Fighting Parkinson’s, and let’s sit some more

In my previous post, Fighting Parkinson’s, and let’s sit, I stressed the importance of sitting quietly in meditation. As Suzuki says, “Because we respect ourselves, because we put faith in our life, we sit.” There are more concepts to cover on sitting, so today, I say, “Let’s sit some more!”

In looking at Parkinson’s and your emotions, there is a recurring theme about how stress causes symptoms, particularly tremors, to get worse. In the book Not Always So, there is a passage about life being like a movie. Here is my take on it.

1. When we experience a movie, sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, sometimes we are uncomfortable with what is going on, sometimes we are afraid, sometimes we are angry…. The point is that when we are watching a movie, we experience all kinds of emotions, but because we are watching a movie and we know it is not real, we experience the emotions and then we let them go…no lingering build up of held-in emotions.


2. The one thing that always is there at the beginning of the movie to make it a better experience is the plain white screen.

Looking at number 1 above: If you can view your life in this manner like a movie, then you can experience the events and the emotions that occur, and then you can let the emotions go and have no lingering build up. Essentially, you have a clear mind, which makes it easier to deal with life’s events.

Looking at number 2 above: You are sitting with a plain white screen up until the movie begins. When the movie ends, all of the projection, color, action, and emotions are gone and you are left with a plain white screen. The next day, in order for the next movie to show properly, you need to start again with a plain white screen. That is what is accomplished with sitting zazen; you are allowing your mind to clear. You are getting rid of residual, held-in, held-over emotions so you can start your day with a clear mind and a new ability to deal with life. Then, when a stressful situation appears, it is not piled on top of layers of emotions built up from the past. This makes it easier to deal with life in the moment by making clear solutions easier to conceive.

Now, let’s change it up a bit. Suppose each time you went to the movies, the movie from the day before and the day before that, etc. was playing on the screen and then they projected your movie onto the same screen, what would you experience? Amongst other things, I would imagine that you would experience anger and frustration at the situation, and confusion about trying to understand your movie, and you might suffer a stressful panic attack from the sensory overload of multiple movies being projected simultaneously on one screen while multiple soundtracks were blasting through the speakers, and your tremors might rage out of control.

How can you avoid this? Start your day with a plain white screen. At some point at the beginning of each day, take at least five minutes to just sit still and focus on your breathing. Over time, you may wish to sit longer. Sitting zazen (on a cushion on the floor, legs in lotus or crossed position, back straight) is the way I do it now. I know that some of you cannot sit on the floor. No problem…sit in a chair; as explained in the previous post, that is the way I did it when I had Parkinson’s.

I do not recommend closing your eyes all the way as you may go to sleep. I close my eyes about three-quarters of the way, or you can stare straight ahead. The right way to do this is what you are most comfortable doing; trust yourself. Once you find your quiet spot and sit there, count your breath from 1-10 like this: Start with an exhale and follow with your inhale. That is 1. When you get to 10, start at 1 again. As you are sitting and breathing and counting, you are focused on sitting and breathing and counting, and your residual, held-in, held-over emotions from the previous day melt away, leaving you with a plain white screen.

Now, you are ready for the day. You are better equipped to deal with new emotions and stresses as they arise because you can project them on your plain white screen, deal with them, and let them go. That’s right, experience the emotions as you would experience them while watching a movie, and then let them go as you let them go after the movie ends.

The events of your life in the moment are what is real. The attachment to the lingering emotions of those events well after the events have ended is an illusion. Let go of the illusion. Live in the moment, experience life fully in the moment, experience the emotions that come up with those events in the moment, and step into the next moment while leaving the old emotions behind. Whatever might still be lingering the following day will simply wash away when you sit.

“Because we respect ourselves, because we put faith in our life, we sit.”

Okay everybody, let’s sit some more.

You are worth it!!!

All my best,



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49 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and let’s sit some more

  1. Barry Heermann says:

    aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yes, yes, yes.

  2. Thank you, Howard…a great reminder from my favorite coach with clear, simple, do-able instructions…think I’ll take some time out right now for some meditating…much gratitude, dear soul

  3. Debbie says:

    Thank you for another great post Howard ! I am going to sit now and just let go ! 🙂 🙂
    Love and Blessings to all,

  4. Smita says:

    Thank you 🙂 God bless you. A pure soul.

    Warm regards

  5. Anita in England says:

    Wonderful explanation. Thank you Howard.

  6. Lisa says:

    Lotus (no) and half Lotus? (no again) ahhhhhh, ……………….sitting…………..counting and breathing………..I can do that 🙂

  7. corazon salvador says:

    GOD bless you Howard thank you for caring for us and your desire is so great for us to get rid of this illness it is much appreciated.

