The role of mind in health and illness is phenomenal. We are only beginning to recognize a little of it. We are as if led by the mind, so much so that if the mind believes in something, the rest of the parts almost instinctively follow. The mind can create formations for good or for worse. It can exaggerate or minimize the symptoms or even add new ones. Through thoughts full of anxiety and fear we can actually attract the illness or make the existing one worse. Again it is well known that depression depresses our immune system, predisposing us to various illnesses. Most often the mind colludes with the vital and its fears and phobias, giving a material shape to our anxieties which in turn affects us powerfully.
The mind is a mediator divinity. It can serve as an intermediary link between the higher domains of consciousness and our lower existence here. But to serve as a link, the mind has to be freed from its ego-centric outlook and its smallness turned only to the outward and the immediate, dwelling only upon the surface appearance of things. At least it needs a certain degree of trust in something higher that can help and relieve, support and succour. In an illness, the mind can be a great source of help to facilitate recovery. First, it must stop turning itself around the illness by constant thoughts about it. This is not easy for someone who has not practiced thought control to a certain extent. So one way out is to simply turn the mind away onto something else, some healthy preoccupation such as reading or going about the usual routine of work, etc. (within limits of course so that adequate rest is provided to the part). But reading should not be about the illness (unless it is a positive and useful reading) since unregulated information may do more harm by inducing fears and anxiety.
Secondly, the mind can be exercised to creatively visualize the healing process. There are plenty of techniques available and one can choose according to one’s taste and preference and with a little ingenuity even devise one’s own. The essence of all these techniques is to use the faculty of imagination to create positive images of the state that one wants to achieve. Thus, one can use positive affirmations that one is healthy, or, for instance, as has been proved in certain forms of cancer, imagine the white cells and the healthy cells actually fighting and destroying the cancer cells.
Thirdly, the mind can create formations that can act as a shield against illness. The mind can also invoke the higher powers of Peace and call upon Grace through prayers to heal and cure oneself. Finally, the mind can be taught to fall quiet and thereby allow the healing forces to work. This quietening can be achieved through meditation of various types including vipassana or witnessing consciousness, or through the powerful agency of japa, which besides helping the mind to fall quiet and getting rid of unwanted thoughts, can also be a powerful aid to the body by acting upon the physical consciousness through the vibrations of sound. Finally, the mantra can be used to invoke certain higher powers and beings for healing purposes if the person and the part are receptive to their influence and have the necessary faith in the process. For, whatever road or means we may adopt, the one common thing is the factor of faith.
The subconscient is the passive receptacle of all that has ever entered into the arena of our experience, however fleetingly or momentarily and without conscious attention through the doors of our senses. This part is one of the most difficult to deal with in relation to illness. An illness is a disordered pattern that may become a habit if it recurs and persists. The subconscient mind then stores it as passive memory throwing it up again at some later date. It is the reason why not only habits of thought and reactions but also illnesses recur, especially when our waking guard is lowered as in sleep. A mastery over this part is quite essential though difficult if we are to make ourselves immune from recurrences.
But this is by far the most difficult task. The things that lie buried in the subconscient as seeds are below the reach of our conscious waking mind, their influence and hold upon the human nature very powerful, especially since they are often supported by the collective suggestions that are prevalent in the atmosphere and sink into our subconscious mind quite unconsciously. When most unsuspected, they spring a surprise upon us. It is the same with illnesses and their cure. The prevalent beliefs of the times are like collective suggestions that linger in some dark corners of our subconscious mind. And if they are supported by the so-called scientific facts, then it becomes even more powerful.
Only a Light greater than the mind can annihilate the difficulties of the subconscient and conquer it for good. That indeed is part of the programme of the future. But till that happens and spreads as a general influence in the subconscient mind of the race, one can somewhat work upon the subconscient part by auto-suggestion, especially during the twilight zone where wakefulness and sleep embrace each other.
