One definition of “to heal” is “to make whole.” The full account of the first healing – Shin-Ichiro Terayama’s recovery from advanced kidney cancer – is told in RADICAL REMISSION by Kelly A. Turner. Read Shin’s story in Chapter 2 and then go back to the first page – this really is a book to read from cover to cover.
While Kelly Turner was working as a counselor at a large research cancer center she learned that although there had been over 1000 cases of extraordinary recovery from advanced cancer published in medical journals, this kind of healing was never mentioned. And, she found that two groups of people hadn’t been considered at all in the published studies – the survivors themselves and the alternative medicine practitioners. She wrote, “I read article after article by doctors who carefully listed all the biochemical changes the Radical Remission survivors experienced, but none of the authors reported asking the survivors why they thought they had healed.”
Turner decided to interview survivors herself and in 2014 she published a book naming the nine key factors she’d found in extraordinary remissions:
• Radically changing your diet
• Taking control of your health
• Following your intuition
• Using herbs and supplements
• Releasing suppressed emotions
• Increasing positive emotions
• Embracing social support
• Deepening your spiritual connection
• Having strong reasons for living
In the late 1980s Shin discovered and used all nine factors in the course of his own recovery. After being diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer in 1985, he was treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. After five months in the hospital, he was released to await death at home. Becoming whole involves a complex interaction between chance and choice: Shin’s experience includes both.
While still hospitalized he had a powerful dream that left him determined to continue to live, and he had an unexplained change in his sense of smell. These were “chance” events. After the dream he was unable to tolerate many odors including the smell of ordinary tap water. When he returned home he first tried boiling water to make it fit to drink. When that didn’t work, he tried other ways to change the smell but his experiments were in vain. He then asked his younger son, who was ten at the time, to buy some mineral water. He bought three kinds imported from America and France. Shin found only one of them acceptable. This water saved his life. At that time Japan was proud of its clean, natural water and mineral water was only used for making whisky highballs. Now, many years later, mineral water is used for good health and Japan is proud of its own “Made in Japan” mineral waters.
Shin began making a series of choices as he took charge of his own health. He chose to attend Findhorn, a spiritual community in Scotland, despite still having a tumor in his lung. (His wife worried that the damp and cold climate might not be good for him.) But his stay at Findhorn was another step towards recovering. Shin has said that while there, he was, “hugged by many people and deeply moved by that. Hugging was very rare in Japanese manner at that time, although it is becoming very popular now.”
Shin learned many lessons as he worked with his body, paid attention to his intuitions, and chose to live in a new way. He had found joy in playing the cello when he was young but had given it up when pressure to become a successful businessman demanded most of his time. During his illness he again had time, and playing the cello daily became part of his healing. He has said,
“The cello was a perfect healer for me because of the beauty of its sound, and because of its vibrations. The music was so beautiful and the sound activated all of my body. I felt that every cell was detoxified by the vibrations. I felt that it was a beautiful massage of every cell in my body. After practicing the cello I felt refreshed.”
In 1988, his routine CT scan revealed that no cancer was present.
He began sharing the gift of his joy-filled music with many people. For years he attended the Conference of the International Society for the Study Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine (ISSSEEM). On the way from Tokyo to the Conference in 2014, his cello was terribly damaged by a major airline’s baggage handlers. He had taken the cello through customs in Chicago where it had been fine, but when it was finally delivered to him in Missouri a day late, the body, especially the front, part of the side, and the back, had been shattered. It did not seem possible that this fine old instrument could be repaired. It was a very great loss, but that disastrous harm started the story of the second healing. Shin gave the gift of his music at that conference anyway – with a rented cello.
On the flight from San Francisco back to Tokyo, Shin happened to sit next to a man talking on his cellphone who kept saying again and again, “cello.” Shin introduced himself after the call ended and asked about that conversation. This turned out to be one of those wonderful coincidences – his fellow passenger, Tony, had a son called “Cello” – short for Marcello. Tony was a lawyer and offered to draft a letter to the airline about the loss of the cello. Shin is a powerful but gentle man who chooses not to be aggressive in any way, but he was willing to accept help in pursuing fair payment for the damage to the cello that had great monetary as well as personal value.
Once back in Japan, Shin found a violinmaker in Tokyo – Yukio Maeda – who was willing to repair the cello although he said the tone, its original mellow voice, could not be recovered. After the pieces had been re-assembled and the form made whole, the cello was in Shin’s hands again. He set about working with the cello as he had worked to repair his own body many years before. He began to play it everyday to “pull up a clear tone.”
Shin’s American conference community knew the story of the broken cello and one of them, Jack Stucki, who uses sound in his healing practice, offered his help. He set up some times for distance healing, (“remotes” as Jack calls them) with Shin and the cello. Jack says, “The same life force that flows through us also flows through the cello.” (You can read more about Jack’s healing work: WINNpost.org, September 16, 2016)
Jack wrote to Shin,
“I have been doing remotes with you and the wonderful cello for several days now and I received the greatest gift of all early this morning. It was a dream within a dream. I heard you playing the Prelude to Bach’s cello Suite #1. The richness of the tone was incredible.”
From his side Shin wrote,
“Cello was repaired August 8th, but at the beginning the tone was terrible – like a wolf crying. Not the mellow tone which it had in the past. Jack gave me a wonderful remote healing for the harm done to the cello and me. This changed my cello tone immediately. The tone is getting better and better day by day.” In another e-mail Shin said, “I started playing Bach Prelude # 1 and went into meditation for one hour. The cello was always beside me during the meditation. At the end I played the cello again – Vivaldi Sonata #5 Adagio. My cello has apparently changed to brilliant tone. It’s a great step.” This was the second healing.
The story does not end there – there has been a third healing. In February of 2015 Shin played his cello in public. At the end of the concert, the cello slipped from Shin’s hands, fell to the floor, and broke again. Shin has brought to this new loss the lessons learned from the first healing. He had begun to live in a new way then – really paying attention to what he was experiencing. He has said, “I became more aware of the present moment and I was filled with joy. My experience with healing from so much illness made me realize that consciousness exists at many levels. This led me to explore deeply those many levels – body, emotion, mind, spirit, God, and the universe.”
With the cello damaged for the second time, Shin decided to accept this new present moment saying, “I will follow living in the best way, being alive with many people. I’ve decided that I will be with this broken cello in my life even if it does not have a beautiful, strong tone.”
This too is a healing – accepting the limits of life while continuing to live with love, joy, and gratitude can also make us whole. To be healed does not always mean the physical form is made new. The third healing involves more than the repair of physical forms: healing at the level of consciousness means expanding the capacity to be awake, aware, and fully alive.
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RADICAL REMISSION: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, Kelly A. Turner, PhD., Harper One/Harper Collins 2015
You can also read Shin’s story in:
BRIDGES Magazine, 2010, Number 1, “My Story Of Healing From Cancer”
SUBTLE ENERGIES MAGAZINE, 2016, Vol.27, Issue 3, “You Can Increase Your Intuition by Yourself”
He is the author of MY CANCER DISAPPEARED, published in Japanese in 2006 and now in its 8th printing.
Shin-Ichiro Terayama is one of the founders, along with medical doctors, of the Japan Holistic Medical Society and also The Subtle Energy Association of Japan.
He is the founder of The Beyond Consciousness Research Institute now named the Shin-Terayama Office Co., the Vice President of the Weller Than Well Association of Japan, and a Fellow of the Findhorn Foundation.
His website is http://www.shin-terayama.jp/