Science & Medicine

Mind-Body-Spirit — The Challenge (July, 2012)

by Patricia Wagner

Welcome to the Mind-Body-Spirit column where today we ponder:

The Tao which is the subject of discussion is not the true Tao.
— Lao-tze

The truth, the greatest and innermost truth, cannot be told, and to try to tell it is fruitless.

You must bear your own fruit. In the growing of your own tree, you can receive guidance on the nature of the soil, how to nourish the budding shoot, and how to prune the errant growth which will otherwise obscure the beauty and productivity of your tree. Instruction is helpful but it is, after all, your tree alone.

Within the Mind-Body-Spirit column we’ve given some instruction. We’ve pointed to the agreement now reached between science and spiritual teachings regarding the plastic nature of life. We’ve pointed out that the initial thrust toward change, of any nature but certainly to include one’s health, is initiated in the mind and the will, not in the doctor’s office.

Most of us here in this specialized community have dealt with the initial shock of diagnosis, and have since done our best to control everything around the edges, in order to minimize the chance TIA or hemorrhage Beyond this, we search for the best allopathic treatments, as we see some of our comrades slip into slow fade, and mourn the episodic loss of a friend, while at some level ever aware that we may be the next to succumb. This column points to a different route. Not one of putting a “happy face” on the situation, not one of quiet desperation, not one of grim tolerance, yet certainly not of denial.

We point to a completely different approach, which may be practiced side-by-side with your existing treatments. An approach which offers a cure, rather than maintenance of a situation you may well have accepted as being a permanent fixture in your life.

How? Here are some of the ways:

  • You may acknowledge the Source of Life which is larger and stronger than any personality – a Source that ever waits for you in the silence of meditation.
  • You may turn toward that Spirit with humility, discovering that the essence of that state of being is to simply become naked to oneself. It is in total self-honesty that the process begins.

It is after self-honesty, and supplication for help in order to change, that transformation becomes apparent. We struggle like butterflies escaping the cocoon, not with ease but rather with discomfort. It can be painful to face the demons within our very bodyminds which have protected us by creating our current physical malaise.

One can fight against the demons, or ignore them by envisioning your personal world without them. Choose the more effective way: Simply visualize your world without them. This is a spiritual approach which stands upon the strength of man turning toward God, at which point God turns toward man.

“If you will be my people, I will be your God.”

The inherent promise of this is profound. You will be given the strength to continue the self discovery process, and you will also be given manna to meet your daily moments of need. You will receive answers from within, discovery of more tools and techniques for total healing, companions on the path, and more.

In standing for the light, rather than fighting the darkness, with persistence and patience, helpful change continues. It is for these reasons that meditation, visualization and continual refreshment of your positive imagery through affirmations are so important to healing. I encourage you to embrace this with unreserved faith and belief. Do so, not to cope, but to transform.

There are two additional areas of study which deserve inclusion in any contemporary review of the Mind-Body-Spirit connection. These are the remarkable new fields of Energy Psychology and Energy Medicine which have been demonstrated to heal holistically in simple and effective ways, and may also be used in conjunction with the techniques we’ve already covered.

Like everything else in this Mind-Body-Spirit discussion, these new energy-based fields can be utilized along side of your current allopathic, or Western, medical treatment. They are additive because they work at the root cause. They do not treat or maintain. They hold the promise of cure, with a notable distinction: They work synergistically upon every aspect of your being, not only the physical, in isolation.

You will not be seeing this column again for a while, as I’ll be taking a needed break over the summer to tend to family matters. What a blessing you have all been to me! My past 15 months spent in the public eye, have allowed me to make this personal effort at informing the chronically ill of so many hopeful tools to carry while one travels the road more commonly taken. I am humbled by this, and humbled by life itself. However, Spirit is change, motion, and growth, and I don’t know where my inner compass may point me in the future. That’s the magic of life, isn’t it?

I’d like to hear from each of you now. Will you do this for me? You’ve been oddly quiet, and I do not know how to interpret this. It’s been my opinion developed over time, that this is not a shy group. Nor is it even polite, on certain occasions! There are a remarkable number of readers of this column, yet so many of you do not speak. Why?

