How to Dialogue with Illness
This fascinating exercise focuses on a symptom, mental or physical, that you would like to understand and, by understanding, heal. Dr. Weiss has used this exercise many times in his workshops and reports that it helped, in many cases, to alleviate the symptom. While he does not promise miracles, we do know that the mind-body connection exists and this exercise is a means of maximizing that dual force.
Try the exercise here:
Pick one–and only one–symptom, mental or physical. It could be the arthritis in your joints, your fear of heights, or your shyness when you meet a stranger. Notice the first thoughts or feelings or impressions that come into your mind. Do this spontaneously, without editing; these should be your first thoughts, no matter how silly or trivial they might seem. Get in touch with that part of your body or mind that is troubling you. Try to make the symptom worse at first, experiencing it as fully as you can, and observe how you did that. Then switch places with the symptom; you are the symptom, the symptom is you. This is so you can be most fully aware of the symptom. It knows where it is located and how it affects the body or mind. Next, have the you that is outside the symptom ask the symptom a series of questions.
* How have you affected my life?
* What are you going to do with my body/mind now that youíre in it?
* How have you affected my relationships?
* Do you help convey something I canít convey without you, some message or some information?
* Do you protect me from anyone or anything?
This last is the key question, for people often use illnesses to avoid confronting the issues that lie behind them–a form of denial. Letís say, for example, that you are experiencing sharp pains in your neck. This exercise will let you locate exactly who or what that pain in the neck is–your boss, your mother-in-law, a way of holding your head so you donít have to look somebody directly in the eye.
Adapted from Same Soul, Many Bodies, by Brian L. Weiss, M.D. (Free Press, 2004).