Trusting in the Body's Natural Healing Powers
So you're cutting up celery for a salad when the knife slips and you cut your finger. Do you immediately think you're going to bleed to death?
You come down with a cold. Do you think that it will never go away? That this cold is going to kill you?
No. We all know that little things like a cut, a scrape, a bruise, or a cold will eventually heal themselves.
Then why, when we hear the word cancer from our physician's mouth do we suddenly feel we are going to die?
Cancer is a word, not a sentence.
Deepak Chopra, at one of his lectures, said something that I've since carried just on the edge of my conscious thoughts: "The reason we grow old is we see others growing old and we think we must do the same."
As a young salesman I read many motivating books on selling. One of my favorite phrases I had gleaned from all the reading was: "If you're afraid to lose, you'll lose."
What we believe is more important to the creation of our reality than anything else. We only see what we believe. If we don't believe, we don't see.
Our beliefs are taught to us. They are not facts, they are not even real until we give them credence and in doing so make them real.
Let us discuss odors: When we are born, we do not know the difference between a foul odor and an good odor (like perfume). I've had people tell me, "NO! You are wrong! My kids knew right away what was good and what was bad."
This goes against every principle developmental psychology has ever uncovered: we don't know bad from good at birth, whether it is an odor or a piece of art. We learn through very subtle cues from our parents: the scowl on Mom's face as she changes our diapers; her use of the term "icky;" how quickly she wipes off our hand after we've played with our own feces. Everything to a baby is wonderful, every experience is new. Babies are much more attuned to their surroundings than most parents will ever know. If by the age of three they can tell a foul odor from a good odor, it is because the baby, by paying attention to its parents, has assumed the beliefs of the parents when it comes to odors.
The same principle can be applied to healing. The media tells us about the war on cancer. News stories abound on the latest cures and drugs and surgical methods. Grandma died of cancer, so did her sister, the person down the street, Uncle Harry. We have learned to believe that cancer is deadly, that cancer is stronger than our body's healing ability.
Fear is a terrible thing and we can pass it on to our children as easily as we pass on our preferences for odors, without even trying, without even knowing, without even realizing what we are doing.
In 1972, in a special report to the American Cancer Society, we learned that the average life span of a person diagnosed with cancer who sought conventional medical help was four years. For those who never sought help, their average life span was 12 years. You might argue, "But that was in 1972. Things have improved since then."
Really? Have they? Have we conquered cancer?
The statistics are simple. Cancer death rates are creeping up on heart disease death rates..
I recently spoke with a woman who is undergoing some very strong chemotherapy. She's already had both breasts removed, a few rounds of chemo and radiation, and yet the cancer is still there; it is very aggressive. She tells me she's lost a good handful of relatives to this "damned disease," and though she believes in the natural healing ability of the body (or so she tells me), she's going to follow her doctors' prescriptions because her cancer is so aggressive. I asked her if her relatives who had lost their battles to cancer been treated by oncologists. "Yes," was her answer. "Then what makes you think your oncologist is going to save you when their oncologists couldn't save them?"
There was a very interesting study conducted in the sixties by a man called Stanley Milgrim. People were asked to assist in the study, not knowing that they were actually part of the experiment. They were told that they could quit at any time if they felt uncomfortable. Their job was to administer an electric shock to a person when that person answered a question incorrectly. They were told that the purpose of the study was to see if negative sanctions (a shock) aided in the learning process. To make a long story short, nearly every subject in this study administered (or thought they did, since no one was shocked) dangerously high amounts of electricity to a fellow human being simply because they were told to do so by an authority figure. The authority figure was a man in a white coat.
Papers abound concerning this study filled with extrapolations on how easy it is for anyone to be a Nazi, to be a murderer, to be excessively cruel simply because we are told by an authority figure to do this or that. However, it also explains why we treat a doctor's advice as if it were the word of God.