The circumconscient is the surrounding consciousness that envelopes us from two sides. Part of it comes from within us and is made up of the vibrations emitted by us due to our present psychological state. Once let free from us, these vibrations can attach themselves to those around who are receptive and trigger similar psychological states in them through a sort of subtle contagion. Thus, desires or anger or fear thrown in the environment circulate in the subtle atmosphere and have a short or long life depending upon the force and intensity, the strength of projection, the formulation in words, and the play of other supporting or contradictory vibrations. This occult commerce is the source of much unwanted malady and misunderstandings between human beings. Each human being is thus a transmitter as well as a receiver and depending upon what he is attuned to within or without, he becomes a channel to receive or project certain forces in the atmosphere.
But apart from human beings there is another source of these vibrations. The world is indeed full of subtle forces and beings, helpful and harmful, which constantly surround us. There are also certain times when forces of one type or the other are active. In fact one can charge the atmosphere of the place one lives in through a conscious invocation of the forces one wishes, for example, forces of peace and light, health and harmony. But equally, one may throw all kinds of self-destructive vibrations in the atmosphere which harm others and ultimately fall back upon oneself. The role of forces in health and illness, especially with regard to the vibrations emitted by the physicians and the nurses and of the place where the patient rests, is obvious.
It is important, therefore, that those around the patient not only speak positive but also think positive. Our thoughts and feelings circulate in the atmosphere and enter others even without the awareness of their waking minds. It is not only that we should not think negative but that we should think positive in the atmosphere of those who are unwell. It provides a quiet support to the person and strengthens him from within. Above all, the patient should be nurtured in an atmosphere of love and peace, a harmony of vibrations, whether in the surroundings or the psychological atmosphere of people and this is the best way to facilitate the healing process.
The Psychic Being and Health
The mind, vital and the body can be afflicted by illnesses. They are subject to falsehood and to the attacks of forces of disruption, disharmony and disequilibrium. But there is in us a part that is immune to these things, a part that is open to Light, Truth, Peace, Harmony and Balance. It is the inner wire connecting us to the source of Light and Peace and Truth of the higher regions. The mystics know of it as the secret soul seated within the depths of our being, at the centre of our heart, in the occult cave of the spirit where no falsehood or wrong and evil could come, where no force of disorder and disharmony could enter. This is the part that can grant us spiritual and all other forms of health if we can open to its influence from within and listen to its voice and respond to its powers. But we must not mistake it with the voice of conscience or the idealistic sentiment in us. The true soul is much deeper and fully authentic. It has a ring of truth in it. Its touch liberates the streams of an inner joy and peace, the ambrosia of the gods that heals and fills our limbs with the strength of the immortal in us.
But it is not so easy to find this part in us. Our nature resists since it would mean that the mind and the vital lose their hold and abdicate their rule in favour of this diviner element. We have neither the faith nor the patience to pursue this great inner discovery, without which we are little more than an intelligent savage, and for that matter less healthy than the less intelligent barbarian.
And so will it be till we have discovered this divine alchemist within us and graduated from chemistry to alchemistry, that the soul can do wonders by invoking the higher powers of health and healing, by calling down the peace and joy of a higher sphere into our little plot of sorrow and suffering, by freeing us from the fear of death and eventually one day from death itself by discovering our innate immortality and reproducing it in the other parts and levels of our being. It is only when we have turned to this inmost healer within us that man shall open the doors to true healing. Not that the discovery of the psychic being within would automatically ensure a freedom from diseases but it would do a great deal towards that. It would, for instance:
- Ensure that the different parts spontaneously reject illness. Not only would it reject illness but by reinforcing our subtle envelope prevent the forces of illness from entering and settling down within our body and mind.
- Naturally there would be moments when one is not only not in contact with this diviner element but rather drawn away from it, lured by the powers of Ignorance that hold earth-nature in their sway. But then the psychic being would bounce back and help us open to the forces of healing and by making our nature receptive to them, facilitate the healing process.
- By progressively spreading its influence upon the other layers change their habits into healthier ones, moderate and even eliminate the corrupting force of desire, and gradually awaken us to the Light and Peace of the Divine which would eventually ensure a complete immunity from most illnesses.
