I read a great book recently, Love, Medicine and Miracles by Bernie S. Siegal M.D.
The subtitle of the book is “Lessons learned about self-healing from a surgeon’s experience with exceptional patients,” and, in it, Siegal, a surgeon, discusses the psychosomatic influence on illness, health and recovery.
This whole question of how patients can help with their healing is a good one. Too many people fall into the conventional patient-doctor relationship and lose control of their own healing processes. Siegel says patients who disagree with him argue about procedures and want to know everything about what is going on are “exceptional” and have a better chance of survival (he was a cancer surgeon) then those who just do what they are told, because they are involved in their own healing, rather than being a passive shell for doctors to throw their medicine into.
Siegal took his practice one step further and had group counseling/therapy sessions with his patients that focused their mental energies on healing ALL aspects of their life. Most western MDs just stick to prescribing pills and procedures, but Siegel saw his patients literally cure themselves by “curing” their lives.
When you study the mind-body connection, you read about this time and time again. Like the story of the fella who had incurable Leukemia and was given three months to live and moved out west to the beautiful country that nourished him and lived another 40 years. The opposite can also be true. My mother, God rest her beautiful soul, was “given” a 5-7 year sentence by her oncologist. She died within weeks of that prognosis — or shall I call it hex? She did not believe she was going to live, had no compelling vision of the future and died right on schedule. She fought it medically, but psychologically she was certain of the time frame her doctor had given her.
“Just as negativity feeds on itself so does the positive outlook of a survivor, and the body reflects the mind,” Siegal writes.
Hope is a big part of survival and Siegel mocks the idea of “false hope” because all hope is real. As my father has said to me for 50 years, “Where there is life there is hope.”
Okay, so we all die and maybe some disease will be the cause of it, this does not mean we should resign ourselves “to our fate.” It means that when given a life-threatening prognosis, it is time to get the internal house in order and learn to live at peace with yourself. Then whether you succumb or not, your time here will be one of peace and contentment.
Siegel’s book concludes that love is the greatest healing energy of all. It is hard to disagree, as we need to tap into this vibrational energy for true healing to occur. Love is what transcends life and death, a loving person will leave behind a residue of good will that will be felt long after he or she has died.