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For too long, we, as a nation, have had a tendency to leave the responsibility of our health to others. The attitude has been, "I'll just do what I want and let 'the doctor' fix it if something goes wrong." Our health care has been remedial. We wait for disease to "strike," and then try to "combat it." This approach doesn't work. It's painful, disruptive and costly. Diagnosing and curing are reactive. Prevention and monitoring are proactive. The objective of most health care systems has been to control symptoms in order to get better or feel better. The realistic objective is to help the "doctor within" restore and maintain health.
We are three-dimensional beings, involving body, mind and spirit. The physical aspect of us is at most, only one-third of our whole being. Society limits the goal for health to not being sick. Not being sick is only one-half of our full health potential; the other half is radiant health. If we limit our attention and focus on the body and only as it relates to not being sick, we have reduced our full 100% potential for radiant health to one-half of one-third, which is one-sixth of our total being. Then, the best we can expect to attain is one-sixth (16.5%) of our health potential. We have better odds with a slot machine! A one-dimensional approach, even if done perfectly, disregards our three-dimensional needs and possibilities.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2005 there were 2,326 registered pharmaceutical lobbyists. That amounts to 4.3 lobbyists for every member of Congress, and the drug companies spent $146,783,853 on their efforts. And the Center for Public Integrity reports that between 1998 and 2005, the industry spent over $675 million on federal lobbying with the top twenty corporations and trade groups accounting for 70 percent of that spending.
Throw in another $133 million in federal and state campaign contributions during that time period (nearly 69 percent went to Republicans) and some key jobs offered to members and their staffs, and it's easy to see how Big Pharma gets such a stellar return on its lobbying investment (i.e. tens of billions of dollars in additional profits; a ban on the reimportation of cheaper drugs from Canada; and barring Medicare from negotiating bulk drug prices for seniors.)
When it comes to health, society has conditioned us not to think. We have been subtly taught that experts, like doctors, the media, drug companies, even the tabloids, know what is best or worst for our health. Nobody is more of an expert when it comes to our own health than we are. When a person accepts the belief that health is something that happens to them, instead of being created through them, fear runs the heart and hopelessness the head. A person with the mind-set that health or health problems just mysteriously appear, surrenders their right to grow in radiant health. It is much more tragic for a person to have a sick belief than a sick body. A sick body can be healed, but if the mind is sick with dis-ease beliefs, the body will heal from one condition or one episode of a dis-ease only to inevitably relapse at a later date or come down with another condition. Without healing the sick beliefs, we remain in a sad sick cycle. Focusing on the positive--positive thinking, positive visualizing, a positive self-image and positive action--is the ultimate factor between success and failure. This principle has been accepted and practiced by the greatest minds, past and present.
If there is a disease in the body, from a major problem to a nagging headache, to a lack of ease, energy and exuberance, we can be sure that there is a corresponding dis-ease within. If we deny the connection within for the physical dis-ease, blaming everything from pathogens to a conspiracy theory, then we deny the creative power to heal it. If we abandon our own power, believing that something or someone outside of us has caused the problem, then we must rely on something or someone or something outside of us to fix it. Many of us accept as gospel, the words of medical doctors, TV "health" experts, or magazine articles. Desperately, we hope that if we do what we are told we will avoid the responsibility of our health. As in religion, we are bound to our traditional health care system by anger and fear, anger that any scrutiny of this system is viewed as a personal attack and fear that if we question or refute the accepted practices, "God will get us," with disease as our punishment. We have been well trained! If we stick with only the traditional physical approach to health, conditions can only get worse. We are predisposed to being well. It has taken a lot of B.S. (belief system) to pull us off that path.
