In considering what is the essence of health and healing, let’s never close our thinking to new ideas — not just thinking open-mindedly, but looking constantly and without fear at new ways to understand problems and unhealthy conditions. All of us are guilty of tending to view things in the same old ways, perhaps because of upbringing, ingrained thought patterns, peer influence, or seeming exhaustion of possibilities. But what if everything we believe about health and healing is incomplete? What if everything we believe is merely a shadow of the truth?
We are multifaceted beings. We are not just our mind or body; we are spiritual beings in a physical world. And between the spiritual portion and the physical portion of ourselves are gradations of living substances which together form the spectrum of our selves. With emphases in different aspects and nuances created by ourselves from past thought and action, our unique arrangement and alignment creates an individual who takes up a personality in each life. We create ourselves from within. From our psychological aspects we create an effect that reaches to the physical end of the spectrum.
Through our thoughts and actions we create who we are, what we are, and what we experience. Since the basis of action is thought, we build ourselves and our lives through thought. What we think, we become. In choosing our thoughts we have perfect freedom — we can think anything. Yes, we may be influenced, cajoled, or prejudiced by others, but in the end we think what we want to. We also can “will” what we want to. We will what we are. Do we each have certain preferences of thought? Yes. Are we each conditioned to think in certain ways and patterns? Yes. Are we daily influenced by others, by advertisements, by family and friends? Yes. But in the end, each of us must choose what we think and what we will. Those thoughts and choices result in ourselves and all the various conditions that come to us.
We can picture cosmic nature as being originally in perfect equilibrium and that part of nature which we can perceive and understand as being in a stasis of duality. As independent beings form themselves they have freedom of movement and individuality. They are part of the whole but can direct themselves and form energies that create. As these individualities grow and expand and evolve they create ever-fitter vehicles for themselves. “They” are ourselves. We have created who we are and continue to do so.
So what does this have to do with health and healing? When we are in harmony with the flow of nature, we help nature to evolve and are in equilibrium. When we are not in harmony with nature, when our thoughts divert us from that path, we cause a disruption in the flow of life through us and then reap the effect of that cause as surely as a seed produces that which it holds inside. Our thoughts set in motion causes which we will eventually feel the effects of, in this life or another. When we set in motion a ripple against the equilibrium of nature, it comes back to us as surely as the ripple in a pond hits the shore and returns to its origin. Thoughts and other inner energies send ripples or vibrations throughout the spectrum of our being. Those that are not in harmony cause disturbances, unbalance, disease, and all the other ailments and conditions we see rising to the physical surface of our being. In the long arc of our existence over many lives, our consciousness creates our states of dis-ease and health.
How can and should we deal with dis-ease when it comes to our door? We need to have a healthy outlook and know that much can be gained from the experience. Spiritual qualities such as love, patience, and compassion can be brought forth, renewed, and strengthened. For the very things that build character and give us more strength are those things we fear and loathe the most. They soften our hearts. They give us understanding. We begin to focus on what truly matters. We can then begin to accept and embrace our conditions courageously. Commensurate with our karma, this will ensure the speediest recovery. Universal love is the salve for our human suffering.
So what is healing but being in harmony with all that is? Hatred brings every level of our being into disharmony and in time will show itself as pain and suffering. But love brings every level of our being into alignment, into harmony.
Can we really change ourselves and avoid creating more dis-ease? If in our own life we try to express goodwill and learn from negative conditions and suffering, we can achieve a better balance of health. Moving our thoughts towards higher things, we will be more in control of our lives and therefore better able to help others. If from that state we reach even further into our own inner god to bring forth more love and compassion for all things, irrespective of whether we label these things as good or bad, we will automatically temper our selves and therefore also our bodies.
So let’s not close our minds, but continue to look for that new relationship between things which may help us see our path more clearly. If we set fear and loathing of physical disease aside, we can embrace even illness with a universal love that sees the benefit and higher purpose in it. Thinking rightly and setting our focus on the horizon of renewed health, however distant that may be, we will be at ease rather than dis-ease. Let’s challenge ourselves to live in higher thoughts, so that the god within becomes our compass and universal love guides our steps to a healthier life.
(From Sunrise magazine, Fall 2007; copyright © 2007 Theosophical University Press)