7.4 Re-establishing Health (Part 2)

Forces of Health and Harmony

The forces within the individual that help in re-establishing the lost harmony are faith, will and peace. Along with these and as an aid come sincerity, purity, perseverance, strength, and receptivity of the body and mind to the positive forces. A third aspect is to remove the hurdles of negative energies that stand in the way of healing at each respective plane. Finally, and above all, it is the supreme mystery of Grace that cures. Let us now turn to these one by one.

(i) Peace: If faith and will are like the right and left hand of an effective power, then peace is its very body. Peace is the first requirement for re-establishing harmony whether at the psychological or at the physical level. A harmony established in the absence of peace turns out very often to be temporary and illusory. Just as fear and agitation are the climate in which the lower forces of disintegration readily thrive, so too the higher forces act best in an atmosphere of peace. When we have outgrown our excessive curiosity about material processes, we may discover that ultimately everything can be reduced to an understanding of vibrations. Everything that exists in the phenomenon world is fundamentally differentiated on the basis of difference in the quality and intensity of vibrations. Vibrations are the first stir in the infinite and stable extension of Self. All creation starts with this stir. Therefore, the secret of manipulating substance truly lies in discovering ways and means of replacing one vibration with another. Once we understand this we begin to see the great significance of peace, for peace is the power that can truly decondition our nature and put it in the original resting and stable mode. This is no small achievement for it immediately opens the doors to momentous possibilities. It gives us freedom and a chance to reconstitute ourselves on a new and better basis. It creates conditions for a new orientation of towards higher forces, enhances receptivity to them and gives us the best chance for Grace to act. Illness is nothing else but a vibration of falsehood supported by the vibrations of agitation, fear, etc. Peace dissolves these vibrations irrespective of their outer effects and thereby effectuates a cure. Most illnesses would be cured by merely this process of undoing the twisted knot of falsehood under the pressure of peace. The immunity lasts as long as peace stays within us. Unfortunately we get tired of peace and the restless nature surfaces again leading to lapses and relapses! A subsequent replacement of this false vibration by a true one immunizes us against further relapses. To dwell in peace in all the parts of Nature is to create an immunity of sort against illnesses.

Yet peace is not easy to get and even more difficult to retain. Most of us confuse peace with external environment. But peace is a power that exists independent of all outer circumstances. Our associative conditioning of peace with outer circumstances is used to advantage by many of the health resorts that provide expensive purchase of peace by creating a virtual reality that keeps us away for a while from the humdrum and anguish and the struggle of life. It does help by removing some of the hurdles against the advent of peace. Being however a virtual reality, it does not last long. We return to the world of struggle and with it returns our pain and suffering. The first thing we have to understand is that peace is not an abstract thing suitable for books of philosophy. Nor is it a mere negative thing that comes by an absence of outer distractions and movements. That may be a dead man’s peace but not a peace of a healthy living being. Peace is a concrete reality, a solid positive force, as real to the inner sense and as true in its effects as a block of ice is real to the outer senses. True, it may require an initial period of temporary isolation for a while to discover this power within us. But once discovered it can be made to develop and stay under all circumstances. It can even be projected onto others in need of it just as one directs a stream of water towards a row of plants. Peace, like every other psychological quality is contagious and can be injected and transmitted from one person to another thereby aiding recovery. To bring down peace into the unhealthy part that is twisting in pain is to heal it.

Peace and stillness are the great remedy for disease. When we can bring peace in our cells, we are cured.
Catch hold of a peace deep within and push it into the cells of the body. With the peace will come back the health.
The imperative condition for cure is calm and quietness. Any agitation, any nervousness prolongs the illness.” [1]

(About means of getting peace)
“First of all, you must want it.

And then you must try and must persevere, keep on trying.

… You sit quietly, to begin with; and then, instead of thinking of fifty things, you begin saying to yourself, ‘Peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, calm, peace!’ You imagine peace and calm. You aspire, ask that it may come: ‘Peace, peace, calm.’ … Do not look at the thoughts, do not listen to the thoughts, you understand. …

And then repeat all the time … ‘Peace, peace, peace.’… Do this on getting up in the morning, do this in the evening when going to bed. … if you want to digest your food properly, you can do this for a few minutes before eating. … and there comes a time when you no longer need to sit down, and no matter what you are doing, no matter what you are saying, it is always ‘Peace, peace, peace’.” [2]