Individual responsibility should not be confused with "victim blaming" or the idea that a person's thoughts or actions bring on cancer or any other disease. Instead, restoring individual responsibility recognizes that there are critical lifestyle choices we can all make to increase the likelihood of sustained health. It encourages us to become as active as possible in our own treatment. Such an approach does not imply blame or assign guilt. It simply recognizes the fact that conscious, individual choices underlie many of the major causes of death and disability in the United States today. The mind is not just a source of thoughts; it is also a source of feelings, that have a major effect on the body. Believing that we can have radiant health or even freedom from illnesses without healing the mind as a whole, particularly things that are bothering us, has been a major downfall. Even the most avid health fanatics, who mind every morsel of food eaten, exercise religiously and avoid all unnatural or toxic substances, are kidding themselves if they ignore the longing and grieving of their mind. No matter how well we eat, it is not until we get to what is eating us that the real healing begins. It is impossible to have harmony in the world if we don't possess harmony within ourselves. There is a direct connection between what is bothering us in our body and what is bothering us in our mind. What bothers us about others or life in general had to be in us to be stirred by anyone else. The real pain is not in the feeling but in fighting the feeling.
As we get in tune with what bothers us, we give up the fight, and are finally free. The body cannot distinguish between one fear over another. Being afraid to say "I love you" can have the same effect as being afraid of being robbed. The body cannot distinguish between the physical and the mental; between what is actually occurring in our life and what is being imagined with our mind. The inside of us is molding the outside of us at every moment. Looking for, expecting, or focusing on anything, warning sign or not, is creative not preventative. Whatever a person can conceive and believe--from the symptoms of success to the symptoms of the flu--they will receive. The mind, being no respecter of purpose, will work to make the objective of focus a reality. If filling the mind with all the signs of impending sickness doesn't become fatal, it certainly kills all hope of radiant health. It takes an inwardly strong person to reevaluate such a traditional system and to question how much this system really has our best interests in mind. A thought affects every cell of the body right down to the DNA. If our body can get turned on when we are consumed with thoughts of sexiness, what happens when we are consumed with thoughts of sickness?
The system, which ranks right up there with "mother", (our "Health Care" System), is contributing to our ills rather than curing them. The traditional system cannot, and does not venture into the realm of radiant health; anger and fear are running the show. The idea that illness is just a natural part of life, that, with the exception of a miracle, we are powerless to change, is pounded into our heads every time we open a newspaper. That kind of fear can paralyze even the most positive of thinkers. Living with the dread of disease slowly sapping our strength, until if and when a cure for all ills is found, is no way to live; neither is living with the fear of financial failure until if and when we win the lottery. Both scenarios render our natural human potential, our unlimited creative power within, impotent. News reports on the latest disease and the likelihood of us getting it, are broadcast every day. Newspaper headlines, often front-page news, explode with the new virus coming our way. Statistics on the escalating odds of us "catching" one of the top ten illnesses scare us to death. People all around us talk about their newest virus. We are told to have hope, that one day a cure will come. On the grocery bags, catching everyone's conscious or subconscious eye, you'll find lists of the "Warning Signs" of the most dreaded diseases. Talk about shopping for sickness! Filling our minds with vivid pictures of the symptoms of pain and sickness is just asking for trouble. There is an irrefutable power of suggestion at work with our health.
The media is one of our most powerful sources of suggestion. The media determines every product that we buy--from cat food to computers. Everywhere we look, the graphic details of what could go wrong with our health, blaze the headlines. When the media broadcasts illness after illness, warning after warning, it only helps to spread the bad news throughout our minds and our bodies. How quickly does the flu or a virus spread through a city like wildfire within days of its broadcast on TV or as front-page news? The sales of sinus tablets and cold-relief medications skyrocket the day that the cold and allergy season announcement is made. Disease is a multi-billion-dollar sales industry. As long as there are products to sell, there will be powerful salespeople and highly creative sales pitches--disease is no exception to this rule. Imagine how many other illnesses, chronic and serious, have been spread through the power of suggestion. We are brought to believe that God ordains pharmaceuticals and doctors--that M.D. stands for Medical Deity! Rarely do we think that they need to meet sales quotas like any other business. Who else but advertising genius could sell the entire American public on the idea that health, energy more powerful than electricity, could be bought in a pill? Personally, we find the pill theory hard to swallow!
