Honour your Inner Healer
Profound truths come to us disguised as disease or symptoms of illness, if only we have the frame of mind to recognize them.Most Eastern cultures believe each patient carries his own doctor inside him.
My sister is a great believer in pills. Granted she has a household filled with various assortments of children, step-children, ex-wives, husbands, dogs, any number of house guests and, of course, whatever the twelve resident cats might bring in. Being mother to all she is expected to possess a cure or at least a care for all and sundry. At one time she dosed a love-sick cat with a few licks on a Valium pill and I’m sure I overheard her recommending a friend sneak a sleeping pill into a troublesome husband’s nightcap. Her solution for any sign of illness or complaint is dealt with by an extensive armoury of tablets, pills and capsules.
Any Sufi or Eastern advocate might be horrified at her ‘seek and destroy’ strategy. “When popping pills to obliterate the first sign of a potential nasty symptom we may be depriving ourselves of essential spiritual or life-changing wisdom”, says a Sufi follower.
Sufi Imam al-Ghazzali in particular said,
“Illness is one of the forms of experience by which humans arrive at a knowledge of God.”
Profoundly different views are seen between the Western world who may regard pain and discomfort as an enemy to combat and the Eastern who sometimes describe the same as a gift. Of course these views influence our approach to healing. Rashid Bhikha, founder of the Institute of Tibb uses the analogy of the battlefield to describe orthodox approach to disease. Here we have the doctor as the army general, with disease as the enemy. This is in contrast to a more natural approach where our bodies are believed to have all the necessary intelligence to effect their own healing; the doctor is assistant to this intelligence and the body the playing field where healing is effected. In this case the focus is on the body and on strengthening the body to heal itself; in the other the emphasis is on the illness or disease and destroying the disease. Most Eastern cultures believe each patient carries his own doctor inside him. Sufi doctor G.M Chisti, author of The Book of Sufi Healing says, “Behind every natural action of the human body is an inherent wisdom, a mechanism that allows the body to heal itself. In fact, no herb, no food or any other substance or procedure can do anything on its own to heal; it can only aid and assist the body in its own self-healing role. If your finger is cut, it is not the stitches or bandage or the iodine that causes it to heal; it is the skin itself that performs this miracle.”
Philosopher and physician Albert Schweitzer believed we are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient, a chance to go to work. In doing so, we allow ourselves a deeper relationship with ourselves and a greater understanding of the mysteries of life. In the movement and healing art of Qigong as practiced in China, breath, motion, intention and visualization, when activated together, are considered the great preventative medicine that lies within. Awakening these forces brings a heightened sense of well-being and cohesion creating an empowered spiritual, emotional and physical environment.
Although my sister might say, “Got headache, take pill”, a Qigong teacher said, “Illness should be observed and experienced in the right manner. When indiscriminately blocking out symptoms of pain we may be missing out on important and profound information about life.”