August 2014

Mind-Body-Spirit Healing

Psychoneuroimmunobiology (PNI)
and Mind-Body-Spirit Healing



Mind Vs Body Vs Spirit

 

This work is a composite, a way of integrating the scientific way of thinking with the deeper realities that many scientists, including medical professionals, are now recognizing. Specifically, the causes and cures of the illnesses their patients suffer and the way the mind, body and spirit separate or integrate in creating these causes and cures.

 

For the past 100 years the rule of medicine has been to separate mind from body, and mind and body from spirit.

 

The problem with this is that no matter how much the present modern western medical system wants to tell us that this is right, or that it should be this way, even though most physicians have been trained and disciplined into believing that this is the way it should be -- many of us are having difficulty reconciling the fact that each person comes to us with a body, a mind, and a spirit.

 

Because the present medical system and the training to become part of the medical system have been the way they presently are for many generations, it is easy for most physicians to accept the body, most even accept the mind, but many still are unwilling to admit that the two are not only connected but inseparable. To cut the mind (not just the brain) away from the body, means loss of consciousness and in many cases even death.

 

No mater how hard it is to admit it, recognizing that there is something that animates us, something that gives us life and it is not just the personality nor the will, is hard for most physicians. In many cases it is even difficult for physicians who are themselves, religious people.

 

But the fact is, when we die--something leaves us, something that appears to be crucial to our existence as a sentient being. We can try as we may to ignore it, we can try to think of it as chemical, energetic or even as neurologic, but in the long run it transcends all of these.



The Newtonian Cartesian Paradigm

 

Historically, in the 15th century what we now think of as modern medicine broke away from the church. Up to this time most, recognized healers were part of the church. At this time Sir Isaac Newton and Rene Descartes laid down a series of concepts, scientific and philosophical doctrines, which eventually became the basis of modern science and modern Western medicine. These principles along with the movement away from the church had the effect of creating a separation between science as we know it and the physical body, the mind and the spirit aspect of being humans. Medicine became based entirely on science, research had to be done and results had to not only be duplicateable, but mathematically or intellectually provable. Nothing could be accepted if it could not be seen, touched or felt physically. Emotions were irrelevant and man became separated from his spiritual nature, as least as far as medicine was concerned.

 

This was a movement away from faith, away from the church, and toward hard cold facts and hard science. Spirits were unseen forces. No one even had considered the possibility of the mind at this point in time. What now existed, had to be proven scientifically.

 

For several hundred years this concept worked. Then modern scientists like Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Nils Bohr and later David Bohm began to tell us that something existed beyond what we could see, taste, smell or touch.

 

Einstein wrote about modern science, he was specifically talking about physics but did extend it to all "modern science," definitely proves the existence of God. Bohm, a disciple of Einstein, and a more recent major force in modern physics, goes even further and says, "God is proven mathematically."

 

Heisenberg--as part of his Uncertainty theorem created a rift in the concepts presently held by Western, modern, science when he told us that scientific experiment can't prove anything for the way an experiment is set up, who does the experiment, what they believe, and what they are looking for, all influence the outcome of the end result.

 

Therefore, scientific experimentation is always biased and at best can only be used as a tool and never as a rule (my words).

 

Today there is a group of scientists from many disciplines who are coming together under a banner called, psychoneuroimmunobiology. They have transcended the past linear approach of Western medicine, but not with the intention of destroying it. They are adding a new and very needed dimensions to the practice of medicine, they are integrating mind and body and in many cases mind, body and spirit.

 

Fritjov Capra, in his books the Tao of Physics and the Turning Point, refers to this movement as a "new paradigm." He suggests that it is acting on all of Western society. Capra includes not only physics and medicine, but also psychology, economics, politics, and even reality itself.

 

This new study of the body, mind and spirit connection is demonstrating that there are some dramatic new ways of looking at wellness and illness. One of the areas which is becoming very meaningful is the role of thought and stress on the immune system and the physiology of the body. We can now better understand the role of specific events on blood pressure and other body physiology. We can now look at how prayer and visual imagery can affect the course of an illness. Through them we are now seeing that multiple internal factors are involved in the creation of illness, healing and maintenance of wellness. Illness is no longer simply an extension of the Germ Theory--our present concept of infection being the end result of exposure to a germ, but is expanded to include the ability of the body and its immune system to resist and destroy invading organisms, the Stress Mechanism, the environment, nutrition and all those factors that are involved with defending and protecting our self from illness.