“Besides, there is always a way of isolating oneself by an atmosphere of protection, if one knows how to have an extremely quiet vibration, so quiet that it makes almost a kind of wall around you. But all the time, all the time one is vibrating in response to vibrations which come from outside. … You are never in an absolutely quiet atmosphere which emanates from you, that is, which comes from inside outward … something which is like an envelope around you, very quiet, like this — and you can go anywhere at all and these vibrations which come from outside do not begin to do this around your atmosphere.” [3]

(ii) Faith: We have already alluded to the power of faith. It is recognized by modern medicine in what is known as the placebo effect. Thus, about 30-40 percent of the therapeutic effects of any drug are known to be due to the placebo effect or faith in the drug. If faith in a drug administered externally can have this much effect, then how much more would the effect be if we could awaken the faith in our inner abilities to heal and cure ourselves? Indeed it is so as is demonstrated in so many instances of the so-called miracle cures. Studies have revealed that faith can give attributes to a chemical that apparently did not exist! Thus a commonly used sweetener, saccharine, that is otherwise innocuous can act as a powerful immuno-suppressant if the patient believes that he is being administered a drug that suppresses his immune system. The phenomenon of denial is also well known and is nothing else but the obverse side of faith. Simply stated it means that if you deny the illness either due to lack of awareness or a means of defence, it does delay in the progression of the illness. Instances are also on record wherein a person carried on despite a poisonous snake’s bite as long as he was unaware but went down rapidly once told about it. Such extremes may be few and isolated yet they open doors to a possibility and call upon us to revise our attitudes towards the inevitability of certain prognostications that we commonly make. We may well say that if fear is the ally of death, then faith is the ally of life. In the last analysis we may well discover that it is not so much the drug and the physician but finally faith that cures us.

The mechanism through which faith works may be in opening doors to the higher, unseen and subtler powers, denied by our vision that is fixed upon material means and physical reality. It creates conditions for the impossible to happen in us for the sense of the impossible is only related to our present possibilities. There are always higher possibilities and forces for which impossibility does not exist. The monkey’s impossibility is also man’s possibility. What a child cannot do today will be perfectly easy and natural for him to do when he grows into adulthood. A belief in the inevitability of results and the fixity of fate may be the stage of infancy of the growing soul but to the adult soul of faith nothing is impossible.

To be fully effective this faith must be dynamic and integral. It is not the faith of a man helplessly resigned to faith, nor is it a divided faith hanging between may-be and may-not-be. Faith, to be fully effective, must be total and absolute, capable of preserving itself in the face of every contrary evidence and despite setbacks, disappointment and apparent failures. It may appear blind and irrational to our limited vision unaccustomed to any other law than that of a fixed and unalterable world but to a deeper vision faith is a cry of the soul and the sanction of Grace. It is this that makes faith irresistible in the end.

It is not easy to have this faith. Some exceptionally fortunate persons have it as a result of their past development, stage of evolution and above all Grace. But like any other quality it can be developed. The best means known to mankind for developing faith is through prayers and the intervention of Grace. Faith also flowers out naturally as we get closer to our soul and live in and by it. It is only our outer nature that doubts and believes in the fixed sequence of things. And while it may be useful to follow the rules of the play so as not to disturb the joy of others yet the soul knows that there are no ineluctable laws and all can be altered if the soul so willed it. To get in touch with one’s soul through whatever means is one of the most natural ways to grow in faith.

“Have faith. There is no disease which cannot be cured by the Divine Grace.” [4]

“It is true that the faith cures more than the treatment.” [5]

“The body only has trust in material methods and that is why you have to give it medicines — but medicines have an effect only if the Force acts through them.” [6]

“Finally it is Faith that cures.” [7]

“You must have heard something of the method of Coué in healing diseases. He knew some secret of this power and utilised it with considerable effect; but he called it imagination and his method gave the faith he called up too mental a form. Mental faith is not sufficient; it must be completed and enforced by a vital and even a physical faith, a faith of the body. If you can create in yourself an integral force of this kind in all your being, then nothing can resist it; but you must reach down to the most subconscious, you must fix the faith in the very cells of the body.” [8]

(iii) Will: The role of will is being increasingly recognized in health and healing. Physicians do speak nowadays about the will to recover. Patients may find it strange since it is taken for granted that everyone who is sick obviously wants to recover. While this may be true of our outer being, it is not true of the totality of human nature. Even our outer being sometimes wills to die rather than suffer a prolonged and painful malady. Fortunately the will of the outer being counts little. The real effective will is the will of the inner being. It is here that many a surprise awaits us. We may discover that a part of the vital may have a love for tragedies. Another part of the mind may be a diehard pessimist. There may be a defeatist hiding in yet another part of our nature. Then of course there are gross and subtle gains that illness may bring, thereby prolonging it. The phenomenon of contradictory wills has already been discussed. Even these defeatist wills that align with the forces of illness may not count finally. For what ultimately matters is the central will, the will of the secret soul in us. It is this that finally decides our need for a particular experience or even a final change. The soul in us always has a final say even when we are not aware of it. However, the delay in executing its sanctions depends upon the sum total of the wills of our inner and outer being together.

