inner life






My Vision for a Cancer Treatment Sanctuary

by Ingrid Naiman

More than thirty years have elapsed since I was shown in a series of dreams and meditations a design for a place where people could come in order to deal with the challenges of illness and begin their healing processes. In the meantime, my hair has begun to turn gray so whether or not I personally have any part in bringing this vision into actuality, I want to share the vision with others, with the hope that someone will help to bring the plan into manifestation.

Because I have had so long to contemplate what is needed and others might be newer to the concept, I would like to provide some background.

When first shown the vision, I believed that cancer is essentially a disease of lack of coordination between the soul and its destiny and the personality which is, often as not, burdened with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility that makes demands on one's time and energy. A point comes in which the expertise of the grounded part of oneself makes such excessive demands that spontaneity, inspiration, and flexibility are thwarted. It is my belief that the struggle to readjust priorities is an important part of the healing process, but this discovery often has to be carried out amidst the distractions and worries of medical advice and procedures, pain, work interruptions, financial stress, and family concerns. It's obviously much harder to meditate, contemplate, and reflect when in the middle of a health crisis than when young and healthy and about to embark on the adventure of life. This said, during illness, the motivation to acquire fresh insights into life can be much more profound.

The problem, as I often see it, is that our families, churches, and schools did not really prepare us for living the inspired and creative life of the soul. If a few people here and there manage to become visionaries and humanitarians and gifted healers, it is usually because they resisted the admonitions to be "normal" and prepare for lucrative careers. Too often, we forget what really nourishes and we settle on paths that are lacking the magic required to keep us enthused. Unfortunately, this is a blueprint for disaster so, sooner or later, there has to be a course correction. Theoretically, this could occur in a moment of profound insight or startling revelation; but frequently, it is wrestled forth through the ups and downs of the struggle to survive a dangerous illness.

For the most part, cancer patients who choose to go the unconventional route are people with history. Perhaps, they have seen family members succumb after following the advice of specialists.  They may be better informed than some patients or they are simply committed to natural medicine in so far as practical.  Sometimes, they have tried treatments that have not worked and are therefore exploring other possibilities, something different. Most of them are ambulatory and do not really need to be in hospitals. In fact, most would thrive in a facility that is a combination of resort and clinic that includes some very practical seminars on all the issues that life presents.

It is my belief that the facility itself should be as natural as possible so that reconnection to Nature and the life sustained by Nature is made more easily. Also, to the extent possible, it would be preferable to use environmentally conscious building materials that are nontoxic and renewable. . . and to take into account feng shui, ley lines, harmony of the elements, light, land, and electromagnetic fields and pollution. Simply stated, most of us are not in harmony with Nature and therefore we are not sufficiently well equipped to deal with our own need to survive in as natural and wholesome a way as possible.

Personally—and this is really all about my vision and my personal beliefs—I think all the Kingdoms of Nature should live in harmony with each other so I think the treatment facility should be in as pristine a place as can be found and near forests and streams where birds and animals live; but the area should be completely protected so that no one lives in fear of predators or hunters. . . or even of practitioners whose opinions are expressed in such a way as to squelch the instincts of patients.

Life is an interactive relationship between vitalizing energies and receptivity. To maintain balance, what is taken in must eventually also be expended. This is essential because failing to do so causes congestion—and there is usually physical and emotional congestion attending cancer. An effective treatment facility must offer the opportunity to detoxify, decongest, and discharge excess accumulations of both material and psychological baggage. There are drastic as well as more elegant ways to achieve this.

By providing the body nourishing food that is appropriate to the needs of the patient, there is an opportunity to regenerate tissues that are suffering from malnutrition and deficiency. As necessary levels are achieved, it is easier to let go of unwanted excesses. There are familiar as well as more exotic ways to provide the body what it needs: good food and water, oxygen, herbs, minerals, and fresh air; and there are ways to reduce excess through detoxification, fasting, colon and other hydrotherapies, saunas, and suitable exercises and yoga practices, including some of the soft martial arts such as Chi Gung and Tai Chi.

In the beginning, most people believe that their cancer was triggered by a terrible event or occurrence that caused something to go wrong. Finding that something can be a lengthy quest.  People tend to question exogenous factors such as specific hazards in the home or work environment; contaminants in air, food, water, personal hygiene products, and medicine; and once addressing these aggravating factors, some may question their own participation in the development of the disease, usually first from the angle of blindness to certain commonplace practices that are detrimental to health and later from the perspective of acquiescence to less than satisfactory situations such as unfulfilling relationships and jobs, lack of zest, and failure to craft out an identity worth preserving.

