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Tips on Guided Imagery Meditation?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Northwood, Apr 22, 2020.

  1. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Hi, All,
    Last Halloween I had surgery to address a nerve problem in my foot. (I suspect a TMS problem.) Around Thanksgiving, I wound up tripping and injuring my Achilles which prolonged my time in the surgical boot until mid-January. Since then I've been undergoing a very slow recovery. I can't walk far without discomfort, and am still limping. I'm experiencing peroneal tendonitis. (The peroneal tendon runs from the calf under the outside of the ankle and hooks up with the little toe.) During most of this time I was recovering from the surgery I had back pain, which led me to learn about TMS. Since my introduction to Sarno's books, I have been working hard to apply his methods to my own long life of chronic pain. And it's working. While reading Steve Ozanich's book (The Great Pain Deception), I encountered a short chapter on Guided Imagery. I've done much with imaginal work in the past, but not the guided sort. I'm interested in using it to help accelerate the healing of my injured tendon. I looked online last night and saw scores of sites that offered guided meditations related to healing injuries.

    I have three questions for the community:

    1. Can anyone recommend an especially effective site for guided imagery designed to help heal an injury? Or sites that are good for basic breathing meditations--getting relaxed, getting out of "monkey mind."
    2. Anyone recommend a good, solid book on the subject of guided imagery? (I enjoy reading and learning.)
    3. Does anyone have any wisdom to share from your own experience with guided imagery?

    I don't think my tendon injury is TMS. As mentioned, it's related to complications following my surgery and the extra long period in the boot. But my work with TMS is really showing me how powerful the mind is in healing the body (and vice-versa), so I'm inspired to want to become more actively engaged in my own healing and in increasing my own intuitive awareness of my mind-body, and using that awareness to live a more fully mindful life from a physical perspective to a spiritual one.
    plum likes this.
  2. Avnita Suri

    Avnita Suri Peer Supporter

    Hi @Northwood, I really like Shakti Gawain's book on Creative Visualization. That helped me when I first started learning to use guided imagery. I have used this technique with clients with great effect, but I first get rid of the trauma. Anyway, you it will still do a great job by doing it by yourself.
    I also think that by working on things in your life will help, like what was going on in your life just before your symptoms started in your foot? Are you able to sort it out in real life? Can you journal about it? I think this is more potent than guided imagery, as the symptoms become "heard" and that's what they want.
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  3. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Thanks for the feedback Avnita. I have been looking at some things that were happening when the foot problem started, as well as what was going on when other pain issues started in other parts of my body. This reflection further affirms that my chronic pain in my back is TMS, not structural. That may well be the case with the original problem in my foot as well. Still working on understanding that one. (The current problem is structural--tendon injuries following complications after the surgery. The Achilles heals s-l-o-w-l-y, so I'm working on dealing with the uncertainties of that healing process, as well as working on the practice of being positive (for me on matters of health, an acquired skill).
    Avnita Suri likes this.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    There is a great book recommended by @BloodMoon . Here’s the link to the post:

    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/brain-system.22221/#post-114646 (Brain System)

    I bought the book on the strength of this and it is good. The author, Eric Franklin, has penned a couple of excellent books based on the use of imagery for healing and dissolving tension.

    I also very much like @Avnita Suri suggestion. Shakti Gawain’s book is the absolute classic in the field.

    The best app for learning to calm the beast that is monkey mind is Calm. I renewed my annual subscription yesterday because it’s helped me so much during the last twelve months. It’s also aesthetically pleasing which I find very healing.


    As for Achilles problems, I had to stop dancing due to this about 16 years ago. I couldn’t even walk it was so bad. It’s taken me a long time to recover from it but these days I’m much better. I don’t know how much of it was TMS and how much injury (very painful ‘nodules’) but it really only began to ease when I started to practice Yin Yoga. For me this is the apex of somatic tracking (Alan Gordon’s number one key to healing), so yes, probably TMS. I don’t spend time untangling it all in my mind so much these days.

    Last thought, search the forum for posts by @Enrique who has written a lot about Achilles tendinitis from the perspective of a runner grappling with the whole is this real? Or is this TMS?

    plum x

    edit: start here,

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/im-a-tmser-triathlete.262/ (I'm a TMSer Triathlete)
    Avnita Suri likes this.
  5. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member


    Thanks for your reply. I'll order both Gawain's and Franklin's books. I remember with Gawain's book came out in the '80s. I rejected the idea of it, what I understood of it: the "monkey-mind" ego creating what it wanted. At the time that seemed to me dangerously self-serving and one of the self-indulgent aspects of what the New Age movement, which really bothered me. Anyway, many years later, looking at creative visualization through a TMS lens, I'll trust that something more than mere ego is compelling me to try creative visualization. My default for health problems is panic and projecting worst case scenarios. I have to really fight it, and struggle to think positively. That's why I have to keep reading this stuff over and over and over. And over.

