Author Prentice Melford, in his book entitled Thoughts are Things, says this: “We need to be careful of what we think…. Because thought runs in currents as real as those of air and water.”
As real as air and water? Are thoughts really that tangible? And if so, how can we use them to heal ourselves?
When “The Secret” came out several years ago, many people jumped on the idea that thinking the “right” thoughts could help them get what they wanted, including a healthier body. Somehow, the real message-which encouraged direction of thought to unleash personal power-was reduced to a consumerist “think-it-and-get-it” idea, which of course couldn’t stand up to trial.
But according to mind/body experts-and to science-there is real power in thought. “We now can measure changes in immune cells and the brain in ways that give us objective scientific proof of the connection between them,” says Mary Jo Kreitzer, director of the Center for Spirituality & Healing.*
Fran Greenfield, life coach specializing in mind/body medicine and Cinco Vidas expert, agrees. “We talk to ourselves all the time. The mind judges, complains, compares, and generally does a running commentary on life at every moment. Unless we find a way to disengage from this morass of undirected, unconscious thought, we run the risk of giving our bodies toxic messages that can literally make us sick.”
You may remember many experiences where your state of mind affected your body-a headache after a stressful day; a stomach upset after an argument with a loved one. Author and body/mind therapist Deb Shapiro shares this story: “I remember having an upset stomach when I was a child and my grandmother asking me if I was having a problem at school. What she knew instinctively we are at last beginning to prove scientifically: that there is an intimate and dynamic relationship between what is going on in your life, with your feelings and thoughts, and what happens in your body.”**
The good thing is that we can harness the power of thought to influence our lives for the better. Many studies show how positive thinking and focused imagery can help boost the immune system, improve mood, increase coping abilities, reduce stress, and even limit surgical complications. And though little research has been done on the mind/body connection in cancer patients, many survivors have reported enjoying a better quality of life-even remission-when they used meditation, positive thinking, and visualization to focus their mental energies.
“From my many years of experience working with thousands of people affected by cancer,” says Dr. Ian Gawler, OEM, “the conclusion is clear. The mind plays a major role in influencing quality of life and survival.”
Renowned author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, in his book Stillness Speaks, recommends we stop telling ourselves sour stories about what happens to us, and instead, just let it be. Instead of calling it a “miserable day,” simply acknowledge, “it is raining.”
“Naming something as bad,” Tolle says, “causes an emotional contraction within you. When you let it be, without naming it, enormous power is suddenly available to you.”
Have you had a positive experience throughout your healing with imagery work or positive thinking? Please share your comments, opinions and stories.
* Robert Moss. Thoughts Can Heal Your Body. Parade. March 9, 2008. http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2008/edition_03-09-2008/2Thoughts_Can_Heal.
** Deb Shapiro, Your Body Speaks Your Mind. Sounds True, Inc. 2006.