Health: A Hypothesis for Self-Healing
Understanding how we are in Charge of Our Bodies
By: J. Marlando
My wife came down with a severe case of the flu a couple of weeks ago; the kind with the kind of symptoms that are (or feel) only a step away from hospitalization. I started feeling the symptoms and they “teased” me for two or three days with feeling sick and extremely sluggish. I never came down with the illness though and I’m going to share the reasons I believe why I didn’t a little later; I’m going to tell you exactly what I did to avoid the flu! In the meanwhile, let’s talk about doctors, medicine and healing.
To deny science’s contributions to our good health and healing would be a foolish response to all the great achievements and advancements in modern medicine, I have been, as said, at death’s door a few times in my life and twice I would have no doubt ended up pushing up daisies, so to speak, had it not been for doctors, nurses, medicine and procedures.
There was a slight kink in the process, however. Not long after the ambulance delivered me to emergency the doctor told my wife to call my relatives; that I was not going to survive for very long—a few days perhaps?
My wife was immediately in deep despair but then, she brightened up. “Look doctor,” she said, “I do not want you to tell my husband that he is dying. I want you to tell him he’s getting well and every time you see him, I want you to say he’s getting better.” Thankfully I had a doctor that would follow the instruction and although I was so weak and sick that I could not raise my head he kept telling me that I was “looking good” and “getting better.” While it took a few months I finally recovered and my wife had been extremely intrinsic in my getting well. After all, doctors are authority figures and if they say to us, “you’re on your way out” we tend to assume that we are indeed, on our way out.
I am 100% against doctors informing their patients that they are terminal. The way our brains work is that they tent to project into real life what they believe to be true. The scholar, writer and lecturer Joseph Children Pearce (The Crack in the Comic Egg—2002) tells us that what we believe about reality is how we create it.
We see this all the time—people with low self-esteem will create their worlds overwhelming and calloused. This is why I have written so many times about not calling children names like—slow, sloppy, lazy, bad and so forth. Once the child believes that this describes him or her, he or she will begin projecting themselves into the negative roles as an unconscious way of living up to the labels. In fact, some doctors are now telling us that if a child who is told enough times that he is slow, he or she might develop a slow heart beat or kidneys that do not work up to speed. In other words the mental “belief” creates a physiological effect.
In thinking about this, our thoughts or, in other words, what we tell our brains can not only influence our brains to which chemicals they deliver to us but can actually change the physical structures of brain function. A very valid question is—is it the individual’s brain that makes the sociopath or is it the sociopathic individual that creates the sociopathic brain?
The point is that there is truly a significant validity to the mind over matter concept. And this brings me back to my vulnerability of catching my wife’s flu. After a few days I suddenly was feeling sick and weak; like vomiting and all those symptoms. The first thought that came into my mind, “Oh no, I’ve caught this thing and I’m getting sick.”
I decided not to feed my brain that information and throughout the day I kept repeating, “I am not getting sick, I will not permit myself to have the flu, I throw the flu out of my body” and other commands. I never came down with the illness. I am convinced that this is because I told my brain what to do and this resulted in my brain’s “chemical factory” delivering what I needed (through my immune system) to keep me well.
Is this mere voodoo science, poppycock mysticism, absurd religiosity and/or downright crazy thinking or did I succeed in the quest of winning over matter with mind? I believe without a doubt that I did and this is what the rest of this article will attempt to explain.
The Mechanics & Metaphysics of Self-Healing
One of the most backward of our kind’s egocentricities is that most people tend to take nature at face value—the thought that consciousness permeates everything is either too abstract for many to comprehend or thought of as sacrilege. This goes back to the time when people believed that the earth was the center of the universe and we human beings were reflections of God’s image. I will not bother with making remarks on the pomposity of this but I will say that such concepts kept us in a certain medieval darkness until quantum physicists began awaking us to a new view of the universe and of ourselves. Certainly we cannot go into all the details here but we can bottom line, so to speak, and get to the point most important to this text—consciousness is what the material world is created from: our bodies do not give us consciousness but rather consciousness give us our bodies. Taking nature by its “face value” belongs to the 1930’s movement called “positivism” which meant that science believed that all reality could be determined by only that which could be observed. The reductionists and other dead-world thinkers were basically products of this belief.
Actually we are all enamored with the term (and so the mental image) of the “atom” but in reality atoms do not exist as tiny, little things like pebbles on the beach with their own physical attributes. At bottom line an atom is but a mathematical concept or model and so a far cry from the actual observable world of stuff. This is important only to point out that we live in a far more complex and subtle world than Newton’s clock-work universe and consciousness plays an extremely major role in it.
This is important information for this article because health and healing is not as cut and dried as, we’ll say our physical bodies breaking down like a thirty year old car that has become the housing for worn parts. (Old age might be described like this but we’ll talk about old age later).
