There is a phrase used for when we are unwell and that is, ‘we feel out of tune.’
Dis-ease or a lack of ease in terms of bodily health is a sign that we are operating with a discordant tune, or rather, not with or through our natural tune or ‘song.’
The belief that the universe has its own ‘song’ has been long-held, and if the universe has its own ‘song’ or ‘songs’ then why not we?
Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and philosopher, is credited with saying, “There is geometry in the humming of the strings. There is music in the spacing of the spheres.” This idea of the “Music of the Spheres” has endured over the centuries, ultimately informing how Kepler visualized the movements of the planets, which led him to formulate his laws of planetary motion. The notion that the stars, planets and galaxies resonate with a mystical symphony is a rather appealing one.
Depending upon how well, and there is a pun in that which is apt but not intended, we know ourselves – in other words, depending upon how ‘in tune’ we are with ourselves – then so is our health reflected. When we are ‘at odds’ with ourselves, for whatever reason, and whether it is inner forces or outer forces, or a combination of both, then our body, striving always for balance, will seek to create some level of order or harmony. Many healing methodologies believe that this is what symptoms are: a language the body uses to communicate its dis-ease to us – to speak out and speak to us.
When we are unhappy about something we use words because we can. If we do not have words, like animals, we use expressions or actions. The body can use words in our dreams or in Freudian slips but generally it uses symbols. Psychiatrist, Carl Jung, said ‘symbol is the lost language of our soul,’ and when our body speaks it is often because our soul is calling.
The language of the body has been largely forgotten and ignored in this age of materialistic and mechanistic medicine, but seeking to understand what the body is saying and trying to communicate is not only a wonderful adventure, it is an invaluable practice for health.
You are not just your body and disease is never just physical. It does not matter what genes you have, the fact is that nothing is predetermined and as science now knows, a hundred people with the same predisposing gene might provide one person who actually develops the disease. Why that happens is not just physical or even environmental but is a combination of all that we are and all that we experience. Understanding as much as we can about that, is a part of this path to healing.
Nothing happens without good reason. Everything has a purpose and in terms of physiology, it is the purpose and meaning of the body function which says, to me anyway, that it is pure common sense that whatever the body does, no matter how trivial, is important. We are, each and every one of us a universe in our own right and utterly unique. And never more unique than when we manifest symptoms or dis-ease.
More than one noted doctor writing about health and disease has remarked that ‘in a strange way’ diseases seem suited to people. In one cited instance it was noted that those suffering from Crohn’s Disease were invariably difficult patients, irritable, testing and often annoying. Were they that way because of the disease or did disease manifest in this way because of who they were? The general view seemed to lean toward the latter. Who is to say but perhaps if the patients had studied their symptoms as symbol they would have both learned and healed. And no, it is not that simple and the comment is offered merely as reflection in terms of changing the way that we see our symptoms or condition.
I also, suspect that such observations were more common in the days when doctors were physicians and actually took the time to study the patient and gather knowledge about the individual in ways which seem rarely to happen today. In other words, you were not just your symptoms or your disease, but your symptoms and your disease are expressions of your state and of who you are and the reason that they exist is because who you are is not who you are meant to be. There is dis-ease or a lack of harmony between who you ‘are’ at this time and who you really are.
An Australian doctor, John Harrison, wrote an excellent book exploring this in the late 80’s called, Love Your Disease It’s Keeping You Healthy. His book was controversial and he was in time brought ‘down’ by the medical establishment in questionable circumstances.
He was misinterpreted and misunderstood although reading the book at the time I never saw evidence of the charge later laid against him, that we were to ‘blame’ for our dis-ease. I saw it as him saying we had responsibility to lesser and greater degrees for our diseases, symptoms and dis-ease and that only in gaining understanding, could we play the necessary part in healing.
Questions we can ask ourselves in regard to our symptoms or disease are:
What does this prevent me from doing? It might prevent you doing something you like or something you hate.
