Some recommended reading from the OSHO Sammasati ‘library’ with comments from Maneesha.
Please feel free to add your recommendations and what you particularly appreciate about the book in the Comments section at the end of this page.
Close to the Bone: Life-Threatening Illness & The Search for Meaning
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.
(from the back cover): A serious illness is a crisis for the body and for the soul. The first scary symptom, ominous scan, or abnormal blood test begins a descent into the metaphoric underworld… Jean Shinoda Bolen’s telling of these powerful myths helps us respond to the stories as metaphors for our experience and for the potential psychological and spiritual growth that a brush with death or onset of a disability can bring.
The author is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco; she is also an internationally known lecturer and best-seller author.
I found the book excellent on the experience of being ill, chiefly from the psycho-spiritual point of view.
Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness
Joanne Lynn, M.D. and Joan Harrold, M.D.
The chapter titles give an indication of the breadth of the content covered, and include: Living with serious Illness; Enduring and Changing; Finding Meaning; Coping with events near Death; and Enduring Loss. The back cover describes it as ‘an extremely well-considered guide for people facing serious illness…[that] gives realistic advice on the emotional and practical steps needed to be taken when time is short…’
In addition to its being practical, the book’s layout makes this a very accessible read, advice interspersed with photographs, quotations and poetry.
Healing into Life and Death
Levine views healing not as about “getting better” physically nor being confined to the body “or even the visible”… psychological conflicts. Rather, it’s a journey, the “integration of body and mind into heart”. From the many years of experience that he and his wife have had in working with the very ill and/or dying, he has noted that there are two categories of people: Those who heal and Those who don’t (or not so readily).He writes: “Among those who seemed to move towards healing, physical and psychological as well as spiritual, there seemed to be many who had a certain quality in common. They had a willingness, a kind of open relationship to the conditions they were experiencing, a certain non-resistance… It wasn’t one way, one tone, one use of language. But for each individual it seemed to be a learning to let go and meet life in a fuller way, moment to moment…. Many who seemed unable to heal, instead of embracing their illness, met it with an ‘I’m going to beat this thing!’ attitude. Most were at their illnesses, their tumors, with a stick – self-flagellation, self -negation,’ me against me ‘me against the pain.’ Others…were with their illness, rather than at it… ‘me with me.’
“Those who were against themselves, trying to ‘beat their illness’… seemed to have the hardest time and the slowest healing, if healing was present at all.”
Buy from Amazon: Healing into Life and Death
Here for Now: Living well with cancer through mindfulness
Accolades from the back cover: ‘An inspired work of courage, love and gratitude, makes an invaluable contribution to the challenge of living fully in an uncertain world.’ ‘Not only do we learn many coping skills…this program teaches you to remain well during diagnostic and therapeutic measures and to be a participant rather than just an observer.’ ‘[Elana Rosenbaum’] years as a therapist and mindfulness meditation teacher have served her well to thrive beyond cancer. Now she shares her story with others so they, too, can learn to live fully and ride the waves of change, uncertainty, and adversity. Real and refreshing, inspirational and instructive.’
Buy from Amazon: Here For Now: Living Well With Cancer Through Mindfulness
Not the Last Goodbye: Reflections on life, death, healing and cancer
David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PHD
At the start of this intimate and moving memoir, Dr. David Servan- Schreiber is returning by bicycle to his Paris home from an unsettling appointment. Following several months of fatigue and fainting spells, he had scheduled an emergency MRI. The results confirm his worst fears: the return of the cancer that he was first diagnosed with nineteen years earlier.
Fully aware of what the prognosis means, he redoubles his commitment to an Anticancer diet, and complements his chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and vaccine protocols with acupuncture and yoga. At the same time, he undertakes a close assessment of his own life, realizing that he has neglected a key piece of Anticancer advice-to create a stress-free life; instead he had embarked on an international tour to take his message to the public. Nevertheless, he concludes that he would not have done it any differently.
In this book, Servan-Schreiber raises many of the most complex and personal questions about how we live and how we prepare for death. Powerful, honest, and inspiring, he continually surprises with his thoughts on what’s important in life and the meaning of death.
Buy from Amazon: Not the Last Goodbye: Reflections on life, death, healing and cancer
The Creative Arts in Palliative Care
Ed: Nigel Hartely & Malcolm Payne
Designed for healthcare professionals, art practitioners and all those providing palliative-care services, this book is fairly dense reading. Use of the arts in the palliative care setting is a powerful and effective way of addressing the practical, psychological, social and spiritual issues faced by service-users in end-of-life care, and the book, ‘uncovers the possibilities for using the creative arts and provides guidance on how to implement arts projects successfully,’ as the back cover notes.
Buy from Amazon: The Creative Arts in Palliative Care
When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection
Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there such a thing as a “cancer personality”? Drawing on scientific research and the author’s decades of experience as a practicing physician, this book provides answers to these and other important questions about the effect of the mind-body link on illness and health and the role that stress and one’s individual emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.
- Explores the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, and multiple sclerosis
- Draws on medical research and the author’s clinical experience as a family physician
- Includes The Seven A’s of Healing-principles of healing and the prevention of illness from hidden stress
Shares dozens of enlightening case studies and stories, including those of people such as Lou Gehrig (ALS), Betty Ford (breast cancer), Ronald Reagan (Alzheimer’s), Gilda Radner (ovarian cancer), and Lance Armstrong (testicular cancer)
An international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, When the Body Says No promotes learning and healing, providing transformative insights into how disease can be the body’s way of saying no to what the mind cannot or will not acknowledge.
Buy from Amazon: When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection
Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain
Ernest & Josephine R.Hilgard
He is a retired Emeritus Professor of Psychology from Stanford University ‘instrumental in making hypnosis a respectable and worthwhile phenomenon to study and practice’; she was Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine, and Research Associate in the Hypnosis Laboratory at Stanford.
(from the back cover): ‘This book is a ‘must’ reading for anyone whose work involves helping people who are in pain’.
‘An excellent work, written with admirable clarity and cautiously balanced with scientific judgement.’
Buy on Amazon: Hypnosis In The Relief Of Pain
Discovering the Power of Self-Hypnosis: the simple, natural mind-body approach to change and healing
(from the back cover): ‘In his essential guide, [psychologist and psychoanalyst] Dr Fisher teaches us how to invoke this state of focused concentration and use it to heighten awareness, transform anxiety so it works for us, and even prepare for surgery, as he did in preparation for his own unexpected quadruple-bypass heart surgery.
‘By sharing his remarkable success story, as well as the fascinating stories and techniques he has used with some of his 3,000 patients, Dr Fisher dispels myths and describes how readers can create their own 90-second exercise to talk to their bodies and minds for change and healing.’
Buy the book from Amazon: Discovering the Power of Self-hypnosis