HJ: The power of the mind cannot be overstated. Our thoughts and beliefs dictate our health to a far lager degree than we realize, however, we live in a society that constantly reinforces the externalization of nearly everything that happens to us in life. We are taught that the life happens to us, not that we create it, which is, in actuality, the truth. We create our lives in the context of the larger collective consciousness and therefore we have ultimate control of our own health. We can get sick only to the degree we believe we can be.
Now before you think that you can simply ‘change your mind’ and never be sick again, or disprove this truth by simply ‘changing your mind’ to believe that you won’t get sick again and then eventually getting sick again, realize that you cannot just change your ‘intellectual’ conscious mind and expect reality to follow suit. This is definitely an aspect of creating your reality and hence, health, however, the fundamental thing that needs changing in this situation is your belief, which is always much more deeply imbedded. These can be changed, but typically require more focused, practiced effort and intention. It truly requires a fundamental shift in the way you see yourself and the world. It is possible to change ones ‘intellectual mind’ while still holding onto beliefs that contradict the new position the mind has taken. For example one might say to themselves from the ego/intellect “I can no longer get sick” without really believing that they can indeed never get sick again. At the deeper levels of their consciousness they still believe that it is possible to be sick because they doubt the concept for whatever reason. Then, they get sick one week later and proclaim “See! It is not true, it’s just some new age rubbish!”, when they are, in fact, unable to see their own fallacy. The reality is that they doubted, and hence did not believe the validity of the concept and so were unable to reap the benefits. Without the deeper level of belief shift, one will constantly be sabotaging their efforts to change.
For more information on how to change your beliefs, see the article: How to Rearrange Your Beliefs As If They Were Furniture
Inviting Health: Using Our Minds to Set the Stage for Well-Being: Part One
By Kay Goldstein | Kay Goldstein
Q. In your post, “Mind/Body/Spirit: The Meditation Connection”, you spoke about how meditation helps us integrate the various parts of ourselves and said, “What could be a better basis for physical and mental health?” Can you talk more about practices that enhance the healing process and lay the foundation for health?
A. The answer to this question could and has filled volumes of books and research articles. So I will provide a brief overview of the subject from the perspective of meditation as a vehicle for healing and then offer two guided meditations that readers might want to try.
First of all, as a stress reliever, meditation reduces cortisol levels responsible for the fight or flight response. That can enhance the functioning of our immune systems to combat disease. Think of the body as an energy system: the less fuel needed to keep our muscles tight and ready to run, the more that is available for other body functions- such as the brain. Likewise a relaxed muscle and body are likely more tolerant of pain. Using the example of back spasms- one that I have had personal experience with, we know that even a small injury or dislocation in the spine can trigger the muscles to go on alert to tighten and protect the spine. Sometimes, there is more pain and distress from the muscle reaction than from the original injury. The muscle pain itself can cause more tightening and a pain cycle is produced. A practice such as meditation, that interrupts that cycle, is helpful.
This in no way implies that someone who is sick has total control over the course of their illness. But it does invite us to make some active positive choices that encourage our own healing and enhance medical and other interventions. Faced with a broken leg, I would certainly not wait for my cells to figure out how they were going to fuse without having an expert place them in proximity to where they could do their natural work. Nor would I unilaterally avoid pain medication.
Secondly, we can in a meditative state activate the body’s own natural resources for healing. We can do this through “passive” traditional sitting meditation which I talked about in the earlier article. Guided imagery or guided meditation is another direct way to do this. Hypnosis and self- hypnosis works in much the same way- setting the creative unconscious to work on our behalf. Both seem to operate using the process of resonance. Like a friend who walks in the room and “lights it up”, we are sending our images and thoughts from our brains and hearts into our body in the hopes of lighting and balancing the places that are out of sync.
When we use our minds in this process, we are simply being open to the possibility of health-or health that is optimal in our particular circumstances. We identify ourselves with health. So often when we are not feeling well and are confronting a disease process, we identify ourselves as a victim or embodiment of that process. There is always some part of us that is whole and engaged in health. This is the part that we want to encourage and support.
Here is an exercise using imagery that I have found both delightful and surprisingly effective. It is adapted from one created by Laurel Wilkinson, a CranioSacral therapist, teacher and energy healer (www.thecounciloftrees.com).
First relax the body and take a few deep breaths, drawing in light and relaxation on each “in” breath and exhaling tension and discomfort on each “out” breath.
Then allow your attention to gently drift through the body until it finds a single cell that is operating in fully vibrant health. Even if you are suffering from illness or injury, there are likely to be millions of the 72 trillion cells in your body which know how to function at their best potential. Attend to that cell, feeling how well it feels, noting what it looks like, its location. Then invite that wonderful cell to “teach” the other cells around it how to function in a healthy way. You are asking that cell to entrain the others, lighting and lending its energetic signature or frequency. Imagine then that from the root of that one healthy cell that well-being is “telegraphed’ or spread throughout your body, each cell teaching and inviting its neighbor until your whole body or a much as is able, “comes online”.
Enjoy the feelings of well being in your body and express appreciation to that stalwart little cell. You can try this again as often as you like. Sometimes other cells will show up to be the “lead helper”.
Kay Goldstein has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and has been meditating for over 20 years. Following her own path as a lifelong spiritual seeker she has enjoyed numerous careers and interests that have led her to teaching and writing about meditation. To learn more about her visit www.kaygoldstein.com and www.lessonsforthecook.com.