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9 years ago  ::  Dec 16, 2009 - 7:20AM #1
Posts: 949

So on Sunday, I spoke with someone who has not been to church (Unity)in some time due to illness. It turns out that she had surgery for a brain tumor and is still having some effects. She mentioned that she is seeing a therapist because of the guilt and confusion that she somehow manifested this onto herself. I was irate.  I told her in no way did she bring this onto herself. Our bodies are just built with weak areas and time and stress can take it's toll. A friend who makes origami puts it this way: If she folds a step slightly off, that is a point of weakness and the stress of the structure will cause problems along that fold. We have a biological propensity toward certain illnesses. I agree. Many subscribe to the Louis Hay version of illness. In her book she has that (notorious) section that states possible causes of illness. So, I, supposedly, having surgery on a tendon in my ankle has to do with me having trouble moving forward in life. No mention that I needed leg braces as a child (never got them) and I have issues with pronation causing stress onto that tendon. 

Louis Hay is Science of Mind but this stuff creeps into Unity though it is not it's teachings. I agree that our emotions and stress can cause illness, but it more likely manifests in one of our biological weak points. My father who is 90 comes a long line of strong genetics. Stress has relatively untouched his family due to their genes. Trust me - his side of the family is not without unskilled behaviors and views and would have manifested some illnesses - but they won the genetic lottery.

It irritates me how some new thought folks use that section of Hayes book to play "wise counsel" when in reality they do nothing in the way of compassion toward the person who is ill. Tell them your neck hurts and their reply sounds something like this. "Oh, have you been unwilling to release something and try seeing this in a new way?" Say you needed leg braces as a kid ---"Are you holding onto guilt in some way?" Who are these people!! Why do they pull out this section from Hayes book and preach it like they are above everyone. Can't they say "I'm so sorry you have Cancer, Is there anything you'd like for me to do for you? I'll bring you dinner this week. What is a good day for you?"

Where did this Hayes information come from? Chakras - yes. Are there any studies to prove the correlation of an particular illness with the particular thought process? No. What about a kid with Leukemia who was unfortunate to be born into a family that lives near a toxic dump area? Comments that I have heard include -"Oh, that child decided to be born into this family in order to learn a lesson." How do they know this? Do people make this stuff up?!!!  Why do new thought people accept what they have been told and not question their beliefs? We have questioned the religion we were brought up in. Why not start questioning this teaching?


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9 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2009 - 10:32AM #2
Posts: 949

I had a conversation with a friend about this issue and how I feel Hay's book is causing much harm by people judging themselves at fault for creating illness in their lives or other's looking onto the ill in judgement. She replied that she knows someone with digestive issues and she looked up the symptoms in Hayes book. It stated that the illness was caused by holding issues down inside.  She replied that is exactly what this woman does; it is so true. OMG, she didn't even hear what I had to say about this section of Hay's book creating situation where people judge each other instead of feeling compassion. This is metaphysical malpractice! It really belittled her by saying something so "unawake." I much prefer my Catholic days when someone told you that they were ill, the response was "I'm so sorry that this has happened to you, how can I help?"

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8 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2009 - 12:53AM #3
Posts: 167

Warm Greetings,

This is a thorny issue in New Thought, and one with which I have wrestled myself.  It is also one about which I attempted to talk with my wife about, with an utter and complete lack of success.  Both my wife and I have more than one chronic illness, and in recent years I have become fascinated with the interplay of the nervous system and the immune system, holistic health concepts, and the possibilities of healing with the mind.  Both my wife and I have some illnesses that doctors label "functional," that is, they know no organic reason for them, but these systems seem to be out of balance.  So it is not hard to see how I could make the leap to seeing possible remedies for these "functional" illnesses, most especially, through the use of mind power. 

To me, this is entirely a positive development, because I see the possibility of healing things that medical science currently cannot.  The aspect of "blaming" the person for the illness is, to me, a non-issue, since I don't believe that any of us is making ourselves sick deliberately, or because we are defective, weak, or evil.  I also don't see any conflict with conventional medicine, because I believe that we are looking at two different levels of explanation, not two competing explanations.  And the fact is that conventional medicine has demonstrated, over and over, the power of the mind to heal; this is, in fact, built into every advanced trial of medicine as the "placebo control." 

However, when I tried to share my thinking about this with my wife, all she heard was that I was telling her she wasn't "really" sick, and that it was all in her head.  That was not at all, of course, what I was trying to say, but that was the last conversation I ever had with her about this issue, and that was about five years ago. 

