Meditation & Health #4 – Healing a Hernia
Healing a Hernia
Sarah Jones, Vancouver, By Jacqueline Sam
Two days before Sarah Jones entered the First Level Retreat in Vancouver in March of 2012, a wracking cough called her attention to an urgent health problem.
“I was coughing very hard, and a big round lump protruded from my stomach, about the size of my fist. I pushed it back in…. The pain was excruciating. Although the ball went back in, [my stomach] didn’t feel the same.”
Excited to be participating in a Bodhi Retreat, Sarah bravely went ahead with her plan despite the fact that she wasn’t feeling well.
“I signed up for the Retreat because I felt the urge to give myself time to meditate intensely. I very much wanted to follow the First Level with the Second Level Retreat that was taking place in April. All of the complicated arrangements I had to make in order to attend both fell into place effortlessly. For me it was a positive sign. In hindsight, that urgent need I had of doing the Retreat was probably my inner wisdom guiding me.”
Sarah had been practicing meditation independently for years. She had read books on the subject, at one point becoming confused by all the differing information.
“I read that lamas and other spiritual teachers all valued having a teacher, a master meditator to guide one’s spiritual learning curve. I didn’t have a teacher and didn’t know how I would go about finding one. While in meditation, I asked for a teacher.”
In October of 2011, a dear friend of Sarah had discovered the Bodhi Center and recommended it. Sarah attended a couple of evening sessions and then participated in a Chanting Retreat.
“At the Chanting Retreat I learned that there was a master meditator present, Grandmaster JinBodhi. I did not expect that. I was ready to receive, and the experience was a gift.”
Sarah practiced diligently during the ensuing months and began the First Level Retreat on March 24th, despite her abdominal pain. By the 27th, the physical discomfort was becoming increasingly bothersome, and she made an appointment to see her doctor that day.
“My doctor told me that I had a large hernia. The lump I had felt was my intestine. She said I was very fortunate to have been able to push the organ back in this time. If you don’t push the organ back in, muscles can tighten around it and that can cause death. My doctor wanted my permission to request surgery with a specialist.”
Sarah, however, had other ideas. Determined to stay the Bodhi course and follow her First Level experience with a Second Level Retreat, she informed her doctor that surgery would not be an option for three or four months.
“My doctor said, ‘No, you don’t understand. This is very serious. It’s not like you can postpone it until whenever you want. So I need your consent to schedule surgery. The next time the organ pops out you may not be able to push it back in, and you may die.’ She told me to inform everyone around me about my condition, so that if it happened again they would know to call the paramedics immediately, and then I would have to go straight into surgery.”
Throughout this health crisis, Sarah faithfully showed up at Vancouver Center each day. When people became aware of her condition, they were shocked that she was continuing to attend class. Firm in her commitment to Bodhi Meditation, Sarah asked her instructor, Lily, to perform a healing session on March 28th, and carried on with intensive practice.
“One thing I noticed after that healing session was a rare abdominal sensation while doing the Wheel Mudra. It was as if my intestines were being moved around. The sensation stopped a few days later and I have not had that experience again. There was also a definite change in the abdominal discomfort, as I improved day by day.”
Sarah continued her practice, and followed through on her plan to attend the Second Level Retreat. She was no longer experiencing abdominal pain.
“I got a call from a surgeon. He wanted to do an examination prior to surgery. During our telephone conversation, I told him what I had experienced and he confirmed that I had all the symptoms of a hernia. However, when I went in for the examination, there was a surprise waiting for both of us. He couldn’t find any trace of a hernia. Three times the surgeon asked me to repeat the details of my story, and three times he confirmed that I had experienced a hernia. He said, ‘I’ve been treating these for 30 years, and I know you are describing a hernia. But I don’t see it and I don’t feel anything, so I’m going to send you for a CT scan.’”
After undergoing a CT scan, Sarah received a message from her family doctor’s office, requesting that she come in right away. Understandably, the message filled her with trepidation and she braced herself for distressing news.
“My doctor pulled out the test results and said, ‘There’s no hernia.’ She was extremely puzzled. She said, ‘But there was something there…. There was a hernia but now there isn’t.’”
This wonderful news occurred on May 8th, coinciding with the final day of the Second Level Retreat. Thrilled to be a medical miracle, Sarah’s gratitude to Bodhi Meditation runs deep.
“I want to thank my instructor, Lily, for her amazing healing work. She told me that she had put an energetic mesh inside me that prevents my intestine from popping out. I also want to thank my other healing partners for their insights and energy. This miraculous healing proves how much all of them have been empowered by Grandmaster JinBodhi.”