The Power of Surrender

There is a link between the mind and the illness our body expresses and working on the body through the mind is a very powerful addition to healing, simply because the conflicts of the mind are continually acted out through the body. Heal conflicts of the mind and you will heal the body.

75% of all visits to the local GP are either from illness that ultimately gets better without any intervention (although most patients would be shocked if the doctor said “just go to bed, lie down and drink plenty of water” and they left empty handed), or for illness related to anxiety and stress. The remaining 25% of chronic or life-threatening disorders symptoms can be alleviated, but the natural progression of the disease will lead towards death. Death is the one certainty that follows birth and applies to everyone, no exceptions. The focus should be not that it is a defeat but to use it as a reminder to live life as fully, loving and creatively as possible. This is true healing. The underlying yearning for healing, for wholeness, is common to everyone irrespective of the actual condition that needs healing. How then physiologically is this mind/body link made possible?

Neuropeptides,those molecules of emotion which bridge this mind/body link, are created in many parts of the body including the gastro intestinal tract and various types of white blood cells. These sites also have receptors setting up a network for communication between them and the brain. So in essence they too have a mind. Beta-endorphine for example is a neuropeptide and is responsible for the runners “high”. Fear is both a feeling and a very real molecule of adrenalin hormone. One depends on the other. Without one there is no other. Chemicals follow thoughts and vice versa.

The Chinese have known and charted this for thousands of years. In “Traditional Acupuncture: The Law of the Five Elements” Dianne Connelly observes that “the skin is not separate from the emotions, or the emotions separate from the back, or the back separate from the kidneys, or the kidneys separate from will and ambition, or will and ambition separate from the spleen, or the spleen separate from sexual confidence.”

They have long appreciated that where we hold our rage, anger and depression is in our liver, our fear in our kidneys, our bitterness in our gall bladder, our grief in our lungs, and our letting go in our bowel as well as the giving and receiving of love in our heart. Mind and body therefore cannot be separated and when traditional Chinese medicine is administered in the form of acupuncture the mind, body and spirit are treated simultaneously using the same needling points.

A good iridology reading using the iris, sclera and pupil as a means of diagnosis will be done on a multi dimensional level, again revealing mind body & spirit reflected simultaneously on the same surface. There is no separation.

This is scientifically proven by the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paradox. Einstein together with his fellow scientists conducted an experiment in quantum physics in 1932, the EOR paradox, which states that once two systems have inter-acted with each other then the change in one, in this instance caused by taking a measurement in the first body, would produce an instantaneous change in the state of the other systems.

This effect is clearly shown even when the two bodies are well separated from each other.

The conclusion of this “non-local effect” is that interference with the system in one part of the universe can produce a simultaneous effect on a system elsewhere, even in the remotest part of the universe.

I feel this is true not just of systems and atoms but of all matter, including people. After all we are a unified system made up of atoms. As we change so all those in relationship with us change. We do indeed hold the keys to the universe because at core we are connected to everyone and everything. Hence, the Dalai Lama’s maxim “if you heal yourself you heal everybody around you”.

In the practice of shamanism (which remember is how most of the world’s population is still treated) belief becomes biology and the way in which a medicine man works is a fascinating example of this. Aware of the constant interplay between mind and body he understands that meanings for both patient and the tribe far from being fixed are extremely malleable and he is trained as a master of creating new meanings with spells and charms. This is not very different to the placebos deliberately used in Western Medicine trials.

It was Sir William Osler, who noted that the desire to take medicines is perhaps the greatest feature that distinguishes man from animal. But even more importantly, we want that medicine to work and it is precisely this that makes the placebo response so potent and, very often, so effective.

I would take this understanding further and say the mind is unbounded. It is not constrained to points in place or time. Of course mental content and levels of awareness can be led by physicalities in the brain and body, that the mind can do things the brain cannot. It can facilitate distant healing by intention, by prayer and medical inituitives like Caroline Myss and Robert Leichtman can make an accurate diagnosis on a patient thousands of miles away. Aboriginal people are also capable of messaging one another over long distances using nothing but their minds.

The boundlessness of the mind therefore reveals its unitary nature. Much is now being taught about the mind as infinite, instant, immortal, and ultimately one and this goes well beyond physics. Einstein, one of the world’s greatest and best known physicists, intuited this when he said “a human being is part of a whole called by us the universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a prison for us, restricting ourselves to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty….we will require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive. “

Over nearly forty years in practice I have observed that some of my patients who experience a sudden revolution in better health talk about their capacity to wait, watch in silence and emptiness and surrender to being rather than doing. In essence they accept the universe in its own terms rather than on their own petulant, dictatorial terms. They actively refuse to waste time on being bitter, resentful or angry about whatever illness may be manifesting. Far from passively giving up, their inner attitude is one of alignment and atunement with what they divine is the inherent perfection of all that is. No re-arrangement necessary. From this comes a sense of personal empowerment and a feeling of freedom, no matter what may happen in the course of their illness and I believe it is into this stillness, this emptying out that healing can flow.

Ramana Maharshi’s injunction is therefore particularly appropriate here and I myself use it in my daily practice. “Surrender to God and accept Her will whether she appears or vanishes. Await Her pleasure. If you want Her to do as you want it is not surrender but command. You cannot ask Her to obey you and yet think you have surrender. Leave everything entirely up to Her”.

What takes place in modern medicine is precisely the opposite and it is relentlessly focused around doing, both in language and action. Saint Teresa of Avila observed “it is a great grace of God to practice self-examination, but too much is as bad as too little”. We are obsessed with “killing”, “fighting” and “beating” disease with surgery, drugs and hospitals. Nothing is said about standing by, surrendering, waiting or doing nothing and most doctors would be afraid to do this. Yet some of the best healers I know say they are merely conduits for healing. They just rest and act as a channel while universal energy for healing floods them. They wait patiently with gratitude and see what the universe wishes to give. They do so with the clear understanding that there is an ordering principle which underlies the foundation of existence and it is their role to call forth the right order from this foundation, this emptiness which is the essence of the “not-I”.

Most people are so busy stressing or obsessing about their health, as if they were fragile and fallible, rather than perfect that they entirely miss the importance of this level of surrender.