If you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with cancer or an autoimmune disease, such as myasthenia gravis, it must have been a devastating experience, especially if the doctor has said that the treatment involves many procedures and medications to control and manage the many debilitating disease symptoms and adverse side effects.
A traumatic experience may have a prolonged effect on the human mind: having overwhelming negative emotions; feeling numb and unable to experience pleasure or even pain over a long period of time. The ultimate impact is that it may affect how you think, feel, act, and react in every aspect of your daily life and living.
Healing begins with the mind first. To heal yourself of any illness, you must be both knowledgeable and wise.
THE KNOWLEDGE AND THE WISDOM
Knowledge comes from how your mind perceives and processes any information available. Wisdom, on the other hand, is how you apply the knowledge acquired to cope with any disease and disorder you may have, as well as your everyday life and living. The important implication: being knowledgeable may not necessarily make you wise or wiser.
The bottom line: you need both knowledge and wisdom to heal yourself of any disease.
Given that both knowledge and wisdom come from the thinking mind, your brain is, therefore, first and foremost, the most important of all your body organs. With its billions of brain cells, your brain is not only most complicated but also the major source of all your health issues and problems related.
So, it is important to keep your brain healthy as much as possible in order to be capable of acquiring the knowledge and attaining the wisdom to begin your healing journey.
This is how you may keep your brain healthy:
Keep yourself hydrated because 80 percent of your brain is water. Drink at least 7-8 cups of water per day.
Keep healthy gums, and floss your teeth regularly to prevent any gum disease.
Enhance and improve blood flow to your brain with your 30-minute exercise at least several times a week.
Eat a healthy diet: high-quality lean protein; low-glycemic and high-fiber carbohydrates; natural and not processed foods.
Avoid inflammation and the formation of free radicals in your body.
Avoid sugar and sugary drinks, including all sodas and diet sodas.
Quit smoking, and limit your alcohol consumption to no more than 5 glasses per week.
Manage your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Maintain healthy levels of nutrients, e.g. vitamin D and omega-3s.
Maintain healthy hormones of the thyroid and the testosterone.
Promote good mental health, and avoid anxiety and depression.
De-stress yourself with correct breathing and daily meditation.
Get quality sleep of at least 7-8 hours a night without the help of medication.
Develop meaning and purpose in your life.
In addition to having a healthy brain, you must learn how to empower your thinking mind to seek and acquire the knowledge to heal your disease.
THE QUESTIONS AND THE ANSWERS
Asking many relevant questions and seeking the answers from those questions asked is the way to empower your thinking mind.
There is an old proverb that says: “He who cannot ask cannot live.” Life is all about asking questions and seeking answers from the questions asked-and that is empowering the human mind for knowledge and information.
After a devastating diagnosis of a disease , it is not uncommon for the patient to ask the question: “Why?” Asking this pivotal question can have either a negative or a positive impact on the patient. The question “Why me?” often leads to negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, frustration, hopelessness, and even unfairness; while the question “Why do I have this disease?” may result in the intent to do something positive about the causes of the disease and disorder, leading to healing.
In the Bible, Jesus said: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7) In real life, we must always ask ourselves many thought-provoking questions at all times. Asking questions is self-introspection, which is a positive process of self-intuition and self-reflection, without which there is no self-awareness and hence no personal growth and development. Therefore, asking questions is self-empowering the thinking mind to get the knowledge, which is a tool necessary for any healing process.
Remember, the kind of questions you ask determines the kind of life you are going to live. Your questions often trigger a set of mental answers, which may lead to actions or inactions, based on the choices you are going to make from the answers you have obtained. Your life is always the sum of all the choices you have made in the process. No matter what, life is a journey of self-discovery, a continual process of asking questions and seeking self-awakening answers from all the questions asked. The more questions you ask, the more powerful your thinking mind will become, and the more ready you will be to receive the self-intuitive answers.
The most important thing in questions-and-answers is to experience everything, not just to pursue the knowledge. As a matter of fact, knowledge can help, but it can also hinder. When you only follow what you know, and forget how and what you feel, you can easily be led down the wrong path. Extensive knowledge and even logical reasoning may not necessarily compound true human wisdom.
The bottom line: live every question you are going to ask yourself, and live in its full presence; be patient toward all those questions that you cannot find the answers right away. But true enlightenment may dawn on you one day when you find yourself asking fewer or even no more questions because by then you may already have got all the answers -- that is the ultimate self-awakening.
Therefore, continue the process of self-reflecting all the questions you are going to ask yourself; without this self-reflection, you may continue to exist in the trauma of your disease diagnosis. Now, start asking questions to put yourself on the right path to intuiting the TAO of healing.
Asking all the questions why you have been sick is your positive stepping backward into the past to fathom the ultimate truths of why you might have developed the devastating disease in the first place, thereby instrumental in moving you forward to healing the disease.
It is also important that you willingly accept your fate of getting the disease or disorder as the first step in your healing journey. It is futile to ask the question “Why me?”-which is no more than a prolonged and negative stepping backward into the past with regret and remorse.
Embracing whatever that comes along in your life, no matter what, is life-transformation, which is one of the essentials of healing.
Acceptance and recognition of your current health conditions is your first positive step toward healing. Denial and despair, on the other hand, would only put more roadblocks on your healing journey.
THE TAO OF HEALING
Healing begins with the mind, and not with the body. But the mind can either heal or harm. Therefore, wisdom plays a critical role in the healing process -- more specifically, the TAO wisdom of Lao Tzu.
