The word Illness means different things to different people. We have all been ill before, the Flue, Chickenpox etc, and in those times formed our view of illness and it’s likely that your personal experience was different than mine. This means that our attitudes towards it are different, we hold different beliefs about its nature and its purpose and we may even find it hard to agree on the role medicine and medical doctors.
On one hand we are very fortunate to live in a time where medical advancements are abundant. A person alive today, even with illness such as cancer can expect to live longer than any other time in history. On the other hand, these same technological and medical advancements may cause us to feel more and more separated from our bodies and the illness. Instead of being viewed as a whole being with a physical dimension, mental, emotional and even spiritual dimensions we are viewed, through the prism of medicine, as a collection of parts, organs, tissues and glands.
The modern view of illness is as an act of genes, environment, and viruses, promote the sense that we are but victims of the illness and therefore stand helpless against it. In light of this, it is easy to see why the first-order for healing is courage. One must find the courage to break free from cultural, social or personal beliefs about illness and see his or her true whole nature.
Breaking free from these cultural, social and personal beliefs is neither easy nor comfortable. But recent history shows that a great number of those who have released themselves from societal norms of diseases survived. Louise Hay is a prime and an extreme example of this last statement. She chose a non-medical healing path despite of her doctors warning that she put herself at great risk.
Louise Hay, as she reveled in her book “Heal Your Body” (1976) had vaginal cancer and was able to recover and heal by addressing the mental causes she believed produced her physical illness. While this path worked for her but it may not be for everyone. The main point here was that she did summon the courage to stand for what she believed to be right. And in making this stand, something within her was triggered and activated that allowed her body’s innate healing to take place.
The online dictionary defines Courage as. The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear. In my view there is more to courage than that. It is not only facing the danger and pain without fear, but despite of it. And in the context of illness, to have courage is to recognize that illness has a purpose, that through illness we are provided with an opportunity, a way to become more than we currently are.
If you yourself have found meaning and purpose in your experience of illness or know someone who did, feel free to share it with us.