 

In some ways it is a return to more basic, even "primitive" or "primal" concepts--the understanding that nothing operates in a vacuum. That wellness, illness, healing and even death, are the end results of a number of complex interrelationships between who and what we are, our thoughts, the stress Mechanism and the complex interactions between our mind, our body and our spiritual selves.

 

Medicine men and shaman have for centuries understood this. Dismissed as witch doctors, fakes and frauds they have continued to work, often underground, to treat the whole person. In many cases, patients who were not able to receive the help they needed from the medical profession, have found their way to traditional healers who have helped them back from illness to wholeness.

 

Many physicians refuse to accept these cures. They look at these non-medically trained individuals as con men and women or as frauds. They condemn all such healers as charlatans--too often, they throw out the baby with the bath water.

 

Many of these physicians feel threatened, many feel that if what has been done cannot be proven scientifically, it can't be accepted at all. Some simply suggest that these healings are simply "lucky." They generally tell us that the "initial diagnosis must have been wrong, " what happened, happened because of "placebo effect." They dismiss the work of these non-traditional healers as "parlor tricks," "flim-flam," and on occasion as "spontaneous miracles." However, they often add what happened was not scientific and cannot be accepted without proof and scientific scrutiny.

 

Often they down play the evidence they do have and having no clear answer, they dismiss it as some sort of aberration or they simply refuse to accept it and ignore the whole thing, as if it never happened. They chose not to learn from it. They chose not to ask questions, nor to look at it scientifically. Often they chose not to be bothered by it and reject it entirely.

 

Others physicians ask questions. "How could an individual who was sick, suddenly cure their illness and become fully well?" "What has really happened?" "What process underlies what happened?" "What factors were really involved?" They ask questions and investigate even though by doing so, they risk their professional reputations and their careers and livelihoods. From these people and the many questions they ask, enlightened physicians often conclude that something must exist beyond the narrow parameters of modern medicine which operates to which affects the cause and cure of illness.

 

The patient may think of it as magic or as a miracle. He may give God the credit or he may believe that some mysterious power was operating, but in the end the results cannot be easily dismissed.

 

While neuropsychoimmunobiology is a fledgling part of the medical sciences, it has already contributed important understandings to the practice of medicine. We now have clear evidence that thought can change body chemistry. We know that when we have good (positive) thoughts we create positive neurochemical messengers that are released not only into local brain tissues but to the entire body.

 

We now also know that our thoughts cannot only create or change our mood, but they can actually change our chemistry. We also know that they affect how we see ourselves and the world around us. We also know that our thoughts can affect our physiology. Thinking that your hand is cold can lower the temperature of your hand, more specifically thinking the right hand is cold and the left hand is hot can lower the temperature of the right hand and raise the temperature of the left hand.

 

We know that the mind is not only connected to the body, but that it is intimately related to it and that for all practical purposes, they are one and the same.

 

We have learned that no physical disease can occur without a mental, emotional or spiritual component. We are now also recognizing that the after-emotions caused by an illness are often preceded by one or more pre-emotions which are related directly to the cause of the illness.

 

It is rapidly becoming clearer that most illnesses have a mental or thought component aspect to them. As I like to think of it, a conflict exists which is not only associated with the illness itself, but frequently is part of the cause of the illness.

 

For many years native American medicine men, shamans and witch doctors have been telling us that there is not only a mental and emotional component to every physical, mental and emotional illness but that there is also always a spiritual component as well.

 

While there is promising work being done in this area, there is as yet, no scientific proof that a spiritual component exists. This, of course, has been an age-old dilemma. Can we ever prove the spirit exists? Can we prove that God exists? This is the edge of the envelope where science breaks down and either religion or spirituality takes over. This is often the hard part for the physician who must tuck away his medical texts and accept in faith that the spiritual aspect of human beings actually does exist.

 

This leap of faith, however, should really not be that difficult, over the years most physicians have learned to have faith in what their text books say, in their practice of medicine and in their own skills and knowledge, even when they conflict with scientific fact.

 

Heisenberg might have asked, "How can you prove that anything exists to begin with, if the people creating the experiment do not believe that what they are looking for exists?" This is especially meaningful when those who do believe that a spiritual aspect does exist are branded as charlatans or fools by the scientific community. In order to relate to the possibility that physical, mental and emotional aspects are interrelated, it is necessary to accept at least the possibility, that such a relationship can exist.

