Gabrielle Roth

This evening, I attended an evening with Gabrielle Roth, and American Shaman.  Back in 1975 and 1976, I spent much of my time with Gabrielle, as her student and assistant.  Her main contribution to my life at that time was to support me through the worst of my son’s bout with cancer.  In addition, I learned a lot about movement from her.  She actually had trained with Anna Halprin. On the day my son went into the hospital for surgery of his tumor, I was supposed to go to Eselan with Gabrielle to assist her in her workshop.  However, this was not to be.  A month earlier, Gabrielle and I put on an amazing event to honor Rajneesh.  We had about 250 people attend, and it was wonderful.

This evening was very nice for me.  As Gabrielle entered the auditorium, I greeted her and she remembered me by name.  She had just recently told someone about my son’s miraculous recovery 21 years ago.

After about thirty minutes of movement, Gabrielle began to speak about trialectics (although she didn’t mention the name).  From my understanding, trialectics teaches that for every active force and its corresponding passive force, there is a neutralizing force to go along with them.  Gabrielle spoke about awareness, attention, and action in the context of ourselves, our one-on-one relationships, and our relationships to a group.  These last three concepts fit nicely into the three instincts of the enneagram.  In respect to awareness, attention, and action, Gabrielle spoke about thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations – the three centers of intelligence.  At an appropriate time in the discussion, I delivered a little speech about the advanced stages of these centers.  I used my concept of playing tennis with mindfulness as an example of being about to move before you know how you will move, that is, very instinctually.  The phenomena occurs in athletes when the enter the “zone” of ultimate capability.  This was an example of body awareness that goes beyond the normal range of effort.  I similarly spoke about feeling things before you know what you will feel, giving rise to lucid dreams, clairvoyance, and other psychic phenomena.  Finally, I spoke about having thoughts that seem to come out of no where in which you just simply know.  With these capabilities in place, one being to experience what it is like to be another.  Gabrielle was pleased with what I had to say, and told the crowd that this was the essence of what she was teaching.

By the way, earlier that day I had a wonderful session with Leslie Davenport.


Voices of Healing

I woke up this morning feeling a lot better than yesterday. I had spent much of the night doing mind stories and metta meditation. The metta meditation is a loving kindness meditation from the Buddhist tradition. I’ve adopted mine from several sources and it goes like this:

First you shower yourself with loving kindness by saying to yourself with feeling:

May I be at peace.
May my heart remain open.
May I know the beauty and the radiance of my own Buddha-nature.
May I be healed.
May I be happy, truly happy!
May I not cause anyone to suffer.

Then you shower the loving kindness blessings on someone you love, substituting “you” for “I” in the above rendition. You then shower loving kindness blessings on someone you are having a problem with and follow with showering loving kindness blessings on the whole world, imagining the earth floating in the vast emptiness of space. I practiced this meditation for several hours and woke up feeling fine! It was really important to shower the loving kindness blessings on myself first, so I could feel good enough about myself to shower the blessings on my spouse and other people I love in my life.

In the afternoon, I went to a meeting of Voices of Healing in Mill Valley. It turned out to be a support group much like the life threatened group at the Center for Attitudinal Healing. I was touched by people’s healing stories.

After the meeting, I received a massage from Pauline from Anna Halprin‘s group, and I’ve added her name to the resources list. Pauline is also living with cancer and continues to study with Gabrielle Roth. She was gentle and prayerful as she gave me an Eselan massage. The massage was excellent, and the mood was enhanced by the Tibetan music in the background.

From there I went to a session with Leslie Davenport. I needed to see her again this week because I felt in crisis with the thought of resuming my life as it was prior to the cancer. I felt and still feel that if I allow those conditions to be re-established, I’d be really susceptible to a recurrence of my disease, and this made me panic. There were other issues that came up, especially how much love if flowing into my life from many sources, but I was in the middle of a severe doubt attack.


Tea and Pumpkin Cake

This was the first day I felt almost normal! Lucky for that, too, because I had to go to Menlo Park to complete my performance evaluation with my boss. The day in Menlo Park was quite wonderful. The results of my review were acceptable except for one slight disagreement, which we are in the process of working out. Once the review was complete, we went to lunch, as we had done so many times before. Over all, we spent about two and one-half hours of quality time together, talking about business, raising girls, martial arts, and a variety of interesting topics.

In the evening, I went to the final class of Moving Towards Health with Anna Halprin at her studio in Kentfield. I had been to her studio once before about twenty-three years ago with Gabrielle Roth, and it was even more beautiful than I remembered. The night air was cool and comfortable and the setting in the woods was quite inspiring.

After a check in, in which I shared my progress report, we did some movements on the deck. We each walked around the deck for a while to find our “spot.” Mine was at the East end of the deck facing West with a view of the very top of Mt. Tamalpias. It was gorgeous in the early evening sunlight. We made the movement into a ritual by performing the movement in each direction. Then each member was asked to dance their favorite movement and we did each person’s movement in each of the four cardinal directions.