Doctors are authority figures: they wear white smocks (my Catholic priest wore black), have a stethoscope around their necks (my priest wore a crucifix), and speak a language all their own (like the Latin spoken by the priests of my youth). Interestingly enough, doctors are suckers for authority figures too, and pass on tons of misinformation to their patients because they got it on "good authority." Probably the most dangerous information they pass on to us concerns diet, which is one subject they've very little background in. Doctors bought into the cholesterol myth, advising against butter and tell us instead to eat artery clogging partially hydrogenated oils. I've even heard of doctors recommending a glass of wine for their cancer patients (which is very counter productive). Whenever someone tells me that his doctor said he could eat this or drink that, I usually respond with, "Well, you might as well have asked your plumber or your attorney. They have about as much nutritional background as your doctor."
Our beliefs are not fixed. They change constantly given the variety of input around us. If our belief system does become fixed, it is due to our own choice. We can choose to lock up our minds tightly and not let in anything contradictory; anything that would upset the apple cart. I am reminded of a bumper sticker: The mind is like a parachute: it works best when open.
Most of us know and believe in the healing powers of the human body. If we cut our finger, we know we're not going to die and that the skin will eventually heal. We all know this. But what has gotten in the way of our accepting that these healing powers can heal something as "deadly" as cancer is that we've learned to accept that cancer is deadly. We have adopted this fear into our belief system. We are afraid to die and afraid not to believe our oncologist, even when medical professionals are killing their patients at alarming rates (in 1998 the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that 100,000 people died yearly due to prescription medicine, and a Harvard study in 1999 estimated that medical malpractice kills nearly 100,000 people a year). Whenever physicians go on strike, mortality rates drop.
The simple truth is this: the human body is a remarkable biological system that can heal itself, though it might need a little help.
Today, because our abundant food supply lacks basic nutrition, it is filled with trace poisons, and is practically over-processed to death; because our air is filled with toxins, our water is brimming with toxins; and modern technology makes a new carcinogen every three hours, the average person cannot believe that 95% of what s/he eats, drinks, or breathes is going to kill them.
So we call our cancers, our heart diseases, our immune system dysfunctions "fate."
Today, more than any other period in the existence of humans on this planet, we must take charge of our own health. In America we do not have a Health Care System, we have a Disease Care System. We never worry about our health until it is out of whack. We take our cars in for their periodic checkups, but we wait till symptoms arise before we see a physician. The systems of medicine found in the Orient and in India, though thought to be primitive by our standards, are actually very sophisticated and based upon sound principles. For example: here we believe that disease begins with symptoms (don't argue the point; sure there is an intellectual acceptance of chemical and biological processes preceding symptoms, but we do not attend a physician until a symptom arises) while the followers of Oriental practices and Ayurvedic medicine believe that disease begins long long before symptoms, and they attend their physicians regularly to stay healthy.
One important thing to keep in mind is: if you are breathing, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE.
There are many books for you to read out there on spontaneous healing and stories of people once on their death beds who eventually outlived their physicians. There are many of these books for you to read, but the message is simple: There are no terminal illnesses, just terminal attitudes. There is not one disease on this planet that cannot be healed. Every terminal illness has at least one example of a person who actually beat the death rap. Every one.
And now it is my privilege to relate to you two stories from friends who beat their cancers, even though they were told they were going to die. Both beat their cancers using unconventional means. Both case histories are documented.
Now I know that these two cases are considered "anecdotal," but the word does not make their accomplishments any less. To these two survivors, their experience was not anecdotal; it was a very personal, uplifting and spiritually healing, and it opened their eyes to yet greater things.
I'm not telling you to drop your physician and take up any of the alternatives either of these two used in their healing. I will never tell you to do anything outside of your belief system, though I might ask you to open your hearts and minds to new beliefs. If you believe that the medicine you are taking will cure your problem, then go for it. But if you have any doubt, then perhaps it's time to trust in the natural healing powers of your own body.
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