Our will can therefore be likened to a central switch that sets into motion a cascade of events moving in one direction or the other. Human will, even though a fragment of the All-Will, has its role and temporary utility. If it can align itself to the All-Will or make a gesture of true surrender to the Divine Will, then it can create the best possible conditions for a cure. To hand over the responsibility of our life to the Divine without fear of death is one of the most powerful ways to align our little personal will to the All-Will. One can also use the will to reject the illness at the level of body and mind. This can be done by literally pushing out the vibration of illness, or else by refusing to accept the suggestions of disease. Every illness, before it manifests, presents itself as a suggestion of disorder. We may accept this suggestion out of fear, sense of helplessness, or simply unconsciousness. But also we may fight it out, driving out the suggestion as well as the force of illness. We may also aspire to the Divine to aid in our efforts.

A whole world of possibilities exists. Of course all this presumes that we have developed our will. For most of us have unfortunately learned to live and be driven at the mercy of circumstances. The result is a disuse or atrophy of will. All the same our will can be developed like muscles through methodical exercises. In fact, each part of our consciousness, and each plane, has a will of its own and can be developed methodically. Thus, the body can be trained to endure beyond belief (as happens for those engaged in severe physical work or in austerities). The life-energy in us can be trained to give an almost inexhaustible output without fatigue and strain. The mind in us can be trained to think always in a positive way and direct the energies of thought in a concentrated and effective way. Not only our own, but a truly powerful will can effectuate recovery in others as well. It is a concrete force and can be directed towards ends outside our limited physical being. This in fact forms one of the bases of hypnosis where in a state of semi trance we suspend our will and leave it in the hands of others. A developed will is a very effective instrument against the vibrations of illness, provided of course we use it that way. Unfortunately, like any other power, will too can be used for making life upon earth better or worse.

“Wake up in yourself a will to conquer. Not a mere will in the mind but a will in the very cells of your body. Without that you can’t do anything; you may take a hundred medicines but they won’t cure you unless you have a will to overcome the physical illness.” [9]

“To separate yourself from the thing and call in the Mother’s Force to cure it — or else to use your will force with faith in the power to heal, having the support of the Mother’s Force behind you. If you cannot use either of these methods then you must rely on the action of the medicines.” [10]


Exit Illness, Enter Health

There are doors within us through which we allow the forces of illness to enter. We have already alluded to these cracks in our lower vital and subconscient nature that attract the forces of illness. These cracks need to be sealed and made termite proof. There are three ways of handling these internal pests. One way is not to pay too much attention to these forces of fear, anxiety, etc., since they increase with the attention. A way to keep our mind off from them is to divert it towards some gainful activity. That is why, unless there are compelling reasons, it is best not to sit idle and brood when one is sick. It is also one of the reasons (there are other subtle ones) as to why most pains and problems aggravate during the night when there is little to preoccupy oneself. One needs to defocus oneself from the pain and the problem. That helps.

“Turn your mind completely away from your difficulty, concentrate exclusively on the Light and the Force coming from above; let the Lord do for your body whatever He pleases. Hand over to Him totally the entire responsibility of your physical being. This is the cure.” [11]

(About conquering pain)

“The method is almost the same for all parts of the being. To begin with, the first condition: to remain as quiet as possible. You may notice that in the different parts of your being, when something comes and you do not receive it, this produces a shrinking… There is a stiffening and this hurts, one feels a mental, vital or physical pain. So, the first thing is to put one’s will and relax this shrinking…

The method of relaxing the contraction may be different in the mind, vital or the body, but logically it is the same thing. … after having relaxed this contraction, begin trying to widen yourself — you feel you are widening yourself. There are many methods. Some find it very useful to imagine they are floating on water with a plank under their back. Then they widen themselves, widen, until they become the vast liquid mass. Others make an effort to identify themselves with the sky and the stars, so they widen, widen themselves, identifying themselves more and more with the sky.

