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M
ind Over Matter
 


Healing: An Individual Perspective

© Barry Bittman MD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Mind Over Matter by Barry Bittman MD. View all columns in series
Something's bothering you.

Perhaps it has for some time. Difficult to ignore, it's keeping you off balance.

How did I know, you might be asking. The answer is simple. As humans we have more in common than what separates us. Life holds few surprises.

Sometimes what's worrying you is subtle. At others, it's pervasive, inescapable and overwhelming. For some, it's difficult to rationalize, contemplate or fully understand. For many, there’s no obvious solution in sight.

Over the years I've learned that no one can truly exist in balance all the time amidst life's challenges. Death and taxes aren't the only inevitabilities we face as humans. "Change" affects just about every aspect of our being. And just about everything changes...our work, our relationships, our capabilities, our needs and our health.

Some adjust better to life's challenges than others. Many survive through denial and never face the underlying issues that progressively serve to undo them. Unfortunately the richness of life characterized by the process of healing is rarely fully experienced.

According to Merriam Webster, "healing" means "to make sound or whole, or to restore to health." It also refers to "causing (an undesirable condition) to be overcome."

While health professionals often employ the term, "healing" in the context of "undesirable conditions" or diseases, other implications of healing should be considered.

Perhaps the one we need to focus on the most is "dis-ease," a term that implies discomfort. Anything that generates this feeling goes against our nature or moves us away from our comfort zone.

Unfortunately dis-ease is more prevalent that you might imagine - in fact it's contagious. Often it's disheartening as well. In the context of mind-body medicine, dis-ease and disease are inseparable - what affects the mind clearly and indistinguishably affects the body and visa versa.

Our tendency however is to avoid dis-ease, rather than to prevent it. That realization takes us back to our starting point (what’s really bothering you).

To further unravel this issue, I'd like to share a conversation I enjoyed with Richard Bach, the renowned author of the best-selling book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. In the context of healing, he shared an important and unforgettable insight. To paraphrase, Bach explained that as human beings we have the extraordinary tendency to make a mess of practically anything or everything in our lives. He proceeded to state that such action predictably set the stage for action utilizing our greatest human potential - to rise up and heal ourselves. He clearly implied the tendency for most people to get caught up and paralyzed in the process.

It is perhaps paralysis that keeps us off-balance and disturbed by the things that unnerve us. Remaining ill at ease robs of us of quality of life. So how can we better deal with the issues that stress us or move us beyond our comfort zones?

The answer is to begin by taking time to stop and contemplate the way we really feel. Getting in touch with our feelings rather than ignoring them provides the basis for effectively dealing with dis-ease. Once the disturbance is recognized, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves whether it's the issue or our perspective that's causing us pain.

It isn't surprising that our perspective is often at the root of the problem. Frequently we cannot alter the target upon which our worry is centered, yet we can improve the manner in which we handle it. The challenge becomes developing a healthier perspectiveæ one that serves us well. That's where creativity and openness comes into play. Creativity enables us to formulate a positive stance for resolution. Openness provides an outlet for seeking the outside help needed to get back on a healthier track.

And if your world perspective is what you find most unsettling, perhaps the words of Mahatma Gandhi will serve you well: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Let the healing begin one person at a time - Mind Over Matter!

©2001 Barry Bittman, MD all rights reserved

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About The Author
Barry Bittman, MD is a neurologist, author, international speaker, award-winning producer/director and inventor. As CEO and Medical Director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, a comprehensive, interdisciplinary outpatient medical facility in Meadville, PA., Dr. Bittman has pioneered a new paradigm for treating the “whole person.” Based upon extensive......more
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