Since I got sick in 2012 and got worse in 2013, which led me to the Buddhist practice, I have also been learning a whole lot about how dis-ease creeps up into our minds and bodies. It’s becoming more mainstream than ever with the widespread nature of chronic illnesses people have to live with.
As my fabulously kind doctor says, modern (western) medicine is great at helping in crises but it has no idea what to do with chronic illness where the body has forgotten how to be healthy and how to restore health. It is taking a step-by-step approach of trying to pull up anchors into a boat so it can maybe start sailing again. It is very hit-and-miss and he relies on his extensive experience of working with such health conditions.
My therapist from 2008 first introduced me to this idea that illness and healing both come from within us. Popping a pill to fix a symptom often disrupts our being’s way of healing itself. However, I’ve learnt through the years that this is only a part of the story. For example – for someone like me who underwent major trauma and emotional neglect in my childhood, my body, being and conscious never learnt the mechanisms to be well. Not popping a pill does not magically restore me back to health, because my “being” did not necessarily internalise the default state of “good health” or “natural state”.
Sidenote: Further reading on how trauma disrupts this process can be found in this superb book – The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma.
Today, my unwell stomach prompted me to reopen this classic book about healing – You Can Heal Your Life. It has a long list of symptoms at the end and how a certain thought pattern tends to be behind a health condition or symptom. I often find it as a handy reference to remind myself where I am stuck and perhaps let go of that pattern. I can’t say that I have been able to release a great deal of them using the method but it certainly helps improve my self-awareness.