I believe that nearly all patients benefit from some kind of therapy that engages the psyche, therapy that helps people to identify dysfunctional emotional and behavioral patterns and to forge the skills that are necessary to shift those patterns. The object is not to indulge in a highly sophisticated blame game but rather to pinpoint the origins of issues that are sabotaging happiness and the ability to enjoy life to the fullest.

Dr. O. Carl Simonton reported that female patients who are happily married and male patients who like their jobs live twice as long from the date of diagnosis to the date of death as those who are unhappy. While this is hardly surprising, these insubstantial issues are not addressed in conventional therapy and therefore the transformation of deep malcontent may not be suitably encouraged. The issues may even become aggravated because so many people face surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation with apprehension and fear that could tend to drive emotional truths deeper instead of bringing them to the surface where they can be transformed by experiences that are congenial.

The psyche is a lot like a hard drive. You can imagine that it is governed by operating systems that proscribe the range of expression and only allow one part of the psyche to be viewed at a time, like an early Windows system that only permitted you to open one file at a time. We can imagine that the file labeled "fear" tends to take up all the available RAM and leave little space to explore alternatives to fear. Supposing, however, that we could, for a moment, shut down fear long enough to look at "trust" or "hope." If something really special occurs during these experiences, we might overwrite part of the hard drive with new information that changes how we interpret fear. We are after all each of us authors of multiple scripts, but we have buried so many of them that they are submerged in the deep reservoirs of the unconscious where they get little attention and none of the support needed to transform.

Where we have a psychological pattern, there is always a highly personal reason for that pattern, one that if understood will invariably prove the patient blameless for his or her behavior and lack of skill in mastering certain situations. For this reason, truly useful therapies produce opportunities to recognize the patterns and their origins as well as training that helps patients to develop the skills needed to perfect reactions to similar stressors as they are experienced. Therapies that provide these insights are really valuable and should be a part of every clinic.

Many patients are afraid of what they will find out. Sometimes, they are certain they would not like themselves if they knew what is buried in the unconscious. Many say, "What if I became interested in past lives and discovered I was a soldier and killed a lot of people?" If this is the expressed fear, then there is probably a basis for the fear because even the imagination has parameters that inhibit it from functioning beyond the realm of personal experience; but supposing this is the worst possible fact lurking in the archives of the subconscious. The events are history and the rational mind needs a way to separate past from present. If no separation is created, the program continues to run like a system that cannot be shut down. However, there are even more reasons for probing than finding the basis for boundaries, and this is that going into the heart and mind of the soldier may reveal how disgusted the soldier was with his life (depression) and how terrified he was of the enemy (fear) and perhaps even Judgment Day. . . because even this unpleasant fact may explain why it is so difficult to engage the soul in day-to-day activities.

There are many kinds of therapy, some involving active patient participation like art and movement therapy, some involving passivity like hypnotism and channeling, some that are more interactive like psychotherapy or astrological counseling or music therapy. Blind acceptance of anything is never commendable, but willingness to explore and consider often brings bountiful insights and rewards. Many patients have told me that their experiences in music therapy were the most important life experiences they ever had, but this matter obviously varies enormously from person to person.

While some people have had spontaneous remissions upon discovering the deeper cause of their illnesses, there are those who attribute their cures to physical measures. In fact, most patients start out believing that cancer is a physical problem that most likely requires a physical treatment. Therefore, no matter how promising a psychotherapy may be, it is reckless and unwise to neglect the physical. In addition to diet, herbs, and exercise, most people depend on additional modalities, such as injectable or infused medicines, electromagnetic treatments, color therapy, or some form of high tech or vibrational medicine. If one counts up all the herbal treatments, all the psychotherapeutic approaches to wellness, all the electronic devices, and all the alternative specialties like acupuncture, chiropractic and/or osteopathic maneuvers, massage, and other forms of practice, there are hundreds of options for every patient, obviously far too many for any one patient. Therefore, the patient has to take responsibility for choosing the treatments that seem most suitable—and this is difficult because a lot hinges on the availability of accurate information and the power to predict outcomes for specific individuals. Because a treatment fails does not mean it is a hoax. It may have been introduced too late or tried despite recognition that it seldom works in certain situations. Fear sometimes induces people to try too many options at once or to abort promising treatments because impatient for results.