Next, we took a silent walk in the wood around her three acre estate. At a certain point, she asked us to fan out and find our “tree.” We then spent about one-half hour with the tree, asking it questions, feeling it’s growth, and merging with “treeness.” I picked a rather tall redwood, which I was willing to share with one of the other participants, but she marched off to find another tree. I embraced the tree, listened to it’s growth, and tried to encircle it with my arms, but it was too big. So instead, I walked around the tree, which was no easy task, since the tree was situated at the top of a two or three foot embankment. Towards the end of the time with the tree, I leaned on the tree with my back supported by the tree. It was a comfortable position to observe the connection, and it also allowed me see other elements in the environment. When the bell rang, and everyone headed back to the deck, I waited to the end and urinated on the tree. I had asked the tree if it minded the last vestiges of my disease being sprayed on it’s trunk, and the tree said that for decades all kinds of deer, rabbits, skunks, and other animals had done so and the tree felt nourished by each one. My act was a symbolic representation of cleansing the cancer and drugs from my system, as well as a way of claiming my territory in that little woods.

Back at the studio, we drew pictures of our excursion, and then danced what we drew before sharing our drawings. In the dance, Anna Halprin became my tree and supported my back while we moved together. Eventually, we encompassed the whole troop and focused our healing energies around a woman who was not fine when she arrived. It was a group hug embracing a lot of love, and it felt delightful.

My picture is shown on the left. It is called Yellow Stream, of all things! Note that all of the trees grow clearly past the top of the hillside, and all of the little leaves, branches, and other natural elements that are part of the drawing. The tree is in separate from the other non-tree elements. In fact, the tree depends on the non-tree elements for it’s existence. It derives nourishment from the environment, and my contribution was minimal, if not symbolic. When I shared the meaning of my picture, everyone go hysterical. We had a good laugh for a long time.

At the conclusion of the group, Anna invited us into her house for tea and pumpkin cake. This brought the spirit of the group together and we hung out for about another hour. I found myself swinging on a hammock with two women, two of my favorites. We talked about a lot of things and when I told them that I had an alternative title for the book, Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves, one of them said rather enthusiastically, that she would by a book with that name. Then I shared my image of “healthy cells grow all by themselves,” and they felt even more comfortable with the title. So here we have it! The bound version of Yellow Stream will be hereafter called, Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves! It’s the official title now!


stop cancer

Seeds of Enlightenment

April 7, 1997 – Seeds of Enlightenment

This morning, I managed to get in about forty-five minutes of tennis! It was difficult to manage my energy, but I’m feeling stronger every day.

By the time I went to Anna Halprin’s class, however, my gut was churning and my energy was quite low. Fortunately, we spent a lot of time during check-in because there were several new people there, including J. B., the mother of my daughter’s best friend.

The movement segment began with sitting in or chairs and doing deep breathing exercises. I gradually picked up to where we were supporting our faces with our hands and keeping our hands in touch with our bodies. At a certain point, I felt the desire to do a modified form Zen prostrations as an expression of gratitude. I continued moving about on the floor for quite a while, returning to the prostrated position quite frequently. Then the movement picked up all over the room and my energy began to accelerate. Mostly, I was dancing alone, but there were quite wonderful encounters with other dancers, and soon, most of the group was dancing together. I spontaneously moved into the third stage of the “chaotic meditation” that I learned at the Ashram from Rajneesh. This is the stage where “With raised arms, jump up and down shouting the mantra HOO!…HOO!…HOO! as deeply as possible, coming from the bottom of your belly.” Most of the people joined my in this movement, and I was filled with images of the Ashram and Bhagwan.

After the movement segment settled down with a group circle, we did our drawings. I wanted to draw a group of people dancing together at the Ashram in Poona, but I knew that I lacked the artistic talents to make it happen, so I just started drawing orange faces, which transformed into six vibrant flowers with roots in the earth and healthy leaves on the stalks – all reminding me of “healthy cells growing all by themselves.” On top of each flower, I wrote the name of one of my major teachers along my path.

The first flower was dedicated to Father Eli, from whom I learned the trance work that forms the foundation for guided imagery well enough to teach it to over two hundred people since 1973. He told me that he had taught both Jose Silva of Silva Mind Control, which I had learned in 1971, and L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, which I studied between 1968 and 1971.

The second flower was dedicated to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho. I spent the summer of 1975 in Poona and was given the name, Swami Deva Ninad. I have collected more then four hundred tapes and twenty-five books of his lectures.

