As I sit here writing this, my 14-month-old son, Konan, is playing at my feet. There are torn-up tissues scattered around, a few electronic cause-and-effect toys, and various pieces from a shape sorter.
As is almost a daily tradition here, he threw his shape sorter into my lap a few minutes ago, and uttered his demanding request: “Ahhh?!”
He knows I’ll always give in. I ask him if he’d like to play with the shape sorter, and he waits with bated breath for me to open the ball and let the pieces drop to the floor. When they do, he flaps his arms in excitement and laughs.
Then I help him sort the pieces out, figure out what hole they fit in based on the color and shape, and put them back in the globe.
When he has my guidance he’s mesmerized, and watches closely, then puts the shapes in the right holes. Otherwise, he quickly gives up and scatters the pieces around. He can’t – or won’t – do it without me.
But sometimes he rejects my help if I don’t do it the way he wants – don’t turn the ball fast enough, or show him the hole for the shape in his right hand when he wants to put in the shape in his left hand. Then he rejects what I’m doing, and starts scattering pieces, or running away with them.
It kind of reminds me of the way we humans treat illness. Sometimes it’s like we throw our symptoms at a doctor, the way Konan throws his shape sorter at me, and say, “What does it mean? What do I have? What do I do?” (our version of “Ahhh?!”)
People go to see a doctor to help figure things out, but their belief over whether the doctor is right or wrong creates their next step.
People who think they have something often end up getting it, regardless of the prognosis. Have you ever noticed that when you say, “I think I’m coming down with something” you usually end up coming down with it?
Lately when I say “I feel tired,” I slow down and find it difficult to concentrate on anything other than taking a nap. But if I suddenly switch that to “I feel great!” then I can do whatever I want.
I know, I just reminded you of that annoying guy that you worked with once who came in every morning crowing about what a “fantastic” day it was. But it wasn’t what he said or how he said it that was annoying, so much as the fact that we couldn’t be as optimistic as that (and sometimes, he couldn’t either – it was just a show, but a show that worked to motivate and inspire him).
Some people react to a doctor’s diagnosis of an illness by rejecting it. “She thinks I have cancer? No way… I’m not allowing that!” And then they often get better.
Some people do the opposite and think themselves into feeling ill. “He says I’m fine? No way… I feel sick!”
According to Paul McGee, Ph.D, author of Health, Healing and the Amuse System: Humor as Survival Training, method actors taking part in a study were asked to generate a feeling of joy from within, which actually increased the number of natural cancer-fighting killer cells in their blood streams within 20 minutes – and the same thing can happen if we watch a humorous video.
People cling to their truths, and their illnesses (or rejection of those illnesses) and end up creating that truth, just like the toddler who can put shapes in the sorter when mommy shows him which hole – he clings to the help she offers, thinking he can’t do it alone, so he ends up not being able to do it alone
For a toddler, we can just chalk it up to learning. For adults, we could have learned the lesson long ago, but perhaps we’re still learning too.
That’s why, when many of us say we’re getting a cold and then do, we use that to confirm “I was right” instead of understanding that we may have caused that outcome through our conviction.
One of the first metaphysical books I ever picked up was Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, which is in large part about how our thoughts influence our reality. Now, I don’t really believe everything is created in the mind, but she does have some valid points.
We know that what happens on the outside, such as an ache or pain, can affect our emotions on the inside. But on the flip side, how much of our physical condition is created by the non-physical aspect of ourselves?
If we’re like the chicken and the egg, it’s probably a never-ending chain of one feeding the other, and vice versa.
With that knowledge, we can get cracking on better health with a better frame of mind.
“Konan playing with his shape sorter” ©2010 Heather Vale Goss
“Feeling sick with the flu” ©2010 Leonid Mamchenkov