What exactly is the TAO?
The TAO is the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the ancient sage from China. who was born with grey hair (a sign of wisdom related to old age and experience). He was well known for his profound wisdom, despite the fact that he did not have any disciples or followers, like many ancient sages did.
According to legend, Lao Tzu was just about to leave China for Tibet, because at that time China was a war zone with many warlords fighting one another. At the city gate, riding backward on an ox, he was detained and was told that he could not leave the country unless he had put down in writing all his brilliant ideas on human wisdom. Reluctantly and defiantly, he put down his profound wisdom in only 5,000 words. That was how Tao Te Ching came into existence.
The TAO Essentials
Despite its apparent mysticism and paradoxical nature, the TAO is not difficult to understand.
An empty mind with reverse thinking
All you need is an empty mindset with reverse thinking, which is very different from the conventional way of pre-conditioned thinking.
There was the well-known story of a professor visiting a Zen master and seeking information about Zen (an ancient Asian philosophy evolved from the TAO). The Zen master kept pouring tea into the already filled-up teacup in the professor’s hand, while the professor continued his own non-stop talking. The moral of the story: you must keep an empty mind before you can be open and receptive to any new idea; having a pre-conditioned mindset is a common characteristic of the contemporary human mind.
Living in the present
Live in the now. The past is gone; the future is yet to come. Only the present is real. The past provides you with regrets, while the future gives you unreal expectations.
No expectation and no over-doing
Expectation is a projection of the human mind into the future as "reality to be fulfilled" that requires over-doing, which is doing more than what is necessary. According to the TAO, less is for more, and
more is for less.
Spontaneity and impermanence
Everything follows a natural cycle, such as what goes up must also come down; nothing lasts.
No picking and no choosing
Given that everything is impermanent, including the good and the bad, embrace everything in life and learn from it.
Humility and simplicity
If the Tao can be summarized in one word, that word will be "humility"; with humility, there is no ego-self, and only simplicity in living.
According to Lao Tzu, the essentials of TAO cannot be expressed in words. TAO is not a concept. TAO is something that existed before there were words, before there was human speech, before there was even thought. TAO is something that must be lived and experienced in ordnder to fully appreciate what it is. As a matter of fact, words in themselves are not important because they are not the truths. They do not teach; they only point to the truths, which have to be self-intuited. There is a saying: “The teacher and the taught together create the teaching.” That is to say, teaching is the embodiment of awareness, assimilation, and application of understanding, without which there is no learning or teaching, not to mention true wisdom. In other words, the TAO is all about your own understanding of the self, of others, and of all the things around the self. But nobody can make you understand-not even words-and only your own thinking mind can.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
PRAYERS NOT ANSWERED
On the healing journey, there may be many detours and setbacks, causing the patient to think that his or her prayers for recovery are not answered.
So, what's the meaning of "prayers not answered"?
“Prayers not answered” simply means “expectations not fulfilled.”
But what’re your “expectations”? And where do they come from?
You experience your own life experiences through your five senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling) as a result of the choices of your actions, inactions, and reactions in your everyday life.
Your sensations often become your own perceptions, which then form your own assumptions and predictions; for example, a good education will lead to a successful career, and bring about a happy relationship.
All your “expectations” are only the personal and the subjective perceptions of your mind. But your “expectations” are often unreal and even self-delusive.
Even what you think you see with your own eyes may not necessarily be the reality.
To illustrate, in 1997, Richard Alexander from Indiana was convicted as a serial rapist, because one of the victims and her fiancé insisted that he was the perpetrator based on what the victim and her fiancé claimed that “they saw with their own eyes.”
But the convicted man was later exonerated and subsequently released in 2001, based on the new DNA science and other forensic evidence. Experts explained that a traumatic emotional experience, such as a rape, could “distort” the perception of an individual. That explains why the woman and her fiancé “swore” that Richard Alexander was the rapist, but evidently he wasn’t.
To illustrate “unreal expectations”: Helen Keller, celebrated author, political activist, and philanthropist, was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree; she became deaf and blind at an early age of less than two.
Imagine you were Helen’s parents: would you have “darkened expectations” of the future of Helen when she suddenly became deaf and blind?
Another illustration of “unreal expectations”: Shon Robert Hopwood, a young American convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to prison, became well-known as a jailhouse lawyer. While serving time in prison, Shon started spending time in the law library, became a jailhouse lawyer for the inmates, and ultimately a very accomplished United States Supreme Court practitioner by the time he left prison in 2009. Currently, he is professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.
If you were the parents of Shon, would your own expectations of your son have fallen short after his conviction of 12 years of imprisonment?
The truth of the matter
Your perceptions-whether true or untrue-become your realities, and are then stored in your subconscious mind as your memories.
Whenever you want to make a choice or decision, it’s your subconscious mind that provides your conscious mind with your many attitudes, beliefs, and predictions-all based on your memories of your past experiences. Your thinking mind then begins to process and project them into the future as your “expectations to be fulfilled.”
Points to Remember
Perceptions may easily become distorted and unreal. So, don’t let your own perceptions become your assumptive predictions.
Expectations are in the future, and their timeline is indefinite. So, don’t jump to any conclusion yet.
The past was gone; the future is yet to come; only the present is real. So, don’t use the past to predict the future as “expectations to be fulfilled.”
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
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