Pain (any pain – emotional, physical, mental) has a message. The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific… Once we get the pain’s message, and follow its advice, the pain goes away.
– Peter McWilliams
When we think about creating and maintaining health, we typically only think about the physical part of our make-up. Little attention is paid to our thoughts, feelings and emotions even though they are intimately connected to the state of our health and well-being.
Western medicine has only recently begun to appreciate the impact our thoughts and emotions have on our health and has started to investigate the link between the mind and the manifestation of disease in the body. Their work has led them to identify a number of reasons why people get sick. For some, illness and disease is a way in which individuals express unresolved distress and trauma. For others, getting sick may actually provide the person some kind of benefit, even if the benefit is based on an unhealthy belief.
Other reasons people get sick can include: The disease may provide them with an excuse to not meet up to high expectations. It may provide them with a way of expressing inner mental or emotional conflicts. For some, the experiencing of a disease may help them, in a roundabout way, to solve a problem. We may also use a disease to punish ourselves or receive attention from others. Disease may also cause us to find incentive change internally or to modify unwanted habits.
The Primary Cause Of Disease
There are a growing number of skilled observers who believe that health concerns, including diabetes, cancer or heart disease, represent a symptom of a larger pattern of disorder and disharmony in the body. Renee Weber, Ph.D. expressed the cause of disease in this way: “The primary cause of disease is the disconnectedness from the flow and rhythm of the whole, both within the single organism and also among groups of organisms.”
Disease can be seen as the manifestation of some undesirable condition within us that has been brought into physical form so it can be dealt with and eliminated. It can be thought of as a reflection of the conflict between our inner state and outer existence or as our soul trying to get our attention. It works to let us know that our true self is being thwarted or that we are being pulled in two directions at once. It is brought about by our habitual or limiting thoughts and our negative feelings and emotions.
The Message Of Disease
When we experience physical, emotional and even mental discomfort, our bodies are saying to us “Excuse me, there is something wrong, I’m imbalanced and I want to move back into wholeness.” When we experience pain, illness and disease, on the other hand, it is our body’s way of saying to us “HEY! I have something I want you to pay attention to. I have been trying to get you to notice me for months. Now you HAVE to acknowledge me.”
From this perspective, every disease, every issue that manifests in the physical body represents an aspect of ourselves that needs healing. It can be thought of as the final stage of a much deeper complaint. It is an indication that there is resistance somewhere within our energetic system. It is a sign that something is out of balance and the body is looking to bring itself back into wholeness. Elida Evens in her 1926 book entitled A Psychological Study of Cancer said, “Cancer is a symbol, as most illness is, of something going wrong in the patient’s life, a warning to him to take another road”. Canker sores, for example are the body’s way of warning us that we are withholding communication, which is now festering inside of us. A bladder infection may literally let us know just how pissed off we really are.
But I Not Trying To Get Sick & Manifest Disease
Our bodies are always sending us signals but more often than not, we ignore them. Instead of paying attention to the aches, pains, frustrations, anxieties and stresses we experience, we allow our conscious mind to overrule them. Instead of following the guidance they offer us, we push them to the side and tell ourselves that what we are experiencing is wrong or unimportant. We allow our ambitions, our fears, our jealousies or our greed to rule, yet each of our should-a, would-a, could-a’s are aspects of our personality that are in need of healing and have nothing to do with our true self.
When we don’t’ pay attention to the messages provided to us by our soul, however, they will get our attention in symptoms such as obsessions, worry, mental anguish, fears, addictions, violence, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer. If its message is received, acknowledges and acted upon, health and harmony will ensue. If it is ignored, the problems being experienced will intensify until we finally get the message. It is only then that balance can be restored.
Addressing Illness & Disease In The Modern World
Unfortunately, we are taught to focus our attention on the expression of the personality and the external world. We are taught to ignore our deepest wants, needs and desires. In the end, we are left with little understanding of our true inner nature and how to recognize the messages from our soul. Inadvertently we become disconnected from our bodies and end up dulling our mind and our emotions. We numb ourselves with drugs and alcohol. We watch television, play video games or peruse other external distractions that overload our senses. We spend our days lying around, overeating or keeping ourselves constantly busy all in an attempt to avoid conflicts between our inner and outer worlds.
Diversions such as these, allow us to avoid dealing with any discrepancies that may exist between our personality and our inner world. As you may recall, the goal of the personality is to maintain the image it created of itself. This is why many people avoid going inside. When we go inside, we are faced with the truth of who we really are. The personality is afraid that we will find out that who we are is not who we think we are. It persuades us to ignore the promptings from our inner world all in an effort to avoid change.
