Issue # 2: Summer 1997 © 1997 Neil F. Neimark, M.D.
Thank you all for your wonderful comments regarding the first issue of Mind & Body. I can tell by the positive feedback that this is an area of deep interest to many of you. Thank you for your support.
Remember from issue one, that our "healing system" is the organizing force through which all other body systems function with a deep intelligence and a miraculous sense of balance and wholeness. It is this force which generates the most possible in terms of our physical health and in terms of our emotional and psychological wholeness. Revealing the mysteries of the healing system allows us to tap into this creative force for physical health and spiritual well-being. This is the subject of this issue of Mind & Body.THE HEALING PROCESS
BEYOND A CURE
Most of us think of health as something we achieve when we find a cure for some particular disease or illness from which we suffer. In this context we think of health as a physical cure. When we move beyond a cure, we move into the healing process, which is about our physical health AND our emotional, mental and spiritual health. So that healing becomes anything that moves us towards a greater sense of wholeness, acceptance (of self and others) and inner peace. Gerald Jampolsky M.D., psychiatrist and author, defines health as "inner peace", which comes from an inner sense of unity and wholeness. In fact, "health" and "healing" come from the root word "whole", to be one. So we see that while perfect physical health is unattainable, healing (on an emotional and spiritual level) is always available to us.CLOSING THE GAP
Imagine for a moment the picture of a physical cut. When we cut ourselves, we first notice the pain which brings our attention to the cut. In that attention, we clean the wound and bring the edges together. In this coming together the healing process begins. The healing itself is a mystery. Remember Bernie Siegel M.D. says we "don't have to yell into the wound and tell it how to heal." We rely on the body to heal. All we need to do is to be willing to bring the edges together, to close the gap, to transcend the isolation. In fact, anything which helps us transcend isolation (from self or others) begins the healing process and moves us towards greater health, wholeness and inner peace.EMOTIONAL HEALING
Now this healing process can occur on many levels, not just the physical level. So what is emotional healing? It is anything that helps us to close the emotional gap we may be feeling. Perhaps we are holding deep anger or resentment towards others. By taking steps to transcend the isolation we feel (perhaps by communicating honestly or finding a place of forgiveness or setting appropriate boundaries so that we won't be hurt again), we begin to activate the healing process and move towards emotional healing. Or perhaps we are holding excessive guilt or anger towards ourselves. By taking steps to transcend our self-imposed internal isolation (perhaps by making amends for the hurt we have caused our self or others, or by finding a place of self-forgiveness and self-acceptance) we can begin the emotional healing process.SPIRITUAL HEALING
Healing also occurs on a spiritual level. What would that be? Anything which helps us to close the gap between who we are and who we aspire to be in terms of a greater purpose in life. Anything which closes the gap between our sense of inner aloneness and some sense of connection to something greater than ourselves. So as we transcend our essential aloneness by developing a relationship to something greater than ourselves (a higher power, a higher purpose, a sense of meaning in life, a sense of community) we begin our spiritual healing.
John Bradshaw, author and recovery expert, says that the very basis of our spirituality is the permission to be human, to know that we will make mistakes, that we have limitations. Being human means coming to terms with our imperfections and limitations. In so doing, we are reminded that there is something greater than ourselves.HEALTH IS A MYSTERY
If we look at just the physical level, health is a mystery. Certain children are born with life threatening disease or cancer or AIDS. Certain people contract fatal disorders and die. We never really know what level of physical health is available to us. Genetics and environmental threats can affect our physical health unexpectedly and without fairness or warning. Norman Cousins, author and humanitarian, says "Not every illness can be overcome...but there is always a margin within which life can be lived with meaning and even with a certain measure of joy, despite illness."
This is most profoundly demonstrated in the groundbreaking work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross M.D., on death and dying. What she discovered is that a tremendous amount of healing occurs in and around the time of death. On some level, illness awakens us to our unfinished business and helps us move closer to our own wholeness.HEALING IS ALWAYS AVAILABLE
So we see that beyond a physical cure, healing is always available to us. In any moment we can activate our healing system by making those choices which help us transcend isolation (from self and others), affirm life and move towards a greater sense of acceptance (of self and others), wholeness and inner peace.HONOR THE PROCESS
Richard Moss, M.D., alternative physician says "Healing is not for the sick alone but for all humankind ... in the end, healing must be a ceaseless process of relationship and rediscovery, moment by moment." In each moment, we must choose those beliefs and attitudes which move us in the direction of acceptance, wholeness and inner peace. In each moment, we must rediscover our inner sense of esteem and worthiness. In each moment, we must find a sense of connection to something greater than ourselves, transcend our isolation and rediscover a greater sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Only in this way can we generate the most possible in terms of our physical health and develop the sense of inner peace and acceptance we all so richly crave and deserve.
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