Tibetan meditation helps cancer patients find calm

Alejandro Chaoul and Geshe Tenzin Wangyal. Photo: ligminchatexas.org

A student of Geshe Tenzin Wangyal is leading a unique meditation program for cancer patients at the M.D. Anderson Mays Clinic in Houston. The Houston Chronicle profiles Alejandro Chaoul, a professor in the clinic’s integrative medicine program, has been running meditation classes to help cancer patients sleep better and deal with anxiety for 13 years.

Chaoul first came to Houston from Argentina to get a Ph.D. in religious studies at Rice University. When he accompanied his father to an appointment at the clinic in 1998, he offered his services as a meditation teacher because he “just wanted to help.” A year after asking, Chaoul was allowed to start a class, after obtaining approval from Wangyal and his other teacher, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche.

He started with a class called “connecting with your heart,” and later added Tibetan sound meditation to help with the memory loss that chemotherapy sometimes causes. Chaoul notes that while meditation is often taught in hospitals, it was rarely taught to cancer patients when he started doing it. While his class is primarily aimed at people with cancer and their families, it’s open to everyone. Read more about Chaoul and his program at the Houston Chronicle.

Geshe Tenzin Wangyal is featured in our November 2012 magazine with “The Great Perfection of Creativity,” a teaching about unleashing powerful creative energy we can use anywhere. You’ll also find lots more about practicing with illness on our Caregiving and Practicing With Illness Spotlight Page.

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