Are we completely under the control of our belief systems? Do you ever wonder if we only get old and die because we see other people getting old and dying? Or is that just me? Nowadays we generally live longer. Is this in part due to the fact that it now seems much more possible to live to be 100 because we have seen so many other people achieving this milestone? When I was young this was a rare occurrence, but not any more. Many of us now confidently expect to live to see our 100th year.
The mind has a huge effect on our health. Even modern medicine acknowledges this. It is well known that people can see a big improvement in a condition they have been suffering from after being given a placebo tablet that they are told will improve their situation. All that has happened here is that we have believed what our doctor has told us. The power of the mind has created the cure! Isn’t that amazing?
Sadly the opposite is also true. Many people will obey their doctors when they are given a more damaging prognosis. I’ve read many accounts of people being told that they have 6 months to live and making that prediction come true. It’s almost as though it’s rude to prove the doctor wrong! A very well respected Ayurvedic doctor I met over 25 years ago told me that people will often die from their diagnosis. Even if they have shown no symptoms up until the point of the diagnosis, they go downhill very quickly once they are told they are going to die. The mind isn’t being so helpful in this case.
Have you had this experience yourself where you develop a pain somewhere and it’s all you can think about? In your anxiety you imagine all sorts of terrible scenarios but as soon as you are told it really is nothing serious the pain disappears. Like magic! The mind is magical and therefore we should put it to good use. We may need work on changing our beliefs for a more uplifting and positive viewpoint. It may even mean being more careful about who we spend our time with. Other people can have a very powerful effect on us. If we are surrounded by people who have a negative world view it can be exhausting trying to not get swallowed up by their negativity, anxiety and worry.
I have a friend who, when she was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, told almost no-one. She decided that it would be more exhausting to have to deal with the anxiety of family members about her condition. Not only would she have to focus on getting better but she would have to deal with calming the concerns of those around her. She decided to tell just those she could rely on for a positive outlook and keep it from anyone else. It worked!
Then there are some people who, sadly, are invested in being unwell. Offer them an alternative or the possibility of recovery and they turn their face away. They don’t seem to want to even acknowledge the possibility. I meet people constantly who somehow just don’t really want to do anything that might improve their situation. Why would this be? I know it sounds harsh to say it but some people like the attention and sympathy that being ill brings them. Others use it as an excuse for not getting on with their lives. If they were suddenly well they would no longer have a reason for not achieving their potential. And some people are just too lazy to take on a change to their lifestyle or diet that might be needed. On a brighter note we all know people who we may have heard are being challenged by a serious health concern but appear happy and positive whenever you meet them. Research has shown that a positive attitude is very important in recovering from serious illness. A positive attitude and being loved, they are both so important for our health.
I read a really inspiring story some years ago about a Greek immigrant in the USA who was diagnosed by 9 different doctors with terminal lung cancer. He was given 9 months to live and recommended to undergo an aggressive treatment regime of drugs and chemotherapy. Stamatis Moraitis was his name, and he decided to eschew modern medicine and return to his village on the Island of Ikaria to die. He thought it would cost too much to have a funeral in the US and he wanted to be able to leave more of his savings to his dear wife. When he first arrived home he took to his bed believing himself to be seriously ill. His wife and mother looked after him, feeding him healthy local foods and tending to his needs. His friends heard that he was back and started visiting each afternoon.
They would laugh together and crack open a bottle of wine. He reconnected with his religion, making it to the little Orthodox church in his village. In the ensuing months he began to feel stronger and left his bed. He started to tend his garden, growing his own vegetables thinking that even if he wasn’t around others could enjoy the fruits of his labours. He lived a calm and happy life. He woke naturally in the morning. He didn’t need to be anywhere by any particular time. He tended his garden. He had a healthy lunch and a nap in the afternoon before enjoying the company of his friends or playing dominoes in the bar in the evening. After 9 months he was not dead.
He got stronger and stronger and began to develop the long neglected family vineyards, eventually producing over 400 gallons of wine a year. He went from strength to strength. After 25 years, the story goes, Stamatis Moraitis returned to the USA to ask his doctors what had happened. Why hadn’t he died? He wasn’t able to ask them as they were all dead.
The moral of the story? Well, have good people around you, do what makes you happy, eat good natural foods and have the occasional glass of wine in the company of dear friends that make you laugh. Not sure if playing dominoes is significant!