In an ideal treatment facility, there would be a trained staff of people who provide patients with information and guidance without interfering with choices. The staff would also have regular meetings to discuss the progress or lack thereof of each patient so that no one is on a conveyor belt going from one treatment room to another.  Rather responses to treatment are assessed so that only those that appear to be giving the best results are actually continued. Staff have to learn to trust each other enough to risk input that potentially discourages continuation of some well-intentioned protocols, but unless there are ongoing assessments, the risk is that there are not enough checks and balances to guarantee that the patient is receiving the best possible treatment.

I'm old enough to have been around the block a few times; and I know patients who have been around the world in search of cure.  I know hundreds of practitioners. Lucky for me, I know mostly people who are very sincere and dedicated, but most of them are working in less than ideal situations where they are offering their knowledge and skills to patients who are usually consulting a number of others as well. There are very few clinics that are truly holistic, even fewer that combine many strategies under one roof, and none that I know of that approach my vision of an inspiring resort with serious therapies for people who desperately need such therapies.

Money is usually held out to be a obstacle. It is, of course, but it is not the only obstacle. Lack of appreciation of the need for such a place is hindering the ability to manifest the vision, but practitioners themselves need to reach out to each other to commit to the teamwork that is needed. This is always complicated because people have countless reasons for not wanting to make changes: family, schools, community, culture, etc., etc. Not everyone wants to live in Nature; some like theaters and golf courses, but really, many are ready if the opportunity were created.

From the angle of the patient, there are almost always issues: money, confidence in the treatment, desire to spend time at home with the family in case this is the end rather than a turning point, and so on. While I think money issues can eventually be solved by better insurance and barter situations in which patients perform more and more work as they begin to feel better, confidence is a real challenge. Patients have to know that the treatments work, not only for others but in their own situations. When I was in Europe, I saw patients going for diagnostic tests that set them back. It was very hard for me to sit back and watch while people ingested contrast dyes and exposed themselves to radiation. I had no doubt whatsoever that we lost ground even though I acknowledged that it is not sufficient for most people to accept progress as an article of faith. Fascinated as I am by darkfield microscopy, it is only revealing changes in the blood, not in the tumors themselves. I think ultrasound is safer than MRIs and CT scans, but thermography seems safer yet. Most of the marker tests are not as reliable as they need to be.  My point is simply that there is a need to know what is working and what is not, but there is also a need for safer and yet reliable tools for measuring progress or lack thereof.

Unlike many people, I am personally quite passive about illness. It doesn't frighten me. If it did, I suspect I would not be able to work with people with life threatening illnesses, but I do not have a need to know either. I am satisfied that if I feel better, most likely I am better. I do not need someone else to tell me I ought to be feeling better because some numbers have improved. This said, I know very few patients who are like me. Most watch the size of the masses and marker tests like hawks, and I hardly blame anyone for this, but I wonder which tests are most reliable?

So, what have I actually said here? There is a profound need for a model treatment facility that combines the best of environmental architecture and organic living with reasonable protocols for treating people with serious illnesses. The facility needs to provide residences for staff as well as patients and their families; it has to be affordable; and it should be a teaching clinic for people from all over the world who want to create similar facilities in other places. The therapeutic models as well as business and financial models need to be readily available to interested developers and investors; and the staff needs to bring experience and expertise to the project in a way that permits evaluation and assessment. There needs to be ongoing patient and staff education, constant seminars for everyone so that valuable information is shared and integrated into the healing process. Patients need to be allowed to participate in financing, construction, management, operation, and analyses so that everything is transparent and credible.

It is my experience that patients leave holistic clinics with souvenirs that are special and personal. For instance, some love the organic farming; others prefer to see how a healthy kitchen is operated. Many are more social and like the group activities, educational exchanges, and common meeting places such as dining rooms and recreation areas.  Some people like to go on long walks, some notice the birds and others the herbs. This is life and everyone is enriched by learning to see through the eyes of others. When the emphasis is on how to live rather than how to destroy malignancies, there is a lot more patience with the healing process and more respect for the individual nuances that are to be expected. This is not to suggest that objectivity is surrendered but rather that the pressure for instant results is diffused by acknowledgment that healing is a process rather than an event.

This said, I am certain that when the best medical strategies for addressing dental issues, infection, parasites, mycoplasms, and so forth are combined with specialized treatments for cancer, everyone will eventually appreciate the fact the even something like cancer is just a part of a larger whole that cannot be ignored in the name of a single pathology. Moreover, I am totally confident that when the art of living is married to the science of healing, we will have achieved more than the whole of 20th century medicine managed to accomplish in a hundred years.



Ingrid Naiman
9 April 2006




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