Our Health Care System uses a powerful marketing tool, the "fear of death," to keep us customers for life. Subliminally, we are kept bound through a "do-or-die" situation--we could be risking our life or the life of our family. With the fear of death planted in our minds, many of us remain loyal to a system that doesn't work. Fear can keep us obedient but it cannot keep us well. No matter how justified, fear, on a regular basis, has harmful effects. Ask a psychologist. Any system to which we are bound by fear, depresses our entire being--especially our immune cells--and a depressed being cannot be well. The statement is clear; focus on what could go wrong with the body, fear the likelihood of getting ill, and reinforce our powerlessness over this whole health situation. With each health problem, from a simple cold to a serious ill, landmarks or warning signs have been created to guide us along the path of pathology. "Your throat will be scratchy, eyes watery, nose running."
This so-called "preventative approach," focusing on the warning signs of every ill imaginable, is likely to be creating and recreating the problem. Focusing on the "early warning signs" often creates even a common cold. What comes to mind when we sneeze a few extra times, feel our throat scratchy or experience a wave of fatigue? We probably think, "Oh, I'm getting a cold!" And, lo-and-behold, within minutes or hours, we are right! The key question here is, are we being intuitive or creative? If this were about our career and we noticed some sign of problems, the successful and smart thing would be to take the problems in stride, avoid focusing on failure, and continue to create and visualize the outcome being successful. But when it comes to health, as far as the rules of positive thinking, all bets are off. Heed the warning signs, prepare for the worst, keep checking for the outcome that we don't want, read up on the impending ill and visit every specialist on the condition. Something is wrong with this picture!
We now have over 3,000 labels created for every ill imaginable. What makes them so dangerous is that they are now in medical terms, instead of human terms, to confuse and overwhelm us. These labels are far-less personal and far more clinical which makes them far-too complicated to heal easily. We have become so familiar with illness labels that given one simple clue, we can make a sophisticated diagnosis for ourselves and everyone around us. But this knowledge makes us stuck, not smart. Many people feel special after being given a sophisticated name for their ill, they constantly discuss their label with enthusiasm and repetition to anyone who will listen. Then, there are the "support groups" for every kind of disorder that makes the participant focus on the condition even more. The worst part is that labels have no statute of limitations; they are too often with us for life. If we ever want to be free of the ill, we must first be free of its label. Hearing about pain and illness, for the purpose of prevention, has disastrous effects, no matter how much we have been led to believe otherwise. We may have become immune to hearing about pain and illness, but we cannot become immune to the resulting negative effects. Whatever the mind focuses on, the outer-life follows, like an obedient servant.
Kids don't stand a chance anymore from the pushers that lurk inside the schools, the school nurses. In thousands of schools all across America, nurses are pushing drug carts from classroom to classroom with paper cups filled with pills, just like in the hospital, to medicate our supposedly misbehaved children. Children are being sent by their teachers to medical doctors to put them on powerful psychiatric and mood altering drugs. They are guilty of daydreaming, having a vivid imagination, touching the other kids, singing, laughing, wiggling, doodling, hugging too much, having too much fun and even praying. These are the same great traits that adults are now paying money to take classes, and trying to re-learn. Fortune 500 companies are sending their top executives on vision quests and self expression siminars, in hopes to undo their frozen, unimaginative minds, to develop new, innovative ways of doing business, while at the same time, their kids are being drugged out of their imagination in school! Prozac is now a commonly prescribed drug for 2- and 3-year-old children who medical doctors, day care workers and nursery school teachers believe need to be psychologically altered.
The accepted belief is that every school system is a hotbed of Illness, where sickness is spread through the school from one student to another until half the student body is down with the flu. School nurses offices are decorated with all the latest ills. From articles on the "flu season," to vivid photographs of a "deadly virus"--walking in there is enough to make anyone sick! The occurrence of student illness rises every year, and most of these students have already diagnosed themselves before walking in their own school nurse's office, these students have a fairly good idea of the ill from which they suffer. Have these students really caught something or are they just caught in the web of sickness suggestion? Labeling someone stupid, unattractive, unlovable, or a failure can disable a person for life. Illness labels are no exception to this rule!
