HEALTH: BEYOND A STATE OF MIND
You have just discovered that you test positive for AIDS or cancer though you’re showing no symptoms. From the time you received the knowledge you have been living with a level of fear, of terror never before felt. You have the moments of shaking, the gnawing stomach, the constant mental preoccupation on thoughts you would do anything to turn off. You lose your appetite, and feel exhausted from the stress caused by the fear and further feel that those are early symptoms of the disease. You become so focused on the possibility that the system is deteriorating rapidly that you’ve turned what you fear, into what you believe.
The epidemics of cancer and AIDS are destroying lives and, agonizingly, many who are suffering do not truly understand how or why. The search for answers and ways of fighting back are taking on the feeling of a frightened frenzy. This desperation has spawned massive research in the medical sciences, research that is fraught with irony. As more sophisticated knowledge is gained, it points frustratingly to a harsh fact. There may not emerge a “cure” in the sense of a pill or vaccine that wipes the scourge from the face of the earth.
Medicine’s nemesis, illnesses of viral origin, are triggering a re-examination of the concepts of disease and health. What’s emerging is knowledge of the role of the mind in the healing process.
There is powerful scientific evidence that effective use of the mind can allow people to enhance and even recreate health. Limitations of traditional psychological methods, though, allow too few people to benefit from the power of the mind. Sustaining and even recreating health, demands an evolution in psychotherapeutic methods.
It is no longer just the psychic pain of inner mental conflicts that mental methods must seek to relieve. Response to those inner conflicts are killing people in very measurable physical ways. It is not just conjecture that people’s reaction to negative emotions leads to pressure on the body, THAT IS STRESS! Proof has further emerged that merely taking part in the fast pace and complexities of everyday life can set the body on the road to deterioration.
Even if medicine finds a cure for specific diseases, people will never be fully relieved from inner conflicts and their lives will continue to become more complicated. Both factors cause deterioration of the body. Further, specific physical and chemical activity will be kept ongoing that can actually stimulate viral problems.
The design of traditional psychotherapeutic methods allows them to develop and strengthen primarily only the intellectual half of the mind. It is in another realm of mind, the realm governing the body’s intelligence, that lie answers to the complex human crisis that are erupting on the surface of our lives. It is essential to expand in a different direction the psychotherapeutic tools offered to people for greater self control over physical deterioration. People must be taught to use their minds in new ways; ways that develop a mental state other than the conscious intellectual, a different “realm of mind.”
The majority of current psychological methods emphasize a long held belief. It has been felt that positive mental changes and greater self control over physical weaknesses will happen through understanding; in essence by developing a different “state of mind”. Many people have come to believe that only through knowing better can they feel better, that only knowing better causes acting better.
There is much people facing disease can do in helping to control the negative emotional reactions that speed deterioration of the body. Traditional, or common psychological methods are limited in helping people gain that self control. First, they take a piecemeal approach to psychological improvement focusing on one human conflict at a time. Second, by focusing work at the level of conscious understanding, they offer very indirect help in stimulating healing mechanisms emerging from other mental realms.
There is a new group of psychological methods emerging that put a primary emphasis on developing this different realm of mind. Two early methods were biofeedback training and autogenics training (for a discussion of biofeedback training and improving the mind/body connection see Dossey, Space Time and Medicine and for autogenic training see Benson, The Relaxation Response).
Currently the works of the Simontons (Getting Well Again), Bernie Siegel (Love, Medicine and Miracles), Louise Hay (You Can Heal Your Life) and Deepak Chopra (Quantum Healing) illustrate other mental methods guiding people in use of a different realm of mind to enhance physical and psychological health. The methods taught are referred to with varying terms such as concentration, self hypnosis, or meditation. Each method illustrates for people or trains them in a way of triggering an altered mental state.
The mental state achieved through these methods has characteristics that clearly help a person develop a different realm of mind.
Characteristics of the altered mental state:
- Thought processes slow down.
- Mental activity is shifted away from left hemisphere brain areas into more right hemisphere brain areas.
- The physical body becomes deeply relaxed.
- There is a sense of “quieting” the Inner Negative Voice.
- The realm of mind activated involves brain areas linked more directly to the automatic nervous system and the healing mechanisms of the body.
There has emerged a psychological method that joins these other methods. It is called NEURO-THERAPY Training and emerged out of research on a more effective therapeutic use of the mental state of concentration. It is a mental method in line with emerging scientific specialties such as psychoneuroimmunology, which are concerned with the interaction of the mind and body. NEURO-THERAPY Training allows people to benefit from the exciting knowledge emerging out of the work of scientists in neurological fields.
NEURO-THERAPY Training is based on a new belief about the nature of effective therapeutic help, referred to as the Neurological Model. This new belief system accepts that ineffective mind/body interaction is at the root of physical and mental weaknesses or symptoms.
Effects of NEURO-THERAPY Training:
- Dramatic lessening of vulnerability to negative, stress‑causing, emotions by better control of the “PHYSIOLOGY OF EMOTIONS”.
- Diminishing of existing physical stress and it’s damaging effects.
- Development of the mental realm most involved with healing.
- Strengthening the use of the mind in specific ways to fight viruses, lessen pain and improve the healing functions of the body, in general.
Improving mind-body interaction is essential for everyone, especially those facing the assault of disease. As society faces ever more devastating diseases, like AIDS and cancer or conditions sustaining symptoms such as chronic pain, it is necessary to quickly and effectively help large numbers of people learn to sustain and recreate health. This is going to require new approaches to using the mind. These approaches, like NEURO-THERAPY Training, must more directly improve the essence of health, better mind-body interaction.