7 Responsibilities in the Art of Healing a Chronic Illness or Disability

Each of you have been given something that has evolved over millions of years; the Wisdom of your Body. When you develop a connection to this powerful inner resource, you play an active role in healing. When you ignore this resource; you tend to be a victim waiting for help.

When internal and external resources work together as partners; the best healing potential is realized. When you hide behind your thoughts and past conditioning, your medications will still work but your body will not respond with the eagerness to heal.

When you ask almost any sick person if they want to get better, their answer would be yes. If you looked deep inside of many patients; their body does not say the same thing. It says, ‘I am apathetic.’ Follow these seven requirements of healing and you will see if your sub-conscious mind really wants to heal.

  • You have to be responsible for your inner environment. Everything your mind creates exists because you want it to be there.
  • You have to be responsible for what part of you responds to your challenge. You have a positive side that responds harmoniously with the Wisdom of your Body and a negative side that responds harmoniously with your past conditioning. It is your choice which part of you responds to your health challenge.
  • You are responsible for the degree you trust this inner wisdom. Too often, we trust our past conditioning, which does not respond as well as that positive part of us. It is your choice.
  • You are responsible for your focus. Your focus triggers your body, which sends messages to your brain, so healing happens.
  • We are responsible for the attachments that block our awareness from performing its healing abilities. When you focus on your attachments, you are giving life to your old habits, instead of the part of you that needs to heal.
  • You are responsible for expressing your heart. Just as water cleans the inside of a pipe as it flows through, love flowing through you cleans the inside of you. Loving has a powerful effect on your will to live. The more you love…the stronger is your will to live.
  • Maybe the most important responsibility is in how you breathe. Your breath carries your awareness throughout your body. A shallow breath limits your healing process.

You can study each of these points and read expert analysis about them or you can just surrender to the Wisdom of your body and these automatically happen. It is just your mind that limits you.

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Learning How to Let Go of Your Life

This title might sound suicidal, but this is not my intention. When you look at your life as the consciousness that keeps you alive and allows you to be more active, letting go of your life is freeing your consciousness. You are freeing it from your thoughts and conditioning. This allows you to be conscious of powerful inner resources and develop a deep spiritual connection. This goes against the way most people live their life.

We have been conditioned to be very conscious of the way we think. Our conditioning is so strong that our consciousness is trapped in our thinking mind. Basically, this is another way of defining attachments. When your consciousness is connected to a thought, you are unable to connect to your deeper inner wisdom. On almost every spiritual path, you are encouraged to let go of your attachments, which allows consciousness to enter a spiritual realm.

I want to propose to you that this can naturally happen in every breath. When we learn how to breathe beyond our thinking mind, our in-breath is a way of letting go of the thoughts that define our life. This in-breath can create a habit that frees us from our thinking mind every time we breathe. Then, on our out-breath, our consciousness returns to our thinking mind with a clear perspective.

To the ego that naturally fears death and is what we identify with, this traps us in our thinking mind. For most people, their thinking mind serves them and makes them more efficient in this world. But, when a person aspires to an important goal, that beyond-thought reality is the home of powerful inner resources that they need. For instance, if you struggle with a health crisis, breathing into this depth is how you can become an active participant as a partner with your doctor. Not only do you activate your healing powers, you remove anxious thinking that limits your ability to heal.

If you want to express love to someone who is important to you, the ability to breathe beyond thoughts allows your heart’s expression to be pure. We limit our love by the way we think and were conditioned. If you had the power to transport consciousness to the silence beyond your thoughts, your love would be free from any limitations. Of course, this happens by a habit which can happen to most people naturally. But, for those whose love is limited by their thoughts and conditioning, they may need to put conscious effort into making this happen.

Another aspect of our life that this breath can serve is our work. When we hold onto our thoughts, we block creativity and our openness to new ideas. Creativity is an important part of work and can subconsciously be limited by the habits we create. Developing the habit of conscious breathing, where we let go of our thinking mind, has the ability to makes us more conscious on our job.

Focusing on breathing may sound insignificant, but it can add quality to every aspect of your life if done consciously.  I suggest that you take time and develop the habit of letting go of your thoughts. This can happen by practicing breathing into silence every night before you go to sleep and every morning when you wake up. This will allow you an instant escape from anxious thinking and, possibly, develop this habit in every breath.

In a health crisis, you need to learn how to let go, so that powerful inner resources can assist you. In my book, A Healthy Way to be Sick, you learn to apply this in a health crisis. In my book, The End: A Creative Approach to Death, you apply this same perspective to your final days, as you approach death.


© 2015 Marc Lerner

Is it Easier to Change the Cause of Your Stress or Your Interpretation?

