Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Power to Heal

I just started reading a book called Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin. It is yet another book about the mind/body power to heal against all scientific odds. Somehow I have always known this was possible. Even in my pre-yoga days, I knew there was a power within our bodies and minds greater than anything we talk about on a daily basis. When I was younger, I simply did not have the words to speak about it.

And I knew it was not true just for new age folks and those meditating on mountaintops. As a quote I saw on Facebook put it, “The placebo effect is scientific proof that we have the ability to heal ourselves. Our thoughts are powerful enough to bring this into existence – when will we begin to absorb this?” (emphasis mine). There is no person attributed the quote, but it is a true statement.

So why do so few of us believe this to be possible? Why do so many of us rely on the images, the blood tests, and the machines that measure various levels of things we don’t understand in our bodies? Why can we not turn inside to understand our true potential?

And yes, after all the years of knowing the power of the body, I am beholden to those images as well. For one, they’re really cool to see, but they also tell us a lot. They just do not tell us the entire story. They are just a small piece of information. What they do not tell us is how possible it is for the body to change.

The doctor who writes the book is pretty clear she wanted scientific proof the mind is a powerful healer. I have not yet finished the book, but I am well on my way. And it is clear from the book so far that what the research has found is the mind not only changes how we feel about certain situations, disease, etc. It can actually change our physiology. That is a really hard concept for so many of us to handle. I have wondered why for a really long time, and I think I am finally beginning to understand.

I think it is twofold. First, as Marianne Williamson reminds us, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us." Why this is, I am not sure, but I see it around me all the time. People shy away from their power. We are told as children to be quiet and not speak until spoken to. We grow up feeling we are not adequate. And yet, the exact opposite is true. We are powerful beings on this Earth, and our greatest asset is to share our power with each other.

But this first issue leads to the second. In our society, we put a lot of faith in other people to fix things. If we do not believe in our power, we believe other people have power we do not, so we ask them to make our lives better. As a lawyer, my job is to fix legal situations for my clients as best I can. Doctors fix health issues. Mechanics fix our cars. We keep ourselves so busy we never have time to stop and ask ourselves what is really causing issues in our life. We just go to other people and hope they can make the issues disappear. 

But the truth is that we can do this ourselves. Certainly, if my arm falls off, I want a surgeon to sew it back on. But that is only the very first step in the healing process. The healing goes on after that first surgery. The healing must come from within. And the pieces that help us heal the most are the ones missing from our daily lives.

We need a supportive community, time to relax, and faith the healing will occur. But so much of our lives are spent in isolation from others, rushing from one thing to the next, and believing we are our illnesses rather than believing we are in a state of dis-ease that can become a state of ease.

Certainly there are people out there to help us find this within ourselves. Caring medical professionals, therapists, friends, pets, anyone really. But at the end of the day, it is our innate healing power that is being brought forth by those other people. It is our own power and light that brings the healing forth.

Once again, we are in a world of simple but not easy. It requires us to go against so much of what we are taught. But the scientific proof exists that it is possible. We all know “miracles” happen. Now we just have to believe it ourselves.

How have you noticed the power to heal in your own life? Do you believe you have that power?


© Rebecca Stahl 2013, all rights reserved.

The post, The Power to Heal, first appeared on Is Yoga Legal.

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