As a race we have mastered the subtle art of masking and metamorphosing past the signals and cues our mind and body try to bring to our attention. We have curated a plethora of tools, devices, activities, tonics and tinctures that skillfully disguise the need to address and understand what has caused our discomfort and instead we have become afflicted with doing whatever is necessary to make the thing go away as quickly as possible. This is great, because in the instant it goes away and for some time after we experience great relief, I mean who wants to be bothered with the pain and discomfort of having to deal with a headache or a cold when we can pop a pill and move it on for a while? Why not check out of our day to day experience with the seductive numbing agencies littered throughout society; whether your poison is box sets, alcohol, shopping or food (no judgement here) we are well equipped with the tools of escaping our realities. The flaw with this type of approach in successfully dealing with malaise lies in the fact that we can only move the things we experience in our physical and emotional bodies on for so long before they work to get our attention in another way. So the occasional headache we experienced now becomes something of a regular feature. Instead of once or twice a week, we begin to realise that it is almost constantly with us because the only time we notice relief from it is in the few moments when we wake in the morning before the familiar dull ache, tightness, tension and stabbing pain spreads across our forehead. Our ability to stave of the pressure building up by having an analgesic is becoming less and less effective, and we are having to take higher doses until we feel even the slightest relief. There is a sign amongst this type of experience that alerts us to the fact that there is something more than the headaches that needs to be addressed - something deeper that is vying for our attention. The more we look to treating or managing the presenting or exterior experience, the more we avoid or miss the fact that there remains something unaddressed - something neglected that is causing the end result that plagues us.
We can be forgiven for not being fully focused on where our disquiet stems from as we have not on the whole been taught to investigate and probe deeper. Modern medicine and its approach to ill health will incline us to the notion of treating the symptoms without the need to understand or rectify what lies beneath. Our focus is sharply inclined on where we are unwell, on what this causes us to experience and how we find this to be disruptive and what we can take to diminish the disturbance caused to our ability to ‘get on’ with our lives. Weighting the focus in this direction steers us away from paying attention to and noticing the circumstances leading up to or surrounding the disruption in the first place meaning we are missing vital clues that indicate the true source of the irregularity and by doing this we are also missing vital clues about where we may not be happy, fulfilled, supported, acknowledged in our lives. For example, we may develop a cold and put it down to the fact ‘it’s that time of year’ or ‘there’s a lot of it going around’ but if we actually took some time to pay attention to what had been happening for us in the time leading up to coming down with the cold we may determine that we were not getting enough sleep, perhaps we were burning the candle at both ends - working too hard and playing a little too hard, perhaps we were not paying attention to what we were eating or skipping exercise one to many times. All these things add up and contribute to an outcome and when we are dealing with a particular outcome on a regular basis, the answer will usually not be outside in the superficial body, but a lot further in.
Ancient cultures have for ions explained and accepted the mind/body connection for what it was and is, an inexplicable fact of humanity. The knowledge that what happens in our hearts and minds will affect and influence the experience in our bodies in a way that in order to find a treatment for the “issues in our tissues” , we must also address what happens in our hearts and minds. Regardless of the school of ancient wisdom that you subscribe to, there are parallels which indicate the power of thoughts and emotions on the energy flow and movement in the body which in turn will sway physical manifestations in the form of pain, illness, dis-ease and dis-comfort. In the infinite wisdom of science and technology we have sought to distance ourselves from aspects of traditional healing that have yet to be measured and quantified, but that have consistently yielded outcomes because of a fear we continue to cultivate about the unknown. The arrogant ‘intellectual’ quest of being able to acknowledge and accept only that which can and has been measured and proven overlooks a multitude of benefits that exist in practises that have not yet, or cannot be measured but the continuing feedback is they work because they do, not because we understand them. This linear thinking despite the advantages it possesses also holds back from delving into our humanity keeping the level of interaction and conceding of how we function as human beings almost at a robotic level of output over everything, when of course we are much more intricate and complex than that. In fact when we consider the research available on how influential visualisation is to the human experience; how by playing over an upcoming event in our mind’s eye we will begin to trigger muscle reflexes, take on bodily response necessary for it to be so, introduce hormones into the system that suggest it has already happened, we can begin to understand why the mind is so important to our physical environment. Athletes, top performers in business and entertainment use visualisation to help enhance their performance and ability to achieve their desired goals, now before there were studies into the idea of visualisation as a performance enhancer - it was and is still referred to as - the Law of Attraction (there are other components that make this up, but the art of envisioning what you want before you have it - thus attracting it to you, is central to this practise and inescapable fact of human existence) the idea that the research somehow legitimises these lores of life diverts us from accepting other human truths in lieu of awaiting the evidence.
The placebo effect is another huge indication of the sheer weight and power our mindset, thoughts and beliefs have over our physical existence. The skill of being able to change the response to ill health experienced in our bodies by taking a sugar pill we BELIEVE to contain the medicine we ‘need’ to heal us is sheer alchemy, an aspect of our magical and miraculous abilities as humans that has been measured and shown by science again and again, yet it is somehow relegated in importance and not used to be harnessed for our own growth, wellness and healing potential. The whys and wherefores about why at this time this is the case diverts from my intentions for this piece - what is most important to remember and hold onto is the fact, just as by thinking, belief, feeling and imagining we are able to make positive and wanted changes to out health and wellbeing we can conversely by having unchecked, unmonitored and unhealthy thoughts, feelings and emotions create physical conditions which cause harm, pain and deterioration. When our bodies are repeatedly working to get our attention by presenting physical dis-comfort - we owe it to ourselves to look beyond the superficial challenges that inconvenience us and look deeper to understand what caused us to create this outcome in the first place. This approach may butt against conventional paths to medicine and dealing with illness, yet they will be the most powerful available for us to ensure that we are able to effectively treat what we are dealing with. We give away the power over our bodies to our minds because we perhaps don’t realise, have never been taught or don’t appreciate just what we hold between our ears and within our hearts to influence and determine our experience. We also throw away our power on the notion that someone or something outside ourselves can save us, sort us out, heal us and make it go away; and while there is much value in obtaining and soliciting outside support in our times of need, the real and significant work stems from our own ability to put and maintain our own work. It’s not always easy or fun to put the graft in and do what needs to be done to be done, to do and feel better, we have put a lifetime’s work into unconsciously getting ourselves, thoughts, habits, expectations and bodies to where they are, so reversing this is not going to be an instantaneous thing. It will require consistency, application, dedication, facing up to difficult and challenging truths, pain, discomfort, loss, blood, sweat and tears but it is THE way to truly move forward and evolve away from our limitations and what is our human experience about if not overcoming that we thought or expected to holt us in our tracks?