Call me metaphysical, but I am a strong believer in the way the spirit affects its energy system. What does that mean?
The entire body is an energy system made of macroscopic attributes (arms, shoulders, legs, what have you), containing ever-smaller components that all work in harmony (or disharmony, which creates our physical maladies) and run the whole picture of our health. This much is obvious, and we fuel our body systems with food, rest, etc., and yes, stress, too.
Stress is probably the number one cause of physical disease. Arguably, it’s necessary to life and to be sure, there are good and bad forms of it. But we definitely need to cut back on the excessive sources of stress, whether internal or external.
Stress, though, is not just physiologically damaging but spiritually destructive. When our emotions are predominantly negative, this results in negative bodily responses as well. That’s why clinical depression can lead to aches and pains, obesity, chronic fatigue. I often hear stories of former cancer patients having received devastating prognoses and somehow surviving years post their supposed predicted “death sentence,” rising above their physical disease with genuine spiritual uplifting.
Now, a lot of people write off these stories as “exceptions, not the rule” (or believe these exceptions define the rule), but I think this rejection of the unexpected is a response stemming from cynicism, perhaps self-doubt, and fear. We don’t like what we don’t understand, and to be told that we can cure ourselves with simply positive thoughts forces us to place the responsibility of our healing onto us. What if, we think, I can’t hope hard enough? What if all my positive thinking yields no results? Not only that, but to claim something so supposedly “easy” as thinking could cure us of an ominous and overpowering disease can seem overly simplistic. It seems to in a way disrespect the gravity of the malady; how dare the Pollyannas of the world claim such a thing?
And these doubts and fears create even more stress. Seems like a no-win situation.
But really, what’s the use of dwelling on what’s wrong with us? If we must be plagued by some inconvenient bodily dis-ease, must we also be miserable about it? If in fact positive thinking and forgiveness of what seems like a betrayal of our own bodies does not cure us, doesn’t it ease our condition anyway?
On a quick aside, the one aspect of healing that I thought was exceedingly important to emphasize in the University of Chicago article on my story — which they unfortunately left out — was that of treating the soul. I wanted to put in the spotlight my attending physician from my hospitalization, Dr. Schwab, for his outstanding bedside manner. But I suppose people suffering from serious medical issues are most interested in finding cutting-edge technology and top-rated physicians at the “forefront of medicine,” rather than the soothing nature of their caregivers. Fortunately, the UCMC provides both, and I actually think they do themselves a disservice not emphasizing their remarkable level of spiritual nurturing. But I digress.
I find that a great way to guard myself from stress is to ground myself in preparation to face it. Actors do this by calming their nerves before they step onstage in front of a crowded auditorium. We can take note of this and learn to do the same when we know we’re about to meet adversity or the potential for some kind of nervous shakeup.
What do I mean by “grounding”? Quite simply, it means acknowledging the present and your place in it. Taking a moment to make sure you’re being down-to-earth, to remember who you are and why you are there. Protecting your inner self from external attack.
You can ground by meditation (imagine a brown stream of energy radiating from your core, down your legs, through your feet, and into the center of the Earth); taking a few deep breaths (count to five while inhaling and exhaling); or reconnecting with the earth (i.e., receiving negative ions — a good thing!) via grounding techniques like placing your palms around a tree, standing barefoot on the sand or unpaved earth, or taking a shower or swimming in the ocean.
Ground yourself before an important meeting, talk, exam, or presentation. Ground yourself before approaching a person whom you know will sap your energy in a negative way. Or prior to any other toxic experience you may anticipate.
I also recently learned from the biologists of HeartMath (they specialize in heart research) about the effects of energy levels on the heart, and subsequently the body. Apparently just by physical proximity, we pick up energy signals of the people around us, synchronizing even our heartbeats and consequently our stress responses with the people nearby. The studies show it — which is why “metaphysicists” aren’t just full of hokum!
Keep your mind — and heart — open and treat yourself well. Nurture your soul with forgiveness, kindness, positivity. And you’ll realize things are really not that bad. The journey will be alleviated and the quality of life will be far gentler on you if you do.
To our healing,