    I also read through Enrique's thread, with interest. When I calm down a bit, I do feel that I'm at an interesting crises point in my own recovery. The TMS work has improved my back pain--I've been so busy dealing with the emotional stuff (dying parents, textbook tms life)--that the whole reason for doing all of this, having much of my back pain cured, is almost a sidebar. Pretty funny, actually. But when the pain returns, I get to gratitude pretty quickly (since I now have an effective way of dealing with that).

    My "crises point" is trying to figure out whether what's going on with this crippling tendonitis is TMS/PPD or a real, acute injury. I've been out of a surgical boot for 14 weeks. I still can't walk for more than a few blocks without pain and weakness. Following therapy, I've made improvements--walking a mile or more, biking a pleasurable eight miles, doing 10 minutes of pain-free sword-work---only to experience painful setbacks. Walking's the hardest. I tried making a list (TMS vs. Acute) but I don' t know if I have enough information to decide what's going on. I'm prepared to push through it if it is most likely TMS. But I don't want to injury the tendon if the problem is a real, healing injury. I hear tendon injuries can take a long time to heal, up to a year. It doesn't seem that what's going on is in my Achilles (though that had been injured and is now thickened) so much as the peroneal tendon. It remains consistently tender, yet the pain does travel all over the whole backside of foot. And it's GOT my attention. Anyway, I'm trying to get in to see the doc to determine if there is an authentic injury. At the moment, I'm treating it that way, which I know perpetuates TMS symptoms. And I'm watching to see how TMS probably factors into this. That's where I am.

    Wide open to input from anybody who has had to parse things out the way that Enrique did. I feel that if I can push through this I will be getting closer to the recovery I'm working hard to achieve. Maybe I can serve as a TMS guinea pig for the community, and that we can all learn a little bit more about the "TMS vs. Authentic Injury Question" through my engagement with this challenge. Thank you so much for your support!
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  6. Avnita Suri

    Avnita Suri Peer Supporter

    @Northwood, well the problem with thinking that it can take up to a year is that that is what the medical profession believe. They only look into from a physical issue. My experience, even with "difficult" pain is that it CAN be shifted using mind / body healing. It's just that you need to work on it in a deeper way. They will be things like other repressed emotions, stuck trauma, limiting beliefs. Then when you get relief doing that, you should be able to do more physical activities until your beliefs become solid in that your body is fine. (It has been said that even the biggest bones in our bodies don't take more than 8 weeks to heal). So any more than that, there's a mind / body element. I think you can ALWAYS argue in many, many cases - "Is is physical or is it TMS?", but most of the time, once you've dealt with immediate injuries, it will be TMS. That's my experience, anyway.
    plum likes this.
  7. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Thanks, Avnita. Just talked with my doc's nurse. As I explained what was going on, I mentioned TMS and how that might be a factor in my trying to understand my pain situation. That point floated like boat anchor. :)
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  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Which, my darling, demonstrates that you are already in possession of a fabulous imagination. Like so many of us it is great at negative creative visualisation but not so hot on the positive. This is a survival imperative hard-wired into the brain so no need to beat yourself up about it but instead gently, patiently lead this gift into the fertile grasslands of health, happiness and bounty. It does get easier.

    As for the whole real or not debate, this is where the contemporary neurological explanations come into their own. A genuine injury heals within weeks. Anything that persists is learned or neurological aka TMS.

    In my experience fear and doubt are the two bugaboos that derail our ability to reach this glorious place. Sometimes we can get there easily yet other times prove more testing. If you scratch the surface of every irksome pain that persists you will find fear and doubt even if they’ve become so low grade they are effectively off radar.

    My best advice at this juncture is to read some of @Baseball65 posts. This guy is a legend in his own lifetime and I’m sure he won’t mind me calling him a fundamentalist Sarno believer. I ache to experience his faith. It’s so pure and committed. There is a message in this for me too.

    Stay the course. Sift the wheat from the chaffe. Embrace your mistakes. Fall down eight times, get up nine.