  8. Karen in Ireland says:

    Hi Howard, another great post. Love the idea of a white blank screen. I’m with Lisa on what I can do. 🙂 Big Love to all.
    Karen xx
    ps. I have a beautiful prayer I want to share guys. Hope you love it like I do.
    I am Thanking You right NOW
    Author Unknown

    Dear God:

    I want to thank You for what You have already done.
    I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards;
    I am thanking You right now.

    I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better;
    I am thanking You right now.

    I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry or until they stop talking about me;
    I am thanking You right now.

    I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears;
    I am thanking You right now.

    I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves;
    I am going to thank You right now.

    I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet;
    I am going to thank You right now.

    I am not going to wait until I get promoted at work or until I get the job;
    I am going to thank You right now.

    I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life that has caused me pain or grief;
    I am thanking You right now.

    I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed;
    I am thanking You right now.

    I am thanking You because I am alive.
    I am thanking You because I made it through the day’s difficulties.
    I am thanking You because I have walked around the obstacles.
    I am thanking You because I have the ability and the opportunity to do more and do better.
    I’m thanking You because FATHER, YOU haven’t given up on me.

    • Waseema from Birmingham UK says:

      What a beautiful prayer Karen. Thank you. Xxx

    • jimmy says:

      wonderful Karen

    • Debbie says:

      Hi Karen.
      Thanks for taking the time and finding the energy to share your poem. Whenever l think of you or read one of your posts, it brings a smile to my face. I can feel the beautiful, fun loving person you are. I can feel your strength and courage. I see you as a radiant friend . A person who happily moves forward, pulling everyone you come in contact with along with you. Your love for life is contagious. I am blessed and grateful for the opportunity to know you.
      Sending love and Blessings,

      • Karen in Ireland says:

        Awwwww Debbie, what a fabulous post to me. Brought a lump to my throat. Bless your beautiful heart and thank you my lovely friend. I know we will meet some day Little Miss Sunshine. 🙂 xx

    • Helen C. says:

      Only just seen this, Karen (times have been trying…). It’s lovely!

  9. Tony says:

    I think we definitely all need to sit and meditate every single day this is huge for Parkinson’s I believe thank you Howard!

    I truly believe in order to relax the body from Parkinsons you must first relax the mind.

    I find this to be one of the hardest things to do especially when I cannot use my hands to shower get dressed it becomes very scary but I know deep down in my heart that I can cure myself of this and that each and every one of us are perfect on the inside we just have to keep telling ourselves that there is nothing wrong with us because truthfully there isn’t we are all perfect in fact we are better than perfect God bless

  10. Veronica Urquhart says:

    What a wonderful blog Howard. Thank you. It is said that we can carry the weight of 24 hours – no more. I am sure we would pity the soldier who tried to carry the weight of worn out shoes and uniforms of previous marches along with his present load. I guess we too can carry yesterday’s load as well as today’s. I notice it is the little cares and frets that seem to burden us rather than the occasional crisis. ” Sorrow may endure for a night, but Joy cometh in the morning”. As Howard has said we start each day with a blank canvas.
    I use a simple meditation of using my forehead as a blank screen and visualize how I would like my day to pan out. As I go through the day I remind myself of my vision when I notice it has gone astray. I believe in simplicity. Knowledge is power, but practice is wisdom. Much love . Veronica 🌺🌺

    • Debbie says:

      Thanks Veronica. I really like this part… “Knowledge is power, but practice is wisdom.” Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day!

  11. Margit says:

    Tony, I feel for you. I’m in the same boat as you. Showering, just even doing my hair, dressing, food preparation etc is becoming harder by the day. This scares me no end and I am struggling with being positive, when there is no relief. Meditation is sooooo difficult to do, as is the breathing. Why? Even exercising is getting frustrating. Had to even give up playing table tennis, which was my only time to be with lovely people. My balance is the problem. The days are spent alone and just trying to cope to the best of my ability. I so admire the strength and determination of you all and feel a failure, as I lack faith. sorry to write about my woes. Love to all, Margit

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Margit, don’t apologise, most of us are in the same boat. I had to surrender to a carer last September who has to wash my hair while I shower as I just have no power in my arms. At one stage I was joyous I could wash hair with left arm but that’s too weak now. I think it is the toughest challenge, staying strong in a belief that it will get better when the physical just seems to be shutting down, you are in good company my friend. So much faith and trust required, of the power within us. ” I love and accept myself unconditionally right now” I find quite powerful. Takes you to being the ” observer” of what’s going on, rather than emotionally attached to it, which as we all know causes that darkness of
      “Overwhelm” not easy to shake off! ( no pun intended haha) We will get there Margit, we will. xx

