“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.” –Buddha As a young man, Spinoza asked himself: “how does one prepare the mind to receive Spirit?” He wrote a paper called “The Emendation of the Mind” to explore that question. He worked on that paper most of his life and rumor has it he never completed it to his satisfaction. I think he got stuck on the question: “how do we know that what we know is the truth?” That’s a tough question and philosophers of science still cannot satisfactorily answer it. But that’s not what I want to talk about this blog.
If one asks the question: “how does one prepare one’s self to receive healing?” a similar emendation process is often required. “Emendation” means to correct, often by editing. I’ve noticed in my patients that they often go through a process of getting their own deeply held beliefs aligned with higher truths as they heal. This is kind of a circular process. As their beliefs move closer and closer to higher truths, they suffer less and their bodies heal more and as they heal more they are more able to get their beliefs aligned with higher truths. You can do this, too.
Certain knowledge, skills and ways of looking at the world can really help you open to receive the healing that you’re looking for, the healing that your experiences hold for you.
AN is now in her late forties. I started seeing her about ten years ago because she wanted to try to clear her Hepatitis C by natural means. She had just had a liver biopsy that showed stage 4 (very advanced) cirrhosis or scarring of the liver, a known complication of prolonged hepatitis C infection. She didn’t feel comfortable with Interferon after all she’d read about it, especially since the strain of virus that she had, combined with her advanced stage of cirrhosis, gave her only a 25% chance of clearing the virus. During our initial visit, I was a bit surprised to find that she worked as a mail carrier for the Post Office. As she had a certain specific sense about her, I was sure she worked in the Healing professions in some way. But she didn’t. She did practice Yoga and meditation and had made major changes in her lifestyle already. She ate organically and very few processed foods. She exercised regularly and was fairly happy and at peace in her life. She had an optimistic view of life and felt sure that she could heal from her Hep C.
We did all the usual Functional Medicine things of removing any allergens, making sure her hormones were balanced and that her digestive system was working well. We discussed ways of boosting her immune function with supplements and herbs and we started a series of CranioSacral Therapy (CST) sessions with the intention of exploring what the experience of having Hep C meant in the bigger picture of her life. During her treatment, she was able to get to a place of genuine forgiveness in her life. But even with that, nothing we did made any difference to her viral load, the number of virus particles in her blood. She saw other practitioners who also tried what they had to offer, again with no improvement. Within a few years she started to show signs of worsening cirrhosis.
But over those years, she had learned a great deal about how to take really good care of herself, both physically and emotionally. She had also come to peace with the idea of trying Interferon, and the treatment regimen had evolved to also include Ribavirin, an anti-viral medicine that improved the success rate. So she told herself that she was willing to give the Interferon + Ribavirin a try under one condition: she was determined to take such good care of herself that she would be able to tolerate the entire treatment regimen and not have to stop it for side-effects or take sick time off of work. She got very clear about her goals, about getting healthy, about healing the cirrhosis, about clearing the virus, about tolerating the medications and helping them do their job. She stayed very focused. Not only did she clear the virus over the next year, she didn’t get sick from the treatment and her last liver biopsy showed no sign of cirrhosis.
She still works as a mail carrier but has also learned Accutonics, where she treats people by stimulating acupuncture points with tuning forks of specific frequency, and she’s studied Craniosacral Therapy and Gin Shin Jyutsu. The years of work she did leading up to the Interferon treatment was clearly her own emendation process. She started out wanting treatments to clear the virus and ended up learning how to get very clear and focused and take exquisitely good care of herself on multiple levels simultaneously. She also found a way to feed and express that “healer” side of herself that I sensed on our first visit. So often, when a person heals themselves from a chronic illness, their life afterward is very different from their life when they got sick. I see this pattern over and over.
She knows the Interferon + Ribavirin helped her body clear the virus, but it didn’t help her heal her cirrhosis. She credits being very clear in her goals and staying focused on them with the bulk of her success. By listening to and trusting her own deep knowing, she was able to put together a treatment regimen that worked for her.
There are thousands of similar stories. The self-help literature is full of advice on how to set goals, focus, visualize, say affirmations, think positively and similar tactics. How do these practices translate into changes in your body or changes in your life? How do thoughts become things? And what is getting in the way when these tactics don’t seem to be working?
I’ve searched high and low for the answers to these questions. I’ve listened to some of the best teachers of our day, I’ve looked at most of the major world traditions and I’ve watched my patients carefully as they’ve travelled their respective healing paths…and I’ve looked inside myself.
I believe that the personal process of seeking and finding your own answers to these questions is more important for your healing than copying something someone else found that worked for them. No doubt in your search you’re going to hear lots of other people’s healing stories. What worked for them is helpful information to take into consideration, but which approaches you use for yourself should be selected by your deep conviction, your deep inner guidance, your gut sense of knowing what is right for you rather than by what anyone else says.
When it comes to healing yourself, your journey is just as important as your destination. How best, then, to walk your healing journey? I suggest you practice the Seven Tools of Healing.
I will put up a blog post for each of the Seven Tools. There is also a brief summary of them on my website: www.stevenmhallmd.com.
Copyright 2013 Steven M. Hall, MD