When you face a challenge you cannot control (like a chronic illness, losing your job or the decision of another person), you can always control the way you interpret your perception of what happens.  Victims are people who accept what happens as the only reality they deal with. The empowered person realizes what happens is something they have to deal with; how they interpret what happens determines the quality of their life, their response and how their response is received by others.

Imagine the power you have in the simple act of how you interpret your reality. The person with an externally directed focus only looks outside for the solutions to his problems. The person with an internally focused awareness tends to look within for the solutions of his problems. Both inner and outer focuses have qualities for solutions, but with a conscious breath, the inner and outer harmoniously work together. We need experts’ advice in the area they specialize and we need our inner resources to consciously respond to their advice.

Think of our in-breath as the way we take in input and connect to inner wisdom. Then, in a split second, our body processes that input, which activates our powerful inner resources to respond.   It is not a matter of choice; our mind and body are previously programmed to respond in a specific way.  

Here is our biggest question: Can the conscious and subconscious mind and body be reconditioned? The answer is complex with many variables, but the main point is, if you really want it to. Most people do not even consider that question unless their life or what they value is threatened. People with chronic illness, facing the threat of death desperately strive to change, but some are successful and some are not.

The way we interpret our situation plays a significant part in how we deal with our struggles; that is the easiest thing to change. You can change a negative interpretation simply by changing the habit of what part of you interprets it. You can consciously condition habits that are connected you to your inner wisdom instead of the you that was locked into negative past conditioning. That does not change the problems you face; it just changes how you perceive and interpret your situation. Of course, you could be a victim to your past conditioning and simply respond as usual…but why?

By consciously conditioning a new self-image, the part of you that interprets thoughts and perception…you see the world differently. Now this new self-image is not purely fantasy; it can be made from your past so that you can identify with it.  Even though the self-image you want to change was strongly conditioned and may resist change, you can create new habits that make it feel like a special part of you. When that special part of you deals with your problem, you respond more consciously with a stronger quality of life.

If this can be done with a significant life skill like your self-image, why can’t it be done with skills like self-trust, confidence and how we utilize our inner resources? We do not have to rely on how we have been conditioned; we have the power to recondition our mind. Victims feel their past conditioning is their reality. Empowered people are free to recondition their mind. If this is an easy thing to do, you have no excuse not to do it.

You can develop a positive self-image in my book, The Positive Self: Change Your Self-Image and You Change Your Life. Then, you can learn how to apply it to your health in A Healthy Way to be Sick. Find them on Amazon/Kindle.com.

 

© 2015 Marc Lerner

THE WHOLE BRAIN

Once we understand how the brain works, we can use it to manifest wisdom. We travel through life in three main states of consciousness. The first stage I call “Innocent.” As young children, we do not know right from wrong–we are innocent. Older, we learn to distinguish between right and wrong and we develop the second stage, which I call the “Doer.”

 

The “Doer” performs actions controlled by the conscious mind, doing right and avoiding wrong and the punishment wrong actions bring. The “Doer” is focused on thoughts within the mind. This is a natural and very important learning stage, but many of us get stuck in this stage and do not go on to the next.

 

I call the final stage the “Receiver.”  In this stage, we receive from our own wisdom and accept its lessons with real openness. Many who are aware of the difference between these stages feel that it is almost an “either/or” situation; either one performs actions as the Doer, or he meditates and goes deep within and receives deeper experiences. But instead of either/or, both states of mind can exist simultaneously. We can perform actions and attain this depth by learning how to “be,” as we simply live our lives.

 

In the healing process, we need to use our whole brain. We need to do things that are right, like eating healthy foods and taking the correct medicine. We need to be receptive and listen to the Wisdom of our Body. Sometimes, a person does not learn to use their whole brain until they face a crisis, like a chronic illness.

 

When I began working with the combat veterans, they often thought I was “against” thinking. They told me that when they were in combat they had to think. My response to this was that thinking itself is not bad.  My own work obviously involves a lot of thinking. But thinking can take place in the Doer stage of consciousness, or we can learn to be receptive and receive thoughts from the deeper wisdom of being.

 

“Receptive thinking” is most likely the type of thinking that took place in a combat situation for the veterans. In those situations they were, by necessity, so connected to life that their thoughts had to come from a higher consciousness.

 

If we were to step back for a moment, we would see that the brain is the creator of every experience we have. Most of us  are conditioned to look first to external things for the experiences we want.  This happens automatically, but the external world can only activate the brain to create the desired experience. It is the brain itself that creates the experience. We can learn to use our brains to create experiences we want.

