The diagnosis of cancer is the first step on a journey of trials and challenge. But what if the cancer experience could become a spiritual pilgrimage—the doorway to a season of growth and renewal?

Last fall, I was diagnosed with melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Two surgeries later, I’ll be the first to admit: cancer was one of the scariest, most painful experiences in my life.

It was also one of the most profound.

Most folks, especially my physicians, will contend that traditional medicine was what cured me. I’ll agree with them—with one caveat. Because even though my surgeries worked—and for this I am utterly grateful—something else was at work, as well.

This was the miraculous healing energy of the Divine.

I say this, because at no time during my during my cancer journey was I ever alone or separate from the extraordinary presence of the Divine/One/All. During this time, via intensive and ongoing sessions of meditation and prayer, I experienced:

• Visions and messaging from Divine beings, assuring me that all was well.

• Visits from my departed father, who told me the same.

• A slew of what I can only peg as “miracles”, including healings and psychic surgeries from Divine beings

Even though what happened to me still lies outside of mainstream beliefs about healing, I believe that my experience is not uncommon—or need not be uncommon—for those who face cancer or life threatening illness.

When we are faced with our own mortality—which is exactly what happens when we face cancer or any other serious illness—we have the same experience as those who have Near Death Experiences (NDEs).

In other words, we become spiritually awake at a new level.

I had my first NDE in 2000, and this experience brought about the kind of opening in my consciousness that you often hear about from other folks who’ve had NDEs: I became awake very suddenly, and I also became psychic.

But my second NDE—my cancer experience—brought me to awakening and consciousness at a whole other level. The ideas of Oneness, and living in the Now suddenly weren’t abstract concepts any more—they were just the way things are.

The ideas of ourselves as Divine beings, as souls in human form wasn’t just a new age philosophies—it was the real truth of our reality.

The idea that we have the choice to live in the vibration of gratitude and love became crystalline—that this is available to us each moment, even as we face the discomfort, pain and fear of treatment.

My melanoma was a great shock to me. Yet in having this absurd monkey wrench thrown into the workings of my life, I was able to learn great spiritual truths that I would have not gotten to on my own.

Like many of you, I already had the tools of meditation, prayer and spiritual trance in my toolkit. But in learning how to use these tools specifically for cancer—and by including the marvelous tools of mantra and sound healing— I was able to come to a profound understanding of the nature of dis-ease in the body, the fear and anxiety it creates, and how we can create healing—even miracles—with help from the Divine.

The journey through cancer is unique for each person. Yet regardless of treatment or outcome, it arrives to us as a presence; a gift that teaches us how to live outside the constraints of fear, and to embrace the realities of love in this lifetime.

Sara Wiseman is author of six insightful books on spirituality and intuition, including Intuition, Cancer & Miracles and Living a Life of Gratitude. She hosts the popular radio show Ask Sara, and is a top contributor to DailyOM. For a FREE meditation on Overcoming Anxiety and Fear, click here.

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