I’ve been to the other side and back. Once returned to my body, I sank deeper into pain and restriction than I imagined a person could do and still live. I enjoyed a challenging career and a marvelously full life, followed by years in which the simple acts of speech or movement were almost more challenging than I could handle. While in the constant buzz of pain, I’ve had feelings and thoughts inside which I was unable to express, and by this given the gift of time to think and discover for myself.

I’ve seen into myself, and seen equally into others, while in this silence, and am aware of our essential unity.

Do you think you could offend or shock me with your opinions, when I’m so aware of the misinterpretations and misassumptions and errors that I’ve been capable of on my own? If I can accept myself as I am, I can in turn accept you as you are.

This column has been written in love, and in total vulnerability, to give back to a community that has always helped me in every way possible. Perhaps your perception of this is cause for your hesitation? Don’t. Bring it on. Give me your questions, your objections, or your agreement, if such is the case. The remainder of this magazine speaks of disease and being cheerful and resourceful in the face of it. It is only in this column that we have a forum in which to speak of a very different act of creativity. We speak here of both knowledge and an intention, which acted upon, leads to HEALING. Have I written to an audience with ears to hear and eyes to see?

I hope that you can join me on this path to wholeness. . . it offers a holistic cure for all who embark upon it. But regardless of your interest or intention to join me, let me hear your personal truth now.

As always, blessings to you and yours.

Take me back to the Contents

© Patricia Wagner and, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patricia Wagner and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Comments on: "Mind-Body-Spirit — The Challenge (July, 2012)" (8)

  1. Maureen said:

    I totally agree with Patti Cooper’s comments. She expressed so well what I was struglimg to say.
    Demons within, for heavens sakes!
    I am all for strengthening the mind body connection and enhancing the healing capacity of the body as well as embracing the spiritual dimension. But this…….!

  2. Patricia, thank you for your uplifting article. It is refreshing to see this approach, especially regarding these MPN diseases which seem to me to be so complex. The issue of having been the cause of one’s own disease is also complex, but in the end I guess we have to cease asking why. For myself I do know that much of my childhood and adult life has been ‘toxic’ in an emotional and spiritual sense; and I recently had a strange feeling that my recently diagnosed PV had actually been with me for a long time, and I just didn’t know it.

    I think that we need to address what some doctors and healers these days are calling the ‘terrain’; i.e. in other words the mode of living, the people, the environmental, spiritual and emotional factors surrounding the whole person who is ill. Definitely I think that the mind-body-spirit connection is immensely important and I am interested in learning more. Is there any way I can keep in contact with you?

  3. Patricia, I think that often our disappointment in finding out that the experts we want to depend on and ‘leave it to’ don’t know as much about MPN as we want to believe they do. It’s often then that we realize that there are other answers and different routes to take and we turn to them. If one truly believes, then they will help, but here we differ as we both are used to and don’t mind being differed with. I don’t believe that any of these other routes will consistently cure established corporeal (cellular or humoral) pathology. We don’t differ in seeing the great value and desirability in realizing that allopathic therapeutics isn’t the be all and end all method for coping with MPN and neither is the Mind–Body approach. I won’t mention your unmentionables, but when it comes to my diseases, I figuratively wear both a belt and suspenders. :) Arch

