myself throwing handfuls of thyme and garlic into virtually everything – from scrambled eggs to soup. It was a little bizarre, actually.

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

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Not too long ago 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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