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The Center of a Wheel: Transcendental Meditation in a Cancer Survivor’s Life

“The answer really is within. It is within all of us. We simply need the tool to access it: A technique that allows us to dive into the essence of who and what we are — to integrate that unbounded experience into all the other aspects of our life,” writes a three-time survivor of cancer, Susan Wilking Horan. Susan is an attorney, author, wellness advocate, and practitioner of Transcendental Meditation (TM) for 35 years and counting.

Susan recently sent the David Lynch Foundation (DLF) a moving personal testimonial about TM’s role throughout her battle with and victory over cancer. The DLF team was so touched by her words, we decided to share it with you today. Read below, we hope you enjoy.


by Susan Wilking Horan

ANNIVERSARY: From the Latin anniversarius — referring to the words for year and to turn — meaning to (re)turn yearly.

Well, I’m happy to report that this year — 2015 — represents two huge anniversaries for me. The first is the 20th anniversary of my first cancer diagnosis. The second is the 35th anniversary of my first experience with Transcendental Meditation. And, I would not be celebrating the first if it were not for the second.

You see, over the last twenty years I have survived three different cancers, including colon, skin and breast cancer. But, years before that chapter in my life began, I was practicing TM. In fact, I started TM when I was in my teens — along with my parents and all my siblings. It was, indeed, a family affair.

As anyone who has survived a serious illness knows, it requires strength, stamina, focus and relentless determination to overcome the obstacles. And, it’s a joint effort — one that brings together family and friends, dedicated physicians, medical treatment and inner strength — all in a common goal to face a common enemy.

For me, however, the key factor in my survival was the practice of TM. As an attorney, author, speaker and wellness advocate, I explain that part of my “war chest” like this.

Our lives are similar to a wheel. And like most wheels, the wheel of life has many different spokes. Now, these spokes are what give the wheel its shape — and keep it balanced so that the wheel can continue to turn. One spoke may represent our thoughts, another our physical energy, another our mental clarity, another our immune system, another our emotional makeup and so on.

And, every spoke is necessary to the wheel so that it can move forward and make progress. Each one complements the others — and is vital to the overall “well-being” of the wheel. But, the most important part of the wheel is the center — the hub — the anchor that holds all the other parts together. And, this is where the practice of TM resides. In the center of all our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects.

When we do TM, we are visiting that center — that part of us that resonates in everything else we do — and everything else we are. It is that part of us that vibrates down every spoke — enhancing, resting, healing and enlightening every other part of our life. Every spoke is nourished. And the resulting strength of each spoke is shared with and extended to the wheel — the wheel we know as our life — keeping it turning in a balanced, strong and resilient way.

Through the many years of my repeated recoveries, it has been TM that has: Enriched me. Energized me. Enabled me. And, allowed me to continue — in spite of my personal challenges — to live a wonderful, productive life. And, all of these incredible results do not live in the realm of subjective theory. Everything from lower blood pressure, reduced stress and anxiety, improved brain function, deeper rest and a decreased perception of pain have been evidenced by science.

The answer really is within. It is within all of us. We simply need the tool to access it. A technique that allows us to dive into the essence of who and what we are — and to integrate that unbounded experience into all the other aspects of our life.

And for me, that tool — that technique — is Transcendental Meditation. That easy, simple practice of sitting quietly for a few minutes twice a day. It is that to which I owe my milestone anniversaries this year. And, of course, armed with TM — my ever-ready always accessible ally — I reserve every hope and intention of celebrating many, many more.

About the Authour

Susan Wilking Horan has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of California, Northridge and a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

For the past twenty years she has been an author, an attorney and an advocate for health and wellness — for she also is a survivor of three different cancers, including colon, skin and breast cancer. As a firm believer in the adage, “experience is the best teacher,” Susan shares her knowledge in her best-selling books The Single Source Cancer Course: The Layperson’s Guide to Preventing, Treating and Surviving Cancer, Volumes 1 & 2, in which she gently guides her readers through the entire cancer process in a non-threatening, comfortable and supportive environment.

Susan considers herself an ordinary person who writes and speaks for other ordinary people, in the hope they can learn from her mistakes and benefit from her experience. For as the Chinese say, “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.

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