Nonetheless I have continued studying and practicing the power of mind for healing, both on myself and on her, without her knowledge.  Two years ago, she was hospitalized with congestive heart failure so severe that she nearly died.  Doppler studies showed her ejection fraction at 20%, and the doctors all forecast that even with medication, regular exercise, and marked changes in diet, about the best she could hope for was to get up to about 30%.  Now she has taken the medication, but has done almost zero exercise and has made almost zero change in diet.  Nonetheless her ejection fraction is now 60%, which is in the normal range.  Neither her cardiologist nor her general physician has any idea how this could have happened.  I just smile and shrug, and don't mention how every night for two years I have been visualizing her heart getting stronger and more powerful. 

So I find this a better thing to quietly practice than to talk a lot about.  I also am quite sure that feeling guilty about making oneself ill is not going to help at all, and may well hurt.  I suppose I'm ahead of the game a bit, in that I have been a practicing psychotherapist for 32 years, and one of the first lessons I learned is that no one ever gets better by feeling miserable about who they are and where they are.  That just keeps them firmly stuck, at best, or sliding further downhill.  We are, every one of us, doing the best we can with what we've got and what we know.  For me, New Thought is all about knowing a little more and having a little more to work with.  Now if someone is ready to take that perspective themselves and can help themselves without blaming themselves for their illnesses, I'm all for educating them as well.  I'm sure my wife's health in general would be getting even better if I could get her using her own healing energy in addition to my own.  And who knows, perhaps she is, although I'm quite sure she's not doing so consciously.   

But I absolutely believe we must stay away from the blame and guilt game, because that is a losing game for everyone involved.  And I also think we need to stay away from making it an either/or situation with conventional medicine.  When I shattered my right radius, the only blaming of myself I did was accepting responsibility for the foolish decision to try to move a refrigerator down a flight of concrete stairs by myself, and you can bet I won't ever do that again!  I don't think there was any weakness in the bone, either, since it seems quite clear to me that the force of a refrigerator smashing the bone against a concrete wall would have been quite sufficient to break even the strongest bone.  Although I was well into New Thought by that time, I did not consider any immediate course of action besides going immediately to the hospital, getting x-rays, and consenting to a titanium plate and ten screws to put the bone back together.  Where I did bring New Thought in was that although I have broken this wrist twice, and it is somewhat misshapen, and doctors have been forecasting arthritis in this appendage for some time as a result, I as yet have no pain and essentially no disability in this joint, and for that I give some credit to my efforts to keep it healthy through mind power.  Mind you, I do have arthritis in some other joints, and wish I'd sent a little more energy their way!  But on the whole, considering all I've put my body through over the years, and my age, I think I'm doing rather better than I have a right to expect. 

And there is, of course, one area in which I am absolutely sure that it was purely the power of Mind to heal that effected what is essentially a cure, and that was, as I have expressed in other forums here, the fact that I was a hopeless alcoholic and addict, a failure at residential rehab, outpatient therapy, and AA, until a powerful spiritual experience literally changed me overnight into the person I am now, clean and sober for over twenty grateful years.  And as a psychologist and psychotherapist well experienced in behavioral and cognitive treatments, with a great deal of experience working with alcoholics and addicts, I have no rational explanation for this whatsoever, and believe me, I've tried to come up with one.  I won't deny that staying clean and sober has taken some effort, but that powerful, all-consuming craving which I had battled so hard to such little avail literally vanished instantly, and without that, nothing else I did would have been of any benefit. 

In the end, perhaps it can be said that the better part of New Thought, as in valor, is in discretion--discretion in what we do, in what we say, and to whom we say it.    

In Unity,

Rev. John

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8 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2009 - 7:08AM #4
Posts: 949

I live near a very well-known and highly respected traditional medical establishment and they are even studying the mind/body connection. (mind with a lower case m) I'm certain that they have various forms of proof that our psychology plays into our wellness. As you said the placebo effect is well documented. I recently read somewhere that lonely people have high rates of heart disease and heart ailments. This is one piece of information that can be put into Hayes book and be substantiated if the science is in fact substantiated, but I agree the focus would be off. With Hay, people tend to the focus on understanding the reason you became ill, (in this case loneliness) - recognize you need to change this thought/behavior, and you will become well.  So if someone has had some sort of heart surgery, analyzes themselves, eats better, gets more friends, etc. changes their thought patterns, they can heal themselves - in theory. I agree to some point, but most people have really poor follow-through and get stuck on the reasons which dwell in the past. (and most of Hayes reasons may not apply to the person.)

To your point, focus on what you want, wellness, healing, etc. rather than the reasons, the analyzing, the blame, judgement, etc. This other guilt ridden thought has no room for allowing healing. I hope the next time someone pulls out that infamous section of the book I can look at the person in compassion and recognize that they themselves need to also be focusing more on what is wanted and let it go.

Rev John, A very good response to my post.


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