What does this enable me to do? It might enable you to do something you enjoy.
What do I lose from this condition? Power, freedom, responsibility, obligation….?
What do I gain from this condition? (And surprisingly disease often provides positives as well as negatives.) Freedom, dependence, sympathy…
How does it make me feel? Depressed, powerless, peaceful, safe….
How does it make me think? More thinking, less thinking, time to think, fearful ….
How do I see myself as a person because of this disease? Ugly, crippled, unworthy, safe, free….positive or negative.
What could or would I do if I did not have this disease/condition? The answers are not dependent on possible, physically or financially, anything goes to show you what you would wish to be….
Who would or could I be if I did not have this disease/condition? Again, what does the condition prevent? It might be positive or it might be negative.
But Harrison would not be the first or the last person to be burned at the metaphorical stake for questioning the position science/medicine takes toward the body and disease. The scientific paradigm from which modern medicine emerges creates, almost by necessity, a ‘war and battlefield’ approach to illness where the body becomes a dangerous enemy, not to be trusted, often to be feared if not hated, and always the ‘other.’ The tragic irony of course is that it is this same ‘enemy’ that we need to be our friend, our healer.
How many friends would we keep if we mistrusted them and saw them as a dangerous enemy? Not many.
How many relationships would endure if we believed that we were in a ‘war for survival’ against our friend as so many believe about their body? Not many.
How many people would be crushed to be feared if not hated? Most.
And yet this is how many people react to their body frequently, and when they are ill, much of the time. As a position it is not only counter-intuitive, it is oxymoronic.
It is only in finding purpose and meaning in our symptoms and disease that we can convert them from enemy to friend, which was the core of what Harrison tried to say, and in the doing, create an alliance for health.
It is not that we are to blame for ill health or that we create it, although we can act in ways which compromise healthy body function, but that the disease and its symptoms reflect perfectly who we are and why, and, as healers throughout history have believed, offer us insight into why we are ill and the path to health.
The better you know yourself the better choices you will make on a path to healing. And everything can be important. Not in an obsessive and agonising way, but in a self-aware, reflective way.
In the same way that compiling a list of the most common sayings in our family when we were growing up, often phrases we still use without thinking, can offer insight into what we believe unconsciously even if we tell ourselves we do not believe it consciously.
For example, a common one as I grew up was: ‘It’s a great life if you don’t weaken, once you weaken you are gone,’ is a belief that life is dangerous and unless you remain vigilant and strong you will be destroyed. It is often in the colloquialisms our parents used and which still litter our life unconsciously, that we can often pick our way through to the truth of who we really are.
And with that understanding you will better know if you are someone who should pursue a purely Allopathic path; someone who should pursue a purely non-Allopathic path through some or many of its various forms, or someone who should combine all medical methodologies as and when they seem suitable.
In a process of broadening options there is sense in a position which holds that anything should be considered and possibly explored when it comes to health and no-one is going to deny the material/mechanical skills of modern medicine in surgery and trauma. Being open to anything and everything, which is actually the approach of the newly emerging field of Integrative Medicine, makes most sense to me. But we are all different and that remains the salient point.
There are a wealth of methodologies which can play a part in healing depending on what suits you, beyond a conventional Allopathic approach and most if not all of them, can work hand in hand with that anyway. Explore Nutritional Medicine, Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine including acupuncture, Ayurvedic Medicine, Herbal Medicine, Kinesiology, Reiki, Yoga, Aromatherapy – anything which works to comfort and/or heal the body.
One other reason to consider incorporating non-Allopathic treatments is that as treatments they are generally benign, not unpleasant, in fact often very pleasant and even a delight sometimes. Most Allopathic treatments involve clinical situations where you are more object than person, even when medical staff are warm, caring and kind, and levels ranging from discomfort to pain. Some treatments are very painful or unpleasant and most involve levels of fear. Even Allopathic drugs are, more often than not, the source of unpleasant if not frightening side-effects.
