- deciphering the meaning of illness
“The menu is not the meal.”
― Alan W. Watts
In writing of metaphysics, in part about how our mind and emotions can influence medical conditions in our physical body, my intention is not to induce fear, upset or offend anyone by suggesting you brought the illness upon yourself intentionally, or you are to blame, but to simply make you more aware of how what you think and the feelings that arise from your thoughts and beliefs do have a bearing, and to think about any illness you have currently from a wider, deeper perspective, to help you realise how the way you currently lead your life – ie what you eat and drink, how you deal with stress, how you move, even your default thinking position, may be affecting your health etc. without you knowing. You are what you digest, and you are what you think and believe. Your history, ie your story through life, affects your biology.
I know that there are lots of different circumstances and environments in which people become ill, it’s not simply as easy as identifying the root causes of your condition and getting on with it. If anyone had put this kind of thinking in front me when I was ill or facing a serious condition, there’s no way I would have been ready to hear it. I only came to this after life had thrown me many opportunities to learn.
You may or may not be ready to think of things from a metaphysical perspective. According to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, wisdom recognises that everything in life has its own season—which means in human activities, what and how we think and do, as well as in the realm of nature, the way things are naturally. “There is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (3:1). So rather than judge this whole metaphysical thing, just maybe accept that now is not your time to get into it, or it is time but with a degree of healthy scepticism. It may just be a seed has been planted and in due season, you will think differently.
Perhaps you are getting married or becoming a parent for the first time. Maybe you are leaving school and entering the workforce or moving from fulltime work to retirement. As we move from season to season, our priorities change, so must our thinking, so must our behaviour. We may need to put aside what we did in the past and the ways we did it, or how we have typically thought, and be prepared to funnel our energy into something else, new ways, new behaviours, new attitudes.
When life brings challenges and changes in our circumstances, responsibilities, and obligations, we must responsibly and wisely discern whether our usual way of thinking and doing is any longer relevant and then what kind of commitments we should make, seeking in whatever we do to do so for the greater good of ourselves and all concerned. Biblically we might say, “do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31) and that as we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will guide us in the way we should go. Proverbs 3:6
So please, use your inner guidance in all of this. If you start reading about metaphysical ways and it feels unbearably uncomfortable, maybe save it for another day. If it doesn’t feel so bad, then read on.
Gently does it.
Metaphysics – Being the Detective
So, you have noticed some symptoms or signs, you may even believe you have such-and-such a medical condition, and at some point you may head off to your general practitioner to get things checked, diagnosed, and treated. If you think about it, we have been conditioned into wanting things to be treated, not cured.
So you are likely to get, on average, a ten minute appointment, at the end of which you are more than likely to emerge with a name for your condition and perhaps a prescription to help alleviate it or hopefully make it disappear. But countless are the times when I have emerged no wiser as to what I have, why I have it, but I can be sure I will emerge with a prescription!
How can you prescribe for something if (a) you do not know what it is and (b) you don’t know what’s causing it?
Example: - I presented with a fungus on the tongue – my suspicion was it was a form of candidiasis, stemming from my diabetes.
Doctor said he didn’t know what it was and gave me a lotion with which to wash my mouth. It did not help.
I followed the candidiasis notion. I researched. I found The Candida Crusher. I realised that, as I had diabetes, an autoimmune condition, all would be stemming from the state of my stomach, nutrition, and eating too many sugars and carbs. So I set to and ceased eating sugar and carbs and developed a regimen of nurturing good gut bacteria / flora.
I explored the metaphysics of candidiasis: -
Possible cause – feeling unfocussed and scattered (this was true at the time, as I was dealing with mounting poor health and a death in the family) lots of frustration and anger (I was hugely frustrated and angry at the way the conventional medical model was treating my family member.) Lots of demands were being made on my by other family members and I could not trust them to “pitch up.” They were willing to take and not contribute.