 

Once we enter the Receptive stage, we can learn a great deal from inner wisdom. The better we understand how the brain works, the easier it is to use it. Dr. Paul MacLean, a brain researcher, shows us that the brain is made of three main parts.   He calls the first part of the brain, the “Reptilian” brain. This part of the brain operates the bodily functions and is concerned with survival.

 

The next part of the brain is called the “Mammalian” brain. This is our emotional center. The third part of the brain, which is found in more evolved mammals, is called the “New” brain. The New brain is made up of two hemispheres. The Left hemisphere stores our thinking and speaking abilities. The Right hemisphere is the home of our creative and spatial awareness, as well as our connection to the Mammalian and Reptilian brains.

 

The New brain is the tool we use to adapt to society.  While these two hemispheres operate independently, they are both involved in many of the things we do.  When we speak, the Left hemisphere deals with the linear process of thinking and speaking, while the Right hemisphere can be involved with spatial awareness and creativity.  Each part of the brain is unique, but they cannot be separated into definite categories.  The fact that they work together means that analyzing the brain does not produce a “black and white” picture; rather, these two hemispheres work together.

 

In healing, we need to use the whole brain. The Left hemisphere is used to become a partner with your doctor. The Right hemisphere is a more receptive mind, which can creatively deal with uncomfortable situations. This part of the brain is connected to the Mammalian brain, which deals with emotions.

Many illnesses are affected by suppressing emotion. This makes the Mammalian brain ineffective and cuts down the connection to the Reptilian brain, which deals with the body’s functions. In a healthy brain, there is a natural flow between the New brain and the Reptilian brain and back again. This is where you communicate to your body and the Wisdom of the Body communicates to you.

 

Obviously, we do not think this way under normal conditions. When we face a challenge, like a serious illness, we have to understand this flow. It is easy to block the flow in our everyday life, simply by unconscious communications to the body and sensitivity to what the body gives back. Using the whole brain is essential in a health crisis, but it is also needed to live a quality life.

The two books I have written that will further explain this article are A Healthy Way to be Sick and The Positive Self: Change Your Self-Image and You Change Your Life. (Amazon/Kindle)

How to Share with Others When You Are Chronically Ill or Disabled

  

When people greet you with, “Hi, how are you?” most of the time they do not expect you to answer the question. When you are dealing with a chronic illness, that question can be very annoying. A person in a health struggle has to be very aware of who they are speaking to and not share with people who cannot consciously deal with it. This may seem like a small thing, but sometimes the little changes you make in your mind can completely change your perspective.

How you share sets the tone of how you relate to your illness. If your sharing is casual, giving pat answers only, your focus on your illness becomes limited. If your sharing is panicky, expressing fear, your focus will be scattered.  The ideal focus is to allow the interest of who you are talking to, to pull your answers out. This is a natural phenomenon; when you talk to someone who is truly interested, there is a flow and sharing seems to be easier. When you talk to someone with is not truly interested or uncomfortable relating to you, your sharing is awkward and does not seem to flow. So, be conscious of who you share with because it sets the tone for how you communicate about your illness.

It is important to be conscious of what you are sharing, because it is very easy to fall into unconscious, manipulative actions. For example, when a child does not want to go to school, they will often say, “I don’t feel good.” This is something children might do to get out of going to school, but that behavior can spill into other areas of your life. For example, a chronically ill person might use their illness to get out of something they do not want to do. The alternative is just to be truthful and share without any ulterior motives.

When some people have had a chronic illness for a long time, it is not uncommon for them not to want to talk about it.  They may have explained it over and over and there may be no hope for improvement in the future.  This type of sharing can create a dangerous habit, where they use avoidance and it becomes a natural response.

Often, people will try to serve you by offering you the newest ‘magic cure.’ Even though they are well-meaning, I suggest that you be open to everything, but check everything with your doctor.  It is important to have an objective perspective, where wishful thinking does not lead you down unscientific paths.

If you share with someone in an unconscious way (for instance, complaining and self-pity), you may be setting up thought patterns that do not serve you.  The ideal state of mind for a person in a health struggle is to be conscious in the moment, connected to inner resources and accepting the responsibility that this is your body. This does not depend on who you talk to.

Go to Amazon/Kindle.com to purchase A Healthy Way to be Sick, In this book, you will become an empowered patient. You will talk with the confidence that, even though you are sick, you are in control. In the book, The Positive Self: Change Your Self-Image and You Change Your Life, you develop this perspective in your entire life. The intensity of a chronic illness has the ability to make you dig deep to find resources and share from an empowered perspective.

