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Is There Any Cancer Imagery with Less Negative or Militarized Language?

24 Sep

Dear BR,

I have been listening to a particular meditation/guided imagery CD for several months and wanted to try another. I found yours "Meditation to Help You Fight Cancer" - I have a breast cancer recurrence and ordered a copy. Unfortunately, I find I can't concentrate on it. My mind keeps wandering away; that doesn't happen with the other CD. I have tried to determine what is the problem; and the best I can come up with is the music is too upbeat to be relaxing for me, and there aren't enough pauses, or they aren't long enough. It's also true that the music is too loud and overpowers the voice. Part of the spoken message also speaks of "creating energy" when, in fact, what I want is to relax and be calm, not more energized.

I am really disappointed because I was hoping to find another CD to compliment the one I already have; it would be nice to have a change of voice and imagery.

A final comment I have is that, in the spiritual work that I have been doing, I have come to realize how militarized, stress-filled and negative our language is around health care. I take a different approach; I do not speak of "fighting" cancer or the "war" against cancer (or any other disease). I think the language we use matters. It speaks to our conscious (and unconscious) attitudes and beliefs about how we see and think about our bodies and ourselves. I think the title of your CD would be much more positive and affirming if it were "A Meditation to Help You Heal From Cancer".

-Courtney


Dear Courtney,

I'm sorry the Cancer imagery isn't working for you, and I appreciate your thoughtful analysis of what about it bothers you. That was one of our earliest audio productions, and the music was chosen to counter fatigue. My pacing was faster in those days, too. Additionally, we didn't have the digital tech capability that we have now (I'm pretty sure this was reel to real, if you can believe that!) We'll do a review of it and possibly re-master it.

But that won't solve your problem right now. I can suggest an alternative: the immune system imagery on either Emmett Miller's Optimizing Chemotherapy or his Optimizing Radiation Therapy, either of which have excellent imagery describing how the body fights cancer naturally. But please listen to the sound clips on those product pages, because you may not like his pacing either, which is also relatively fast for a meditative recording. And the imagery is also pretty aggressive and warlike.

I understand your objection to the military nature of a lot of cancer imagery, and you're in good company. I will have some alternative suggestions for you in the next paragraph. But first, I do want to make the point that this really is what's going on at the cellular level inside the body, and cellular imagery should accurately reflect the basic physiological processes that occur at that biological level. There actually are white cells that are on the march, sniffing out cancer cells, sidling up to them and shooting poison into them, not to mention aiming missiles, stabbing, and attacking them from many angles, killing them and eating them!! Like it or not, it's a war zone in there at the cellular level, even for when it comes to getting rid of a flu or mild infection. But I like to think of it as a noble war, ingeniously designed to save us all from early death and destruction.

That said, we know from research that even heart-opening imagery that creates strong feelings of lovingness and gratitude will enhance immune function and support the treatment of cancer, so if you prefer to use imagery that takes only that tack, you might want to try our guided imagery for Relaxation & Wellness or for General Wellness. But again, listen to the sound samples on the pages to make sure the pacing and music suits you (it's different, calmer and more relaxing music from the cancer music).

I hope this helps and offers some alternate solutions for you. Best of luck.

BR

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award