    • Debbie says:

      Dear Margit,
      Please don’t see yourself as a failure. You are beautiful and loved just the way you are. You are worth it.
      Thanks for sharing you with each of us .
      Sending love and blessings your way,

  12. Veronica Urquhart says:

    Dear Margit, know that you are not alone on these days. Sometimes we have to sit through emotions like impatience, awkwardness and emptiness before peace cones. But this is part of the preparation. I often think life is like the weather. Sometimes it is dry and suppressing and other times it is windy, wet and unpredictable. During a storm for instance we have no option but to stay quiet and calm and wait for it to pass so we will have energy to deal with things when it has passed. If we run around panicking we will burn up energy and have nothing in reserve for order afterwards. So it is with our life. Once we have done all we can do we must accept, be calm and allow God to direct our passage . This is what we do in meditation. I pray you will discover your greatness Margit. We are with you. Much love . Veronica 🌺🌺

  13. Shawna Carol says:

    I can no longer dress myself. And that just means surrendering to being helped. I can practice loving myself exactly as I am and receiving care. This is not to say that I don’t feel frightened or frustrated with this condition, but I find if I relax and accept the way things are, I lose the fear and frustration and regain even my sense of humor about it.

    Healing is happening. Healing is real.



  14. Smita says:

    Dear Margit, we all are going through the same phase, same emotions, same challenges. It’s human to worry. Acknowledge the feeling knowing it is temporary and release it. It helps to avoid blockages in our mind and body. Hence meditation helps to gain mental, spiritual strength.

    Sometimes I cry, spend day lying in bed trying to hide myself from the facts of life. The next day I get up with new hope and a smile then I do everything which is good for healing with the best of my ability.

    Gather yourself.. Love yourself.
    We are fortunate we have Howard helping us all the way.

    Lots of love. 🙂

  15. Tony says:

    We are all scared but the one thing we are not is failures. Even Jesus was scared so much that he sweat blood it’s normal to be scared but as long as we stay in faith that is all that matters. this time last year I was cooking gourmet meals now I can barely crack an egg but I know that on the inside there is nothing wrong with me and all is well I keep chanting to myself there’s nothing wrong with me there’s nothing wrong with me there’s nothing wrong with me and when I do so my movement improves incredibly. Howard is there for all of us and we are there for each other. Your fellow Warrior Tony.

  16. Tony says:

    We’re all going to make it!!

  17. jimmy says:

    the human brain is susceptible to a variety of addictions. One other addictive habit that we have is overthinking. In fact, some Buddhists have a phrase for this addiction: ‘monkey mind.’

    Overthinking is not merely a distracting habit, it’s also a genuine compulsion that leaves us in a perplexing state, while also having a negative effect on our spiritual development. However, scientists are finally catching up to what Buddhists have known for thousands of years: meditation and mindfulness are essential to a healthy mind.”

    Meditation can be a highly effective form of dopamine increase if done properly, as it can weed out the mental influences which may be causing your chemistry to be less than desired. With the intent of reaching a state of self-fulfillment, meditation clears out the mental clutter and replaces it with presence and fulfillment for just being alive. This is a state available to every human and can help assist our daily lives by increasing our awareness of what feels good for us and what we don’t resonate with.

  18. Susana L says:

    I am humbled reading all the kindness and beautiful words that are written here. The raw honesty in each of these words echoes the perfection of our souls. No-frills. No past encumbrances. I believe the meditation Howard directs us towards is the gorgeous blank white emptiness of the mind. Cultivating sitting a symphony of gratitude ensues and the bright luminous energy of the universe reigns within us.

    Thank you Now for your beautiful poem, Karen.

    Margit, counter your fear with gentleness. Be gentle to yourself. The Yang emotion to counter fear is willpower. In your gentleness to yourself, your sweet willingness to heal will appear. It will counter your self doubt. Your strength and faith are deep inside your soul. Sit even for a few minutes and you will begin to see them usher forth on their own.

    Thank you to each of you for your inspiring words. Love to all, Susana

  19. Kathy says:

    Feeling such love for all of you! You each lift me up. Your words are so full of hope and encouragement and so well stated. Beautiful poem Karen! I do my meditation in the morning sitting on my patio, listening to the birds chatter. Recently, during meditation, I have felt energy at the top of my head as if the neurons were dancing about. Interesting!