 

For those of you who are still skeptical and unwilling to accept that the spirit does exist, it would therefore be impossible to prove under any natural circumstances. The funny thing is that most of the "scientists" who are skeptical about the relationship between the body, mind and spirit work every day with the faith that their skills and medicines will work. They accept that they themselves are alive and that their patients are alive and yet, they cannot prove that life it self exists. This "fact" is simply accepted on the faith that it does exist, because they believe it to exist.

 

One doctor I talked with recently told me that what I have just said was "nonsense." He told me that he could see life, feel life and knows when it exists and when it doesn't. I asked him to prove this scientifically and he could not.

 

How can this information be used in medical practice? This is a highly complex area and it is clear that nothing is going to replace the present interventive medical system. No one is advocating replacing it or doing away with it. The current medical construct involving diagnosis and treatment will always be needed. Even if we could prevent most diseases and illnesses, there is still going to be injuries and normal wear and tear. Rather than replacing this system it is more likely that it will be add to. These new additions would simply add more dimensions to the practice of medicine and broaden the way we see ourselves and the process of life. This would augment our armamentarium and make us more valuable and even more credible as healers.



How This New Dimension Adds To Making A Diagnosis

 

The addition of an expanded view of humans to be integrated mind's, body's and spirit's would change the practice of medicine in many ways. Certainly it would change how we make diagnosis, the diagnosis them selves and the how we treat individuals based on cleaner and clear diagnosis.

 

One of the first benefits is that we would begin by listening to our patients differently. We would listen to what they tell us about their symptoms in a broader and more inclusive way. We would begin to recognize the individual symptoms and physician signs of illness as intelligent communications from the body, mind, emotional self and spirit communicating with the individual that a conflict exists and must be resolved. To a great degree this is no significant departure from what we already do. When an individual sits on a tack, the body immediately tells us through a sudden pain or discomfort that we have been injured and even where the injury is. The enlightened physician will tell his or her patient to bend over and will then find and remove the tack.

 

Expanding diagnosis to the emotional, mental and spiritual areas is not much different if one is willing to listen to how and when the symptoms started and what was going on in the patient's life just before they started. From this information, a little common sense, along with using our intuition and knowledge about how people work and how life works, we can soon determine what may have triggered the symptoms and created the illness reasonably accurately.



What Is Different about How We must Listen?

 

We must listen to the choice of words that are used for each word is a universe of information. Each word paints a picture and when its emotional and mental and psychological meanings are understood, how the word is general used in society then this picture tells us something about the person and what is going on in their life.

 

We must listen to the voice, what emotion exists, the tone and tensions and where the individual puts emphasis. We know this from life in general. When we listen to people, how they speak tells us a lot about who they are and what is going on inside or them.

 

We must listen to what they believe is the cause and contributing factors associated with their problems. Generally, most people are intelligent and they know what is wrong with them. Unfortunately since the medical profession presently considers that their patients are usually medically ignorant, the physician often misses out on the insight and knowing that the patient has about their own condition. I have heard physicians tell patients to "quiet down" or even "shut up" and only answer questions they way they think their questions should be answered. These physicians miss out on valuable information and the patient misses out on finding the real underlying cause of their illness. The end result is often life long treatment for conditions which could have been "cured" had the physicians been listening to the patient instead of trying to control what the patient said and did.

 

We must feel the emotions that the patient is experiencing--we must experience whether it is positive, negative or neutral and whether it is appropriate for the circumstances. We must go beyond their fear and discomfort into the root cause of their illness. Emotions are clues to the mystery which the illness is trying to unfold to us.



Let me give you an example:

 

A patient came to see me who had a problematic gastric ulcer. It would not heal up, no matter what was done for him. The pain continued to worsen while the ulcer itself seemed unchanged.

 

He had been followed by his family doctor for more than four months and was not improving, no matter what treatment was tried. I asked him if there was any stress in his life, his answer was, "No!"

 

I asked him to tell me what was going on in his life and he answered, "Nothing!"

 

I talked with him for a while and then asked him to tell me what was going on around him. He took a deep breath a sigh and then related the following details (which I have shortened for this publication).

 

"About six months ago my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, when my father heard the news he had a heart attack. My wife had to take time off of her job to help my mother get to her treatments at the hospital and to take her to see my father who was in a different hospital."

