by David Snape
You are about to gain insight into the mind-body connection.The number of people who truly understand these principles on our planet are relatively few. There is an undeniable connection between our minds and bodies, you can learn to use this fact to your benefit. Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of "Love, Medicine and Miracles" was once a distraught cancer surgeon until he began to understand the greater principles of the mind-body connection. He felt dragged down by the artificial barriers that existed between patient and doctor, and the helplessness he often felt as a result of his inability to effectively serve those patients. Eventually, those barriers were disintegrated by Dr. Siegel's recognition and growing understanding of the mind-body connection and how it could serve his patients and himself.
Dr. Siegel, or Bernie as he began to have his patients refer to him, had some startling realizations as a cancer surgeon. He found that there were actually quite a few people in the world that successfully beat the statistics on cancer survival. He began to recognize that a patient's ability to defeat something as serious as cancer had to do with the patient's mind and attitude about their disease.
Dr. Siegal essentially discovered that when the mind changes, the body can heal. I found the key to his discovery on page 41 in his book. Bernie writes, "When a doctor reports amazing improvements in a patient's condition, he or she almost never mentions that person's beliefs and lifestyle, but when I inquire, I find the patient always has made some drastic change toward a more loving and accepting outlook. The patient seldom tells an unreceptive doctor about this, however."
Notice the word, "always". Bernie didn't say, 'they sometimes have a drastic change to a more loving and accepting outlook'. He distinctly used the word, "always". The way I understand Bernie is that these patients didn't get lucky, and it wasn't a mere coincidence that cured them, they actively worked on themselves to effect change in a very positive direction.
Let's break this down a little. First of all, there was a change! The patient changed their mind to a more "loving and accepting outlook". When the person's mind changed, the state of their health changed. It can be reasoned that moving to a more 'loving' outlook is a change in a positive direction. Then if you follow the logic, changing the mind for the better, changes one's health for the better. Hence, you discover the importance of the mind-body connection.
Let's look at the unstated but rational inference that also comes out of this. The negative is removed. Much like a container, there is only so much room, if you put the good in, it has to displace some of the bad. So by making a positive change in one's outlook which primarily happens inthe mind, a corresponding change shows up in the body.
To avoid going off in the wrong direction, let me state that just covering up the surface with positive thinking isn't necessarily going to help you. There has to be a fundamental change for real healing to take place.
I think the divergence from real change comes from not wanting to fundamentally alter the set patterns we have fallen into. This is in fact, the essential component in utilizing the mind-body connection to your advantage, in my opinion.
Let's use the following example. Billy wants to alter his thinking, so he begins to tell himself over and over again, "think positive, think positive". And maybe there is a surface effect. But it won't last long. Billy is likely to fall back to his old habit fairly quickly. Why is that?
It goes back to the container metaphor above. Billy only wrote something positive on the outside of the container. He failed to remove the bad and replace it with good on the inside of the container. In order to replace the bad with good, he has to let go of some of the bad stuff. Letting go of something bad, that is the important ingredient in this process.
So what are the bad things. Well, they could be things like grudges, prejudices, anger, resentment and hate. One spiritual principle from religion talks about "loving your enemy". That can't be done without giving up hate. By giving up something bad, Billy can make room for something good to come in and should, as a result, see a corresponding change in his body.
The problem here is that many of these bad things are buried and hidden and we won't necessarily see them or recognize them in ourselves. You can bet they are there though, it is a virtually inevitable consequence of living in a world that is so focused on selfishness and less concerned with "loving" others.
So in order to find these bad things and eliminate them requires introspection, it requires looking at oneself hard and long. However, there is still a problem. When you are searching yourself, you have to have a standard to do the comparison with. Otherwise, how will you find anything? How will it stand out?
What will you use to do the comparison with? As they say in history studies, "nothing is new, we just relive history over and over again". So let's look at history. Let's look at Socrates. He is quoted as saying, "The unexamined life isn't worth living".
Socrates was reported to be in good spirits right up to the last moment of his life. His very last words, not the ones above, are said to have been given in jest. He wasn't bitter or angry with those who forced death upon him. Even when he knew he was dying, he wasn't overly concerned with it
What did Socrates do with is life then? Didn't he teach others about virtue? Interesting, isn't it? One of the most influential people in western thinking emphasized virtue to his students. Socrates talked about things like absolute goodness, beauty and truth.
This is a good place to start, goodness and truth. And what about beauty? You can rest assured that he wasn't talking about the surface, skin deep kind of beauty. I can practically guarantee that he meant a much deeper kind of beauty.
If someone as great, as well loved and respected as Socrates thought these things were important, maybe therein lies the key to the mind-body connection. To live a truly healthy and worthwhile life, perhaps virtuous thoughts like truth and goodness are what our individual containers should hold rather than the negative things modern life finds us clinging too.
I also think it is helpful to keep in mind the temporary nature of human life. It only lasts a few decades and it's over. Nothing here can be held to be so utterly important in light of that. Rather than become dismayed by the fact of human mortality, it is a truly liberating thought. What becomes important then, is how well we live our lives. How much good we did or did not do while here becomes a crucial factor. What becomes less important is what kind of house we live in or what kind of car we drive or what material benefits we can accumulate while here. Not a bit of that material stuff is going with us when we leave here.
To underscore the above point, I want to share something I came across while studying the near-death experience. I recall a story about a woman who went through the life review process that you hear talked about in many near-death experiences. What I remember about her story was that the most significant act of her entire life was when, as a little girl, she had cupped a flower in her hand and had given that flower unconditional love. Out of her entire life, that was the most significant act.
So how do we heal a sick body? We may accomplish that through the mind that is connected to our body, by filling our containers with virtuous thoughts, attitudes and mental states and purging the bad things from our containers. Sound difficult? Perhaps not for a person seeking to return to health.
Finally, where does one look in today's world for a guide on virtue? Where does one look to learn how to truly improve one's character and invoke the mind-body connection to bring an end to illness? I have a suggestion. You may want to read the book, Zhuan Falun, written by Li Hongzhi. You can find it at bookstores and also download it for free from the Falundafa.org website.
This article is for information purposes only, it is not meant to diagnose, prevent or treat any illness or health issue. If you have or think you have a health condition, please visit your primary-care physician immediately.
David Snape is a health, fitness and wellness enthusiast. He maintains a website on that theme, http://tobeinformed.com
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