While it is not always possible I have often thought no doctor should be able to order a procedure that he or she has not themselves experienced. More than one doctor on becoming seriously ill has gone on to write insightful books about their traumatic experiences as patienst in ways that they had never realised or appreciated until they experienced it. I am sure they came out the other side better doctors but the fact remains that Allopathic or modern medicine is one of the least patient-friendly methodologies ever created.
It is however, the way it is because it has come out of a scientific paradigm which believes everything, including the human body can be approached as if it were a piece of equipment and ‘repaired’ accordingly. This can work brilliantly with the mechanics of surgery and trauma but has a negative impact everywhere else. Some surgeons and nurses realise this, and use Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Reiki and other such methodologies to treat the negative impact associated with their procedures.
There is no doubt that modern medicine often involves high levels of fear and where there is fear there is resistance and with resistance comes separation and none of it is conducive to healing. That is why it is so important to change how you think about your body and your symptoms and/or condition.
In fact the military mindset of the Allopathic approach works against healing because the ‘battlefield tactics’ of ‘destroying, removing, killing, or poisoning’ the ‘enemy’ serves to trigger resistance in the object of the attack, which invigorates and stimulates a desperate response and bid for survival.
In years to come no doubt, both the ‘battlefield mentality’ of Allopathic medicine and the part the mind of the doctor plays in treatment and healing will be seen as major factors. Many patients both fear and dislike their doctors but ‘do what they are told’ because of fear. No doubt many doctors dislike their patients and fear failure and loss of ‘prestige,’ so the fear factor is present and often too powerful. The more you can do to remove fear from the equation, that of yourself and that of others, the better.
And for some people who are seriously ill, it might be a case of the less people you know the better because what they believe and think about you and your situation, no matter how many expressions of love there may be, and no doubt how sincere they might be, what they think will be felt, known, intuited and picked up by you. And the less people you tell then the less advice you will get and that is generally a good thing. It is one thing to pick up a book or an article to read of your own free choice, and quite another to have advice inflicted upon you by all and sundry once they know you are ill.
Having said that, some people like, need and want all the advice and sympathy they can get which really just takes us back to the core premise of what works for one does not necessarily work for another. But as a general rule, the more you can do to help you and your body feel good the better. Illness brings enough ‘cold pricklies’ as it is and they need to be countered with even more ‘warm fuzzies.’
On the path to healing it helps you and your body to feel good as often as you can and many of the medical methodologies dubbed alternative, or complimentary, although they are medicine in their own right, are pleasant and comforting to experience. What comforts you comforts your body. What makes you feel better makes your body feel better. The more relaxed you and your body are, the better your health and the better your chances of optimum health.
And there may not be many of them but there are MD’s who are open to or even trained in other medical methodologies and who work with them alongside conventional treatments. This is more common in Europe, those very sane and sensible Europeans, than it is in Australia or the US or UK for that matter and one of the things I loved about living in Europe was having an MD who was just as likely to recommend herbs, homeopathy or acupuncture as a FIRST step before more interventionist procedures and toxic drugs.
But more than anything what you do for yourself will bring the most dividends and understanding your symptoms and condition is crucial toward that end.
Every symptom has meaning and every symptom will manifest as a collection which is unique to you, although there are shared patterns. One medical methodology, Homeopathy, has combined art with science, and I use the word science in its pure definitive form, in using symptoms as a guide to healing.
This is a medical methodology sourced in noting and working with these patterns to find a remedy, whose ‘signature tune’ will resonate best with your true ‘signature tune,’ and, in the doing, ‘cancel out discordant frequencies’ to re-establish order. In essence and in modern parlance to ‘reboot’ you back to a ‘default’ position which represents your own unique truth, or ‘song.’ Where there is harmony, then there is health.