 

"Since my wife was no longer working full days and she was taking so much time off, this soon put a crimp in our financial picture, but nothing really that bad. Then about four months ago my baby brother was arrested for selling cocaine. The police caught him in the act so he pled guilty and he was ultimately sentenced to three years in prison."

 

"This left his wife and infant child without an income, so I had to start giving them money to pay their rent and buy food. This meant I had to take a second job. About two months ago my wife lost her job because of the amount of time she was taking off. Now I am the sole support of 10 people and I am just overwhelmed. I do not know how we are all going to make it. It is just eating me up alive."

 

Remember when I asked him if he had any stress in his life, he replied, "No!" When I asked him what was going on in his life his answer was, "Nothing!" Both very emphatically.

 

After he related his story I asked him why he said that he had no stress in his life, he answered, "Well these are just the normal things that everyone has to face and I am doing what needs to be done." But the truth is, he was not facing it well, his conflicts are wreaking havoc on his body. The most enlightening aspect was when he said, "I do not know how we are all going to make it, it is eating me up alive." And it was eating the lining of his stomach alive.

 

When you listen to the mind and spirit talking to you, you will begin to hear beyond the medical history and move into the relationship of body, mind and spirit.



Learning to Use Your Intuition

 

Another value of listening to mind, body and spirit is that we soon begin to develop our intuition. For the physician this is not only essential but differentiates between the enlightened physicians and what I refer to as the medical doctor, the technician. Being a good technician is a great accomplishment but being a great technician and an enlightened physician is an even greater accomplishment. Those who are sick should always look for the great technician but the people who really want to get well should also look for the great technician who is also an enlightened physician.

 

Both the physician and the patient should learn how to use their intuition. For the physician this skill is often referred to as clinical acumen. For both the physician, who is a person, and the patient who is also a person, we think of this skill as human experience and common sense. When we go beyond the words into the feeling and images that they create we see cause and even more importantly, we can see the way to cure the problems that have ultimately caused the illness.

 

This skill can also be thought of as insight, telepathy, empathy, knowing or as I like to think of it, being a competent healer, whether you are the physician healing a patient or an individual healing his or her own self.



An example:

 

A woman in her late forties presented with chronic depression and multiple medical problems. She has been seen by numerous doctors over many years. She immediately tells me, almost proudly, that no one has ever even come close to curing her. The depression itself is the first clue for it tells me that she is not getting something she wants and possibly that she is angry at someone (or at herself) and that she has been unable to resolve her feelings and emotions. One of her illnesses is an irregular heart beat this immediately suggests that she has a broken heart over something.

 

When I first saw her, she was wearing a "cowgirl dress." That is, her dress was lacy and frilly and has two six shooters one on each side just below the shoulder. When I asked if she had just come from square dancing, she looked at me strangely and incredulously exclaimed, "No! What would make you thing that I was square dancing?"

 

Her actions, tone of voice and the way she handles herself and her affairs where very childlike. She told me that her husband frequently treated her like a child and that she was constantly rebelling against him. She also told me she was terrified that he would leave her.

 

After several weeks of working with her, her story ultimately emerged. When she was seven years old, her father left the home and never returned. She has not heard from or seen him since. She became frozen in life as a seven-year-old. Physically and intellectually she grew older but emotionally she was still seven years old. Her illnesses all had root in this conflict, fear of rejection, her broken heart, feelings of unworthiness and a sense that her father left because of something she did. The messages she gave to her body, the chemical s released and the messenger pathways that developed were about her conflict and the unresolved pain she was suffering from.

 

In the end, I recognized that I could do nothing for her (the healer never heals the patient, the patient must heal them selves, they may use the help and assistance of the healer to do this), she had made up her mind (more unconsciously then consciously) that she would never grow up, until her father came back to her. I realized this when she told me, "Ever since he left, I have been waiting fro him to come home, to tell me that he loves me and to make everything get better again." She stopped for a second and then sighed, "I just want to be his little girl again and I want him to love me and hold me again and I cannot ever forgive him for leaving me."

 

Her depression and her illnesses were part of her need to not forgive him, to punish him for leaving and to punish herself for being the reason he left. She would hear no other possibilities, she long ago, when she was seven years old, had made up her mind to this and the adult part of her was too weak and to out of reach to help her to grow up and live in today's world. It is certainly possible that someday she will find her way out of this dilemma, but it soon became painfully clear that it wasn't going to be today and I wasn't going to be the one to help her. I was, as so many others had been, not her father, and not going to be allowed in to help her recover and become whole again.



