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Apr 10, 2007
Peace, Love and Healing
From "Peace, Love and Healing: Bodymind Communication & the Path to Self-Healing: An Exploration" by Bernie S. Siegel


Since the original publication of Peace, Love & Healing, scientists have been doing a tremendous amount of research linking consciousness, psychosocial factors, attitudinal healing and immune function. Yet these ideas are not new. When appearing recently as a medical expert in a court case relating illness to stress, I was asked, "When did this new theory originate?" My response was," Hundreds of years ago." Why? Because that was when physicians had little in the way of drug treatments for their patients--instead they relied on knowledge of their patients and the circumstances of their lives in order to heal them.

Woody Allen tells us that human beings are divided into mind and body: The mind embraces all the nobler aspirations, like poetry and philosophy, but the body has all the fun. I believe, however, that the body and mind are a unit, bound together via nerves and messenger molecules. Love, hope, joy and peace of mind have physiological consequences, just as depression and despair do. That's what the science of mind-body communication is all about.

Today's technology is amazing and I am grateful for it, but life requires more than technology for healing to occur. We see this clearly demonstrated by the behavior of people today. I agree that living is hard and dying easy, but we have to look at life and find some meaning in it so we understand what we are here for and how to survive. These are issues survivors are willing to confront by seeking the wisdom of the great teachers.

My friend, psychologist Warren Berland, studied a group of long-term survivors and enumerated the personality characteristics of these individuals. He found that they fell into three groups.

Some individuals displayed one characteristic in their personality and others displayed all three. The characteristics he noted were the ability to express anger, the willingness to learn, and make lifestyle changes and spirituality.

Thus, as I have seen, the individual who gets angry and calls me for help when told he or she is incurable, or displays righteous indignation when not treated with respect, is more likely to survive then the individual who becomes depressed, goes home and lies down to die. The person who attends workshops, reads books and changes his or her life because of what he or she learns is also more likely to survive. Survivors pay attention to what they feel is the, right life for them. This is not about being selfish, but about saving your life by living the life you desire and not the one imposed upon you. The third quality is a spiritual one, the resource that brings with it peace and support in the most difficult times. It is very difficult but very healing at times, to leave your troubles to God., I do not use the word religion in this context because the rules and practices of some religions can lead to guilt and problems of healing. God is not the problem. God and adversity are the teachers. Thus survival behavior eliminates the victim role.

In reading the writings of Shantanand Saraswati I came across his comments about the complete person. He listed these qualities: action, wisdom and devotion. Sound familiar? That is what I mean when I say the more I learn the more I realize it is not new. However, since the messages of the past support our findings, they lend validity to them.

Every cell in your body is capable of memory and consciousness. Your dreams, symbols, drawings and feelings tell us this and now so does science., The increasing information from transplant recipients about the lives of the individuals whose donor organs are within them is incredible but true. So please pay attention to the messages from your body and heal whatever may, be hurting you and be aware of the information you are giving your body. Please don't let your ability to think overcome your ability to feel. it is dangerous to your health. As one attorney discovered, in the midst of a tragedy, what he had learned in law school was of no help, "While learning to think I almost forgot how to feel." Before I am done Iwill share with you how to learn to feel well by helping you to become the person you would like to be.

Loving relationships have been proven to affect our health. A study of adopted children in Denmark showed they were more likely to develop cancer if their adopted parents died of it before the age of fifty than if their biological parents did. It is not the carcinogen in the kitchen. Poor relationships with parents or the loss of a parent by a child affects their future health. A study of Harvard students revealed that of those students attending college who described their parents as loving, only 29% had a significant disease diagnosed by midlife. Of those who did not use many affectionate words to describe their parents, 95% had suffered some major illness, all cofactors being considered. Faith has a similar beneficial effect.

We all realize it is the relationships and healthy, healing feelings that make the difference. They are the chemistry of survival. It is not the mere presence of different hormones. Scientists and physicians often have tunnel vision because of their training. Their vision changes when illness strikes home. Then they learn about survival factors, and love is a big one.

Dr. George Solomon, a pioneer in the field of psychneuroimmunology, uses the term immune competent personality to define the qualities of these long-term survivors. He uses. a set of questions to see if a person has these qualities and is likely to be a long-term survivor when confronting, AIDS or any other illness.

His questions are really quite practical and help him more than the multiple page personality profiles that other psychologists use. They relate to the qualities survivors display in their lives. Survivors have a sense of meaning in their daily activities, They feel the value in what they are doing and see it as their way of contributing love to the world. Monday doesn't threaten them. They have also learned that if they can't eliminate some of the difficult things from their life they can change their attitude towards those things. Happiness is a choice. Its source is within you.

Another quality is the ability to express appropriate anger when you are not treated with respect. I always, suggest taking a Siegel Kit with you when hospitalized. It consists of a magic marker, a noisemaker and a water gun.


The foregoing is excerpted from Peace, Love and Healing by Bernie S. Siegel.


Peace, Love and Healing

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Posted: Apr 10, 2007 2:39pm

 

 
 
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