Today research indicates that the way people cope with incipient illness is at least as important as the biological conditions themselves in determining health or illness. A variety of psychological factors including mood, personality characteristics, social support, coping techniques, suppressed anger, a sense of hopelessness or a sense of purpose, psychological vulnerability, and defensiveness can each affect the way a person handles and overcomes potential illness and disease. What goes on in the mind of the individual is at least as important as what goes on inside the body. As the eminent physician sir William Osler once observed, "It is as important to know what patient has the disease as it is what disease the patient has." Today's problem with health is in our approach, not our ability. Society takes a negative approach to positive thinking as far as health is concerned. Our society accepts the principle of positive thinking as the foundation of life and yet takes a negative approach when it comes to health. Anytime we focus on the problem and ignore our inner creative power, we have taken a negative approach to the principle of positive thinking. We have the power; it is our focus of this power that needs to be healed. When we shake the victim role and take back the responsibility as creators of health, the inward strength becomes available to us. There are only two resources that can overpower our fear in health; logic and experience. As we reinforce the logic of health as a creative process and experience this process working over and over again, the fear is gone.
Logic is one of our greatest tools. It really all comes down to very simple logic; as you sow, also shall you reap. Why have we allowed health to be the exception to this logical rule? Health obeys the same rules as any other goal in life. How can it be logical to sow fears about illness, thoughts about the new virus in town or conversations about all our aches and pains, and still expect health? Does it make logical sense that the Supreme Being that created us would grant us full creative license in all areas of life except health? How can we be "God's privileged children," and be damned to a life of fighting and fearing illness? Seeing the logic in healing, begins stripping away the awful fear of illness etched into our brains. Fear of illness just naturally fades away as the confidence in the simple logic of health grows. Logic gets us going in the right direction. But living it keeps us there, forever. We can tap into a healing power that defies time and condition. Many times symptoms and problems disappear just from a good talk. After being given permission to express feelings or renew their faith in themselves, people stand in awe as their tension, fear and pain melt away. Who needs the fear of illness ringing in our heads or chronic pain and discomfort, when we posses a power that just waits for the chance to heal? Contrary to popular belief, chasing symptoms cannot take the place of connecting with the source of all healing, the power within. We must refrain from consciously or unconsciously concentrating on illness. As human, spiritual beings we are entitled and responsible to create the mental image that we want in our physical body or life. We are also entitled to block that which we don't want in our beings.
A doctor is a technician, a mechanic for the body machine. Webster's Dictionary defines physician as "any person or thing that heals, relieves, or comforts." The idea of healing in this definition implies much more than alleviation of symptoms or curing a body system. Our word heal comes from the Anglo-Saxon word hal meaning whole. To be healed is to be made whole. A healing occurs when one knows one's connection to the entire fabric of the universe. The rampant stress, sadness and sickness, viewed as "normal" in the world, are the price that we have paid for ignoring our own inner power. The ease of our stress, the answer to our sadness and the healing of our sickness, all lies in one source, the divine power within. Socrates, Jesus, Emerson, Einstein and hundreds of others have proven that there is an unlimited creative power within us. This awesome power responds to our grandest with as well as our least inclination. If we can stay open to the logic and truth of healing, our life and our health will rise to radiant levels--the "power of life" within us will begin to melt the "fear of death" that used to bind us. If we want a positive result in our health, we must think totally positive about our health. There are no exceptions to this rule. Focusing on what we want as opposed to focusing on what we don't want, or what could go wrong is the key. Have you ever heard a health expert on the six o'clock news describing all the warning signs of "Radiant Health?" How about headlines that say "Energy, Ease and Exuberance expected to hit 9-out-of-10 people this year!"
Two thousand years ago, Jesus, one of the greatest minds of all time, proclaimed that we have the "power to move mountains." How come, when it comes to health, even the little molehills seem to have power over us? The reason is that we are taught that health, unlike any other area of life, is something to be feared instead of freed. Thanks to the promotion of panic in our society, health and illness seem to be immune to the truths of the ages. Prophecies like, "Whatsoever ye desire, ask and ye shall receive," become impotent when it comes to health. Can we accept that the power that made the body and sustains the body is incompetent to heal the body? There's an unwritten law suggesting that non-health professionals should defer their health decisions to the "experts." Americans pride themselves on analyzing, researching and differing with expert opinion. We believe that our feelings, intuition and sense of logic are highly valuable in every area of life. Why then, when it comes to our health, do we accept almost everyone else's ideas over our own? It isn't easy to think, question or disagree with any authority, but a monopoly as large as the American health industry makes it even harder. The silent suggestion of think at your own risk, keeps us as a society enslaved to a fearful and sick approach to health. The truth is that not thinking; not using our divine wisdom and logic puts us at the greatest risk. Thinking, questioning and disagreeing with traditional health practices may put a person in a healthier position but also a precarious one.