Disease: A Blessing In Disguise
All of our pain, suffering, illnesses and diseases endeavor to guide us towards perfection. So, while it may seem bad or negative on the outside, the potential for transformation and change it offers is immense. Those who accept the challenge change presents often find that it can actually be a blessing in disguise. Most of us, however, change only when we have to. In fact, the majority of us spend a lot of time and energy running away from ourselves as opposed to changing.
When we resist changing, our problems do not go away. Resistance is the personality’s way of holding on to an old self-image instead of letting it go. It is only when we let go and stop resisting that we can change and grow. We can try to fight change, suppress change, ignore it or deny it, but in the end, the underlying issue will rear its ugly head again, in another way or another form. These problems are lessons provided for us by the soul to help us heal an aspect of our personality. Ultimately, the choice is this: we can make the changes required of us, or we can choose to learn the same lesson over again, re-experiencing the same hurts, pain or confusion as before.
The Challenge Of Change
Many of us will only change when we feel as if we have no other choice. This occurs when we have reached a point in our lives where our problems have bothered us for so long or created so much pain and discomfort that we just cannot stand it any longer. It is through personal and professional crisis, extraordinary circumstances, profound suffering, broken promises, missed opportunities, life altering events and even the diagnosis of a terminal illness that we can become clear about who we are.
It is at these times that we can typically experience the most profound, life altering changes. Each of these life crises has the ability to rock our world and shake us to our very foundation. The self-image created by our personality begins to break down and we can begin to see that our view of our self is no longer working.
How To Bring Change Into Your Life
To bring changes into your life, the trick is to start paying attention to the signs and signals your body is receiving and honestly interpret them. It is only when we have succeeded in observing our thoughts, emotions and physical sensations that we can begin to know ourselves. By paying attention to all aspects of ourselves, we will begin to see the lessons our illness holds. It will also give us the opportunity to discover how our illness came into being in the first place and why.
Change is not hard but it does take time, commitment and courage. It can be scary and can create confusion, but if you think about it, most of our pain comes from our digging our heels in the sand as we fight it. Change does not happen all at once, but in small, almost undetectable ways. As we work to change, we will stumble, fall, experience setbacks and failures. Each of these experiences will help us as we move forward because they cause us to grow. They help us become conscious of what is and are not working for us, giving us the opportunity to become aware of, practice and integrate new ways of being.
Manifesting Disease On Physical Levels
On physical levels, we achieve awareness by listening to our body and paying attention to its needs. This includes a proper diet, regular exercise and relaxation. On emotional levels, it includes paying attention to how we feel and expressing our emotions as necessary. It is important to express our feelings and let them out. The larger the range of emotions that we experience, the happier and healthier we are. When we express our emotions we are allowing energy to move through us as opposed to suppressing it within us, even if the emotion we are experiencing is anger, pain, frustration and even rage.
Manifesting Disease On Mental Levels
On mental levels, awareness is achieved by paying attention to our actions. We act based upon our beliefs and intentions. If you are uncertain what beliefs are getting in your way, look at the source of your confusion, frustration, resistance, anxiety or stress. Follow these feelings back to their core beliefs. It is by acknowledging our underlying beliefs that we can change them and move on. Letting go of an old belief can be daunting, but you will never know what or who you will become unless you do.
Manifesting Disease On Soul Levels
On soul levels, health means creating skills of self-awareness and conscious decision-making. Through self-examination, we can often uncover patterns of thought or behavior that create or contribute to mental and emotional stress as well as to the physical tensions we experience in our bodies. These might take the form of a rigid attitude, a particular habit or an expectation or pretense that acts as a barrier or obstruction to our true self. By identifying these barriers, we can begin to let them go. With it, we must be willing to endure temporary pain, discomfort or hardship and recognize that they are part of the process of making us whole.
Paying Attention To The Signs Your Body Shares
Many people think disease is cruel. Disease, however, provides us with an opportunity to work through internal conflicts and learn to accept ourselves fully, including the positive, negative, desirable and undesirable aspects of ourselves. Often, it is only through personal and professional crisis, extraordinary circumstances, profound suffering, broken promises, missed opportunities, life altering events and even the diagnosis of a terminal illness that we can become clear about who we are.
The trick is to start paying attention to the signs and signals your body is receiving now. When we feel anxious, confused, uncomfortable or even frustrated, it is an indication our body is trying to tell us something important. As we learn more about ourselves and become increasingly aware of our different parts, we can begin to recognize the aspects of us that are seeking expression and integrate them. At that point, the “dis-ease” may no longer be necessary. It is only when we are whole – body, mind and spirit that health can return naturally.
The journey to wholeness requires that you look honestly, openly and with courage into yourself, into the dynamics that lie behind what you feel, what you perceive, what you value and how you act.
It is a journey through your defenses and beyond so that you can experience consciously the nature of your personality, face what it has produced in your life, and choose to change that.
– Gary Zukav
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