The Specific Type Of Illness Is An Important Clue to What is Going On Within the Individual

 

We must recognize that the type of illness, the organ or organs involved and how it manifests are present as an Intelligent act of the body trying to communicate to the individual, and therefore to the physicians, the nature of the unresolved conflict. This operates under a concept that I call Body Symptom Language. That is, the areas involved, the specific symptoms as well as the specific illness, the patient's emotional response to their illness and what is going on in their life are all clues to the mental, emotional and spiritual basis that underlies and causes the physical process.

 

The individual in the first example told us through his symptoms and the area involved that he was being "eaten up alive" by his unresolved conflict. The stomach is where what we eat is digested and integrated into us. He was not digesting and integrating his situation well. His plans and dreams of financial security were being "devoured" right in front of his eyes and he was helpless to do anything about it.

 

He could not abandon his parents nor could he abandon his "baby" brother as he saw his family as being helpless and needing help. He was the "good boy" he told me. Everyone "counted" on him. Yet, he just could not "digest" what was going on. It was truly the bitter pill.

 

In PNI terms he was continually sending messages that not only activated the stress mechanism, but inactivated the defenses of his stomach. He could not stomach what was happening and he was helpless and these two messages joined together at the level of the stomach to make it defenseless against injury and since his situation was not healable this message continually was apparently interpreted by the tissues of the stomach and their defensive systems that they too were also vulnerable and not healable.

 

Always consider the meaning of the symptoms or the disease process to the patient. This also is a clue. For example, arthritis - can be the body's way of communicating that the individual is losing his or her grip on their life. Recurrent headaches may well be trying to tell the individual that something or someone in their life is a headache. Consider the possibility that cancer is a clue that "something is eating" at the person. How often do we say or think that something in our life is "eating at us" or "eating us up alive?" Sound far fetched, yet research has repeatedly demonstrated that cancer is associated with unresolved anger and rage.

 

Consider breast cancer. Quite often if you talk to women who have or have had breast cancer they tell a story in which if you listen carefully they tell that they have unresolved conflicts around nurturing. The woman whose husband is an alcoholic, the divorced woman, the woman whose child is always in trouble with the law, or is an alcoholic, or drug addict. Often when there absolutely appears to be no nurturing conflict, if you listen very carefully you will hear that in someway, important and deeply suppressed conflicts exist. They have not been nurturing themselves.

 

Take as an example a young woman who as a child dreamed of being a lawyer. As she grew up, she may have conflicted this dream with feelings that she was too inadequate to try (this may have been reenforced by her parents, teachers or other members of her family), maybe she married early and had children too early, or possibly she believed that her husband wouldn't understand, that he might be threatened by her wanting to go to law school. There may be hundreds of reasons why she did not try, yet the dream still persists often in the unconscious, but sometimes it may surface as brief thoughts, "I really wish I had gone to law school." She may also think to herself at time, "If I had only tried harder, I too could have been a lawyer." She may use any or all of these excuses at one time or another but in the end her dream lies fallow and she feels undernourished and unnurtured by herself (and possibly by her family).

 

Whenever these thoughts' surfaces she may immediately push them down, back into her subconscious. Her desire is thwarted and left unfulfilled, suppressed and ignored deep in her subconscious.

 

Outwardly she has forgotten her desire but the subconscious mind has not. She may say to herself along the way, "At some point when the children are grown up, when my fear of being alone has subsided, and John is more mellow and sure of himself, I'll think about it again."

 

Eventually the children are grown up and love has become more secure (or dwindles), now thoughts of law school may once again surface. At first these thoughts may only occur in dreams or fleeting reveries, eventually they become conscious as real substantive thoughts. Since these promises were made years earlier, and they are now consciously forgotten, sudden thoughts of law schools may be surprising, she may dismiss them as "old memories," "childhood fantasies," or simply as "crazy ideas or thoughts."

 

If she acts on these thoughts and enrolls in law school she nurtures herself and resolves this long term conflict. If, on the other hand, she once again pushes them down, and suppresses them before she recognizes what they are all about, or dismisses them summarily as nonsense, her body/mind will soon begin to try to communicate with her in the only way it can through physical, mental, emotional or spiritual signs and symptoms and eventually if this does not work, through illness.



What About Treatment Programs?