Few of us, even if they feel right in their hearts, are free from the good opinions of others, with disapproval and rejection being a "fate worse than death." But, for those of us who are ready for a holistic approach to health, this fate will no doubt be faced. Someone with a "health degree" no longer intimidates us. We look instead for those who have a healthy degree of insight, who understand the inner workings of our outer health. Even then, we form a partnership, not a doctatorship. Along the way, you may have to contend with the condemnation of health fundamentalists, those family, friend and health professionals who take personal offense and get quite indignant at a non-traditional approach to health, even if they are working better than the traditional methods! Fear is often the precursor to anger and criticism. We may never change them; all we can do is strengthen us. Some feel risking the wrath of others is too high a price to pay, even for their own health. One of the most limiting but at the same time universally accepted beliefs is that a "doctor" knows more about our health than we do. Who could possibly know our physical, mental and spiritual needs better than we do? Given a 10-20-minute visit every once in a while, how well can they really know us, not just our body, but also the whole of us? Would we allow an outsider to determine our potential for great success? Unless they lived inside our being, their determination would be biased at best, and completely wrong at worst. Why then, do we assume that an outsider can determine our potential for health?
The unresolved fears and hurts of our childhood seem to be repeated well into our adult life. In fact, they often form the core of the major challenges in our life until we learn to heal or resolve them. We seem to repeatedly attract situations and relationships that resonate perfectly with our most vulnerable feelings, despite our resolutions to avoid them. Our childhood traumas often create feelings of deep vulnerability in a particular area of life. To cope, we learn to block out those uncomfortable feelings. However, blocking them out makes it impossible to heal or transform them, so we continue to shut them out of our awareness, because that is all we know. Since we have never learned to acknowledge and experience our discomfort, we tend to revert to a fixed, defensive script, based on a past scenario--we get "triggered" and begin to react blindly. In doing so, we may simply be creating a magnet that repeatedly draws the same situations into our life until we really begin to see, feel, and heal them. It seems that the universe will continue to provide the curriculum necessary for the evolution of the species. What we resist persists. The most painful feelings and issues in our life are usually repeated. We keep stepping in the same emotional hole over and over.
You'd think we would learn to avoid it after a while. Instead, we continue to walk into our favorite holes. We continue to spend years resisting exactly what we need in order to cure our "nonexistent incurable disorders." Since we typically spend many years avoiding those difficult feelings, it can be quite a challenge at first to acknowledge them. However, when we begin to feel them fully, painful, self-defeating emotional patterns actually do begin to shift. Emotional healing seems to take place as we allow ourselves to feel our deepest pain. This process is like allowing a fever to run its course rather than suppressing it with drugs. Whenever a person or event triggers those unresolved issues, we feel upset and uncomfortable. This discomfort is a reminder that there's an area in which we need to do some healing. Our most uncomfortable feelings are chronic. Usually, before you know it, you become involved in another experience with the same feeling. This cycle can continue indefinitely. They keep coming back until we realize that the problem isn't outside ourselves, in the other person or the external events.
Sometimes, it seems that the harder we try, the more stuck we feel. The outside events simply create a resonance, a self-recognition, in our vibrational field. When we accept that what we are feeling is truly within ourselves, then we are really ready to begin the healing process. There is a remedy and that is awareness. Full awareness means that our energy field, our feelings, and all our senses are open and receptive. Expanding our awareness is the most important step in deeply changing how we see the world. There is really nothing else to do, because awareness itself is curative. Awareness is simply a matter of experiencing every moment of life as fully as possible. Greater awareness does not happen when we try to pay close attention--that effort actually requires a narrowing of one's focus. True awareness is an expansive, effortless process. Humans have developed a variety of wonderful tricks to avoid being "in the present moment." Eastern gurus say that the majority of our mental and physical activities arise from the urge to distract ourselves from our awareness rather than out of any truly purposeful need. The desire to avoid seeing life fully and therefore feeling life fully is also the fundamental origin of vision problems.
