Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Illness And Death As Signs Of Fate
ILLNESS AND DEATH
AS SIGNS OF FATE
We have seen that illness usually represents a passive learning process whose purpose is to familiarize an individual with a reality that he or she has not yet accepted. Illnesses are always bearers of information. There are no meaningless illnesses. They show us where we have wandered from our true path; they force us to leave the false path; they compel us to ask questions.
Healing consists in freeing the information that is contained in illness. To do this it is necessary to ask what the illness means. And here lies the danger of modern medicine, which tries to explain illness in a purely mechanical way. By providing apparent answers, it presents the patient from asking the real question “why?”
Every sick person feels deep down that his illness must have something to do with the way he is. He experiences a certain sense of guilt, for he knows that his illness signifies more than just a malfunctioning of his body. But this approach is immediately stifled by the doctor with the assurance that the whole thing is “nothing but...”. Thus illness loses its role as bearer of information, as a partner on the difficult path of evolution. Instead it is labelled as an enemy that must be fought with every possible means.
It is striking that in medicine one always speaks of the fight against illness. Small wonder, then, that it is precisely these doctors who can never understand the state of being ill. It is impossible to know and understand an enemy as long as one “fights” against him. As long as medicine keeps up this fight it will have to endure the fate of being incompetent in matters of illness because it lacks understanding. The first and most important task of the patient is to be in harmony with illness and to learn to say “yes” to it. But how can he do this when his doctor regards himself as a fighter against illness? Resistance always produces resistance, struggle is always met by struggle.
As with governments engaged in war, who tell their people only about victories and remain silent about defeats, so in medical circles we hear only of victories over illness. After so many reported victories one would expect that gradually all trace of the enemy would vanish. Yet the enemy is so strong – thank God – that he is not influenced by injections, pills and surgical knives. I say “thank God” because if illness were to disappear the possibility of human development would also disappear. Only if a man is sick can he be made whole. Without sickness there is no healing.
The second great and self-appointed enemy of medicine is death, which likewise medicine attempts to conquer. But this attempt militates against a closer understanding of life. So far we have not gone beyond observing a few of life's mechanical workings. Life itself as an independent quality is relatively unknown to medical circles. This is not surprising, when one considers that medicine has gained its knowledge largely from corpses and is therefore more a science of death than of life. Here the same primal law applies as in the unfolding of an individual's fate: the more one struggles against something, the more intensively one is forced to occupy oneself with it.
This struggle against illness and death is, when we look at it more closely, questionable in a profession whose declared goal is to help others. To struggle against something means in effect not being reconciled to it, and this again can be traced back to unconscious fears. This kind of helping reveals itself as a battle taken into the outside world but essentially directed against one's own problems, against unresolved fears of illness and death. He who has really comprehended illness can no longer speak of a “struggle against diseases”. Likewise he who has reconciled himself with dying does not speak of a “race against death” when a person's bodily functions have been kept going through intensive care.
Not long ago there was a newspaper article about “despairing” doctors. The cause of their despair was a young man who, having suffered an accident, used his short period of consciousness to refuse a blood transmission on religious grounds. One wonders why the doctors were so despairing. It ought to be because they lacked their patient's strength of belief.
If the doctor's thirst for power continues to grow at its present rate it will soon be necessary to introduce a constitutional right to illness and death. Help always has a strange aftertaste when it is given at any price, particularly when it is against the will of the person concerned.
What I have been saying should no, of course, be interpreted in a one-sided way, I am not maintaining that doctors are to blame for the fact that the unfortunate patients can no longer come to terms with illness and death. According to the law of resonance, each person receives what he deserves – which means in this case that sick people receive the treatment they deserve. This is true of each individual case. Each patient will come into contact with the therapist for whom he is ready, and vice versa – which is why every therapist is so deeply convinced that his method alone is the effective one.
When a society has forgotten how to live with fate and is unwilling to take responsibility for illness it acquires expectation that breed the kind of medicine that we have today. Therefore one cannot change medicine. One can only change the patients themselves – and that is what we are dealing with here. When a person is ill it means that he has strayed from a certain state of order and is no longer living in conformity with inner law. This condition will manifest itself through symptoms. Symptoms are signals and – if they are rightly understood – can show us how, through the process of being ill, we can be healed. Getting rid of the symptoms is therefore the least important task.
An analogy can be found in the warning system that modern technology has created. A deep freeze, for example, has a red light that goes on whenever the temperature in the freezer becomes too high. No intelligent person would believe that by unscrewing the bulb he could repair the deep freeze. Yet in the “repairing” of human beings this absurd procedure is followed repeatedly. Hardly has a symptom appeared than the doctor causes it to vanish and then proudly record this trick as a piece of successful therapy.
Thus the paradox arises that the statistical success of medicine rests on the fact that it cannot heal; for every time you suppress a symptom in an individual you cause him to avoid confronting his illness, which is thus forced to manifest itself in another way. The new symptom is again suppressed, and medicine claims another successful treatment. And so it goes on. It is true that this phenomenon is known to medicine as symptom displacement. But in our highly specialized medicine, where the patient goes from one expert to another, this effect becomes increasingly less obvious.
A person can only become ill on account of a primal principle, never on account of bacteria, viruses, toxins and the like. To heal means making the person more whole, that is to say bringing him nearer to wholeness and holiness. Healing is bound up with a process of becoming conscious, a process through which he becomes reconciled to the primal principle (godhead) from which he is ailing. Healing in this sense is self-evidently not a matter of producing better and better technical aids, more and more chemical remedies, increasingly refined diagnostic systems. Healing is always a priestly act which takes place on a level beyond the material. Therefore only to a very limited extent can healing be learned. A true healer must be initiated by nature into the priestly office. Paracelsus and Hahnemann are examples of such initiates. There have been others, often less famous than these. But the truly wise ones are always few in number. It is these few who bear the stamp of priesthood and who really change the world.
Thus the doctor Vladimir Lindenberg, in his book Inward Journey, has his character Buturlin say: “...but the world can least exist without the wise ones, the holy ones, the worshippers. One does not see them and one hears nothing of them; yet they are more real than all others, for they are the only constant ones.”
In view of the millions of sick people, such a view of healing may seem unrealistic and starry-eyed. In reality it would scarcely be possible to staff our huge medical establishment with true healers. Even an ordinary local surgery today is not the right place to care for the spiritual health of a patient. It is not part of our task in this book to find out whether these conditions are the determining factors or the consequences of our medicine. But I wish to show that there are ways, if the will is there, to act according to the fundamental principles of healing, to follow the example of the great healer-initiates and to be guided by their teachings.