So, learning from the metaphysical I began to be more focussed, strengthen boundaries with family members, learned to trust my instincts and needs more, meditated more and dealt with the frustration and anger, reprioritised what I needed to offer and could offer.
Layers upon Layers
Candida has never returned.
Hopefully the above example will begin to show how we can use metaphysics to get to the causes of our condition.
Pharmaceutical pills and potions do not treat the root cause (and often create nastier side effects for which additional pills are needed) and so the condition may be likely to re-occur. And out of sight, the causation, unheeded, is worsening, because it is not being treated. In the above example that also means that people will continue to treat you the way you allow them to treat you.
And so, we must always remember that conventional medicine is limited in what it can offer and therefore, increasingly, need to turn to other approaches and medical modalities.
A different approach
Functional, integrative, holistic medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy, nutritional and metaphysical medicine all aim to get us get to the root cause.
Conventional medicine Metaphysical / spiritual / functional etc
Usually free at the point of delivery Patient pays (or insurance)
Ten-minute consultation Usually consultations of 1 – 2 hours
Focus on / treat your symptom Takes account of lifestyle and history
Seeks to identify cause
Reductionist Explores holistically
Sees you as bits and symptoms Sees you as a whole person of intercommunicating
processes and energy
Treatment will include Treatment modalities and possibilities are many
Pharmaceutical drugs Practitioners may offer one approach, many will offer several
Radiation therapy Will respect and use conventional medicine
Surgery In addition can include
Lifestyle changes recommendations
Facilitating changes to patient attitudes and beliefs
Exploring the metaphysical – beyond the physical
Attention to autoimmune conditions, inflammation
and gut health
Movement and mobility, exercise
Spirituality, spiritual beliefs
On this page, we explore metaphysical medicine which may be practised by functional, integrative, and holistic practitioners etc...
Simplistically, metaphysics, or the study of the core, cause, and fundamentals of all ideas, including illness and conditions, is a great field to draw on and use when considering medicine, healing, and health. Metaphysical healing is based on the idea that our negative thinking, our less-than positive thought patterns or beliefs, or putting bad energy out into the world can cause a person to become ill. Metaphysical healing is based on the belief that these negative mental patterns, left unchecked, ignored, denied, suppressed, can eventually result in physical disease or illness; and that the reversing of those negative mental patterns (beliefs) into positive patterns can in turn lead to healing.
Our belief patterns essentially govern our lives and are operating in our sub-conscious mind; they evolve from childhood either directly from what we are told, “children should be seen and not heard” or “money doesn’t grow on trees” (and on any adult injunctions we make up our belief system eg I’d best not speak around adults, I can’t express myself, I can’t spend money on me, I’d best be careful about money, I must hoard money etc) or how we interpret a life experience. For example, if we notice our parents always arguing and one strikes the other, we may develop a belief that “it is not safe to express emotion!” or “it’s not safe to be around a man /a woman.) Our beliefs are unique to us. No two people witnessing the same experience will determine the same beliefs.
Having explained metaphysics in more detail elsewhere on this site, I want to use this page to help guide you as to how you may take a metaphysical approach to determining the possible causes of your illness or condition.
Understanding the cause of a condition does not automatically cure it. But it can lead to a path of things you may need to do or be to effect treatment of the cause.
A metaphysical/spiritual approach should be used as a support and in conjunction with traditional approaches to medical consultations and diagnosis and treatment by your doctor. That said, your doctor may never have heard of metaphysics or strongly disapprove, and you may end up doing as I have had to do, simply be selective in what I disclose. Certainly, I use far more metaphysical approaches than conventional medicine successfully has to offer. I confess I am biased but after 20 years of the NHS providing a very reductionist, narrow, let’s-treat-only-the-symptoms approach, I am taking ownership of what happens to my body.
