This CD series created by mindfulness teacher Dr. Robert Stahl offers practical mindfulness tools to help heal physical and emotional stress, pain and illnesses. The overarching philosophy of the series is that we can manage stress, “access our deep inner resources of healing,” and avoid physical and emotional depletion through meditation and mindful awareness.
As a champion insomniac, I was immediately drawn to “Working with Insomnia and Sleep Challenges.” Years ago, I had a job in an inpatient psychiatric facility that required sixteen- and twenty-four-hour shifts. My circadian rhythms have been out of whack ever since. I have listened to Dr. Stahl’s CD many times, each time appreciating anew the graceful sequence of focus on breath, sound, body sensation, thought and emotion in the guided meditations. His voice, hypnotic and sonorous alternating with well-paced silences, offers the mind encouragement to absorb wisdom and to deeply rest. When I have found myself in a struggle with wakefulness, I have been gently shifted away from the turmoil and toward a mindful state of “let it be.”
Throughout the series, we are encouraged to dislodge ourselves from the ways we suffer by seeing the truth of impermanence. On the CD “Opening to Change, Forgiveness, and Lovingkindness,” a reflection on the preciousness and fragility of life is the theme of the meditation, designed to neutralize the poison of resentment in our hearts. The questions Who is in pain? and Whom have I hurt? are interwoven with suggestions to notice changes observed in the breath.
Techniques such as abdominal breathing are taught on CDs dealing with anxiety, fear and panic and on others on pain and illness. Listeners are gently invited to become alert to bodily sensations and emotions without making interpretations. In the pain-oriented CDs, a guided body scan encourages listeners to look for physical holding that may accompany the actual sensation of pain in another area of the body. Listeners are then guided through a “release the holding” process and encouraged to separate their sense of well-being from the body’s physical experience.
Each 80-minute CD stands alone or can be used in combination with the nine others. In each, the content specific to the topic is detailed and focused. But because they all share the same template, some are repetitive. For instance, in the pain-related CDs, Dr. Stahl repeats the same story to illustrate how children can be taught to repress, resist and reject pain. Fortunately, listeners have the option to skip material they’ve already heard or don’t wish to hear again.
The series also includes CDs on back pain, chronic pain, neck and shoulder pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, headaches and migraines, and respiratory ailments. Dr. Stahl honors the physical underpinnings of these various problems yet respectfully invites listeners to take their own initiative in addressing conditions they may otherwise feel powerless to change.
Visit www.mindfulnessprograms.com to order.