    Love you beautiful people! Kathy

  20. Karen in Ireland says:

    Ps. To ALL Warriors, just re-reading everyone’s posts and Howard’s. We truly are an extremely loving and caring group of souls and I feel we all have such a deep connection to each other in our empathy and understanding of this phase of our lives, which WILL pass, it truly will. I love each and everyone one of you, for in you, is me. We ROCK warriors, we truly ROCK! xx

  21. tu says:

    Hi Karen, Tony, Margit, Shawna, have you been on meds and for how long?

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Hi Tu, no I have never taken meds. I have symptoms since 2009 and diagnosed in 2012. Meds or no meds, we are all challenged my friend.xx

      • Shawna Carol says:

        Hi Tu,

        I was diagnosed in 2002 and for the past 13 years have never taken pharmaceuticals. I modify medical Qiqong for the liver and all the Qiqong exercises as Howard has encouraged me to do.

        Not being on the drugs gives me accurate feedback as to where my body is at, and especially how devastating fearful and stressful thinking are. It has taken me years to begin to listen to my body instead of my “brilliant mind”. I’m grateful to be a part of this conversation with you all.

        • Karen in Ireland says:

          Wow Shawna, 13 years with this condition, you’re a saint! God bless your strength and endurance. xx

  22. Margit says:

    Hi Tu, I was on madopar for some time, but to me it didn’t make any difference, so I have been off it since March. It’s the pain that gets me down mainly. The shaking is always worse, along with everything else, if I don’t get a good nights sleep. I thank all of you for being so incredibly supportive, as it does get lonely and scary. Karen you are amazing, I’d like to take a leaf out of your book. Your attitude and strength are incredible. The medical profession doesn’t offer any hope and do a lot of harm with their negative prognosis. Tony, how long since you’ve been diagnosed? Love to you all, Margit

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Margrit if you saw me yeasterday you would witness my lack of strength and attitude. I was so overwhelmed by leg tremors that I had to lie down for most of the day as when they tremor so badly I can’t sit as my arms tremor worse. Later in the day, when I could sit, I just sobbed til I had no tears left. My son came in to my room. As I said to him, this journey has been so long. Even people with cancer, do their treatment, lose their hair etc but there is an end. I wish God could appear and say to me ” just one more year and you’re done ” When I cry from my very core, peace comes. I feel sometimes a little stronger then bam, back to worse than before. It’s the cruelest condition. I have a stronger word, but I would not use bad language here. 🙂 . I’m very much like Marie says ” fake it until you feel it” so when I break down every few weeks, it’s like I’m kidding myself for the rest of the time. I so believe in the power of God within me to heal me, but friends, I didn’t ever think it was going to take this long. I’m not as strong as my words convey, but I’m ever trying! God, to his credit keeps loving me through the people he sends to me to make me smile and feel the joy I need to get old dopamine rigged up and running again 🙂 just wish I had a fast forward button. 🙂 xx

      • jimmy says:

        dear Karen your words made me cry……same as you I have symptoms since 2009 and diagnosed in 2012. i am 3 years doing recipe …sometimes is hard to do, but remember this words ….when we are aware or put our consciousness, in our divine spiritual essence, and our oneness with the universe and everything in it. This awareness will lead us to self-love and understanding we deserve to be healthy and happy.

      • Waseema in Birmingham UK says:

        Dear Karen,
        My eyes filled with tears when I read your post. You’re so inspiring as are the rest of the community. I believe we must be really special to God as we’ve been picked to have some special learnings and meet some special people on our journey of healing. The journey is just as important as the destination my friend. Thinking of you.

        Love and blessings

  23. Smita says:

    Hi Karen and all of you those who are not taking medicines and have uncontrolled symptoms, I really want to know how you all perform medical qi gong for liver ? Because once I tried it without medicine and I could not rotate my hands. Then I imagined my hands are rotating.

    I have to take one tablet to perform medical qi gong for liver and clear liver wind exercise.

    Also I would like to share with you all that today while doing breathing exercise my body moments became normal for 7 minutes as if I am free from the diseases.
    I experience the same incident 4 times this month.
    It’s given me strength to put more efforts for recovery.

    We all will recovery if we give our heart soul and mind to whatever efforts we are putting for recovery.
    I have started enjoying all day exercises with a faith of recovery.

    I pray we all get healed soon. All is well.

