Disease, Healing And Consciousness
In the last several posts I have focused on physical conditions, diet. and supplements as contributors to health, but my main interest lies in meta-health, that which is above health. From my perspective, health is related to our awareness of what is happening in our lives, and how it is affecting us. We can only change what we are conscious of, but unfortunately most people, including many health practitioners, are not aware that emotions, beliefs, and ways of being can affect physical health.
If dis-ease is… a mirror of consciousness, then to fight dis-ease is to fight ourselves; to flee from dis-ease is to flee from ourselves; to succumb to is to give up ourselves. The process of healing… begins not as a battle but as an opportunity to gain the awareness needed for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual growth and integration. Vivian King
I discovered the above quote in a book about eating problems called Desperately Seeking Self by Viola Fodor. Apparently Vivian King taught a process called “Embracing Disease as Teacher.” I have not been able to find out anything about this process or about Vivian King herself, either from the author of the book, or from the website, entitled ‘Forgiving Ourselves and Healing The Inner Child’ where the name of the process was identified. Unfortunately no details or description of the process were given.
In relating disease not to pathology, but to a mirror of consciousness, the above description of disease and healing is addressing meta-health, rather than pathological or abnormal conditions, or disorders of structure or function. Our culture tells us that pathology and disease are inextricably linked, so how can diease be related to consciousness?
To really understand how disease and conciousness are related, we have to realise that conventional Newtonian physics does not govern how our bodies work – quantum physics does. Quantum physics, the physics that governs events within the atom, is markedly different from Newtonian physics. There are many differences, but an important one from a health standpoint is that in quantum physics everything is energy. Seemingly solid structures, like bodies, and internal organs, are energy, and thoughts and emotions are also energy. Secondly, the energy of human observations and expectations (thoughts and emotion) can affect the behaviour of quantum particles. It can change their speed, but also determine whether they act as a particle (solid matter) or as a wave (energy). So consciouness and our cells are inextricably linked.
So disease is a mirror of consciousness in that thoughts and emotions can affect cells and organs. When we do not listen to the messages our thoughts and emotions are sending that there is something that we need to change, the body responds to our seeming lack of interest by sending louder and louder message, in the form of symptoms, to get us to listen. These symptoms are a signal that we need to pay attention to something we are ignoring, and then take appropriate action. Such action does not include fighting, fleeing or succumbing, but instead accepting whatever is there, and then determining how we can best work with it.
In other words, we can recognize the symptoms (disease) as sending us a message about ourselves, or our reaction to something that is happening in our life. For example, chronic physical pain is generally assumed to be the result of a physical illness or condition, but may be due to mental or spiritual pain that we are resisting. Once we determine what we are reacting to, we can then find a way of responding that serves us better.
This does not mean that we can always avoid illness, but we can avoid the suffering that may come from it. Too often we equate the symptoms of a physical condition with suffering, because we do not like them. The Buddha taught that physical suffering, and suffering in the mind are two different things. We may not be able to control physical illness, loss, aging or upcoming death, but we can control how we respond to them, and thus avoid the mental suffering that comes from unthinking reaction.
In starting out on the path to conscious health, it helps to have a guide. The following books are some that I have found most useful. Though based on similar beliefs, they all have a slightly different approach.