© 2015 Marc Lerner

I Have Found a Healthy Way to be Sick and So Can You

I have had multiple sclerosis since 1981. I am legally blind in a wheel chair with a heart full of love living with a high quality of life. I do not feel it is my intellect that gives me quality; it is the wisdom of my body. My ego may be actively involved, but when it steps aside and allows the Wisdom of my Body to manifest, I find a healthy way to be sick.

I do not feel as though I do health, I receive it with instructions from my body. Hunger tells me how much to eat and sometimes what I am hungry for. In the past, my mind created habits that were not always harmonious with the body’s wisdom. When dealing with healing with sensitivity, old habits can be broken. Just as a person with lung cancer finds the motivation to quit smoking when they are open to inner wisdom, you can find inner wisdom to guide you in what to eat.

When I see a cancer patient smoking, I feel they think the habits in their mind are more important than life itself. When your priority is to be true to inner wisdom, it benefits your health and healing. When thinking is your priority, you are guided by old habits and those may have contributed to your health problems. I am humbled when I respect my inner wisdom and when humbled I am more receptive to the Wisdom of my Body.

The significant people in my life play an important role also. Being loved and loving strengthens the will to live and activates the Wisdom of my Body.  When I was facing a health struggle and being close to death, I felt my connection to my wife strengthen my will to live. Obviously, I did not heal from my MS, but I was more open to the Wisdom of my Body. I was in Hospice for three months, but it took that long to change my priorities.

Two of my books are relevant to this blog; A Healthy Way to be Sick and A Poetic View of Hospice. You will find them at Amazon/Kindle.

For any of my books, a Power summary is available here.

Hospital Navigation as an Active Patient

The hospital is a place where a lot of frustration and anxiety meet professional care. It is a place where an incredible amount of information is passed. I want to focus on the patient’s role in dealing with the hospital situation. I suggest that the patient strive to be in a super-conscious state of mind. It is difficult for a patient to agree or disagree with a diagnosis, but the patient can be extremely alert when a doctor says what they are going to do.

One time, I was in a pre-surgery room getting prepped for trigeminal nerve (brain) surgery. I was in intense pain. The doctor was reviewing the surgical procedures before I was anesthetized. When he said the surgery would be on the nerve leading to the right side of my jaw, I immediately was alarmed. This was because the pain and nerve went to the left side of my jaw.  After the doctor checked, he said the right side was what was written on the report. He apologized and operated on the correct side. It showed how important patient participation is.

I feel the best way for a patient to deal with the complex environment of a hospital is to be totally alert. I did not have to go to medical school to know the difference between right and left.

This was a dramatic example, but this consciousness is needed on the mundane level of everything you do when you are a patient in the hospital. You should always ask what medication is being given or what procedure you are scheduled for or what meal has been delivered to you. I do not suggest that you be an antagonistic patient, but all these issues are dealt with by being more conscious.

Another conscious thing you can do is to have someone you trust be with you as your advocate. Sometimes, when I was sick in the hospital, I would go in and out of being awake and aware. At those times, it was helpful to have a second set of eyes and ears. Whether you have an advocate or not, being more conscious is not only to catch mistakes, but it is a way to make the treatments and medication more effective.

This is not something you should wait to develop while you are in the hospital. This is how you should enter the hospital, so it becomes a natural part of your life. You do not TRY to be conscious. You only TRY to do something when you feel you cannot do it.  Illness is a great motivator. It can force you to become more conscious, so you do everything you can to deal with it. This is one of the benefits of being sick.

In my book “A Healthy Way to Be Sick,” you will develop the life skills that make you a conscious patient. Illness can be a spiritual experience when you are conscious. Being in that state of mind helps the healing process. The conscious perspective is essential in healing. You can develop the conscious perspective in my book “The Positive Self, Change your Self Image and Change Your Life”. My books are available on Amazon/Kindle

