“Who is the real doctor? The mind of the patient.”
Alan Cohen on the Healing Power of the Human Mind in "How Long Healing Takes", Balanced Living Magazine, May-June 2005, formerly published at www.balancedlivingmag.com/2005/may - june 2005/how long healing takes.htm
Have you been struggling with a physical, emotional, financial or relationship difficulty for a long time? Do you wonder if this will go on forever? Have you told yourself or had a professional tell you that this kind of situation is serious and will take a long time to undo? Do you wonder, hope and pray that there might be some way out sooner rather than later?
The timing of healing (or success of any kind) is not determined by any person or factor outside you. It is entirely up to you. Like all of life, the secret of healing is: What you believe is what you get. If you expect that healing will be long, difficult or impossible, it will be. If you expect it to be quick, easy and available, it will be. As Henry Ford noted, “Think you can, or think you can't, and either way you'll be correct.”
Healing doesn't ask whether you have been in pain for 30 minutes or 30 years. It is always available in the now moment. Consider two rocks that have sat underwater in a streambed, one of which has been submerged for 10,000 years and the other for 10 days. If you place both rocks in the sun, they will both dry off in a short time. Likewise, if you turn on a light in a dark room, it does not matter whether the room has been dark for five minutes or five years; the room is just as light the moment you flip the switch.
Well being is our natural state, and life is always seeking to return us to it. What hampers total wellness is not some outside agent, but internal resistance. All pain (physical, emotional or spiritual) begins and is maintained by a factor of “pushing against.” As you release your resistance, healing rushes in. Life wants us to be healed and constantly moves to accomplish that; it simply awaits our cooperation. Give a blade of grass a crack in an unused sidewalk and it is only a matter of time until the grass displaces the concrete. Nature bats last, and it brings the heavy hitters to the plate in the gentlest of ways.
Our culture has instilled within us many beliefs about who and what can be healed, and how long it takes. Many of these beliefs are based on limiting thoughts to which other people have subscribed. If you do not think the same thoughts, you are not subject to the same results. While doctors or psychologists may cite statistics of what happens to people who exhibit the same symptoms as you, you are not bound to land on the same square. The only thing that determines where you land is the train of thought you take to get there. Step onto a different train, and you will arrive at a different station.
A true healer holds more of an investment in wellness than illness. He or she rejoices in getting you out of therapy rather than keeping you in it. Some people in the healing professions depend on continued visits from their patients, so they may unconsciously influence the patient to stay ill for the doctor's or therapist's own purposes. While it is rare that a healing professional would consciously or purposely keep a patient longer than he or she needs to stay, many do so without recognizing the underlying dynamic.
Years ago a woman at a seminar reported that she had been doing primal scream therapy for seven years. Finally, she felt healthy enough to tell her therapist she was ready to leave therapy. To her surprise, the therapist told her, “You can't leave now – you're just getting started.”
Inferior “healers” will tell you that you will never get well. Better healers will tell you that you can or will get better over time. True healers will tell you that the healing you seek is available to you now. What a healer tells you is a reflection of the models and expectations you hold. Change your attitude and you will change your prognosis. Who is the real doctor? The mind of the patient.
Begin to examine your beliefs about how long you think healing should take. How long have you been putting up with pain or a situation that is not working? How long have you not had use of a part of your life that you would rather enjoy? What do you think needs to happen before you can feel good? If you answer with any agent outside yourself, you only delay your release. Answer with “My thoughts create my life,” and you are very close to the health and happiness you seek and deserve.
In the Talmud, a wise rabbi posed three questions we should all ask ourselves constantly:
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what good am I?
If not now, when?
About the author
Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including the best-selling The Dragon Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Mr. Everit's Secret: What I Learned from the World's Richest Man. In 2005, Alan is offering a Personal Mentorship Program for a small group of committed students. For information on this program or to receive Alan's daily inspirational quote and monthly newsletter, e-mail info at alancohen.com, phone (800) 568-3079, visit www.alancohen.com or write P.O. Box 835, Haiku, HI 96708.
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