…When one does that one becomes really receptive. … One can act through thought, by calling peace, tranquillity… Many discomforts, even physical… can disappear thus.” [12]

“An unselfish work always cures you of your petty personal maladies. Naturally, if you are really compelled to be in bed without being able to move, with a terrible fever or a very serious illness, then that’s quite different. But otherwise, if you are just a little indisposed: ‘I am not feeling quite well, I have a little headache or I have indigestion, or I have a bad cold, I am coughing’, things like that — then doing your work, not thinking of yourself, thinking of the work, doing it as well as you can, that puts you right immediately.” [13]

“If the consciousness is turned upwards, the pain vanishes. If it is turned downward, the pain is felt and even increases. … I say ‘turned upward’ because to turn towards the Divine is the best method, but what can be said in general is that if the consciousness is turned away from the pain to one’s work or anything that interests one, the pain ceases. And not only the pain but whatever damage there may be in an organ is set right much more easily when the consciousness is taken away from the trouble and one is open to the Divine.” [14]

The other method is to reject or throw out the vibration of fear. It is a more active process and requires a strong will to do so. What is relatively easier is to take refuge in the Divine Grace and offer this unhealthy part to the Light above. This latter has the double advantage of not only closing the door to the vibration of illness but also of opening it to the vibration of truth and to the healing touch of the higher consciousness above. To open the doors to this higher consciousness through an inner aspiration and to cultivate the harvest of peace, trust, cheerfulness, harmony, goodwill is to seal the doors against these disruptive forces that come to create havoc within us.

(Ways to remove fear)

“By bringing down strength and calm into the lower vital (region below the navel). Also by will and imposing calm on the system when the fear arises. It can be done either way or both together.” [15]


The Consciousness of Cure

A consciousness approach is not an exclusive either-or method. The method that would best suit an individual depends upon his state of consciousness. Equally, the method a doctor can best use also depends upon the physician’s state of consciousness. This is a fact that is not yet fully realized or practiced in the field of modern medicine. No doubt, in the physical domain especially, all is a question of method and procedure, what is known as the course of the illness. One can hasten or hinder this course with the help of forces drawn from other domains but all the same, the cure is worked out over a period of timekeeping the balance of forces in view. This needs time, unless of course through a strong and an integral faith one can enter the consciousness of cure. But the condition in every case is to be fearless and calm.

“The method by which you will be most successful depends on the consciousness you have developed and the character of the forces you are able to bring into play. You can live in the consciousness of the completed cure or change and by the force of your inner formation slowly bring about the outward change. Or if you know and have the vision of the force that is able to effect these things and if you have the skill to handle it, you can call it down and apply it in the parts where its action is needed, and it will work out the change.

Or, again, you can present your difficulty to the Divine and ask of It the cure, putting confidently your trust in the Divine Power. But whatever you do, whatever the process you use, and even if you happen to have acquired in it a great skill and power, you must leave the result in the hands of the Divine. Always you may try, but it is for the Divine to give you the fruit of your effort or not to give it. … You question if it is right to ask the Divine for these things.

But there is no more harm in turning to the Divine for the removal of a physical imperfection than in praying for the removal of a moral defect. …….. This must be your attitude, — ‘I aspire, I try to cure my imperfections, I do my best, but for the result I put myself entirely into the hands of the Divine.” [16]

[1] The Mother, CWM 15, Words of the Mother III, ‘Peace and Quiet, Faith and Surrender’, p. 151

[2] The Mother, CWM 6, Questions and Answers 1954, 8 September 1954, p. 313

[3] The Mother, CWM 7, Questions and Answers 1955, 11 May 1955, p. 144

[4] The Mother, CWM 15, Words of the Mother III, ‘Cure by the Divine Grace’, p. 151

[5] The Mother, CWM 15, Words of the Mother III, ‘Doctors and Medicines’, p. 157

[6] The Mother, CWM 15, Words of the Mother III, ‘Doctors and Medicines’, p. 158

[7] The Mother, CWM 15, Words of the Mother III, ‘Messages for Ashram Medical Services’, p. 159

[8] The Mother, CWM 3, Questions and Answers 1929–1931, 5 May 1929, p. 36

[9] The Mother, CWM 15, Words of the Mother III, ‘Illness and Health’, p. 146

[10] Sri Aurobindo, CWSA 31, Letters on Yoga IV, p. 578

[11] The Mother, CWM 15, Words of the Mother III, ‘Illness and Health’, p. 150

[12] The Mother, CWM 4, Questions and Answers 1950 – 1951, 31 March 1951, p. 265

[13] The Mother, CWM 5, Questions and Answers 1953, 24 June 1953, p. 120

[14] The Mother, CWM 15, Words of the Mother III, ‘Illness and Health’, p. 145

[15] Sri Aurobindo, CWSA 31, Letters on Yoga IV, p. 280

[16] The Mother, CWA 3, Questions and Answers 1929 – 1931, 23 June 1929, pp. 96, 97