  4. I am intrigued by both Patricia’s article as well as Patti’s response to it. I agree whole heartedly with Patti that we need a balanced view when incorporating mind-body-spirit approaches to healing. As Patti alludes, no one caused their blood disease here and it is incredibly cruel and insensitive for anyone, no matter how well-intentioned, to suggest such a thing to one who is dealing with illness. That said, I sense Patricia is just trying to offer some holistic techniques that can be incorporated with traditional medicine to improve one’s current situation and to this, I am in whole hearted agreement. The challenge is that unfortunately some lately arrived new age gurus have given mind-body-spirit approaches a black eye in that there has been too many inferences that diesease is self-inflicted through negative thoughts and states of being. That has led some who woud benefit from holistic practices to simply turn the knob to the off position. I do know in my own life experiences that if I do not practice some level of spiritual (and I am not talking about religion here) affirmative work, I risk sliding into the mud pit. And believe me, I’ve spent some time in that pit in my life! especially when Genny was first diagnosed with pMF, MDS and Budd-Chiari. I have to say at this point that I detest platitudes of any kind (whether religious, spiritual or secular) because they sound trite when your face is looking straight into the eye of the storm, and the platitudes have a way of negating what the individual is feeling or experiencing. And let’s face it, sometimes, all the prayer, affirmative thoughts, meditation, and holistic, yoga bends in the world, will not do away with something like dangerously rising platelet counts — or in my daughter’s case, a random breakout of graft vs host disease. Does that mean, as the primary caregiver to my beautiful daughter who was dealt three disease blows at such a young age that I turn away from prayer or meditation? Truth is, sometimes. But I also know that to learn to quiet one’s mind/soul in the midst of a physical or mental attack can bring an element of peace and the clarity and courage to take the next steps in one’s medical journey. And to this, Patricia, I offer that “coping” and “transforming” may be one in the same. Some quiet their mind/soul by entering into a meditative state that includes seeking guidance from a Higher Power (and yes, Genny and I both do this type of practice). Others read poetry. Yet others get active in their MPN community. Still others may become activists with lawmakers and/or advocates doing such things as attempting to increase the bone marrow donor registry. Whatever works for the individual. I do feel compelled to state that at the end of the day, I am a big believer in the techniques suggested by Patricia because I have experienced such techniques working for me but unfortunately not because I received any miracle cure — I still have bunions that must be surgically removed. And I’m not a blood cancer patient, enduring what all of you are enduring; my struggles are different. I don’t have the level of fatigue caused by MPNs or an extended spleen or bone pain. I’m just a mom, whose daughter had significant life-threatening events with her blood diseases — and for that, I have my own special hell that only a mother knows. My mind definitely needs quieted and benefits from meditative training. Genny, too, greatly benefits from meditation and yoga practices. It is just that in doing so, she doesn’t necessarily receive a physical cure. After all, every single living being must ultimately face death one day. Disease is part of this world.

  5. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your honesty. Are there others willing to share their own perceptions of the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection? Your input will inform my future articles.

    Blessings, Patricia

  6. Patti Cooper said:

    While I appreciate the positive impact that meditation, visualization, positive thinking, etc. can have on our health, I have trouble with any suggestion that the “demons” within our own minds have created our state of being un-well and that if we properly dare to address those demons we will be “cured”. This is, I believe, a careless, dangerous, and painful burden to lay on someone who is battling any illness for it leaves them solely responsible for getting sick in the first place. The truth is that we have physical bodies which can develop physical illnesses, despite what we think or eat or don’t think or don’t eat. Frustrating? Yes. Our fault? No. The best we can do is to bring everything we can to the battle: medical treatment, good nutrition, exercise when/if we are able, maintain a sense of hope, and any other tools in the toolbox. For me, they include a good therapist, meditation and visualization. What is true healing? What does it mean to be cured? For me, it us to live every day as courageously and as fully as I can while accepting the reality of my physical condition. If I am “cured” in the process, that would be wonderful, but it can not be my goal unless I accept the cruel notion that I am responsible for my illness and, thus, responsible for my recovery. And that is something I will never believe.

  7. anastasia said:

    thank you for the wonderful work and writing that you are doing

  8. Pat, Absolutely stunning! Beautiful writing, you carry your truth throughout and to my mind, your advice, information and suggestions are challenging and simple at the same time. You have given your readers a gift from your experience, insight and intelligence. Now the gift is in the hands of the receiver who has the choice as to how or if they can use it. What you are giving could be perceived as radical and scary therefore your audience may be deep in thought and wondering. “Dare I hope, is there really another path towards healing.” I know the answer is Yes, but each of us has to dare to put a tentative toe into the water. You have tossed a stone into a still pond and the ripples will continue to expand and expand. This I trust.

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