Check out this great article by naturopathic doctor Connie Hernandez, who writes about the importance of our thoughts as part of the healing process:
Of Words and Woes
I’ve often told the story of my perimenopausal struggles with insomnia. At a certain point in the menopausal transition, I became unable to sleep. Remedy after remedy proved successful with my patients, but failed to transform my own sleepless situation. Any one of you who has suffered prolonged periods of sleeplessness knows the length to which a person might go to find a remedy….
My story was that I never slept and that I felt horrible all of the time because of it.
One day, a certain wise shaman asked me to explain my problem. My response was that I was not able to sleep. The shaman responded by asking why that was a problem, and by suggesting that night would be a wonderful time to meditate. I explained that when I didn’t sleep, I felt terrible. The shaman agreed that that was indeed a problem, if it was true, and asked me to explore whether or not it really was true that I was feeling badly all the time because of it.
I started looking into every moment, and I discovered that my story was not only not true, but was creating an unfavorable reality. When I moved into the present moments of my experience, I found that there were many moments in which I was just fine. There were some moments in which my eyes were tired, or I felt nauseous, or my head hurt. But those moments were definitely in the minority.
Little by little, and with a supreme act of will, I was able to refute the definition of myself as an insomniac, the false story that I consequently always felt terrible, and the sister thought that I would never sleep again. I stopped speaking of myself as an insomniac. I stopped obsessing about my “condition,” and I started affirming the sleep and well being that I did enjoy. “I slept 3 hours last night!”, rather than “I hardly slept at all last night.” Little by little, I slept normally once again, and I almost always feel well even when I don’t.
We can choose to emphasize the moments, experiences and conditions of being that are as we would like them to be or we can choose to emphasize those that are not. Sri Yogananda explains that when we concentrate on the gripping power of disease rather than the possibility of a cure, we permit the illness to be a mental as well as a physical habit. These “idea habits” create vibrational grooves in the brain and strengthen our tendencies towards sickness or well being.
One way to transform idea habits is through effective affirmation, affirmation that permeates the subconscious mind. As Yogananda says, if you affirm “I am well”, but think in the background of your mind that it is not true, the effect is the same as if you took a helpful medicine and at the same time swallowed a drug that counteracted the effects of the medicine. Wrong thoughts neutralize right thoughts, and you don’t get the desired effect. (If you’re doing affirmations, and not getting the desired effect, chances are you are doing the affirmations incorrectly. There IS a science to it. See the booklet Scientific Healing Affirmations.)
Thoughts are remarkable in their power. In fact, mental reality creates physical reality. Mind governs all physiologic processes and all living cells. Mind has the power to effect healing. And mind has the power to effect dis-ease or imbalance.
This certainly does not mean that we should feel guilty when we are ill. We are subjected not only to our individual consciousness, but also to the collective consciousness, as well as to that myriad of factors mentioned above in the musings.
Nor does it mean that we can ignore physical reality. Until we transcend it, we live our lives bound by the laws of physical reality. That physical reality is impacted by and reflects all energy input, whether from internal or external sources. Where there is dis-ease, we seek and utilize synergistic healing modalities, whether they be based on thought, light, sound, physical, biochemical, or energy medicines. What an array of ways we have to heal ourselves and transform our realities!
Good health is more than the state of not being ill! It is a radiant state of inner well-being. Physical illnesses may be cured by medicines. No medicine, however, can induce that boundless energy which comes when every cell in the body cooperates with the mind willingly, joyfully, in all that it seeks to do.Such radiant well being comes after the mind has been cleared of every shadow of unwillingness, of fear, and of doubt; when one has learned to say yes to life; and when one has learned to love. ” — Affirmations for Self Healing by Swami Kriyananda
Dr. Hernandez is one of the naturopathic doctors we’ve been fortunate to meet through our work at Koshland Pharm. To find out about Dr. Hernandez’s consulting services, see her webpage at www.pacificnaturopathic.com, or to learn about the work of more California naturopathic physicians, see Koshland Pharm’s referral page. Be well!