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While an illness can bring about enforced rest for one individual, it can serve to energize another. Some individuals’ lives seem to be going along fine. There are no obvious problems or challenges. But these individuals may not be growing, may not be utilizing their energy and gifts. They may need a small kick in the pants. A less serious illness or minor operation sometimes serves that purpose very nicely, adding a dash of excitement and danger to a life that is not moving. Even an illness that is not life threatening or a minor operation can awaken our sense of mortality and cause us to re-examine our life priorities and goals.

Finally, there are some negative uses for illness, uses that do not serve the higher goal of healing the whole. Some individuals use illness as a form of sacrifice, a way of suffering in the belief that their real or imagined sins will thus be forgiven. An operation sometimes serves nicely as a blood sacrifice, the removal of an organ or other body part serving to wash away guilt and sin. Unfortunately, such sacrifices seldom have any lasting effect and a new disease or operation then has to be created.

The sacrificer is also sometimes the martyr, using illness to manipulate and control others. An illness can be blamed on parents, society, or God. The illness is proof of the wrong done and such an individual will not allow healing to occur and lose that evidence. Illnesses can also be used to elicit sympathy. It is important to understand the difference between pity and compassion. Sympathy in the right form can be very healing and in the wrong form can feed the illness.

Instead of allowing the old self to break down and creating a new self through an illness, one can make the mistake of allowing the ill self to become the new self. An individual can become so identified with an illness that he or she begins to perceive the world through the illness’s dark lens. For example, instead of saying a person has diabetes, we say he is a diabetic. We say someone is a schizophrenic or an epileptic.

A woman I worked with had hypoglycemia and emotional problems. Even though she seemed to be doing everything possible to heal herself, I realized that deep down she had no intention of getting healthy. Her illnesses were actually serving her by helping her to avoid facing those things she said she wanted more than anything—a career and family. They also served as evidence of the wrong done to her by her parents and a former boyfriend. The illness gave meaning and focus to her life. Doing battle with the illness or restricting herself because of it became her life’s work.

An illness can serve us an excuse not to do the things we claim we’d like to do. Illnesses protect us from the unknown future. They protect us from taking risks that can lead to success or failure. Illnesses and other limitations are like monsters that we feed and care for because they are known monsters that protect us from possible unknown monsters in the future.

Daily awareness of our sleeping and waking dreams will always give us clues to any imbalances we may have. We are actually aware of most of our imbalances but just don’t take the time to do the daily healing work that will prevent illnesses or other crises.

Daily healing begins with awareness—paying attention to the information that is supplied to us about how we’re doing. It means listening to what we say about ourselves and our situations (such as “I’m sick and tired of…,” or “I can’t stand it”) and paying attention to those areas of our lives where we’re frustrated or unhappy. It may be that most illnesses are actually the result of an unwillingness to change and grow.

Individuals will stay in an unsatisfying job or a bad relationship simply because it’s “safer” than going through the unknown territory of change. Daily healing would include meditation, prayer, and other ways of communicating with God or the inner self. The inner self is growth- and change-oriented. If we listen to the messages of the inner self and act on them, we will never need to be shaken up by illness. When we allow ourselves to follow the direction of growth—often the direction of risk—we will be acting and living in a healthy way.

The body knows how to be healthy and how to heal itself. It takes a great deal of time and energy to build up to a serious illness, and ongoing attention and energy to keep an illness “healthy.” Maintaining an illness requires that we overcome our own naturally healthy self as well as the healthy bias of the universe.

Cayce said that thoughts are things. It is our thoughts, our ideas about ourselves, others, and the world, which create our perceptions of the world around us as well as the world of our dreams.

The true self is that self created in the image of God. The gap that we all experience between the self we are familiar with and that ideal self is essentially false. In other words, we deceive ourselves into thinking we are less than we are. We hide, not just from God’s light, but from ourselves as reflectors of that light.        Continued

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