Any negative emotion we do not deal with directly or let go of through meditation, therapy, or other energetic healing techniques stays stuck in our mindbodies, creating vigorous barriers to health and healing. If we suppress our anger, or if we frequently rehearse our anger, either extreme helps to create illness. If we do not consciously acknowledge and attend to our fearful and other vulnerable feelings, such as men are taught not to do in our culture, then we get sick or die from heart attacks earlier than women who are allowed to feel more of the softer or vulnerable emotions. Guilt often produces attacks upon our bodies as punishment, making us sicker. If we do not consciously acknowledge all our negative emotions with love and acceptance (the higher emotions), and then discover healthy ways of expressing them and letting them go, these emotions will not only be a barrier to health and healing, but as tons of research shows, produce diverse illnesses as well, for each negative emotion communicates immediately with all the 70 trillion cells in the body, making each of them unhappy.
When we live with resentment and do not practice forgiveness, we are holding on to the emotional injuries that triggered these responses. By staying attached to these negative feelings we keep the cells in our bodies in the state of negativity rather than at peace, setting up potential illnesses. Resentments keep us vigilant against other hurts, which then keeps our stress hormones unnecessarily active, diminishing our immune response.
Negative Thoughts and Identities
Harboring and rehearsing negative thoughts constantly affects every cell in our bodies through the neuropeptides, the body’s instant messaging system. There is no such thing as an idle thought, for each one is communicating energetically up to 100 times more powerfully to each cell than the physical environment of the cell—even more than the physical environment supplied by a medication, as pointed out by biologist Bruce Lipton. I will show you later how you can become mindful of your damaging thoughts and give you effective tools to change them.
The power of our thoughts is evidenced in our unconscious attachment to our illness or diagnosis, which can act as a huge barrier to healing. Our sickness can easily become a part of our identity, part of who and what we think we are. How can we begin to let go of our cherished identity? Also, we often are quite possessive of our diagnoses, referring almost proudly and possessively to our identifications: my allergies, my asthma, my diabetes, or my bad heart, my weight problem, and so on. These identifications with illness are further reinforced when a doctor makes a pronouncement about a diagnosis suggesting ownership: You have irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, depression, allergies, pneumonia, a weak heart, or an ulcer, *[fill in the blank]. Such labels, along with the “my” or “have,” reinforce the idea that we own or possess an illness like we would a house, a car, a face. We want to protect things we own. Some illnesses can sometimes be an identification with or allegiance to our families when others have had similar illnesses, which can further complicate our ability to let go of an illness, as if we would lose our family connection. Therefore such old identities and allegiances need to be cleared, for they are often a barrier to healing and health. And when we treat these allegiances as thoughts that can be cleared, we open ourselves to the possibility of being in charge of our health.
Doctors have long recognized the common presence of what they call secondary gains but rarely are they dealt with. This simply means that we feel there is some benefit, rational or irrational, conscious or unconscious, from being sick. It gets me something or gets me out of something. Jonathan, for example, had felt emotionally and sexually deprived because his new bride Cynthia had become seriously ill shortly after their wedding. His bride’s mother had always said that her life ended when she got married. Could it be why Cynthia almost died from toxoplasmosis right after getting married?
Using Your Body As a Lens
Every sensation and symptom in the body is an opportunity to address or access the barriers hidden within. I will show you to use your body’s symptoms as language to be translated and deciphered, so that you can use this powerful tool as a means to staying healthy, reversing an illness, and achieving well-being in all ways. If we do not heed the markers on the edge of a super highway and get back in our lane, we are likely to run off the road, go into a ditch, crash into a tree, or fall off a mountain or into a river. Would we go to the highway department and try to get them to remove these little ruts at the edge of the highway so they won’t trouble us? Hardly. The same is true with our body signals which we routinely ignore or cover up with drugs. When we ignore the little nudges that we are not feeling well or we rush to the doctor to ask him to get rid of our pesky symptoms, we are not taking time to translate and heed what these bodily messages are saying and then, where and when we might crash?
