Heal from Within with Mindfulness
Engaging in mindfulness practices can help you approach healing from a whole new perspective. Think about this: the word heal is related to the Old English word for ‘whole’ (hal). The word ‘health’ originally meant ‘wholeness.’
Get a sense of what being whole means for you, and continue to reflect. Meditation is about going to that capacity you have to be aware, whole and free, no matter how broken you feel your body to be. This is a totally different way of seeing what healing truly means, but seems to lead to a peace of mind conducive to feeling better.
Physical disease, or dis-ease, isn’t just a problem with the body, but a problem for the mind too. Your mind and body are inseparable, a whole. When you suffer from a disease, you need to look after both your body and mind to best manage your difficulties.
You also need to consider how a sense of being whole can come about whatever happens to your body. Everyone’s physical body perishes in the end – how can you live so that this process is dignified rather than full of stress, anxiety and the feeling of being broken?
When you practice mindfulness, you practice an act of love. You’re befriending yourself, slowly but surely. You’re engaging in an activity for yourself, to look after, care and nurture your own health and wellbeing.
In mindfulness meditation you may at some point connect with your own deep, innate sense of wholeness. You begin to touch a depth of relaxation, of calm that you may not have been aware of beforehand. This encounter with your own wholeness is profoundly healing in the sense of feeling at peace with yourself and with an inner conviction that things are going to be okay, however they work out.
Your ill health, your body, your thoughts, the emotions that arise and pass away, aren’t everything. They’re a part of the whole. The thought, ‘It’s all my fault; I’m completely useless,’ is just thought, not facts. When you begin to touch this inner wholeness, your illness becomes less threatening. You become more optimistic in both the present moment and the future.
From your more detached, free and light-hearted stance, your perception of your predicament shifts, and you allow more space for your body to heal as best it can, while taking all the medical treatment as appropriate.
Mindfulness helps you to see things from a bigger perspective. If, due to your disease, you feel low and down, out of control, and that you just can’t dig yourself out of the hole that you’re in, you probably feel depressed, isolated, lonely and afraid.
However, consider the same situation from a bigger perspective; remember that you’re suffering in the same way as many others. You can become aware of both the suffering you feel and those aspects of you that are healthy and well. Although you may have a bad back, what about the parts of your body that are functionally well?
Mindfulness shifts the fixed patterns of the mind and enables you to see from eyes of wholeness. Then perhaps you can forgive yourself for feeling down – you’re human after all.