From Diagnosis to the End

In the first few minutes after you receive a diagnosis, you set the tone of how you are going to deal with it. This is the way you are going to relate to your illness from that point on, until it is consciously changed. Doctors say that when a person hears a diagnosis of cancer and slams his fist on the desk, he lives longer and becomes more involved than a person who passively accepts it. Our initial reaction to the diagnosis plays a significant role, but it can consciously be changed by developing better life skills. If you trust your inner resources, you become more confident in dealing with challenges. These include self-trust, self-image and confidence.
You trust what is important to you. When you see your inner resources as an important part of your life, you confidently rely on them. When you do not see them as important, you become a passive victim, waiting
for help to come from other than yourself. In my book, A Healthy Way to be Sick, you learn how to move importance from things that are outside of you to what I call the Zero Point, where you trust yourself. Basically, that says that your life and inner wisdom are more important than your thoughts and perceptions. In a health crisis, self-trust is essential to become an
equal partner with your doctor. The doctor represents the medical world and the resources it takes to heal you. In that partnership, you represent the inner world and the inner resources it takes to heal the body and respond to medical treatments.
The next inner resource is developing a strong self-image. We think to our self-image, which is the way we interpret what is happening. A positive self-image interprets challenges in such a way that you play a significant role. Your interpretation determines the conclusion you arrive at. A negative self-image plays the role of a victim and hesitates to get
actively involved.  Since we trust what is important, we have to see our self-image as an important part of the healing process. In my book, The Positive Self: Change Your Self-Image and You Change Your Life, you develop a self-image that serves every part of you. It is your positive self that openly receives powerful inner resources and plays an active role in
healing.
The most important thing you have in healing is the attitude you have about your illness. Attitudes are based on the decisions you made in the past, when you dealt with similar situations. For instance, if in the past when you dealt with a health struggle, you decided that you cannot deal with it, you formed the attitude that eliminated active involvement in the
future. The poor decision came more likely from your negative self. It is possible to image that same situation and create a decision from your positive self, which will significantly change the attitude you have now. If you are more connected to a positive self-image in your everyday life now, that decision naturally changes.                                                                        Confidence is a result of your positive self being kind and compassionate to your negative self. This eliminates the self-doubt that negative conditioning plays in your life. Confidence, or ‘with faith’, brings a spiritual quality to the challenges you face. This quality opens you to something bigger than yourself to deal with your challenge. It eliminates the self-doubt you, too often, insert into challenges. We cannot always change the challenge we face, but we can always change what part of us deals with that challenge. Confidence is an important ingredient in really trusting ourselves.                                              Every part of a health challenge needs to have the best part of you participate. When that happens, you are a better partner with your doctor. This applies, not only to your conscious lifetime, but it also applies to how you face death. This does not only involve you, but also the people you love and those who care for you. Continue reading

How to be Receptive to Your Deepest Wisdom

Everybody has wisdom; we just do not always know how to tap it. We value our thoughts and identify with them sometimes more than our wisdom. To really tap an inner wisdom, we have to go beyond thinking and be receptive to the Wisdom of our Body.

Visualize linear thinking as an unbroken horizontal line. Imagine inner wisdom resting deeper than linear thinking, below the line. This inner wisdom comes from the Wisdom of the Body. To receive input from the Wisdom of your Body, you have to create a space in your linear thinking line. This space can be opened by creativity, love or traumatic experience.

Creativity uses what you know in a different perspective, painting a picture linear thinking cannot grasp. You may end up with the same conclusions, but along the way, new things are revealed. For instance, when poetry captured what I felt like in regards to my declining health, the new path was spiritual instead of resigning to simple worries and fears. I learned a lot on the creative path, which took me, the object of who was dying, out of the picture. I have been an MS patient for 34 years.

My illness was not killing me; it just created suffering that steadily increased. After fear and worry were less, I was sharing more easily with those I loved. I sometimes got so into the creative perspective, I had positive dreams where I had no pain. This carried over to my everyday life, where I would forget that my death was not far away. It is easier for people to share with me on a creative path because there is no pity needed and they are more comfortable.

Another way of penetrating the linear thinking plane is simple love. The expression, ‘It touched my heart,’ shows being conscious of the inner reality beyond thought. Let me use my experience with my wife as an example. I feel that the love that Amy and I share comes from a depth beyond thinking. For me to be able to receive that love, there has to be a space and an openness on the thinking level. That love is received, not by something I do, but by opening my heart and desiring a strong connection. This is not linear thinking. In a loving relationship, there is a natural attraction.

That openness that happens in love is like a doorway, where your deepest wisdom can pass into your conscious mind. Without that opening, people get trapped into linear thinking. I feel, with an illness that causes pain and suffering, it is natural to set limits on how long you want to live.

I write this with pain rated 4 out of 10 after a good night’s sleep. I have had a rating of 8 out of 10 before my brain surgery, so I know what the future can bring. I know that when pain gets more intense, the linear thinking level gets tight and impenetrable, making it hard to connect to love and wisdom. That is when I will not want to live. Amy and my love is strong and we can face this consciously when the time comes. There are many things in our life that can penetrate the linear plane. They can be dramatic or as simple as a good night kiss. We just have to be open and receptive when it happens

I wrote a series of books. They take this consciousness from a conscious point of view with a positive self-image through illness and a healthy way to be sick to literally approaching death in a creative way. Please find them on Amazon/Kindle under Marc Lerner. Even if you are not dealing with a health struggle, these books will teach you how to tap your inner wisdom to deal with any struggles you may face.