Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of “Love, Medicine and Miracles” was once a distraught surgeon who fretted over his inability to effectively serve his cancer patients. Dr. Siegel’s recognition and growing understanding of the mind-body connection eventually allowed him to serve his patients and himself in a greater capacity.
Bernie writes in his book, “When a doctor reports amazing improvements in a patient’s condition, he or she almost never mentions that person’s beliefs and lifestyle, but when I inquire, I find the patient always has made some drastic change toward a more loving and accepting outlook. The patient seldom tells an unreceptive doctor about this, however.”
When the person’s mind changed, the state of their health changed. Hence, the importance of the mind- body connection.
However, just covering up the surface with positive thinking isn’t necessarily going to help. It’s like cleaning out a house. The dirt and filth has to be removed and the stale air replaced with fresh air. There has to be a fundamental change for real healing to take place. Surface level, ‘positive thinking’ isn’t going to effect this kind of change, just like lightly dusting our homes won’t get the real dirt out.
So what are the dirty and stale things in our minds? Well, they could be things like grudges, prejudices, anger, resentment and hate. One spiritual principle from religion talks about “loving your enemy”. That can’t be done without giving up hate. By giving up something bad, we can make room for something good to come in and may, as a result, see a corresponding change in our bodies.
The problem here is that many of these bad things are buried and hidden and we won’t necessarily see them or recognize them in ourselves. We can be certain that they are there though, it is a virtually inevitable consequence of living in a world that is so focused on selfishness and less concerned with “loving” others.
So in order to find these bad things and eliminate them requires introspection, it requires looking at oneself hard and long. However, there is still a problem. When we are searching within our minds, we have to have a standard to do the comparison with. Otherwise, how will we find anything? How will it stand out?
Let’s look to one of the greatest thinkers of the Western world, Socrates. What did Socrates do with is life? Didn’t he teach others about virtue? Interesting, isn’t it? One of the most influential people in western thinking emphasized virtue to his students. Socrates talked about things like absolute goodness, beauty and truth.
If someone as great, as well loved and respected as Socrates thought these things were important, perhaps therein lies the key to the mind-body connection. To live a truly healthy and worthwhile life, maybe virtuous thoughts like truth and goodness are what our minds should embrace rather than the negative things modern life finds us clinging too.
Remember what Bernie said, “I find the patient always has made some drastic change toward a more loving and accepting outlook.” When we embrace truth and goodness, the beauty of life and this vast universe that we live in becomes evident. That is when we can heal our bodies. Real healing happens in the mind.
This article is for information purposes only, it is not meant to diagnose, prevent or treat any illness or health issue. If you have or think you have a health condition, please visit your primary-care physician immediately.