If you opt for involving traditional treatment alone, and not addressing the cause, the whole body (mind/body/spirit), the ailment will either continue, or return, or a new one, but related, will emerge. Someone with poorly treated diabetes is likely to go on to have heart conditions, blindness, leg gangrene etc
Metaphysical theory is as old as time itself and can be traced back to the Christian bible, to Jesus, the Master Healer. Today it's often referred to as the Mind/Body/Spirit connection / approach to healing.
It states that our thought patterns effect the health of our body.
Fundamentally you create an ease or "dis-ease" in your body, a balance or imbalance in the body’s energy system (not a concept well-known in the West) by the way you think and feel. Therefore, each emotional thought pattern, belief system, is really an underlying "cause" of a physical illness, and so understanding the illness from this metaphysical perspective can help you address the cause and thereby help the body to dissolve the disease or you better manage it. In other words, how you think, what you believe, will create how you are physically.
So much of metaphysics can centre around your life story, what you experience and what you tell yourself as a result, your thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Often the key beliefs and thought systems are as a direct result of early life experiences which in some guise we keep reinforcing as we go through life.
Your body is always working to stay in balance and it will try to let you know when it is going out of balance and there there's an issue that needs to be addressed. Every bit of pain, stiffness, discomfort (physical or emotional) sign or symptom is the body’s way of saying, “Pay attention.” Cancer is not the body packing up; it is the body’s final big whammy call-to-action to get you to change your lifestyle – be that your thoughts, beliefs, nutrition, movement, actions, or whatever.
Ailments tend to start out as minor discomforts. But we tend to overrule them. I remember once before I was into metaphysics, when occasionally I would get tummy twinges and some acid reflux. But after a couple of days, it would disappear until on one occasion, for four weeks, during which time I consulted with my doctor who kept repeating, “If it does not get better come back and see me !!!” it got worse and worse to the point where I had to be rushed to Accident and Emergency – where I was given about six hours for the doctors to affect a miracle and get me my life back. Sepsis had spread throughout every body organ and was literally killing me.
When ignored, minor issues grow into more serious issues and, as you could read above, life threatening situations.
So the key question is: - how do you recognise there's a problem and interpret the body's messages?
First, let’s cover a few basic principles about energy within the body. Your lesson one in energy medicine!
Energy flows in the body in a clockwise motion, from the root of your spine, to the crown of your head and back again. In the West we tend to ignore what we cannot see. Not so in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, acupressure, energy medicine, Reiki, Bio-energy healing where you will hear speak of words such as Chi, Ki, etc.
This energy flow has both a physical and emotional connection to your being. The right side of your body is related to masculine/physical energies (ie your doing side) and the left side related to feminine/emotional energies (your feeling and being side.)
Pause. Think about where you have a present condition or symptom. Which side of the body is it on? Using the previous paragraph, do you think the root cause is more likely to be emotional or physical? Is it telling you you are too busy “doing” in your life and not paying enough attention to your feelings, how you need to just be? Is it related to your lack of expression of your masculine (logical. analytical) or feminine (emotional, creative, intuitive) side, your relationship to a man or woman?
Each part of your body is related to a concept of life. If you are having discomfort in your right wrist, this would indicate you're having difficulty in the way you're "handling" a situation. If the wrist is stiff, then where are you being stubborn, inflexible, even in your thinking?
If you have diabetes, you are likely to have problems with the pancreas. Pancreas problems equate to not being able to enjoy the sweetness in life. If you were to buy a text book giving the metaphysical concepts and meanings you would learn that diabetes is when the sweetness goes out of life. In my own case, that is exactly what happened in my early 40s when I suffered major life traumas, except it was about eighteen months before signs and symptoms began to show – in my case, first in my eyes.
Conceptually, eyes are when we just don’t get it, we can’t see what’s going on, refuse to see, or what the connections are.
And at the time I didn’t, I knew nothing about metaphysics. I just got on with life, did not deal with the emotional impact of the traumas. I did not know how at the time.