Our Most Basic Barrier
Our most basic barrier to all healing is an archaic and erroneous view of ourselves and the world that we are separate. As we saw earlier, it is a view based on the over 300-year-old science of Isaac Newton, which states that the only thing which is real is what can be observed and/or measured by the five senses. It is a view of the world where that which is not visible does not exist, and one in which our potential is limited rather than limitless and where our past determines our future. Unless we can embrace the incredible power of the Unified Field, (or our Divine Nature) knowing we are part of it, not apart from it, we will keep ourselves in the illusion of separateness, littleness and therefore in victimization, for feelings of powerlessness are central in many illnesses, physical and emotional. Disowning this internal Power is the basic barrier to health and healing. This is why we need to use our bodies to heal our minds that believed we are separate, and therefore needed our bodies to be sick. We must heal our illusion of separateness from Source power and energy, and remember that we are connected to The All That Is. The first step is to begin to recognize which internal voice we are listening to and following as our guide.
Identifying Your Barriers to Health and Healing
Again, since most of us are not always in a perfect state of happiness and health, and since so many of us do not do what we know is helpful to keep ourselves in total health and happiness, even if we say we will, we can easily assume that most of us have some of these diverse barriers. Jane had gotten strep throat several times a year for many years starting in adolescence. She grew up in a very strict home where her mother demanded compliant behavior about every little thing. There was no room for Jane to express any of her feelings, she just had to follow the rules. It was after she started to express a little rebellion that she got her first sore throat.
As an adult, Jane had difficulty in allowing herself success at work and in relationships, and her strep throats continued. She had learned that meditation strengthened the immune system, but she was unable to keep up the practice. She had learned that sleep deprivation weakened the immune system, but she continued to stay up late on the computer unless she was out partying with friends, ending up sleep deprived either way. She also had difficulty in her choice of men, picking men who were either distant or critical. Essentially, she was not able to consistently take good care of herself in many important ways.
We discovered that Jane had not only grown up with the trauma of having to be perfect and experiencing that there was no room for her emotions, but had then concluded as a little girl that she did not deserve to be healthy, happy and successful. Nor were health, happiness and success safe for her. She had concluded, as most little kids do, that if she was not doing things perfectly for her mother, then she must not deserve good things. She also had concluded that she should not express her feelings and needs in the world, for it would not be safe.
However, together, as we began to name the traumas and her reactions to these emotional experiences, we were able to begin to do clearing work. Once these traumas and the negative beliefs that grew out of them were cleared Jane found she was much more able to take care of herself through a regular meditation practice and sleep to not only keep her away from strep throats but feeling more healthy and energetic. She had learned to re-energize and strengthen her immune system. (In Chapter Four, you will see how these trauma-clearing exercises work and how you can identify any traumas from your past big or small so that you can remove these barriers to allow your true healing.)
Dr. Henry Grayson is on the cutting edge of mind/body/spirit psychology. The founder of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York City, Dr. Grayson was a Protestant minister before receiving his Ph.D. in psychology from Boston University and post-doctoral certification in psychoanalysis from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health. This rich background led him to his work in spiritually based, mind body energy psychology and his creation of Synergetic Therapy.
He is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York; the Founder and Director of the Institute for Spirituality, Science and Psychotherapy; and continues to appear in numerous documentaries and PBS specials. He has studied neuropsychology, the major psychotherapies, the new power therapies, quantum physics and Eastern and Western spiritual philosophies. He is the author of Use Your Body to Heal Your Mind: Revolutionary Methods to Release All Barriers to Health, Healing and Happiness, Mindful Loving: 10 Practices for Creating Deeper Connections and the best-selling CD Audio Series for Sounds True,The New Physics of Love: The Power of Mind & Spirit in Relationships. His academic titles include Three Psychotherapies: A Clinical Comparison, Short Term Approaches to Psychotherapy, and Changing Approaches to the Psychotherapies. In addition, he is the co-chairman of the PTSD division of the Stand Up For Your Troops Foundation.
Dr. Grayson’s professional affiliations include: Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, Diplomat of the American Board of Professional Psychology; member of the American Psychological Association, The New York State Psychological Association, The Connecticut Psychological Association, The Association for Transpersonal Psychology, The Institute of Noetic Sciences, The Society for the Scientific Study of Subtle Energies Medicine, EMDR International Association, a former Board Member of the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society, and is the Founder and Past President of the Association for Spirituality and Psychotherapy. Diplomat of The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology.