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millyone
07 Jun 14, 08:40
My husband has a cancerous tumour in his throat, just found out recently. We are seeking full medical help, tests are being done and we find out prognosis and treatment plan soon.

Because I have been practicing meditation for quite a while now and have paid attention to my spiritual development, I have remained calm and my heart is open and accepting of this situation. I am actually surprised at myself that I feel so strong. I think my family probably expected me to fall apart but I know that will not happen.

My husband is a calm strong man anyway fortunately. So I have continued my routines and I feel ok. Friends and family have all been informed and are wonderfully supportive - I am amazed at the love and good regards from everyone and this gives us both great strength.

I would welcome any advice here as to which type of meditations, books or thinking would help. My worry is that as treatment gets going things are going to get very hard. He is likely to have a big operation, have a feeding tube, a hole in his throat etc. This plays on my mind. I keep in mind that all is an illusion but would welcome any advice that helps me continue being peaceful, strong, calm and capable.

p.s. I am 51 years old and my husband is 73. We always knew this could happen and we discuss freely and frankly about worst case scenarios i.e. his death whilst keeping hope alive that he may recover.

millyone
07 Jun 14, 14:32
Hey look, if you read my post, don't be hesistant to reply. I am open to any advice, it does not matter what you say as long as it is supportive.

In recent days I am seeing the behaviour of people afresh. Some have already disappeared, others avoid us. Yet others are showing themselves as previously hidden gems, with huge hearts and open offers of help. I like them! Those who are unafraid to ask how my husband is and ready to lend an ear. I think it depends on how spiritually developed people are, ranging from not at all to astonishingly open hearts. There really is nothing to be afraid of. I am just astonished at how many people think death will never taint them.

I have decided we will deal with this and that I will cope whether he lives or dies - therefore all worries are already gone! The odds are he will be cured, at least for a while. Doctors have many weapons against cancer and a huge amount to offer after all. After that, who knows. None of us knows how and when we will pass.

Aloka
07 Jun 14, 15:41
Dear milly,

I'm so sorry to hear about your husband and I do hope that he is given some successful treatment. Both my mother and my aunt died from cancer.



I would welcome any advice here as to which type of meditations, books or thinking would help. My worry is that as treatment gets going things are going to get very hard. He is likely to have a big operation, have a feeding tube, a hole in his throat etc. This plays on my mind. I keep in mind that all is an illusion but would welcome any advice that helps me continue being peaceful, strong, calm and capable.


This little meditation book "Finding the Missing Peace" by Ajahn Amaro could be helpful for you:

http://www.amaravati.org/downloads/pdf/finding_the_missing_peace.pdf (http://www.amaravati.org/downloads/pdf/finding_the_missing_peace.pdf)

I'm not sure what else to recommend, but its possible you might find something relevant in "On Love" by Ajahn Jayasaro.

http://tisarana.ca/download/books/pdf/On_Love_Final.pdf

With lots of good wishes to you both,

Aloka :hands: :heart:

RADZ
07 Jun 14, 15:50
Hi millyone,

As you can clearly, sickness or death of a loved can be very hard to cope with. But you seem to have dealt with it righly with midnfulness at the moment. I congratulate you for that. I greatly wish your husband to be recovered and you a peacefull future. If I am not to cause a stress here, but I think reflecting on the impermanence is of great value due to the moment you are at right now. This was, as Buddha said, the highest merit one can do in their lives. In worst case senarios, I don't think their is any other way to overcome someone you deeply love. Mindfulness with impermance reflection of your husband can give you results in the 'here and now'. However, I'm only giving you a recommendation.

- RADZ

delaware
08 Jun 14, 01:51
I have gone through some health problems in the past and found the practice of tonglen very helpful. In particular I found it helpful to dedicate my suffering so that no one would have to go through it ever. You can also dedicate stress, worry, sadness, grief.....whatever.

Best wishes on the recovery of your husband.

Aloka
08 Jun 14, 03:22
...the practice of tonglen...

Hi delaware,

I don't think Tonglen should be attempted without one-to -one instruction and guidance from a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, even though it can be found on the internet.

I won't go into details here about why, because to start discussing it with you publicly wouldn't be appropriate for this topic, so I've sent you a PM.

With kind wishes,

Aloka :hands:

millyone
08 Jun 14, 13:40
Hi Aloka
thanks so much, I have made a note of those two titles you recommend.

This is exactly what I need, books to guide me on this most frightening of journeys in my life.
I do believe it is absolutely essential for me as the supportive partner to stay calm and help quell his fears. My husband does not do meditation or anything like that but is naturally a stable, rational and non-fussy kind of character, a typical English gentleman! Stiff upper lip. But in the small hours of the night he can only sleep if I hold his hand and snuggle up.

You know all about the worries and fears Aloka, you have lived through it yourself. Would you tell me a little generally about how you coped, just general advice on how to remain stable and to find peace? All advice is very useful to me and to anyone else who is going through same.

I think meanwhile I shall re-read my copy of 'The Tibetan book of living and dying'. It was excellent before, but now I shall find even more meaning in it.

millyone
08 Jun 14, 13:44
Hi millyone,

As you can clearly, sickness or death of a loved can be very hard to cope with. But you seem to have dealt with it righly with midnfulness at the moment. I congratulate you for that. I greatly wish your husband to be recovered and you a peacefull future. If I am not to cause a stress here, but I think reflecting on the impermanence is of great value due to the moment you are at right now. This was, as Buddha said, the highest merit one can do in their lives. In worst case senarios, I don't think their is any other way to overcome someone you deeply love. Mindfulness with impermance reflection of your husband can give you results in the 'here and now'. However, I'm only giving you a recommendation.

- RADZ

Oh absolutely right. Thanks so much for your reply.

I am greatly dwelling on the aspect of impermanence and how it is attachment that causes us all so much pain. Do not hesitate to say this to me,don't be worried about causing me any stress please. Surely all that I have learned and all of us here have learned about meditation and buddhism is what truly helps when we face our death or that of loved ones. By keeping our lives in perspective, understand that we must all go, it helps for a peaceful easier going. Of course, we hope for the best outcome, more years of life for my husband, but I know we could be facing being told next week that there is no hope. In which case I will not rail against it, no point. We deal with what is

millyone
08 Jun 14, 13:46
I have gone through some health problems in the past and found the practice of tonglen very helpful. In particular I found it helpful to dedicate my suffering so that no one would have to go through it ever. You can also dedicate stress, worry, sadness, grief.....whatever.

Best wishes on the recovery of your husband.

Hi Delaware,
how interesting, thankyou. What is Tonglen? I would like more information on that, I shall look it up. Please feel free to tell me more about it. I am open to all knowledge.

millyone
08 Jun 14, 13:51
Hi delaware,

I don't think Tonglen should be attempted without one-to -one instruction and guidance from a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, even though it can be found on the internet.

I won't go into details here about why, because to do that wouldn't be appropriate for this topic, so I've sent you a PM.

With kind wishes,

Aloka :hands:

Hi Aloka,
don't worry, I am merely curious and won't do anything inadvisable at all. I am sensible and will just read what I can find about Tonglen and simply see if any of it is helpful just to know about and think about. I don't want anyone to be afraid to speak freely to me about death and dying. Facing fears is surely the best way. I am finding all around me right now, people who are ignoring the big questions of our existence, hiding away, pretending that they don't need to know. Surely for them it makes times of adversity really much harder than it need be.

millyone
08 Jun 14, 13:53
Hi Aloka,
I just love your avatar pic, it is beautiful!

millyone
08 Jun 14, 14:05
Hi,
had a quick look at the basic principle of Tonglen and I think maybe I have been doing it to a certain extent naturally.

The thought 'other people feel this pain' is what I have been thinking anyway. I have been saying to myself that I am certainly not alone in facing the pain of losing a loved one. It brings it into perspective very well. In fact, my situation right now has made me acutely aware of all the people around me who have been through bereavement. I take comfort in knowing that they got through and so therefore will I. In fact I have been having very helpful quiet conversations this week with neighbours and friends where I have realised sometimes for the first time, just how courageous they have been and what better people they have become because of their experiences. Often, people I have only passed the time of day with whilst walking my dog, have revealed themselves to me to be quite wonderful actually. Especially older mature people who have dealt with adversity and allowed it to make them stronger and more giving and understanding.

So whilst I would not attempt to practice Tonglen at this stage of my life, maybe I might learn one day. I do find the concept fascinating and can see its benefits.

Aloka
08 Jun 14, 14:53
Hi Aloka,
don't worry, I am merely curious and won't do anything inadvisable at all. I am sensible and will just read what I can find about Tonglen and simply see if any of it is helpful just to know about and think about. I don't want anyone to be afraid to speak freely to me about death and dying. Facing fears is surely the best way. I am finding all around me right now, people who are ignoring the big questions of our existence, hiding away, pretending that they don't need to know. Surely for them it makes times of adversity really much harder than it need be.


Hi Milly,

Tonglen isn't primarily to do with death or dying, its a more extreme practice than Metta and involves imagining one is breathing in all the pain and suffering of others in the form of dark smoke... ..etc.

In the past, I've known of people ending up with various mental health issues through not receiving proper instruction and guidance from a teacher about it, which is why I don't recommend it to others on the internet. However, at this point, all I can advise now is caution.

This is a short 5 minute (and safe) video about Metta practice which is very beneficial for oneself and others.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3_lqd4Sgfc

Aloka
08 Jun 14, 15:49
You know all about the worries and fears Aloka, you have lived through it yourself. Would you tell me a little generally about how you coped, just general advice on how to remain stable and to find peace? All advice is very useful to me and to anyone else who is going through same.


I think the way I coped was by still being involved with my job whenever it was possible, and also by fitting in a daily samatha meditation session, with refuge at the beginning and then dedication to all beings at the end.

As I used to be involved with Tibetan Buddhism at that time, I also did daily Medicine Buddha pujas whenever I could, (for which I had previously received teachings and empowements) as well as being mindful of other private instructions from my teachers.

....So basically I think to sum up, it was important to have a little space to myself, in order to stabilise and not become overwhelmed.

Lots of good wishes to you both,

Aloka :hands:

Sea Turtle
09 Jun 14, 01:28
Hi Milly,

Adding my support here and well wishes for the very best outcome in this challenge you and your husband face. Your spiritual strength is evident...and very inspiring.

Illness and death are the most profound teachers, aren't they?

If I think of any resources to add beyond what has been posted already, I will definitely contribute. In the meantime, I just wanted to leave a note of encouragement and understanding.

May you both be well and at ease,
Helena
:hands:

Cal55
09 Jun 14, 10:57
Hi Milly

I just wanted to add my best wishes to you both.

I also support Aloka's suggestion of Metta meditation, focussed on yourself as well as others. I have found it helpful to try to be kind and gentle with myself in such difficult situations.

With all best wishes
Cal

delaware
10 Jun 14, 21:31
Aloka:
Nowhere in my post did I advise Milly to study Tonglen over the internet. She seems a very astute person who can find a teacher. She put out the question and I told her what helped me. That was it.

Aloka
10 Jun 14, 21:38
aloka:
Nowhere in my post did i advise milly to study tonglen over the internet. She seems a very astute person who can find a teacher. She put out the question and i told her what helped me. That was it.


Thank you for your comments delaware, my observations about Tonglen weren't anything personal.

Sending good wishes to millyone and her husband.

:hands: