A commonly held belief among holistic healthcare practitioners is the notion that specific thought patterns can create corresponding health conditions. As an example, some suggest that the fear of letting go of the past can induce (or at least contribute to) colon problems and/or constipation. Those of you who know the work of Louise Hay are already familiar with this idea. The question is: Is this just new age bogus or is there something to it?
Life is complicated — and gross generalizations are ALWAYS wrong (get it?). But all kidding aside, I believe it to be myopic and overly reductionistic to posit that ALL physical symptom or diseases result from particular thought patterns. If I get into a car accident and develop neck pain, does it absolutely, positively mean that I am rigid in my thinking and am unwilling to see another viewpoint? Seems dubious. However, in my sixteen years in the field of holistic health, I have seen countless connections between an individual’s limiting thought patterns and the resultant physical manifestations. (BTW: Did you know that if you are myopic, you are considered to have a very distinct fear of the future…JK).
A much more relevant question for me is: Does an exploration of the interaction between our beliefs and our physical state of being open a path for self healing, self-discovery, and personal growth? I believe the answer to each of these questions is an unequivocal: “Well, it depends.”
Depends on WHAT exactly? I believe it depends upon the spirit with which one approaches this investigation. Is the journey undertaken with the motive of simply arriving at a preordained conclusion in order to pass judgment and “get over it” already? Or, is it a sort of meditation and inquiry into the fundamental nature of reality, attempting to answer the question: “What is REALLY going on here?”
A mindset geared toward simply arriving at a fixed answer as quickly as possible will just add insult to injury. In this approach, not only does one have to deal with the discomfort of the health concern, but s/he also has to suffer the burden brought on by the mind as it blames itself for creating this dreadful condition in the first place; saying something like “Damn it!!! If I weren’t so self-critical and deeply resentful, I wouldn’t have this arthritis.” Talk about hell on earth.
There is, however, a healthier approach. If we have a genuine curiosity and undertake an earnest exploration of how our thoughts influence what we feel in our bodies, then our bodies become our spiritual teachers. This investigation of the mind-body connection becomes a deep inquiry into the nature of existence itself, resulting in questions spontaneously emerging in consciousness, such as: “Who am I? Am I my thoughts, my body, both, neither, none of the above?” While our minds may dismiss such questions as worthless drivel, I have personally found great comfort and freedom in the realizations that have emerged as a result of deeply meditating on these questions.
This inquiry into the mind-body connection is also an opportunity for profound healing. Deeply buried self-judgment and self-sabotage is revealed and then discarded as one releases this past pain. All that remains is an abiding self-love and acceptance, as one is now able to perceive the self with great clarity, free of the distortions of false belief structures that have just been seen through. One then looks outward at the world with love and acceptance as a true reflection of the inner self.
Please note that such an exploration does not need to be a solo expedition. In fact, having someone that you know and trust to help facilitate your exploration into this realm while doing so is essential, as it can be very hard (if not impossible) to find our own “blind spots.” The opportunity to have a skilled facilitator that can adeptly wield a mirror for us can prove invaluable. In my own life, I find this type of work to be the deepest and the most powerful that I can possibly do to realize my potential and live in my mission. It informs every aspect of my waking day. If you made it this far into this article, perhaps there is something about these words that resonates with you. If so, I invite you to talk with me about it at our next session, so that I may offer you resources and pathways toward even deeper inquiry.
Yours in optimal wellness,