We are a nation that shouts at a microwave oven to hurry up! Most people become bored, anxious, or uncomfortable when they have to sit quietly for even a few minutes. Those disconcerting feelings are why we continually seek distractions, and why many spiritual traditions place so much emphasis on present-moment consciousness. Our capacity for full awareness is based on how attentive we are in the present. When we consciously witness rather than feel our experience, the clarity, energy, and passion that we bring to life is reduced. We may sometimes wonder why we aren't happy, why our life isn't filled with live and joy. Yet, sages tell us that happiness is simply the ability to fully appreciate whatever is happening now. The more present we are, the more satisfaction, joy, and love we can both give and receive.
We have been conditioned to believe that life is a difficult struggle. Sometimes we do have painful or frustrating experiences, but the intensity of the stress is often related to the degree of resistance to being fully in the present. When we remain present, every sensation flows into the next, just as in the old saying "This too shall pass." However, when we feel contracted, we respond as if every pain is permanent and terminal, a threat to our very survival. This belief requires a great deal of effort, stealing away our life force and diminishing our ability to see. We can learn to let go of our fear of life and restore our vision, both literally and figuratively. To see more clearly, we must allow ourselves to feel the discomfort that we've been blurring out of our lives. The way to see through the blur is to look at what is hiding within it. One key to spontaneous healing can be found in whatever is happening in your life right now. It isn't somewhere in the past or in the future. If the world outside appears unclear, it may simply be a signal that something inside is unclear. We've just forgotten how to read that signal. Since we don't understand the blur, we think it is beyond our control, so we "adjust" our vision with a pair of glasses, or a drug, or surgery, a special diet, or a new relationship, etc. In so doing, we miss a powerful opportunity to contact the unresolved issues that created the blur in the first place. The first step is a shift of awareness--the willingness to open up and clearly see what we haven't been attending to in life.
Individuals can have a profound impact on their own health as well as on the shaping of a true health care system. Surely the first step is to set a goal or objective. If that objective is health, rather than just the absence of disease, then a new model of health must be defined with specific strategies to achieve and sustain it. This new model of health can set the fundamental direction for individuals and the nation as a whole and lead us toward a true health care system by providing a basis for our day-to-day decisions. The new orientation will involve and empower all of us--individuals and institutions alike--to be integral and responsible participants in our own health, as well as that of others less fortunate, across the nation and throughout the world. This new direction is realistic, achievable, and vitally relevant to the health issues and challenges of the twenty-first century. There is only one healing power and no one nor any thing can ever duplicate it. Our job is to find a way to allow it to finally flow. Healing works the same for the mind as it does for the body. As we continually and consistently remove the inner blocks, both the mind and body are healed. The healing power can only do its job when we do ours. Even the most learned of health experts are at a disadvantage when it comes to our health. No one has the intimate connection with our feelings, our needs and our intuitive guidance that we have, we are with us 24-hours-a-day! And it is within such feelings, needs, and intuitive guidance that all the answers to our healing lie. The point is to look at our blinding belief systems, eliminate that which cannot stand the test of logic, and then grow with the higher principles of healing. This is a lifetime process.
With that kind of clear-minded thinking, along with the assistance of true "health" experts, we become qualified to diagnose our own needs, health no longer being an exception. Our responsibility is to take time out to create the radiant, energetic body of ease that we want, and spend time recognizing, blocking and healing our fears of illness. No doctor, drug or insurance company can do this for us, then again who would want to put the healing in anyone else's hands?
If you want a second opinion, wouldn't it be of the highest wisdom to make it your own? Why anxiously wait for miracles when we were born with the power to create them? The two models of healing the sick--the Western medical approach of treating symptoms of pathology, and the ancient practices of healing through transcendent awareness of wholeness and oneness with all in the universe--may seem to be opposite and irreconcilable. However, by accepting both approaches as part of a continuum of human development and therefore ultimate health, a new theory of healing may emerge.