Can you begin to understand how you need to be a bit of a detective when it comes to metaphysics? You need to be willing to investigate under headings such as - concepts, sides of the body, body parts, life history, negative emotional experiences, and medical conditions.
Begin by asking, what does this body part do for me? As the eyes help you to see (literally and metaphysically) the knees allow you to bend and be flexible, the pancreas manages the sugar in your body so look at the sweetness in your life. Has it left you? Did someone leave you, were you made redundant, lose all your money; anything could have caused the sweetness to dissolve from life. Are you so focused on the material things in life that you're missing out on the sweetness and fun and joy that life offers you? Are you too much of a human doing to be a human being?
Next look at which side of the body the ailment is manifesting on. The left side where you're dealing with emotions, how you're reacting to situations in your thoughts? Or on the right side which is affected by the physical actions you're making? This is where the right/masculine or left/feminine energies come into play.
It's important too to consider who is involved in a situation that is currently causing you stress. I once was in a job where I was daily verbally bullied by a female boss. At the time, my intuitive, creative (more feminine qualities) suffered and closed down, I became depressed – and metaphysically depression is about anger one does not feel one should have, a feeling of hopelessness.
If you're having an issue with the right side of your body, you could be having an issue with a male figure you're dealing with. ..be they a spouse, sibling, son, daughter, friend or boss.
Working it Out
If you can, first aim to get a medical diagnosis. If you can trust the diagnosis, you can then use a guide book (start with You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L Hay or go to the metaphysical definitions for 20 conditions) or use your own knowledge to work out the following
Condition Probable cause Mental Belief Block Emotional Block
Skin itch Who / what irritates you? M/F? I never get what I want I feel unsatisfied
What’s going against the grain I am unworthy I dislike myself
What/whom do you itch to get away from? I need more me time I am tired
I don’t like my life I’m itching to change I feel regret, remorse
You need to be willing to be open to the truth, even if it can be hurtful. See the truth rather as an opportunity from which to heal and grow. Some situations can be things you don't want to face, or admit that you are doing, either to others or to yourself. So you must be willing to face the truth and be open to changing your own mental patterns
You need to be committed to your healing and healing takes time.
You need to be willing to put in the time to do the detecting, the deciphering, the working it out.
You need to be determined.
And with metaphysics, until you’re really into it, you need to be prepared for it to push your buttons! You may simply think, “This is tosh. How can this be so?” An element of faith is needed.
The first thing to do is look at the ailment and decipher it's underlying issue. You can use You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L Hay or go to the metaphysical definitions for 20 conditions , or try making the connection yourself. Some people with simpler conditions just know! Earache means there is something you are just not willing to hear, to listen to, or accept; eye problems mean something you are unwilling to see.
Or you might find it useful to tell yourself a story eg
Your condition – tight, painful shoulders
Story – you have had the painful shoulders for some time now and nothing eases the pain or stiffness. You notice the pain increases on the right side when your male colleagues are present.
So what do shoulders do? They carry things – what are you carrying, if at all?
They carry heavy burdens – where in life are you carrying heavy burdens? Are you carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders?
Note, in this example, we're talking about shoulders ie both. So how does that correspond to your life situations?
Remember – left = feminine and emotional and right is masculine and physical. Both means we're talking about how you feel you're carrying the load both emotionally and doing all the things life requires you to do physically. This could mean you're responsible for always carrying and caring for the kids, you need to share the load, the house, you have the burden of the chores of the house, cooking, grocery shopping and so on. Having no down time for yourself. This can be overwhelming and can often make you feel like you have no emotional support at home for all the things you're doing either. In this example, there is a clue about your make colleagues so questions around them need to happen eg – do you need to be more assertive in their presence, do you you need to have clearer boundaries around them, what pressure do you feel when with them and how can you address that? Can you see where this is going?
