Cayce Health Database
SOME THOUGHTS ON HEALTH AND HEALING
[Although the following article written by David McMillin does not
mention Edgar Cayce, the concepts certainly parallel those found in
Cayce's psychic readings. It was written for a newsletter distributed
by a mental health program. Although it was intended primarily
for persons suffering from major mental illness and the health care
professionals who provide service to them, the ideas and concepts apply
to the subject of health and healing with regard to a wide range of
serious and persistent illnesses.]
Health is so important and yet we often take
it for granted. Most often, we can only become aware of health when
we lose it. Then we focus so much energy and resources on disease
that we fail to appreciate the mystery and wonder of healing.
We even find it difficult to define what health
is, beyond saying that it is the absence of disease. Fortunately,
with our growing awareness of the health care crisis, health care providers
and consumers are seeking to understand and communicate alternative perspectives
on these issues. There is an increasing emphasis on health maintenance
(wellness) and prevention. Even with chronic, degenerative illnesses
there is a greater appreciation of the quality of life aspects of healing.
This article will tap into the current medical literature with the objective
of increasing our understanding and appreciation of health and healing.
Andrew Weil, M.D. has contributed greatly to
our understanding of health and healing. Dr. Weil reminds us that
the root meaning of health is "wholeness." He notes that wholeness
has two properties: completeness and balance. In an ideal whole,
the components are not only all there, they are in an arrangement of "harmonious
integration and balance." Weil uses the phrase "dynamic equilibrium"
to describe the essence of health. But he goes on to remind us of
a primary characteristic of health - it is temporary. "Our working
definition of health - a dynamic and harmonious equilibrium of all the
elements and forces making up and surrounding a human being - leaves out
one crucial word: 'temporary.'
In other words, all the various ingredients that
make up the whole of our lives can easily get out of balance. This
applies to the biological systems of our bodies as well as the psychological
and interpersonal aspects of our individual and collective selves.
At a physical level, the acid/alkaline balance of our blood can become
out of balance and make us susceptible to viruses and bacteria.
The chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in our brains can become out
of balance and cause mental or emotional illness. Sometimes we suffer
from a "sick lifestyle." We can work too much or play too much.
We can get out of balance in our relationships. Sometimes being
out of balance is so extreme that we are missing out entirely on an important
part of life.
We are constantly shifting from a state of balance
and completeness to imbalance and incompleteness. This is a dance
of health and illness. In recognition of this dynamic quality of
health, Dr. Weil concludes that perfect health is not attainable in any
lasting sense. Health is temporary. It is relative, not absolute.
"Perfect health" is an illusion.
To help people get in touch with the dynamics
of health, Dr. Weil suggests an exercise whereby you keep a journal of
your own state of physical health. Each day write down little (or
big) physical complaints or problems. He says that it is difficult
to get through a single day without a loss of physical health. Most
of the time we simply ignore what is going on in our bodies. We
can usually afford this luxury because the body has its own healing system
that regulates vital processes and helps to keep us relatively whole and
For example, we all have "cancer" cells in our
bodies all the time. Usually the immune system is able to suppress
the cancer cells and help the body to maintain a state of health.
When the immune system cannot fulfill this role, we experience the illness
Thus, for some of us, at various points in our
lives, the body's natural healing potential is not adequate to constantly
bring us back into balance and wholeness. Outside help is required
to help us regain our health. We commonly refer to such interventions
as "treatment" or "therapy."
However, it is easy to become confused about
the meaning of treatment and believe that treatment equals healing.
This is a misconception. The healing comes from within. At
best, treatment can only assist the inner process of healing.
Elliot Dacher, M.D., is careful to point out
the distinction between treatment and healing. He says that treatment
involves external manipulation; it is often used in crisis; it tends to
be mechanistic and symptom orientated; is administered by a professional
authority; and its goal is the absence of signs or symptoms of disease.
On the other hand, healing involves self-regulation (remember the body's
own innate healing system), tends to be long term and continuous, is
holistic and system-oriented, requires self-responsibility, and its goal
is experiencing health, which is wholeness.
This is not to say that treatment is wrong or
bad. Most of us need treatment or therapy from time to time to help
us re-establish balance and wholeness in our lives. Treatment is
only a problem when we misunderstand it and confuse it with healing.
We can also become confused about the relationship
between healing and curing. Wayne Jonas, M.D., has recognized
four forms of healing:
- CURE - elimination of disease.
- CARE - better management of the magnitude or consequences of the
- EMPOWERMENT - better understanding of the meaning of the experience
of illness and skills for coping with it.
- ENLIGHTENMENT - a realization of the value and purpose of life
as it is.
If we believe that cure is the only form that
healing can take, we will probably fail to appreciate the healing that
can take place in chronic or terminal illness. For example, people
with AIDS or other incurable diseases sometimes experience significant
healing in terms of care, empowerment and enlightenment. Symptoms
(such as pain) can usually be relieved or suppressed. Personal relationships
are sometimes healed (brought into balance and completeness). The
patient may even achieve enlightenment by being able to realize the preciousness
of life one moment at a time. Sometimes persons with terminal illness
have a mystical experience of oneness with the universe, God (by whatever
name), or some transcendent reality. This experience may not significantly
alter the physical reality of the illness, but at some level of consciousness
there is a shift toward integration and connectedness, which is the essence
Persons suffering from major mental illness may
also experience various aspects of healing. Severe and persistent
mental illness is usually viewed as incurable. Yet, through medication
management and psychosocial rehabilitation, significant healing may be
gained in the form of care (symptom management). Empowerment is
also a realistic form of healing, as there is growth in the ability to
make choices, take responsibility for actions, and participate is basic
community activities involving work, love and play. While enlightenment
is less common, many people do achieve this level of healing. Enlightenment
may be experienced as a heightened awareness of the meaning and purpose
of life as it is - even if life offers major challenges in the form of
an incurable illness.
Undoubtedly, there are many other aspects to
health and healing. I hope the ideas which I have just shared will
help you better appreciate your own health and the various ways that you
are constantly being healed.
SOME KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Health is more than the absence of disease - health is wholeness.
- Health is temporary - we are constantly shifting from states of
wholeness and balance to imbalance and incompleteness. This
is natural; it is the human condition.
- Just as health is not an all or nothing condition, neither is healing
a once and for all process. We all experience varying degrees
of health and healing on a daily basis.
- Everyone needs healing. We only differ in the kind and degree
of our imbalances and incompleteness.
- Treatment is not necessarily healing. Treatment is an external
intervention. Healing is a response that comes from within.
- Cure is only one form that healing may take. Care, empowerment
and enlightenment are meaningful ways of becoming more whole.
- An awareness of the dynamics of health will help us to more fully
enjoy our health and appreciate healing in all its forms.
Note: The above information is not intended for self-diagnosis
or self-treatment. Please consult a qualified health care professional
for assistance in applying the information contained in the Cayce Health