 

Today this presents a major dilemma. The medical profession and to a great degree the laws of our states and country have made it necessary that a physician operate and treat patients in "a manner which is consistent with the standard of the (specific) community." On the surface this is a wonderful law, one which protects many people from unnecessary surgery and poor medical treatment. On the other hand, it is responsible to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and infinite suffering. If mind, body, spirit medicine is not the standard of the community than physicians will shy away from it. They will fear legal problems and being ostracized by the medical community.

 

In spite of this however, there is a growing trend of bold and adventurous physicians to recognize that standard medicine is not working for many of their patients. In many people simply treating illnesses with drugs and surgery often either makes it worse or doses little or nothing to help. Many physicians are recognizing that standard medicine often leaves people less than whole, on medications, with their symptoms and little resolution. Without finding the cause of the illness one cannot really expect to heal it. If the cause is in the interactions of mind, body and spirit then traditional medical treatments will often fail.

 

Many physicians are also recognizing that the medications they prescribe often lead to new and different problems compounding the distress their patient already experience. Many physicians are also recognizing that treatment of early illnesses is not really protecting their patients from ultimately developing chronic diseases.

 

Attempts are being made on the part of physicians and patients alike to find solutions Bernie Siegel and Leo Bassiglia teaches about love being the new medicine, Kenneth Pellitier writes about Mind as Healer Mind as Slayer, Arnold Fox writes and lectures on the relationship of the immune system to wellness. We have acupuncture, biofeedback, bioenergetics, pyramid energy, macrobiotics, radionics, autogenic training, transcendental meditation, somatography, aromatherapy, biodynamic psychology to name only a few new disciplines that are now competing with standard medical thought and practice.

 

It is important for those physicians who are enlightened to recognize that if they are not able to help their patient get well with conventional medical treatment they must send the patient to someone else who can. This means not just to another conventional medical doctor, but to someone who can really help them even if they are not using standard or conventional interventive medical techniques.



Physician and Healer Working Together

 

In many cases today patients go to their regular medical doctor for problems which require drugs and surgery but for problems which do not they may go to modern body, mind, spirit healers to find the underlying mind-body (mental or emotional conflict) or spiritual conflict that are causing their physical, mental or emotional problems and illnesses. Often the healer can better support the patient and treat the spiritual and mental aspects of their illnesses better, while the physician treats the physical manifestations of the conflict. Most medical doctors would be negative to cooperating with non-traditional medical or non-medical practitioners. If the patient is already seeing a non-traditional practitioner, he or she frequently keeps it a secret from their medical doctor.

 

If only the medical doctor's could get past their biases and work together with the non-traditional practitioners, that is work together as a team, the interests of the patient would be much better served. Patients might be healed, instead of kept on medications for the rest of their life, and allowed to develop chronic diseases.

 

The healer whether a medical doctor or a non-traditional practitioner must use their intuition, or as the shaman describes it, going into the spirit world getting the answers that are needed, to determine the cause and the solution of the underlying conflict. This medical practitioner can do this if he or she trains them self. In the old days this was referred to as clinical intuition or clinical acumen. This intuition can be used by the physician to gain additional insight into the patients underlying conflicts and what really needs to be done to solve these conflicts and resolve their patient's problems.



Non-Traditional Methods of Healing

 

Beside the use of intuition and recognizing the roles of mind, body and spirit in causing and healing illness both the medical professionals and non-traditional healers use various techniques to alleviate pain, anxiety and the illness itself.



Rituals, Amulets and Herbs:

While the medical profession would like to believe that they are above using rituals, amulets and herbs to heal, the truth is, they are not. They simply have masked the process and give it a new PR approach. Just about everything about the visit to the medical doctor is a ritual. Patients have to call to make appointments, we make them fill out reams of paper work, we take a medical history, we weigh the patient, take blood pressure and do a physical examination. Leave out any of these steps and the patient feels uncomfortable, truthfully the medical doctor will often also feel uncomfortable as well. Many times patient have asked me if I were going to listen to their heart, even when the visit did not call for doing this. The physician wears a sacred stethoscope or white coat as mantel of his or her office and healing power. He prescribes sophisticated versions of herbal preparations (in the form of prescription medication) for the patient to take.



Sacrifice:

In ancient times this meant paying the debt that was necessary for the higher forces (God's) to accept that you had learned your lesson and that you have recognized your blame and are now offering something of great value to the nature force to accept and release you from the conflict, guilt and shame and hence release the illness.