(As an aside, you may be reading and saying, “Well this example does not apply to me. My shoulders are fine thank you.” Well it is only used to exemplify BUT if the examples fit in some measure, it may be some time before the shoulder problems manifest. You may have male colleagues and no sore shoulders at present but remember it takes time for the physical to manifest … often years, by which time in this case you may have moved to a new working environment but the “damage” has already been done and gone unheeded.)
Addressing The Issue – in this case itching or shoulder problems
Now that you know what the underlying issue is, you probably know what to do next.
Knowing is all well and good, but if you don't work to change the outlook the issue will not go away.
So some courses of action, in alphabetical order, in the case of itching or sore shoulders, could be
Affirmations – to counter in positive terms your negative thoughts and beliefs eg
Present thought New thoughts ie affirmation
I am unworthy I deserve to life fully and freely
Life is just one things after another I allow all experiences to be joyous and loving
I’m itching for things to be different I am always at peace wherever I am
Men are … I now view men as (in a more positive light)
Change your outlook, your limiting beliefs
Coaching – if there is a need to re-assess work life balance
Counselling – to help with the emotional issues
Emotional Freedom Techniques – to deal with the emotional issues
Medication – steroids, pain relief
Nutritional therapy – especially for all things itch
Physical therapy eg physiotherapies, Yoga, Qi Gong, Pilates, Walking, Swimming, Dancing,
Reprioritise – put yourself first more often, do things just for you, get more fun into your life, be more spontaneous, cease being a martyr, delegate
Stress - reduce the stressors in your life – most medical conditions are stress related
TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine –
Time out with friends
The above are just some ways to deal with issues in your life. Holistic healing is not meant to take place of conventional medicine. So the first step is not to self diagnose your problem, but to find a doctor you trust and verify your condition bearing in mind that doctors do not know everything – they cannot be expected to and it is your body so you need to be your own meta-physician.
Use the mainstream medicines that are offered and in conjunction with those, start a holistic approach. From a metaphysical point of view, addressing the underlying cause is paramount to reversing or curing the ailment. If it's not too late. So, again, how do you address the cause?
Through healing the cause, and changing it's pattern in your life. And that's the hard part, making the changes you know deep down you must make. Remember – what you resist, persists – and in the cause’s persistence, things are likely to get worse, not better.
To change issues in your life, follow the basic formula for change
•Acknowledgement – you cannot heal what you do not notice; admit you have a problem
•Acceptance – you cannot heal what you resist or do not accept; when you identify the exact issue, accept it… you have to face it, embrace it to be able to replace it. You are "this thing" or "have this trait".
•Forgiveness – all healing begins with loving forgiveness. No one is perfect, so there's no reason to blame yourself or feel guilty. You have now admitted you have a problem so it's time to work on the issue, do your research from metaphysical ie less than superficial perspectives, and change it, change you, your lifestyle, your thought and beliefs. But before you can change, you must first forgive yourself.
•Action - here is where you start working on changing the issue beginning with changing your attitudes, thoughts, beliefs and actions. You've admitted you have a problem, you accept your actions and are willing to change the physical and emotional pattern. So now it's time to start making that change. And that may include changing your environment. Remember my story above about the bullying boss. One the day that I decided I was going to go to work and resign, I simply had to get away from that woman, we had a huge argument and somehow our head office was involved. She was gone by the end of the day; the company had just been waiting for a reason to let her go. (I was reminded of the quote
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occured. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way.
I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.” W.H. Murray from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
•Letting Go - At some point you need to let go of the old patterns, they no longer serve you in any beneficial way. Stop dwelling on the old negative patterns that have been replaced by your new positive thinking.
You must work on both a conscious and other than conscious level.
This is done by working at controlling / changing your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and actions when dealing with situations. On an unconscious/spiritual level you can use various methods to help make change.
Prayer – seek the support from the unseen ones; the god of your understanding, angels, saints, spirit guides etc
Holistic healing – including spiritual and reiki healing
Getting out in nature
What to do about it?
What will you do to deal with / remove these blocks?