- In the course of time, the psychic being, assisted by the Divine Will and Consciousness that is at work upon earth, will open the earth-nature and our bodies to the absolute Light and Power of the Supramental Truth-Consciousness, thereby creating a body that is not only completely immune to every form of illness and decay but also luminous and plastic to the spiritual Truth within us. This would eventually carry man beyond the reach of diseases and even death.
An Integrated Approach to Healing
As we have discussed earlier, disease is not something that exists in isolation. Even when a part is sick, it is the whole harmony that has been disturbed. A common example is that when we suffer from one type of problem, we often find other problems that had apparently been cured erupt or surface again. Several seen and unseen factors and forces are at play in illness and the approach to cure has also to be accordingly multi-tiered. In a general way, we can say that the kind of therapy that would suit best in a person depends upon the level of consciousness, more accurately the subtlety and receptivity of his consciousness to the various healing methods and forces, and the faith in this or that method or system. A method works best if we have full faith in it, or at least a central faith that it works. It is not a question of this or that specific remedy; often it is more a question of faith in a particular system that is much more important. But faith itself has three components which are interconnected with each other and contribute to the healing process. Of crucial importance of course is the patient’s faith in the system, the medicine and the physician. Next is the faith of the physician in the treatment he is using, its efficacy and the possibility of bringing about a cure. Finally, perhaps even more importantly and powerfully than the individual’s faith is the collective faith of a generation and a people in a way of life. For most of humanity this collective faith is often a greater power than the individual faith since it works through the subconscious mind of the race and overtakes the individual by surprise.
Nevertheless, depending upon the level of operation we could broadly classify the various methods of healing into four major categories:
- Physical therapies which rely on chemical formulations (medicines, herbs, etc.).
- Occult and Energy therapies which work upon the vital body, such as pranic therapy, homeopathy, acupressure, etc.
- Psychological therapies, such as meditation, guided imagery, creative visualization, rectifying attitudes, etc., which take into account the mind and its powers in assisting the healing process.
- Spiritual therapies which activate the higher healing forces such as Peace, Purity, Grace to heal and to succour. Prayer, invocation, faith, surrender belong to this mode of healing.
There is another factor to be considered in the choice of therapy. It is the degree of penetration of the illness into the human system. An illness, before it affects the gross body has to pass through a subtle vital-physical layer. When the vibration of illness touches this layer, it can be perceived if one is sensitive enough to a little odd sensation of touch or taste or smell. If one can detect the illness at this stage, it is easy enough to get rid of it by simply rejecting the suggestion or the sensation by a clear and strong ‘No’ from within. But if it manages to get a little deeper and we begin to feel a little chill or some cold or fever or some other sensation related to the gross body such as pain then one has to sit quietly and concentrate, invoke the Light and Peace of Truth or the Grace, opening that part and the body to Its action and influence. At this level there is also the role of various energy therapies which can clear the energy-body of the illness. If the illness goes past this stage and settles into the gross body, then it would usually run its course and physical methods are useful here since the body responds more readily to physical means given that they are more akin to its natural constitution. The other means such as spiritual and occult can hasten the course or sometimes cut it off, but still many would need some material support to facilitate the action of the higher forces as well. Finally, where the illness has taken a chronic form or where the mind has a large role to play, then one can use psychological therapies in addition.
What one has to remember is that the field of medicine is not like mathematics and one has to figure out what suits one best through an intuitive feel and a wider understanding of human nature that neither puts people and things into rigid slots, nor assumes a strict either-or position, both of which hamper a judicious combination of healing processes. Finally, one has to remember that all our present knowledge of man and medicine is based upon our present understanding of life which itself is very limited. As we grow in consciousness, as we grow in capacities, as we grow in true wisdom and authentic power, we may well realize that all our present methods and systems were a child’s play, that illness is not what we thought it to be, that there is more to man than biology and chemistry and even psychology, that we have the power to act directly upon matter without any intermediary instrumentation and heal from a distance. That will be the real victory of man over diseases — an authentic victory and not a precarious control as we now try to establish by balancing the different parts while walking the tight rope of the enigma called ‘life’.