A core premise in Homeopathy is that when healing is triggered, the body will move slowly backwards through various disease states until it reaches balance. This can happen quickly or it can take weeks, months or even years. Generally with chronic illness the longer you have had it the longer the healing process. And vice-versa for acute conditions. But basically Homeopathy treats the individual as opposed to the Allopathic focus which is the disease or the symptom or symptoms.
This is why with a hundred people consulting for the same presenting disease, or major health problem, there will be potentially a hundred different symptom patterns and a hundred different remedies selected. Homeopathy also believes that simply repressing or removing a symptom can serve to drive dis-ease deeper which is why the Allopathic approach often does not or cannot cure despite the enormous knowledge gained of the material mechanics.
Traditional Chinese Medicine takes a similar approach but symptoms, as a diagnostic tool, has been taken by Homeopathy in particular, to brilliant levels. Acupuncture, which is 3,000 years old and which also works at the ‘frequency’ or ‘energy’ level can also be highly effective. Medicine is like any ‘tool’ where the right tool in the right circumstances used in the right way will bring the right results, and there is no one-size fits all, instant fix, or magic pill for everyone despite common belief.
Just as no two people have the same disease in the same way, so no one treatment will necessarily work for both. We are all different and finding the methodology which best suits us, or the combination of methodologies which best suits us, is a crucial stage on the process to healing. But here again, everyone is different. Some people will do it quickly and instinctively or intuitively, and others will do it slowly and with painstaking analysis and consideration. Some people will need to believe in the methodology that they choose and others will not.
However, because all medicine has both placebo and nocebo factors, all people benefit from having a level of trust in the treatment that they choose. You do not need to understand how it works and most people have little understanding of how most Allopathic medicine works, they are just assured that it does and it can. In truth, many doctors and drug manufacturers do not fully understand how or why something works either. So knowing, or not knowing, how something works is unimportant in the scheme of things.
With Homeopathy for instance, there is no absolute theory of how it works, but work it does and neither is there for Acupuncture, but work it does. But it does help to have a level of trust – not faith, just the sort of trust which comes from having a treatment make sense to you – consciously or unconsciously and preferably both.
Which takes us back to knowing yourself as the Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece forever admonished their initiates. If you believe in a rational approach at a conscious level but unconsciously hold the opposite view, no treatment is likely to work. And vice versa.
All of the faith, logic, reason, trust and belief at a conscious level, in the world, will not bring cure from a particular course of treatment if you do not also believe the same at an unconscious level. And few if any of us know exactly what we believe unconsciously. Gaining insight comes through studying symptoms, dreams, feelings and even thoughts.
Likewise, if you are totally opposed to a form of treatment at a conscious level, and consider it cannot work, or is even a fraud, it can still bring cure if you believe differently at an unconscious level. And where a treatment does not work, particularly if the doctor believes it should work, it is an indicator that what you believe at a conscious level is not what you believe unconsciously.
This is why some people can believe powerfully at a conscious level the treatment will work and they will live, and yet they die and why some can believe powerfully there is no hope and the treatment will fail, and they live.
And because some of us may never truly know ourselves at an unconscious level and all of us will succeed to varying degrees, it is important, where healing is required, to keep an open mind. Perhaps even more important than trusting the healing process you choose is not just trusting your practitioner, but liking them. If there is no connection between you and your medical practitioner, whether Allopathic or not, then the chances of cure will be diminished. One of the most powerful factors in any medicine is nocebo and given the often toxic forms of Allopathic treatment, never more so than in modern conventional medicine.
At the end of the day the body heals and the body can heal anything. Any medical treatment is there to support and assist the body in doing what only it can do. Miracles of cure and healing are only miracles as a definition. Miracles are no more than that which we do not understand.
So, if you want to be healed from any disease and be ‘singing your song’ as robust health, bearing in mind that we are not all created equal and some people can attain levels of robust health which are a part of their physiology and nature in ways others will not, then the first thing is to make friends with your body.