    Rooting for you angel x
  9. Avnita Suri

    Avnita Suri Peer Supporter

    It's pointless trying to get this sort of information from medical industry. They are trained in a specific way. They are not able to bring in human consciousness into healing which eliminates 80% of healing.
    plum likes this.
  10. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Driving home today, I weighed your comments against our $3.5 trillion dollar healthcare industry: Industry's perspective? Avnita's?...Industry's? Avnita's? When I got home, I just said fuck it and went walking. I went all the way down to a park I haven't been in since last fall, went through it and came back. Interesting to feel the pain moving all over my foot, first one place, then another, then back to another place. I was just angry bout it, kind of wondering what I was doing, but mostly angry, and the pain seemed more freaked out than I was. I'm a little more persuaded this is TMS (which would be wonderful). Best case scenario, I'm Forest Gump running, not quite free of the braces, but getting there. Anyway, I'm going to put my trust in that and not attach (fearfully) to outcomes. For the record, I notice other odd things shifting around in my body--a small skin outbreak, for example, corresponding with a muscle pain in my arm. Thanks for your words. All very, very helpful.
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  11. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    I'm just going to buy that bit of news and run with it.
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  12. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Agreed. I'm lucky. He's shared some insights with me. What he's said has given me some clarity and diretion when I really needed it.
    plum likes this.
  13. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Thanks. Look forward to getting those books. Again, appreciate the links and your kind spirit.
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  14. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is so true. I recall reading something which I’m fairly sure came from The Centre for Disease Control and it said it’s possible that up to 95% of all health problems are powerfully affected by stress. That’s a whopping percentage.

    It fascinates me how readily stress is accepted as a component yet the emotional drive behind the stress (our personality, default trauma type, etc) is not. Or at least the acknowledgement fails to run as deeply as TMS theory explains.

    No paradigm shift anytime soon.
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  15. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Yes, an unfortunate disconnect. I remember reading James Clavell's Shogun novel decades ago. He describes a scene in which the protagonist, a sailor from Eighteenth Century England, winds up captured by the Japanese and subsequently treated by a doctor. He is amazed at the doctor's methods--gentle, thoughtful--nothing like the barbaric methods employed back in England at that time. We've improved since then, but sure do have a ways to go.

    Here are a few naive questions for you: when we talk about "tension," how would you define that term? I assume it means more than physical tension and so includes emotional tension (the tension that is a product of unconscious internal conflict); is that right? And with TMS is it the physical tension that causes the majority of the actual pain? I have noticed how tense I am. For example, when I pay attention to myself cutting up an onion, I am sometimes amazed at how tense I am while performing this simple act: locked up shoulders, no breathing, tight arms, death grip on the knife. If I'm that way unconsciously much of the time, I can see how tiring that can be on the body. Same with using a pen: tense, not breathing much, digging into the paper. Is this the sort of physical tension were centering on, or is the word tension to be understood more broadly? Probably both, huh? As a side note, I've always struggled with meditation, with the breathing part of it. It's never felt natural. Gosh, I wonder why.
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  16. Avnita Suri

    Avnita Suri Peer Supporter

    @Northwood, in my experience, tension is subconscious. It's not just being aware of your current thoughts and feelings. You need to be able to see the root; what was going on in your life when the symptoms started? What about if they are childhood things and you can't consciously remember, but your body does. It will store that trauma and then try and release it later on in life.
    plum likes this.
  17. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Physical and emotional both. Candace Pert (whom Sarno references) called one of her (audio) books “The Body is The Subconscious Mind.

    Inner Conflict, Yes. Definitely.

    Sarno believed the pain was caused by ischemia (possibly due to his background in working with stroke patients), newer theories suggests it is the nerves. Perhaps it’s both.

    This is an excellent observation. Are you familiar with Ace’s Keys to Healing?

    Everyone struggles with meditation. It’s finding peace with the struggle that is the lesson. Meditation helps us nurture living-kindness and self-compassion while being with ourselves alone. It is the black belt of Somatic Tracking. I find cloud-watching to be a more organic, immersive method.

    Seriously though, one year of the Calm app (every day) and I am feeling more grounded, less reactive and kinder. My mind is still all over the show during meditation but I judge that less. I’m much more like my old easygoing self. That feels good.
  18. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Thanks for your comments! "Black belt of Somatic Tracking." That's funny, and seems quite true. And I love to watch clouds...
  19. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    I am not. I'll look into it. Thanks for the tip. BTW, I started in on SEP. That long overview article of TMS/Sarno (Day 2) is first-rate. I've learned a lot just reading and rereading it. The author does a nice job of bringing the huge size of the TMS concept/experience into a handful of pages.
  20. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here are Ace’s Keys to Healing reposted by @balto (whose posts are a goldmine). The reply posted by @Forest is also well worth your time. It’s lengthy but jam-packed with knowledge. It does help to read and listen to a range of perspectives because one will suddenly hit home and once you ‘get it’ the whole healing process becomes much easier.

    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/key-to-healing.3577/ (Key to healing)

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