    Love to you all.
    Smita 🙂

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Wow Smita, 7 minutes disease free joy joy joy! Fabulous! In answer to your question I can’t do qi gong for liver properly. My arms can’t do the circles, so I rest my hands on the points and they tremor there while I count to 6 twice, that’s my best effort. I then can’t bend left or right as my hips now are pulled to the left as that hip is slightly stronger, so it has pulled me out of alignment. My right shoulder is more forward now, so when I’m standing, my right side feels like it’s being swung forward. So bending either side is a non runner so again, I imagine. Smita, I cry a lot too and stay in bed when I just am too weary to try. The structure of my body being so challenged as the months go by is cruel and scary . My friend is a chiropractor and does all she can. The psoas muscles in the pelvis get locked from sitting so much which pulls the opposite shoulder forward. So there are times when it releases a little with manipulation. Smita with all the protocol I just do what I can, when I’m able which cud be only 3 times a week so I talk to my soul a lot instead 🙂 xx

      • Smita says:

        Dear Karen you are a beautiful soul. I am touched. May God bless you and release the disease. You are very strong soul. Lots of love. We will win. Let’s do it together. Let’s do lot of mirror work, affirmations, visualisation, and the recipe to the best of ability. We all will win. Keep telling that we have the power to heal ourself.
        Every single moment is a affirmation.

        Love to all

      • jimmy says:

        Karen…..”one more day with parkinson means one less day without parkinson”.

      • Waseema in Birmingham UK says:

        Karen ask your chiropractor friend about Network Spinal Analysis.
        I found it really helpful for easing tension and stress in the body.

  24. Trish in Colorado says:

    Update: I’m out of the care home now after 3 weeks. I was in there for physical therapy to get me stronger after breaking my arm. At the same time the doctor was adjusting my meds to minimize my extreme dizziness which he said caused my fall. I had previously reduced my meds to three Gabapentin and one 1mg Ropinerole per day. That’s all.

    Now I’m up to 3 ropinerole and down to one Gabapentin. I’m sleeping well, and my RLS is gone. also the dizziness is better. I want to be drug free! but now am further away from my goal. I’m terrified of falling again but have decided to withdraw from all drugs.

    How many of you are plagued by this dizziness and what do you do? I’m doing the exercises. I use a walker. Any advise is greatly appreciated.
    Love you warriors!

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Hi Trish, bless you, but you’ve had it rough. Friend all I know is when I get dizziness it’s usually from gallbladder point in neck being tight. On Howard’s advise I place a heated bean bag around my neck ( I have a long thin bean bag I can wrap around) and also, pressing on the cheekbones of your face with your fingers together on both cheekbones releaves dizziness. Maybe though it might be to do with the medication combination? The other warriors on meds might be able to compare notes on side effects which might include dizziness? Anyone out there experiencing similar? xx

  25. Verinica Urquhart says:

    Dear Trish…….sometimes what we are looking for is often very close and the closest thing to us is our breath. I have got a feeling this problem is caused by stress. When we feel stressed we tend to breathe very shallow which can cause us to feel dizzy. I find if we just take a few minutes to breathe slowly and with complete focus it will subside. Our mind can play tricks with us . I wish you love and peace of which you have plenty I am sure. Everything you need you already have dear friend. Veronica 🌺🌺

  26. Verinica Urquhart says:

    Thank you for your warm welcome Smita. About crying ….being able to cry emotionally is a very important part of being human . Emotion itself means to move out of as in e meaning out and motion means to move…in case …to move out of. Crying helps us to move from a moment when we feel we have lost the ability to cope. It can help us recover from strong emotion such as we can experience with PD. I read some years ago that the substance in tears is similar to those in aspirin etc to relieve pain. Maybe this is true for us warriors at times. So for those of us who have a cry now and then I hope this helps you feel loved for being human.
    Veronica 🌺🌺


  27. judy says:

    I don’t think I’ve read more soulful, heartfelt comments since I’ve been receiving Howard’s blog, 3 yrs.
    I began symptoms in ’07, 1 yr after my husband of 30 yrs left me. In ’09 I was diagnosed. Began meds in July ’11 (minimal sinemet with gradual increases over the yrs ) after a 5 wk hospitalization which included 4 wks therapy. I have been doing the Recipe for 3 yrs. I feel I am better mentally, as well as physically. I don’t know what I would do without Howard and the Recipe. A most critical practice for me personally, I am very careful about the words I speak to others and to myself.
    A challenging journey, and a fulfilling one!

  28. Helen C. says:

    I’d like to echo what Judy has so eloquently said – and offer my heartfelt gratitude for knowing such a groupy of honest, supportive, courageous warriors. Like Judy’s, my symptoms began (in 2010) after my husband left me (in a foreign country, to boot…maybe this is a link worth researching ;-)) and for the last month I have resorted (capitulated?) to Madopar because of weight loss (I never thought that in this life I’d be scared of losing weight) and clinical depression. Thank you – all of you – for being there and communicating your feelings, it encourages me to do the same.

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