Too much of modern medicine is sourced in a fear, if not hatred of the body and certainly in high levels of mistrust where symptoms and disease are seen as betrayal and the body as an enemy. If we treated our friends the way many treat the body we would have no friends.You only have one body and you and your body are in this for life.
Beyond you and your body there are the medical practitioners you choose as companions on the path. You all need to get on and trust is the glue in that relationship. It is particularly important with Allopathic drug treatments because apart from often being toxic to varying degrees, they are generally synthesized versions of natural ingredients which are designed to ‘trick’ the body to bring about a desired effect. Many drugs work as ‘imposters’ and their effectiveness requires deceiving the body.
I happen to believe that consciousness exists at all levels, including cellular and that just as we become confused or fearful if we are tricked or if an imposter gets into our home, so too there is a similar effect for the body at micro and macro levels. The physiological and chemical deception needs to be countered with levels of trust elsewhere and that makes your relationship with your Allopathic doctor more important than it might be with natural and harmless and if you like, ‘honest’ medical methodologies like Homeopathy, Acupuncture or Herbal Medicine.
So, a few guidelines to be applied flexibly and as they suit because if you hate doing something even if you think it is good for you, or are told it is good for you, then it is not going to do much good for you. Every mouthful of tofu or swig of wheatgrass juice that you loathe is doing harm, not good.
And if you hate being told what to do, or being held to rules and regimen, then apply ‘rules’ in moderation. Use a 9-5 approach to it all and give yourself the night off, or, apply the rules during the week and forget about them at the weekend.
The only rule which is best applied in all circumstances is ‘moderation in all things,’ and for the rest, what works for you is all that matters. So, just some thoughts:
1. your body is your best friend and you are in this together. Whatever you can do to help your body needs to be done. That means eating food you enjoy but generally food which is as natural and freshly prepared as possible for this is where nutrition lies and nutrients are the true medicine which keeps and makes us well.Variety is important and if there are nutrient deficiencies then put some focus on foods rich in these.
Sleep is also crucial and with any illness sleep is even more important because this is when the body repairs and restores. Sleep is a habit and the habit you establish and maintain will bring better sleep. Again, everyone is different and sleep patterns range from five to nine hours a night. If you are ill you will need more sleep so try to get seven hours solid sleep, keeping regular hours.
Drugs to help you sleep do more harm than good because they interfere with sleep patterns and therefore with the ability of the body to repair and restore. Study the functions of organs during different stages of sleep in Traditional Chinese Medicine and where you have identified organ dysfunction, then act accordingly.
Reduce toxins in food and drink and environment. Sleeping in a room with electrical equipment not turned off at the socket is a source for toxicity. It might not matter a toss when you are well, but everything can help when you are not. In fact, with any serious disease it can be a good idea to move your bed because where we sleep can involve detrimental factors in terms of feng shui principles.
2. Symptoms are your body’s attempt to establish some level of balance in ways you do not understand and also an attempt to ‘get your attention’ and communicate with you. If you do not listen they will get louder and louder and ‘shout you down’ in even more disturbing ways.
Listen contains the word List, so List your symptoms and try to understand them symbolically. That means all symptoms – emotional, psychological, physiological, circumstantial and if it applies, spiritual. When you take the time to ponder the meaning of a symptom you honour it and your body. Everyone likes to be appreciated whether it is a heart murmur or dandruff. It all matters.
If you are creative then write or paint your most troubling symptoms. As with dreams, you don’t have to interpret or even understand, you just have to record them which honours them. We all feel better when we are heard.
Write down your dreams for these also constitute symptoms and a language the body and psyche use to communicate with you.
3. Creative expression is more important for some than others but it helps everyone to express their feelings, thoughts and fears creatively. Music, painting, writing are creative but so too are reading novels or poetry, gardening, cooking, meditating, knitting, embroidery, carpentry, furniture restoration and hobbies – even collecting barbed wire as some people do. Creative expression takes you out of yourself and beyond disease, at least for a time.