The sacrifice also has to do with two things:

 

  1. The value of the treatment process, the value of the healer, the value of the experience.
  2. Paying your debt for having missed the mark or for causing hurt to yourself or others.


Today this is done through the medical charges for the visit. The cost of the medication, the taking of the medicines and the acceptance of the power of the physician as the healer - all are aspects of a powerful healing ritual and the giving of a sacrifice.

 

It can also be seen in another common way where the sacrifice is the surgical removal of an organ such as a hysterectomy, gastrectomy for an ulcer. In such cases the patient sacrifices an organ to pay the debt they unconsciously know they must pay. Since the type of illness and the organ or organs involved are intelligent communications from the body/mind then the sacrifice has an additional meaning one of offering up the organs to release the conflict.

 

Let me give you an example of how it might work. The uterus is another organ which symbolically represents nurturing. It nurtures the woman's children before they are born and it nurtures her until she is born. Suppose for a moment that a woman develops a conflict regarding her children, they are in trouble with the law, one or more are involved with alcoholism, drugs, abuse, they are hostile or angry at her or they no longer willing to communicate with her. She is unwilling to deal with what has happened so she suppresses her feeling and possibly even blames herself. What if, she is angry at herself, she does not feel nurtured, is in a bad relationship or loveless marriage, if there is spousal abuse, alcoholism, unhappiness over being a woman or she is feeling oppressed and lost. The list is endless for anything that inflicts conflict, anger, guilt, shame, or feeling of sin can rob the woman of self nurturing and hence leads to conflict on an unconscious level.

 

In the end there may be irregular bleeding (crying, sadness), enlargement of the uterus (need for more nurturing), fibroid tumors (knots or distortion of nurturing, hurt from a partner), pain (anger, hostility, fear, hurt), endometriosis (an outward search for nurturing). In general we could say that the cause is related to denial of ones Self, their internal or external needs, lack of self nurturing or nurturing from a partner, children or family--those who we feel are integrally important to us.

 

This process also occurs in men and only differs slightly as nurturing conflict affect the prostate gland. It may seem strange to the medical profession that the number of cases of prostate problems and prostate cancer keep rising but not to the healer who understands that the role of man as nurturer of the family, as head of the family has been undermined and now many men are in conflict about who they are and their role in society.



Forgiveness:

 

Once the sacrifice is made this opens the door to forgiveness. This is absolutely essential for healing and wellness. Physicians, how many times have patients thanked you profusely and told you that after you listened to them, they felt "so much better." Often these patients only took half of the medication that were prescribed for them. Now they not only feel better, but their illness or problems are gone.

 

Going to the doctors office (the ritual), cost of the office visit (sacrifice), and the taking of the medication, even after only taking a few pills (sacrifice and ritual), and the physician listening to them (absolution or forgiveness) they became better. The combination of the rituals, sacrifices and forgiveness fulfilled the rituals of healing and the acceptance by the physician (or a non-traditional practitioner) allowed them to forgive them self, which ultimately allowed full and complete healing.

 

How many times have you heard people tell you that accepting Jesus, Buddha or Mohammed cured them - the mysterious element was they forgave themselves often accepting that the God force, represented by the religious figure, has also forgiven them?

 

Forgiveness means acceptance and acceptance fulfills our need to be nurtured and relieves guilt, it also eliminates feelings of having sinned. This sends positive messenger chemicals to the entire body which act to turn on healing mechanisms and repair and heal injuries.



Summary

 

When we experience conflict, guilt, threat, fear, anger, rage, hostility, negativity the stress mechanism is activated at first this is good for once activated it prepares the healing and repair systems of the body for first fight or flight and next, for potential injury. Initially this same response also activates the immune system as the immune system and the stress mechanism are essentially one and the same things.

 

If these conflicts, threats, guilt, anger, rage or hostility are not resolved the stress mechanism/immune system soon become exhausted and overwhelmed and over time parts of the immune system are shut down and illness is allowed to enter into it (bacterial, viral or parasitic infection) or is caused by one part of the body attacking another part of the body (autoimmune diseases). As we suggested earlier the underlying conflict, what we feel guilty about what we feel we have sinned over select out the organs that will most likely become involved.

 

Mind-body-spirit medicine is an extension of the concept of the physician as the healer. I used to think of it as the horse and buggy doctor, whether you accept or reject this depends on you. Certainly, there is much more that can be said on both sides. Only you can decide what is true for you. In Hawaiian it is said, Malama ola pono, "May your life be in balance."