An illness is a localized form of unease (as the term “disease” implies), and it is not surprising to find that for many people, a much broader unease underlies it. I try to reveal this very general unease, just enough so that they are not entirely caught up in the narrow boundaries of their symptoms.
It would be foolhardy and cruel to explore a patient’s defenses simply to expose them. These boundaries exist for good reason: the person is trying to salvage shreds of happiness by isolating himself from areas of distress. This is what I mean by saying that we choose to control our unhappiness instead of letting it go.
If, like a cat, we could wipe clean the slate of our memory, then living with guilt, shame, disappointment, and self-recrimination might not be inevitable. As nature made us, however, we turn our distress into ourselves, just as we turn food into ourselves. What can we do but try to devise the best defenses we can?
Each of us is a walking universe. Our inner space spans huge distances, with unreachable horizons in all directions. We contain black holes of lost memory and white holes of erupting joy. A mysterious center of gravity keeps all our mental processes in delicate balance. To change this vast, intricate, ever-evolving system, you must know how to overturn worlds.
The only person who can do that is the god who presides over this inner cosmos. If a person can gain the insight that he is that god, by thinking, feeling, and acting, he is altering the universe that is himself. If a person can gain that insight, even in a brief glimpse, anything in his life can change.
Adapted from Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra (A Bantam Book, 1991).