I used to think that religious dogma was the outgrowth of fear and unresolved parental issues. Certainly, much modern religion has lost touch with its more mystical roots, but there is no question that what ails the average American, as British writer and journalist Graham Hancock says, is a disconnection from Spirit.
When we disconnect from a sense of inner guidance and intuition, we are forced to rely on external constructs, on blind faith in authority and so-called experts. The truth is that you are your own best authority, but you have to get excited about your new position. You must trust to have faith that it will unfold in your best interest if you just relax into the process. My mentor Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez said, “Patients have to do the treatment they believe in. Fear is an infectious disease. You can catch fear but you can’t catch faith. That has to come from within.”
I have always practiced this ethos. I know that fear has a nocebo (literally “shall cause harm”) effect, the negative effect from a belief that something will harm, that cannot be undone. It’s the opposite of the placebo effect.
But where there is faith in the body’s ability to heal when properly supported, magical things can happen.
Once we have fed ourselves and put a roof over our heads, then we can concern ourselves with external dangers, then with relationships, then with self-love, then with spirituality and coming in touch with our own power. This is classically known as Maslow’s hierarchy, from the famous psychologist’s paper on the subject in 1943 called “A Theory of Human Motivation.”
Of course, many of us can get stuck today pinballing between the lower three rungs on the ladder, never quite making it to the apical agenda. I see the work of teaching patients about lifestyle medicine as having the unintended benefit of radically changing, evolving, and freeing one’s life path to discover purpose-driven behaviors.
We all want to know and connect to our purpose in this life. We want to know what we are here for. But how can we bother with that if we are plagued by fears of degenerative conditions and chronic ill health and bogged down under labels and diagnoses? When the body comes into harmony, it’s more than just symptom relief; it’s an opportunity to come into yourself and ascend that ladder.
For me I had to heal my body and resolve my autoimmune condition before I could open myself up to my greater mission and to the gifts of a Kundalini Yoga practice and connection to the power of energy medicine. I understand now that cultivating an inner compass is trusting in a guide inside and connecting without fear to a trust in the unfolding of the universe. An unfolding we are here only to witness. In this way, challenges and distress are an invitation to look at what might be misaligned or out of balance. It’s a whole new take on the complexity of life as a woman today.
Own your body. Free your mind. It’s so much more than a “cure.”
© 2017. Excerpted from A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives, by Kelly Brogan. Used with permission.