2018-10-21 / Insight

Meditation offered relief to Vietnam War veteran

BY KRYSTAL MORALEE
Contributing Writer


The interior of the Meditation Self-Healing Center is beautifully restored. 
Photos by Krystal Moralee The interior of the Meditation Self-Healing Center is beautifully restored. Photos by Krystal Moralee LAPEER — In the early 1970s, meditation was the path that helped Roy Sexton rebuild himself after the Vietnam War. In the early 2000s, it was also the path that led him to rebuild a nearly-condemned building in the city of Lapeer. Now, he’s teaching that path to others, and helping them find what they need inside themselves.

“I came out of Vietnam and I wanted to find a way to find peace within myself,” he said.

Sexton, 69, a disabled veteran, started out with guided meditations in a group through a spiritualist church, and strengthened his practice over the years, including travels to places all over the world to learn as much as he can. It has enhanced his life in countless ways, he said.

For one thing, he’s been able to manage the pain from a frac- tured tailbone and disks in his back.


Roy Sexton used meditation to find peace after serving in the Vietnam War, and he now teaches group and individual meditation classes in his Meditation Self- Healing Center. Roy Sexton used meditation to find peace after serving in the Vietnam War, and he now teaches group and individual meditation classes in his Meditation Self- Healing Center. “Through meditation, I’ve learned to control the pain so that it really doesn’t exist anymore,” he said. “I might feel some discomfort, but there’s really no pain.”

He also has used meditation in his working life. As the owner of Thumb Alarm, he said he would meditate daily after lunchtime, and though he was taking time out of the work day, it led to far more productivity and focus afterward.

“It did so much for me,” he said. “Fifteen to 20 minutes of meditation, and it was like starting the day over again, so it was like two days of work in one day.”

It was Thumb Alarm that brought Sexton to Lapeer, as he had offices in Bad Axe, Lake Orion and Pontiac. He decided it made sense to move to a central location. In 2002, he purchased the building at 244 Law Street, which was built in the 1870s as the First Baptist Church. It was partially destroyed by fire in 1901, and rebuilt. It was used as a church for 100 years, and later, after the church moved to a new location, the building became the Henley Recreation Center, or Boys Club, where youth would play basketball or learn to swim in the pool.

The old building was closed, and a new Community Center was built on Saginaw Street. Abandoned, bricks began falling off and creating a hazard. It appeared its fate would be demolition, but Sexton purchased it for a mere $10,000, and began painstakingly making the structure safe and renovating it into something beautiful. In 2004, it reopened as the Meditation Self-Healing Center. The original brick work, stairway and stainedglass windows are intact, and complement a very deliberate design intended to keep the energy in the building flowing in a positive fashion. Natural light plays beautifully through the colored glass and a series of meditation rooms are decorated with items Sexton has obtained during his world travels. Statues, crystals and designs in the tile have all been placed intentionally, and the effect is pleasant and peaceful.

Sexton now leads group meditations weekly and also teaches one-on-one sessions at the center, by appointment. Various groups also use the space for retreats, classes and other events. Weekly group sessions are from 6-7 p.m. Wednesdays and from 1-2 p.m. Sundays. If people want to try a meditation session, they can drop in to one of the group sessions, or schedule a one-on-one. Sexton said people who just want to check out the place can come at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Meditation, Sexton said, has helped him learn to focus on what’s important, and what is real.

“Life is about being in this moment right now,” he said. “This is the moment we can control.”

A session with Sexton looks like this: You sit in a chair, lean back and tilt your head slightly forward. Focus on your breath, and be mindful of one thought at a time. This helps you slow down, focus on one thing at a time, and direct yourself back to your breath.

Meditation allows you to find stillness, pay attention to your thoughts, and let them go. When the body is uneasy, he said, it can lead to disease, so learning to bring yourself to a peaceful place can go a long way toward overall health and wellness.

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