June 14, 1984
In these, and all situations, it should be remembered that the body is always trying to heal itself, and that even the most complicated relationships are trying to untangle.
For all of life’s seeming misfortunes, development, fulfillment, and accomplishment far outweigh death, diseases, and disasters. Starting over can be done – by anyone in any situation, and it will bring about some beneficial effects regardless of previous conditions.
Behind all maladies, in the most basic manner lies the need for expression, and when people feel that their areas of growth are being curtailed, then they instigate actions meant to clear the road, so to speak.
Before health problems show up there is almost always a loss of self-respect or expression. This loss may occur in the environment itself, in changing social conditions. In the matter of the disease called AIDS, for example, you have groups of homosexuals, many “coming out of the closet” for the first time, taking part in organizations that promote their cause, and suddenly faced by the suspicions and distrust of many other portions of the population.
The struggle to express themselves, and their own unique abilities and characteristics drives them on, and yet is all too frequently thwarted by the ignorance and misunderstanding that surrounds them. You end up with something like a psychological contagion. The people involved begin to feel even more depressed as they struggle to combat the prejudice against them. Many of them almost hate themselves. For all their seeming bravado, they fear that they are indeed unnatural members of the species.
These beliefs break down the immunity system, and bring about the symptoms so connected with the disease. AIDS is a social phenomenon to that extent, expressing the deep dissatisfactions, doubts, and angers of a prejudiced-against segment of society.
Whatever physical changes occur, happen because the will to live is weakened. AIDS is a kind of biological protest, as if symbolically the homosexuals are saying: “You may as well kill us. We might be better off than the way you treat us now”, or as if it were a kind of suicidal drama in which the messages read: “See to what ends your actions have led us!”
I am not saying that AIDS victims are outright suicides – only that in many instances the will to live is so weakened and a despondency so strong sets in that such individuals often acquiesce, finally, to their own deaths, seeing no room in the future for their own further growth or development.
The attitude even of doctors and nurses toward the handling of such patients shows only too clearly not only their fear of the disease itself, but their fear of homosexuality, which has been considered evil and forbidden by many religions. Emotions run at top pace in such cases, and the AIDS patients are often shunted away, out of human society. Often even their friends desert them. Yet AIDS can be acquired by those who are not homosexuals, but who have similar problems. It is a great error to segregate some individuals, like some modern colony of lepers.
Homosexuals can benefit from the ideas in this book, particularly if small groups get together, examining their own beliefs, and reinforcing their will to live, their right to live, and the basic integrity of their being.
Any anger or hostility should also be expressed, however, while not being overly concentrated upon.
Many other diseases that seem to be spread by viruses or contagions are also related to the problems of society in the same manner, and when those conditions are righted the diseases themselves largely vanish. It should be remembered that it is the beliefs and feelings of the patients that largely determine the effectiveness of any medical procedures, techniques, or medications.
Unfortunately, the entire picture surrounding health and disease is a largely negative one, in which even so-called preventative medicine can have severe drawbacks, since it often recommends drugs or techniques to attack a problem not only before the problem emerges, but simply in case it may emerge.
Many of the public-health announcements routinely publicize the specific symptoms of various diseases, almost as if laying out maps of diseases for medical consumers to swallow. There are many techniques apart from medically conventional ones, such as acupuncture, the laying on of hands, or the work of people who may be known as healers. The trouble is that these other techniques cannot be monitored sufficiently so that their benefits can be honestly appraised.
The body’s own healing processes are forever active, however – which is why I so strongly advise that they be relied upon along with whatever medical help seems appropriate. But the individual, even as a patient, must always have a choice, and have the right to refuse any treatment being suggested.
The main issue is always the vital importance of the individual’s belief systems, however, and the sense of worth he or she places on body and mind.
We have been dealing with quite drastic diseases, but the same concepts are true in other areas also. There are people who undergo a series of highly unsatisfactory relationships, for example, while another person might experience a series of recurrent diseases instead. In spite of all problems, the life force operates continually in each person’s life, and can bring about at any time the most profound, beneficial changes. The idea is to clear the mind as much as possible from beliefs that impede the fine, smooth workings of the life force, and to actively encourage those beliefs and attitudes that promote health and the development of all aspects of healing experience.