Liven Your Space - A Resource for Healing from Mental Illness
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The Value of Meditation

When I was in St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco in 1974,diagnosed with an acute schizophrenic episode, paranoid varietyand later in June of '74 my doctors recommended both yoga and meditation for the relief of mental and physical anxiety and stress (in addition to walking.)  At that time  these disciplines (except for walking), were relatively new in the United States.  As a young girl a friend's father was a journalist exposed to unusual thinking. He recommended to me that I read Paramahansa Yogananda's  book, "Autobiography of a Yogi."  I read it so was not totally new to the ideas of yoga and meditation.  

When my doctors recommended these disciplines I was flying to San Francisco and started going to progressive bookstores which were more easily found in that rocking city.  The first book I remember on meditation was by Richard Hittleman, "Guide to Yoga Meditation," and many years  later there were many of which I read quite a few.  My very favorites were  "Super Mind" and "Transcendence" by Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, "How to Meditate" by Pema Chodron, and the two books on meditation by Dan Harris.  There are many others which are wonderful including some by Jon Kabot-Zinn,  Tara Brach, Sharon Salzburg, Deepak Chopra, Jack Kornfeld etc.  

Over the 45 years since 1974 I have done approximately 30,000 hours of seated, walking and group meditation, of all types and varieties.  In 2017 I studied Transcendental Meditation which is my favorite, don't ask me why. Perhaps because there was a considerable financial charge which, to my Scottish soul, was a definite incentive to meditate daily, twice a day as they recommend.  I rarely have missed meditation over the years to the point where Dr. Lebensohn said  "Miss Goin, I admire your steely determination."

I also studied for a short time with Tom Davenport, who led a Zen meditation which I greatly admired.  I would have kept that up except it was a 25 minute drive on Saturday mornings when I would have to get up  at 6:00am.  However, it was great fun.  The main thing I remember asking Tom is "Tom, what do I do?"  He replied,  "Take 10 deep breaths and then you are on your own."  It was great.  I was sitting in a small Episcopal Church in Delaplane, Va. in the cold winter mornings.  We would meditate for 45 minutes, during which I would open my eyes and admire the steely gray sky and the barren, winterized trees and shiver although I was bundled up.  Very esoteric... important to me.  Then we would slowly walk to get the kinks out of our legs.

 I am no longer so tempermental, my blood pressure is somewhat lower, and I can concentrate if needed.  My doctors, all three of them and my current psychologist, all feel it has helped me to deal with the mental discontinuity brought on by my schizophrenia.  It has also enabled me to recognize mental discombobulation which leads me to the  subject Adrienne and I want to address in regards to "45' who is able to get away with mental instability because he can afford to pay doctors to say he is in wonderful condition when we all know he is obese, paranoid and is a megalomaniac.  Need we say more?  

Actually we do need to say more.  Senator John McCain passed away last night.  We didn't always agree with him but he was a man of bravery, intelligence, honor and moral integrity.  He stood up to bullying and torture and did not turn or desert his comrades when in trouble.  He had more virtue in his pinky finger than "45" has in his entire body.  "45" needs to step down from his lofty perch and meditate, although in his case it may be too late.

 We've said enough.  Tune in to our next blog which we have to meditate obout the theme.

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