May 28, 1984
If you are in serious difficulties of any kind, it may at first seem inconceivable, unbelievable, or even scandalous to imagine that your problems are caused by your own beliefs.
In fact, the opposite might appear to be true. You might have lost a series of jobs, for example, and it may seem quite clear that you are not to blame in any of those circumstances. You might have a serious illness that seemed to come from nowhere, and it may strike you as most unlikely indeed, that your own beliefs had anything to do with the inception of such a frightening malady.
You may be in the middle of one or several very unsatisfactory relationships, none of which seem to be caused by you, while instead you feel as if you are an unwilling victim or participant.
You may have a dangerous drug or alcohol problem, or you may be married to someone who does. In both instances the situations will be caused by your own beliefs, even though this may at first seem most unlikely. For the purposes of this particular chapter, we will discuss illnesses or situations that have arisen since childhood, so we are not including birth defects or very early life-endangering childhood accidents, or most unfortunate childhood family situations. These will be discussed separately.
In most cases, even the most severe illnesses or complicated living conditions and relationships are caused by an attempt to grow, develop or expand in the face of difficulties that appear to be unsurmountable to one degree or another.
An individual will often be striving for some goal that appears blocked, and hence he or she uses all available energy and strength to circumnavigate the blockage. The blockage is usually a belief which needs to be understood or removed rather than bypassed.
In this book, we will be involved with the nature of beliefs and with various methods that will allow you to choose those beliefs that lead to a more satisfying life.
Though this book is entitled The Way Toward Health, we are not speaking of physical health alone, but of mental, spiritual, and emotional health as well. You are not healthy, for example, no matter how robust your physical condition, if your relationships are unhealthy, unsatisfying, frustrating, or hard to achieve. Whatever your situation is, it is a good idea to ask yourself what you would do if you were free of it. An alcoholic’s wife might wish with all her heart that her husband stop drinking – but if she suddenly asked herself what she would do, she might – surprisingly enough – feel a tinge of panic. On examination of her own thoughts and beliefs, she might well discover that she was so frightened of not achieving her own goals that she actually encouraged her husband’s alcoholism, so that she would not have to face her own “failure”.
Obviously, this hypothetical situation is a quick example of what I mean, with no mention of the innumerable other beliefs and half-beliefs that would encircle the man’s and woman’s relationship.