By Daniel J. Benor, MD
Health and healing are not what we have been led to believe they are. Modern Western medicine and science tell us that disease is a scourge and that the primary goal of treatment is to cure it. In order to achieve cures, we fight illnesses with drugs; remove diseased parts; replace worn out parts; and are engaged in wars on cancer, heart disease and other ailments.
Prevention of illness is also an accepted approach, but one that in many instances is overlooked or ignored in Western medicine. A lot of this aspect of addressing illness has to do with issues of the economics and politics of healthcare that are beyond the scope of this article.
Wholistic Healing addresses body, emotions, mind, relationships (with other people and the environment) and spirit. Wholistic healing helps you
• Explore the meanings of symptoms
• Establish a more comfortable relationship with each level of your being
• Address the needs of each level
• Harmonize all of these levels of your being
Enhancing quality of life, particularly of consciousness, is the primary goal. A cure of symptoms or illnesses may or may not be part of this experience.
Exploring the meanings of symptoms
If we accept that the body is an integral part of our whole being, it does not seem strange to suggest that a physical symptom often is a message from our unconscious mind about disharmony in our lives. The body may speak with many voices: pains, tensions, twitches, palpitations, indigestion and other bowel dysfunctions, wheezing, urinary symptoms, menstrual discomforts are only a few of the many ways our body calls us to look and listen inwardly.
Headaches, neck pains and backaches are among the most frequent ‘ring-tones’ the body chooses to alert us to messages of buried, unexpressed angers, anxieties, fears and emotional hurts.
Sandy was a very hard working, conscientious high school English teacher. She loved helping her students learn about their place in the world through literature and poetry. She was surprised and distressed to find herself suffering from severe headaches in the middle of the school year.
Having attended a TWR workshop for helping students, she used this method (which addresses every level of a person’s being) on her headaches. First, she asked her pain to tell her what was bothering her inner self. She was surprised to hear that her unconscious mind was complaining that she was being taken advantage of by her principal, who had burdened her with extracurricular tasks.
Upon reflection, she had to admit to herself that although she enjoyed supporting the students in the annual seniors’ play, this was taking much more time than she had anticipated and was stressing her relationships with her husband and children. When Sandy renegotiated her time commitment for this and several other school projects, her headaches cleared completely.
Establish a more comfortable relationship with each level of your being
It may be a stretch for people to realize that a physical problem is not just an issue of biochemistry, physiology, or mechanics of various parts of their body. There may be issues of emotions, mind, relationships and spirit that are impacting the functions of our body.
For instance, what we eat – that which we put into our body – can influence any aspect of our being. We often crave sweets, salt or stimulants such as coffee or tea. Any of these can contribute to poor functioning of our gut, kidneys, connective tissues or brain. In order to address these nutritional problems, once we have identified them, we may need to deal with emotions and stresses that lead us to crave a sugar ‘fix’ or a caffeine ‘hit.’
The medical profession and pharmaceutical industry would like us to believe that anxieties and emotions such as depression, and problems such as insomnia are biochemical malfunctions of our body that should be addressed with drugs. While pills may provide a quick fix, they do not solve the underlying problems creating the anxieties or depression; they may be habituating or addictive; and they carry risks of side effects, some of which can be serious and even fatal. Simple changes in diet or lifestyle – including exercise, choices in diet and activities – may alleviate or resolve many of these problems.
Our spirit may want us to engage in more nurturing or meaningful activities than the jobs or relationships we find ourselves in. When work or a marriage are draining rather than satisfying, the resultant stresses may produce symptoms that our unconscious uses to alert us to issues we have difficulty identifying or are reluctant to face, confront and resolve.
Addressing the needs of each level
Once we are aware that we have many facets of ourselves, we can plan to connect with and strengthen our awareness each, in turn, so that we can more easily access them for information about ourselves and to call upon their resources. While each functions with some autonomy, on ‘automatic pilots,’ so to speak, they work better for us when we have a conscious connection with them and regularly engage in activities that nurture them.
Our bodies function best when we provide healthy nutrition, regular exercise as appropriate to our age and capabilities, and adequate sleep.
Our emotions seek expression and we are generally happiest when we are in the company of others who accept us and with whom we are in good relationships. Emotions such as anger, fear, hurt and depression need expression even more urgently than feelings of happiness, joy and love. When any of these fail to be expressed, they may be buried inside ourselves and may fester, creating tensions and generating unproductive responses in future interactions with others. Seeking out and releasing such buried, unexpressed feelings is an important part of emotional hygiene.
Our thoughts need sharing in order to ripen and mature. Finding the company of compatible comrades at work, friends and family helps to nurture our thinking functions. Stimulating new ideas and critiquing old ones is refreshing and energizing.
Our relationships with other people may need cultivating for full enjoyment of their potentials. Similarly with our relationships and the rest of the world around us, particularly with nature.
Our spiritual awarenesses inform and enrich our lives. These may be watered through our religious affiliations and practices, and may find more frequent and deeper expressions through personal spiritual experiences.
Harmonizing all of these levels of our being
When we are in balance on all levels of our being, we can be in the flow of life and capable of handling whatever lessons we are given.
I have often marveled at the differences between brothers and sisters who were raised together in the same family but respond very differently to life challenges in the family. As a family therapist, I have helped whole families deal with losses of family members, major illnesses of parents and children, severe physical or emotional injuries and pains, and with financial and other crises. Introducing everyone to TWR, I often find marked differences in responses in family members who use TWR as recommended. Those who use it with a focus only on the primary presenting problem have limited benefits. For instance, with worries over financial issues, illness, or death, those who focus just on their anxieties feel less anxiety but may still find it difficult to sleep, to concentrate on tasks that used to be easily accomplished, and to deal with their other emotions.
Those who use TWR in more comprehensive manners have much deeper transformations. Not only are the primary symptoms of anxiety, stress or pains improved, but they find themselves feeling more at peace with themselves, with the challenging situation, with other family members, and with friends and colleagues outside the family.
The personal spiritual aspects of wholistic healing are particularly helpful to many people. We may still be ill or have challenging symptoms or situations in our lives, but we need not be suffering. One’s body may still be in pain but if we do not get up tight over it, in many cases the pain is reasonably tolerable. We even may be dealing with a life-threatening illness but if we have made a deep connection through our spirit with the Infinite Source, we may approach the end of our life with acceptance and equanimity.
Your feedback on this article is welcomed.
You may reproduce all or parts of this article in your journal, magazine, ezine, blog or other web or paper publication on condition that you credit the source as follows: Copyright © 2008 Daniel J. Benor, MD, ABHM All rights reserved. Original publication at WholisticHealingResearch.com where you will find many more related articles on this and similar subjects of wholistic healing.