The third and fourth flowers were dedicated to the Buddha and Thich Nhat Hanh, respectively. Since 1985, I have been devoted to Buddhism in general and Zen and Vipassana meditation in particular. I love the way Thay has interpreted the sutra on Mindfulness of Breathing. My own meditation is totally inspired by him.

The fifth flower was dedicated to Gabrielle Roth, a former student of Anna Halprin, and an internationally known shaman. I studied with her in 1975 – 1976, as we shared a common interest in Bhagwan and the enneagram. I was scheduled to assist her at a workshop at Eselan in June of 1996, but on that very day, my son went into the hospital for his Wilm’s tumor surgery. What a shock it was for me to have to change my plans and spend the time in the hospital instead. Gabrielle harnessed the energy of her workshop at Eselan and all of her remaining workshops that year to perform healing circles for my son. I have been devoted to her since then and have felt a great sense of gratitude.

The last flower, I dedicated to myself, as I am now my own guru. I am learning a lot every day from my illness and my efforts to keep my mind focused on healing. Naturally, I look to the other teachers for inspiration, but most things are coming from deep inside myself.

As a result of the drawing, my meditation has changed slightly, once again. It now goes, “Breathing in I heal, breathing out I’m free,” or simply, “healthy… free.”


Moving Toward Health

February 10, 1997 – Moving Toward Health

Up until now, I have been reporting on external events and meetings with physicians. It has certainly been a whirlwind of activity for the last two weeks, but I haven’t mentioned too much of what is going on inside. Believe me, a lot is taking place and has transpired. I have continued to do “mind stories” daily, sometimes three or more times a day, especially when I feel tired. While the method I use to invoke the relaxed state of mind that I need to do my meditation is described elsewhere, the content of my meditation is made up of at least three kinds of processes.

The first process I use is based on Buddhist meditation. Having been trained in both Zen and Vipassana, I use a hybrid method that incorporates the best of both for my purposes. The method involves following the breath in the belly, which is a common practice in both Zen and Vipassana, with a healing twist. What I used to do prior to my diagnosis was “breathing in … breathing out” – following the physical movement of my abdomen. The modification I make, based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, along with bringing my attention a little lower to my bladder, I generally repeat, “Breathing in, I know that I am healing myself, … breathing out, the cancer is gone!” Much of the time, when the breath is fairly short, for example, I use the trigger words, “healing” for the in breath and “gone” for the out breath, knowing that I am referring to the elimination of the cancer cells.

The second method is to visualize the insides of my bladder, and visualize that I am scraping off the cancer cells into the bladder, to be easily eliminated through normal bladder function. This is a quite effective technique, as sometimes I really feel the cells dying and being eliminated. This process takes a good deal of concentration to be effective, but many years of visualization practice have helped in this area.

China Beach, Point Lobos

The third method is to visualize events in my future with a positive regard. For example, I see myself playing tennis in Sausalito, Edgewood Park and Boyle Park, with my different tennis buddies. Or, I might see myself lying on China Beach in Point Lobos State Reserve, and listening to the waves crash against the shore. I can smell the sea air and virtually taste the salt water. I feel the texture of the sand on my feet, legs, buttocks, hands, and arms. Or, I might visualize R.’s graduation coming up in June or a trip to Hawaii, or whatever my mind brings up. I’m not focusing on my disease at all, as these events take me beyond recovery.

Why, you may wonder, am I bringing all of this up today? Well, after spending the day requesting the Shipley protocol and ordering all of the ingredients in Michael Broffman’s protocol, I attended a support group led by Anna Halprin. Anna is a dancer in her late seventies that diagnosed and treated her own cancer with movement and art. Twenty-one years ago, I studied with Gabrielle Roth, one of Anna’s protégés, so I was familiar with her work. I also attended a retrospective performance by Anna and her students about a year ago. I was very excited to attend her group this evening because I hadn’t been allowed to play tennis since before the “red stream.”

Anna’s group consisted of mostly women who had already recovered from cancer. There were several ladies who were in the throes of treatment, but they were in the minority. Anna began by allowing my friend J. M. (the same friend who took me to lunch after “yellow stream”) to tell his story of three and one half years of prostate cancer which is no in total remission. Everyone was encouraged by his story.

She proceeded to direct us to get grounded in our chairs and begin breathing in and out. Naturally, my Buddhist practice came to mind and I was in a rhythm of “healing… gone.” We then started moving in time with our breath, expanding way out with our arms open wide on the in breath and contracting inward on the out breath. This theme was developed to standing, bending, and movement around the room to Native American music of some kind. We eventually had some group interaction through the movement and all along Anna kept us focused on our breath. She would have us focus on being grounded, relaxed, aware, centered energy (grace).

After the period of movement, we were to draw a picture inspired by the movement. This was a difficult task for me, for I have never enjoyed drawing too much. With her inspiration and support, I drew the “yellow stream.”

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Copyright © 2004-2018, Jerome Freedman, Ph. D.