Our “physical parts” might potentially last forever since there is a` regenerative factor especially about the vital organs. For example, I had a major heart problem that was, the doctors said, inoperable. It didn’t matter because my heart grew a natural bypass. I will leave the psychoneuroimmunologists or the sages to figure out how (and why) this occurred. The major point at this juncture, however, is that the phenomenology clearly points to the conclusion that the immune system—the healing apparatus of the body—is a brain-connected-works.
Concurring with this view is one of the world’s most profound and admired neuroscientists, Candice Perk *who said in an interview: “I can’t relate to the mind/body dichotomy anymore…is your consciousness in your head? No, it’s in your whole body. I no longer believe in disease at all. Disease is a hundred percent mental. It’s just your brain state being reflected in your body.”
Over a decade ago I interviewed one of the world’s foremost cancer researchers and after the interview I asked him in a personal way what caused the terrible disease. He told me that he would answer the question but I could not quote him by name-I never have. He told me that everyone gets cancer all the time just as we get nose colds; that our immune systems kicks out the disease and all is well…nearly always. However, when the “cancer bug” enters or develops and we happen to be in a time of heavy stress, hatefulness, anger or some other negative state, our immune systems are working overtime on those negative (destructive) emotions and therefore the cancer is able to take root and grow
The implication that mind is the cause and effect of illness becomes all but unavoidable when we digest what these two renowned scientists are saying and when we grasp that mind and matter are not separate units but two aspects of the same phenomenon. **Dr. Bernie Siegel world renowned cancer surgeon backs this theory up by saying:
“Today many scientists think we should not talk about a central nervous system and an endocrine system and an immune system, but rather one healing system that constitutes a sort of super intelligence within us. Just as that healing system can be set in motion by self-affirming beliefs, self-negating or repressive emotional patterns can do the reverse. As Woody Allen said in one of his movies, “I can’t express anger. I internalize it and grow a tumor instead.”
All this strongly indicates that we are all capable of bringing positive or negative health into our lives by thinking. And, in regard to this, quantum physics, doctors such as Bernie Siegel and scientists like Candice Perk are all agreeing with or at least willing to contemplate what the sixteenth-century sage, Wang Shihuai, told us. He said that the universe is all mind and all phenomena. When we can grasp this, we can also grasp that we are more empowered to create and control our good health than perhaps we ever thought possible.
Interestingly, this was also a belief of Native Americans and so along with herbs, healings also included a strong influencing of the subliminal mind. E. Fuller Torrey, in his book, Witch-doctors and Psychiatrists, that the Navaho medicine man, “proclaims over and over that the person is getting well. And this idea is repeated in song, poems and prayers hour after hour throughout the length of the ceremony,
“Today you must make me well.”
“All the things that have harmed me will leave.”
“I will walk with a cool body after they have left me”
“Inside me today all will be well, all fever will
Have come out of me and go away from me and
Leave my body cool.”
“I will hear today. I will see today. I will be in my
right mind today.”
“Today I will walk out. Today everything evil will
Leave me. I will be as I was before. I will have
A cool breeze over my body. I will walk with a
Returning to the subject at the top of this article for a moment, this was essentially how I avoided coming down with the flu; I drove determined, strong commands into my brain to make my brain “believe” I would not get sick. I am convinced that once our brains believe we are sick or well they will begin their work of creating the reality. This certainly seems to be the case. However, the typical question arises: since nobody wants to be sick, why don’t we all simply keep in good health in this way? I will address this most important question a little later.
Around ten years ago I was fortunate enough to interview Dr. Bernie Siegel twice within a period of around a year—I was excited about having conversations with the doctor—the cancer surgeon—who was first in the world to tell us that love is physiologic and so important (even vital) to the healing process.
When Bernie (he insists on being called Bernie) first announced this to the world, he actually risked his reputation as a doctor/surgeon because others in medicine and surgery called it voodoo science and absurd medicine. It wasn’t only the love factor of his treatment but, to the snobbery attitudes of other doctors, he played his patients music and talked to them while they we under anesthesia. His idea was that the unconscious mind is working no matter what the conscious mind is doing. (All this added up to risking his career just as Candice Perk, the neuroscientist, risked her reputation among her peers when she said that disease is our brain states reflected in our bodies)
Anyway, when Bernie’s love, music, patient visualization and talking to their diseases began to work, began to produce extreme positive results not excluding some serious, deadly diseases going into spontaneous remissions other doctors began to follow. Today doctors and surgeons are using Bernie’s systems for the welfare and care of their own patients. Some even have patients writing letters to their diseases. (When I was in the hospital with an extremely serious illness they brought a big, old lovable dog in to visit with me. Most gloomy patients quickly brighten up when they are visited by pooches—pooches love them of course and that love works miracles.
And speaking of miracles, Bernie said this: “The more I see the workings of our universe,
The more mystical I become. I’m not mystical in spite of being a surgeon; I’m mystical because I am a surgeon. As a surgeon I watch miracles daily.”
In Bernie’s book, “Peace Love and Healing,” he tells of a lady by the name of Dulcy whose doctors told her that she only had a 40% change of surviving her ovarian cancer beyond two years.
Wisely she didn’t listen to them…she refused to believe their prognosis and give their opinions authority. Then a certain synchronicity happened: Dulcy was put into a room where another patient introduced her to ***ECaP (Exceptional cancer patients).
Overcoming a number of obstacles to return to her home in St. Croix she began listening to ECaP tapes of her own. Well, I quote Bernie with the rest of the story:
“…Dulcy made ten of her own visualization tapes, “figured out methods to raise my red and white counts, and made tapes of exercise programs for sick days and well days. Being an artist helps the creative turnout.” As to the time she wrote her first letter to me, less than a year after her diagnosis, she was already confident that her tumors had disappeared, because “when I do me ‘heal yourself’ part of the meditation, my army of tiger white cells zoom all over my body but they can’t locate any tumors anymore.’ When she went in for exploratory surgery some weeks later, her intuition was confirmed—not a sign of anything, ‘after only eight chemotherapy treatments and a lot of meditation and holistic endeavors.”
The knowledge that we possess extremely powerful healing abilities, which was known by indigenous groups probably going back into prehistoric times. And in regard to all this, he tells us of a yogi trained swami who could change his heart rate from thirty to three hundred beats a minute “to the satisfaction of a number of western scientists at the Menninger Foundation.” He tells us that there is great evidence that even many processes of our bodies that we think are automatic “can be brought under conscious control.”
It’s not just our species with all this miraculous power either. He tells us the Dolphins who do not want their blood drawn can redirect their blood flow. There is just too much evidence to deny that we can take control of our own good health and healing.
Bumps along the road to healing
We left a question unanswered in the above—since nobody wants to be sick, why don’t we all just stay in good health in the ways we have been talking about…most basically using our powers of mind over matter?
My answer to this question is because sometimes we do not know what messages the brain is receiving from the unconscious. For an example, if I say that I am going to love the world today but down deep I hate my boss or anyone else that one sour apple, if you will, will sour the bunch. In other words, our conscious and unconscious minds can, in a term, clash. We may resist getting sick on the conscious level but have our immune system weakened by heavy inner-stress, inner- angers or inner-disappointments and/or frustrations in our lives.
This is why medicine and medical treatment remain necessary and important at least for serious health challenges that seem to catch up with most of us during our lifetimes. After all when a disease gets into our systems there is no real telling where we are psychologically. For example, I am usually a positive and determined human being. However, I have had a few times when I have confronted problems or situations that I just couldn’t handle—and in those moments—I truly didn’t care if I lived or died. (By the way, it was during those times that I came down with those very serious diseases—mere happenstance or…actual negative synchronicity?)
There is another problem that arises for a great many people who even comprehend that mind is a powerful tool in our lives. We simply forget to use our minds as “preventative medicine” when we’re feeling good. Then if we get some bug (or worse) we begin the process of trying to self-heal. While this “trying” can and often does work, the truth is that when we are sick we find it many times more difficult to muster the energy for mentally attacking the symptoms much less curing the cause.
The cause is far more complicated than thinking in terms of a virus flying into our systems or a cell going crazy on us. The “cause” being the effect of our illness could be deep hurt, the feelings of abandonment, the burning of deep anger and holding on to old grudges. Remember the words of Candice Pert—disease is our mental state reflected in our bodies. (The more we think about this thought-provoking statement by Pert, the more we intuitively believe that it is true).
So how do we stay healthy?
Sorry but I am not a stickler to health food diets, lots of vitamins or minerals although I do believe that today minerals are no doubt missing from our food stuff the way produce is farmed these days and I will take vitamins now and then. I’m no fan of junk food or pre-prepared food like canned goods or microwave quick fixes either. I like meat now and then but prefer fish. I eat lots of pasta, beans, salads and so forth but the point is I don’t believe that you have to become a fanatic and do believe that you can enjoy whatever you like as long as you use common sense. On the other hand, I am convinced that there are some things that make us vulnerable to illness and sometimes of the deadly serious kind. Here’s a list of the major five perpetrators
2. Deep rooted anger
Remember if mind can heal us, mind can make us sick. After all, since there is a placebo effect, there is also a ****nocebo effect.
As for pills—I take them but not without awareness that they ALL have side effects. Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) said that we should toss all drugs into the ocean which would be all the better for mankind and all the worst for the fishes. I admit it, I believe we live in a drug infested world wherein pill and medicine makers are in a major back rubbing collaboration with pill and medicine pushers. (I will reframe from ranting about the high cost of medicine and treatment) but I do think side effects should be a consideration before gulping down “the demi-gods’ little magic healers in a bottle.” Yet, I also believe that some medicines and pills are needed and actually help us get us through a lot of illnesses. And so, at least in most circumstances I believe in mind and medicine with mind as being most important to our good health.
Speaking of good health, I am 100% against doctors telling patients that they are going to die. Going back a few years Dr. Bernie Siegel told the Surgeon General that doctors were killing people by saying a disease is 100 percent fatal. I am hoping this article will serve to give readers a new, fresh view of illness and healing. However, if I inspire only one doctor to respond to Bernie’s observation and never tell their patients that they are…finished, I will be extremely pleased.
It is all but a given that our minds (call it our consciousness) are NOT centered in our brains as was believed for millenniums. There are now quantum physicists who say that consciousness is both inside and outside us. Carl Jung called the outside the “collective unconscious” a consciousness that we all draw from; as the name suggests a collective unconscious! Certainly there are vast mystical, spiritual and even magical realities that all of science remains unaware of…and perhaps those kinds universal “secrets” are unknowable?
What we do know, however, or at least what more and more physicists and other learned men and women are acknowledging is that we absolutely do not live in Newton’s clockwork universe. For one thing there is the uncertainty principle but we need not go into that. What we need to grasp is that not everything is made of matter as the traditional scientists insist. What everything is actually made of is consciousness. Consciousness is absolutely NOT an epiphenomenon of the brain but belongs to a world outside the material world; some people call this belief spiritualism.
The reason that I am going into all this is to make a very tiny point which is best made by Dr. Paul Pearsall who I have quote many times. He teaches us that, “…the “I”, the self, is much more than the reverberations of neurons and we are much more than we “think’ we are. We are also what we believe, hope, feel, and sense. We can tell the brain not only what but how to think.”
For this writing this is a major acknowledgement because how our brain “thinks” is how healthy or unhealthy we are. For that matter how happy or unhappy we are and all the rest. What is vital to grasp here is whatever we tell our brains, our brains believe—they are NOT the intellectual center that we always thought they were. They are, in metaphor, as empty as your computer’s hard drive until it is enlightened by the software you put into it. Until YOU inform your brain what YOU believe and what you do not—it doesn’t know. Tell a child an apple is purple and the tree in the yard is a flower and that is exactly what those things will be to him until he begins collecting more data. Here are some of the messages that we too often give our brains:
This makes me sick
That’s a pain
I can’t stomach this
This is really the s---ts
This deal is a real headache
The whole thing is nauseous
It makes you want to puke
I just can’t swallow this
I just can’t stand this
It’s enough to give me a heart attack
I’d rather die
You can probably add to this list of AFFIRMATIONS. When you say such things to your brain often enough, your brain begins believing you and manufacturers the chemicals to produce the reality that you have given it. Indeed, Dr. Pearsall also tells us this:
“The highs and lows that the endorphins produce are actually
related to alterations in the way the brain pays attention to its
world and what we tell it to pay attention to.”
Does this mean a bright, happy attitude and view of the world could keep us alive forever? No. Nature has a way of limiting our time here on earth but this doesn’t mean that we are mere pawns of happenstance along our ways either. For example those five perpetrators I mentioned earlier, stress, deep rooted anger, jealousies, non-forgiveness and hatefulness cannot GIVE us illness or disease but what they can do is make us vulnerable to illness and disease. If our immune system is dealing with the condition of constant stress or hatefulness it may not have the strength it needs to combat some incoming virus or other health challenge. The alternative is to consciously keep our brains uplifted with love and its qualities.
Love for self and others
Love for life
Love for the Universe
And from our loving arrives:
These are the constructive or strengthening messages to the brain that activates the positive and healthful endorphins and other chemicals that affect our lives and so our good health. Remember it is just as easy to tell your brain today that it’s a great day as it is to say it’s a lousy day; just as easy to say I love me as it is to say I hate me and, for that matter, it is ever as easy to see the good and positive in others as it is to see the bad and negative. It’s simply the wise and healthy thing to do.
*Interview from The Three Pound Universe by Judith Hooper and Dick Teresi *G.P. Petnam's Sons
**Siegel, Bernie S * Peace, Love and Healing
***ECaP (Exceptional Cancer Patients) is not only for cancer patients but for anyone enduring illness and even those in good heealth: It's a wonderful, uplifting and healthful experience. Find contact information by simply googling ECaP.
****The “nocebo” effect is when, for example, when a person hears on the news that some disease has occurred for people eating chicken. And so some people who have eaten chicken recently “feels” or experience the symptoms even though there is not a physical cause for the feelings at all. In short, you imagine yourself sick as opposed to healing.
Remember it is just as easy to say that you are feeling great and in good health today as it is to say you are feeling lousy.