I am a doctor, though not your typical or average doctor because of my life and experience counseling and running cancer support groups for patients who, because of their qualities, have been my teachers for forty years. However, I find it sad that people have to keep discovering the wisdom through their own tragedies. I am saying this in the hope that you will take the time to read on, learn from the wisdom of others, and not require a disaster to become your teacher.
It is very therapeutic to turn a curse into a blessing, but why not learn how to find the blessing in your life without requiring the curse? Our difficulties can lead us to heal, just as hunger can lead us to seek nourishment, but it is a lot healthier to create a life that is nourishing so we do not need to be driven and motivated by hunger and difficulties.
Our Potential for Self-Induced Healing
Over the years I have come to realize our potential for healing and that we can all learn from the success of others when we stop fearing failure, guilt, shame, and blame. I have heard many stories from people who are alive today because of self-induced healing, and their themes always have much in common.
I use the term “self-induced healing” because that is what is created when one makes the necessary changes. It is not a spontaneous remission from which there is nothing to learn. We all, including health professionals, need to learn from success and the truth and not wait until science believes, studies, and validates the truth.
In his novel Cancer Ward, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn describes self-induced healing as a “rainbow-colored butterfly” fluttering out of the open book one of the men is reading from to the other patients, sharing with them that there are cases of self-induced healing and not recovery through treatment. That symbol says it all, the butterfly being the symbol of transformation and the rainbow the symbol of a life of order and emotional harmony.
When people create that new life, their bodies respond to their internal chemistry, related to their now loving their lives and bodies. When we choose life, meaning a life that is life-enhancing for all of creation, amazing things happen.
Healing is Not About Fighting an Enemy or Disease
Healing is not about fighting a war against an enemy or a disease. Doing that empowers the enemy. Healing is about finding peace and not attending antiwar rallies but attending peace rallies.
Spirituality is a significant factor in turning a curse into a blessing. When we are willing to ask ourselves what lessons we are to learn from our journey through hell, amazing things occur, and they are not coincidences but miracles created by the future we unconsciously prepared.
For us to find our truth, certain things must happen. First, we must live by our experience and not let our beliefs create a situation where we close our minds. Our Creator has given all living things an enormous potential for healing, surviving, and thriving. However, if we do not have self-love because of a life experience of abuse and rejection, our resulting self-destructive behavior will prevent us from achieving our potential.
Where Does the Path to Healing Begin and End?
The path to healing starts with the symbolism of the still pond. It is only when our mind, like the water, is free of turbulence that we can see the true reflection and recognize that we are not ugly ducklings but swans. Then through meditation, imagery, prayer, faith, dreams, and inner voices, we can be guided by consciousness on the path to healing. The physical benefits that accompany it are not coincidences. As a physician, I know the power of patients’ beliefs — and the benefits or problems they can create.
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I know innumerable people who accepted their mortality and went off to enjoy the last few months of their lives. When I realized I hadn’t been invited to attend their funerals, I called to scold the families for ignoring me, only to have the people I thought had died answer the phone. “It was so beautiful here I forgot to die,” one said.
We now have studies showing that loneliness and laughter affect the genes that control immune function. So relationships, sense of purpose, lifestyle, and more affect our health and survival.
With love nothing is impossible, and I know from experience that is true. So love yourself and your life and accept that you are a child of God: made of the same stuff and capable of accomplishing amazing things. Life is a miracle, and you are a part of life.
How Can We Save Ourselves?
You can abandon your past and move forward. Studies show that 98 percent of children who felt lonely and unloved experience a major illness by middle age, while only 24 percent of those who felt loved as children experience a major illness by middle age. How can we save ourselves?
Actors’ immune functioning is improved when they act in comedies and decreased in tragedies, while their stress hormone levels are lowered in comedies and elevated in tragedies. We are all actors given a lifetime to rehearse and practice, so start acting as if you were the person you want to be. Also, cancer patients who laugh several times a day for no reason and practice gratitude and meditation daily have better survival statistics.
However, we are healed not only by what we do but also by what we think and believe. The body believes what the mind visualizes as the truth. So our thoughts and wordswordswords can become swordswordswords that can either kill or cure depending upon how one uses them.
