We take our first and last breath in this one body we are given. The only thing we have our whole life is this body; the one thing we are guaranteed.
I really feel like our body is the most important thing we have.
Whatever ailments come up in the physical body are an echo of our mental and emotional life. Healing will not come in the form of a pill or a potion or something outside of us. We are taught from a very early age to medicate any and everything. As a society, most people generally have no idea how the human body works nor how biochemistry works within the body. A fever is not something to stop or get rid of with a pill. A fever is a symptom of healing. Taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, Motrin or any other Cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor is NOT healing. It is killing the messenger (and your gut microbiome is being destroyed), it is numbing the feelings and ignoring the wisdom of the body which is raising its temperature to illicit a full immune response, which will resolve the issue. Killing the messenger is a temporary bandaid, which are also generally unnecessary. The bandaids often serve as a reminder of pain that when we look upon we remember and relive. To what end? I don’t need to relive pain, but I may need to remind my caretaker that I need attention?
Pain is a symptom of healing. Pain and injury and illness are all messengers for a deeper inquiry into what is going on beneath the message. Your life and all the ways you are living are expressions of your emotional health. Your life is your medicine.
Your body has an infinite wisdom that cannot be over ridden. When you take the pills and potions, does the thing go away forever? Probably not. The pills have to be taken daily, sometimes 2 or 3 or 4 times daily.
We must address the root cause. We must address the imbalance in the system and work towards finding balance anew.
An alcoholic can quit drinking and solve all his problems, right? Wrong.
Quitting drinking is changing the EFFECT not the CAUSE. Creating sustainable change demands change at the level of cause. You see this with people who “diet”. They do the diet and maybe get a result and then they boomerang back. Change is not about DOING something it is about BECOMING someone who doesn’t just DO something.
Change, then, requires a deeper understanding of what is happening in the body and in the belief system of the individual.
Bessel Van der Kolk wrote a book called “The Body Keeps The Score” where he revisits the trauma of living and the pathways to healing and recovery. There is a lot of information floating around about the spiritual connection between the mind and body. There are a lot of us who are exploring the mind-body connection and the way it echoes the spirit. I understand that what ever comes up in my body is a way of showing me my blind spots. Achy joints? Where am I holding on to anger? Diarrhea? What do I find undigestible in my life?
There is not a linear path to self discovery, though western medicine would have us work that way. Western medicine is geared not toward healing but toward ridding the body of whatever the issue is. Cancer? Cut it out! Fever? Take a pill. Parkinsons? Take a LOT of pills!!Does anyone else notice that none of these “solutions” is healing anyone?
What would healing look like?
I find this a critical query for all of us in every area of life: mind, body, spirit, environment, equality, mother earth, socio-economics, politics, etc……..
Healing is a spiritual practice, whether you take the pills or not.
By the way, I am not suggesting that you don’t take the pill or that the alcoholic not stop drinking—for many people this is the first order of business, and, in my humble opinion, is certainly not the last.
What comes immediately to mind for you when you hear the word spiritual?
Usually, when I use the word “spiritual” I look both ways before emitting a sound.
I have heard some really interesting meanings given to the concepts of what spirituality means. Some people say it means following a guru, reading certain texts, or not believing in God. Some people say it is synonymous with religion. Some people say it means crystals, and burning sage, and tarot, and astrology, maybe even breathwork. Certainly some of these things may be ritual in a spiritual practice, but only ones mindset will determine the outcome.
When I say I don’t have any religion and I am very spiritual, I mean I practice bringing into awareness that which I hold unconscious.
Our minds want external circumstances to change so that we can feel better. But how many people do you know who have a complaint yet no matter how many great strategies could be employed to shift their experience, they remain “stuck”. The prayer is Dear God please undo the thing.”
The spiritual prayer is “Spirit/Universe/Grandmother Moon/Goddess/God…help me accept what I cannot change so that I change what I can.”
What is the nature of what you call spiritual? To those who are aligned consciously in their lives with spiritual work what is the nature of what you call spiritual consciousness or dealing with your unconscious?
What does it look like to you?
Surrender is all we can really do and that involves recognizing how we never really live with anything, we live with our own inner experience of it. How we emotionally respond with events in our life is really what we are experiencing. People never experience a dented fender, they experience their own emotion about a dented fender. People live with their thoughts and beliefs about what a dented fender means and they live with their thoughts about how it occurred and possibly who is to blame, etc. But none of that is about living with a dented fender, it is living with the THOUGHTS about a dented fender.
When I realize the thoughts I have about what a dented fender means, I can explore the beliefs I have that lead to those thoughts. And when I understand what I am believing, I can choose to keep believing that or I can choose to shift to something that feels better. I can choose to see the fender as it is, dented. I can choose to see the fender as the defender of the car body and be grateful that the car was not dented.
Either way, it is a practice.
Yes—we practice feeling bad, we practice having thoughts that perpetuate our bad feelings. We all practice practices that augment and galvanize beliefs that are ingrained in us, until we choose to make the unconscious conscious. This is the point when we can change for good.
As C.G. Jung said, “Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will rule our lives and we will call it fate.”
I would invite you to have a personal inquiry practice. One that I recommend is taking a blank sheet of paper and dividing it right and left with a line down the center. On the left top, write “Body experience: illness or injury or pain”. On the right side write “Life Events”.
See if you can notice what was or is happening when different things show up in your body.
The very acts of writing it out begins a healing process. It means that you are willing to see things differently and this shift in your mindset is exactly what is required to experience something better.
See if you can notice the advent of ear aches with a chaotic household of anger and yelling. What did you not want to hear?
Like I said there are very few linear exactitudes in spiritual work. Its always an inside job—but so is taking a pill. You must BELIEVE that the pill is the answer for it to work.
Take some time to explore the concept of placebo and nocebo.
Take some time to inquire within. Is the pill working? If you stop taking the pill is your problem solved? Does your problem solving require that you ingest pills for the rest of your life?
What does healing mean? Maybe you will recognize that you never thought about medicine as healing, you were just trying to rid yourself of something inconvenient, or painful, or even life threatening…….
I am asking you to consider healing. Grace is found in allowing the body to serve up its infinite wisdom.
On the road to consciousness, peace is found. And whether one reaches radical remission or not, the quest for peace will be the salve.
If we want to heal we must learn to exchange with our life in ways that bring about the transmutation of energies we have held in us. Our pain is our medicine. Our life is our medicine. And our healing is what we are willing to exchange for our medicine.