The Power of Belief and The Power of Love
When we have faith in those treating us and believe in the treatment we are receiving, we respond in a positive way. I know of cases where patients were not receiving chemotherapy or radiation due to equipment repair mistakes and medical errors, but the doctors did not realize it for many weeks. Why? Because the patients experienced side effects and their tumors shrunk.
The patients weren’t being treated but thought they were, and their bodies acted as if they were being treated, thus confusing the doctors — but also showing them the power of the mind. I have learned we can deceive people into health, too, with our words and their beliefs.
The opposite of love is indifference and rejection, not fear or hate. Love heals and empowers, but we have to let the love in. And if we do not induce healing, we must not judge ourselves as failures or think it means we didn’t love enough.
Becoming Responsible Participants in Our Healing
Our potential is there for us, and we can become responsible participants rather than submissive sufferers. Guilt, shame, and blame can be imposed by authority figures and religions that claim that our disease is punishment, but, remember, disease is a loss of health.
If you can’t find your car keys, you don’t assume God wants you to walk home. So when you lose your health, look for it and get others to help you. Hope is never false,. When a chemotherapy program with four drugs beginning with the letters E, P, O and H was called the EPOH Protocol and was tested, 25 percent of patients did well. One doctor decided to reverse the letters and give the HOPE Protocol, and 75 percent of his patients responded positively.
As quantum physicists tell us, desire and intention alter the physical world, causing things to occur that would not normally occur if they were not desired. Whatever your life’s challenge is, give it your best shot. You can burst the dam that restricts and blocks the flow of your life and let the released energy move you forward.
Helping Yourself Heal
One way of helping yourself heal is to ask yourself what words describe what it is like to experience cancer or whatever problem you are living with. Think about whether the negative words you come up with fit other problems that exist in your life. Eliminate those things and help yourself heal your life and find your rainbow. If you come up with a new beginning or wake-up call, you are on the right track.
Life is a school, and we must understand that if the world were perfect, it would have no meaning. We are all here to live and learn, and personally I think our mortality is our greatest teacher and can induce us to live in a way that makes us happy.
In many ways I believe death is a commencement, too. However, while attending the school of life, remember that the energy of creation is available to all of us. Health professionals, healers, and family can all be the battery cables that help direct the healing energy into our bodies, recharge our batteries, and give us the power to heal.
Stop judging, and keep learning from your difficult journey. Spiritual flat tires happen. What are spiritual flat tires? The ones that make you miss a plane that you later learn crashed after takeoff. Stop judging and just be. As my mom used to say, “God is redirecting you. Something good will come of this.”
Prayers are always answered but not always in the way we desire. When you are not capable of using the pain as a labor pain of self-birth, God will show up to assist you. But when it is time for you to step up and use the labor pains to give birth to a new and authentic self, God steps back so you can experience healthy growth and rebirth yourself. Remember, we and God are made of the same stuff.
Being Cured and Living a Healed Life Are Two Different Things
My body is the gift I was given so I could attend and experience the school of life, help raise my level of consciousness, and help create a healthier future for us all — one in which we each have a reverence for all life. We are all family and the same color inside. Death is not a failure, so trying not to die is not the issue; living is.
I have seen my loved ones die laughing as we shared stories of their life and love while letting them go, free of guilt and feelings of failure, when their bodies were no longer a gift but were painful burdens. And as my ninety-seven-year-old father-in-law, who was quadriplegic because of a fall, said when asked for advice for seniors, “Tell them to just fall up.” And he did just that when he was tired of life.
For me, healing and curing are two distinct entities. There are many people who are cured of an illness by their treatment but do not live healed lives, versus someone like Helen Keller, whom I consider to be healed and my teacher, even though her physical disability was incurable. So being physically cured of disease and being healed are two separate things, and I seek out the healed to be my life coaches, knowing that when I heal my life I derive physical benefits, too. So become a love warrior: let love be your weapon of choice in all conflicts.
About the Author
Dr. Bernie S. Siegel is a sought-after speaker and media presence, is the author of many bestselling books, including Peace, Love and Healing: 365 Prescriptions for the Soul; and the blockbuster Love, Medicine & Miracles. For many, Dr. Bernard Siegel—or Bernie, as he prefers to be called—needs no introduction. He has touched many lives all over the Planet. In 1978, he reached a national and then international audience when he began talking about patient empowerment and the choice to live fully and die in peace. Visit his website at www.BernieSiegelMD.com