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A Side Effect of Alternative Healing Approaches

"…This is the shadow side of holistic medicines: There is a tendency to turn illness or suffering into self-condemnation."

How true, tragic and sad!
Holistic and spiritual approaches to healing do not protect the ill person from bouts of self-incrimination, self accusation, shame, guilt and additional feelings of inadequacy when: 
  1. healing does not take place,
  2. when an illness worsens, 
  3. when an illness repeats itself after what seems to have been a healing episode, etc. 
In fact, self-incriminating tendencies may even be worse for people who chose (or were led to choose) alternative healing modalities. It is unfortunate that the 'New Age paradigm' of illness and healing seems to have come with a number of moral judgments that are not only seen as pointing at the causes of being ill, but also as pointing out the reasons for not being able to heal oneself. 
One of these notions seems to be the idea of personal past life Karma, another one is the idea that any acquired illness befalls you because of the choices you made or... did not make.
There is all too often an accusing finger pointing at the ill person and that finger points even stronger when an ill person does not seem to heal.

Someone who, so to speak, 'fails' the alternative healing modalities, will often carry an additional burden of 'forced' self incrimination, self accusation, self-condemnation, personal disappointment, guilt, shame, self-blame, an almost never ending finding-fault-with-oneself, self-loathing , self-hatred , desperation, etc... all preparations for and ingredients of some sort of mental, emotional and spiritual suicide. 

A very sad thing! Not a sign at all of the compassion that adherents to alternative approaches in healing also tend to hold out for each other! 

Hmm?! Could it be that these self-incriminating, self-blaming and self-doubting tendencies, however unwarranted and unjustified they actually are, by themselves add to illness, or make any illness worse?
Come to think of it, it might well be that any kind of unwarranted self-criticism is at the root of certain afflictions and illnesses. 
That may be worth investigating...

If this is so, where does (1) this tendency to accuse oneself of being the cause of one's own suffering and misfortune, and (2) the assumption of one's own inadequacy and shortcomings come from?
If we end up having these kinds of tendencies, how did we come to adopt them so easily and identify with them? 

As an aside:
If blaming others for one's ills and misfortunes is not deemed to be appropriate, how did we come to think that doing the same with ourselves IS? Shouldn't we treat ourselves equally as compassionately and understandingly as we treat others? In a manner of speaking, if God is compassionate with me should I not be as compassionate with myself? Why should I choose to be less compassionate and wise than God, even if it concerns myself?!
Isn't this whole judgmental fault-finding phenomenon, whether self- or other-directed, the basic affliction that pretty near all of humankind is affected by, the root cause of human suffering? Wasn't there some biblical figure of yore, someone who unfortunately and mistakenly also came to be attributed with godly qualities and names, who started this thing? 

Could it be that this person 't r i c k e d' his fellow human beings into situations of peril, discomfort and insecurity so that mis-steps, mis-takes and weaknesses by 'his underlings' became unavoidable?
Could it be that this personage (and later similar personages) then took advantage of those situations and created subsequent schemes in which social and religious subservience became the norm for a new order (disorder actually)?! 

Is it not that what 'religion' can also mean: to be bound, to live in bondage, bonded through subservience!? (Many etymologists connect the word 'religion' with 'religare' - to bind fast.)
Could it be that these kind of manipulative strategies lie at the root of most if not all subservience and unequal dependencies? 

Could it be that subsequently that very same megalomaniac personage, the one with those 'divine' allures, then blamed his tricked victims for having put themselves freely in the path of his trickeries?
Did he perhaps identify his victims so often in that manner, that they eventually came to identify themselves according to his identifications, however false they were and however concocted in the first place? (If someone often enough shouts at you that you are mad, it is pretty well unavoidable that you eventually end up mad and... that then your (?) madness will be thrown back into your face!) 

Could it be, eventually, that that pseudo-godly personage was able to have his victims become convinced that they were indeed the cause of their own misery and fallibility, that they had it coming because of 'the choices they made'... thus making them forget or disregard that they were originally tricked into 'their' weaknesses and inadequacies, exactly those that are now used against them? 

Ah, fault finding and blaming eh!!! 
Well, it must have started at some point and somewhere... But can we stop it; can we halt its momentum? 
Insight into the dynamics of how all this might have come about should help!!!

But... too much speculation perhaps, so let me try a memory closer to home. For myself I remember from early childhood that the very first time I was made to feel "stupid" by my older brother, that there was actually no reason or motivation whatsoever for his judgment about me... except that it must have made him feel quite superior, especially when he felt that he had been successful in making me feel shitty and stupid. Initially, I remember, I objected strongly to his ploys, but over time, after many repeats, I noted how close I came to identify myself the very way he identified me. Over time and under more duress, it became easier and easier :)) to at first assume and later even 'admit' that it was my own (?) stupidity that got me into a deeper and deeper mess: "Problems of your own making!"

Yeah right! Were they really??? 
Not that I have to blame my brother, my peers or myself; there are thousands of years of pseudo-divine history behind us, pushing us to replay the 'manipulative ploys of yore' on ourselves and each other...
But... no more! 

Comment by Barry: 
As a body worker and healer I do not play fair. First of all I pray and intend that only people come to me that can be helped by me. Then I ask clients what they want from me and tell them if I think I can pull it off. Then I tell them when I feel a change taking place regarding what they are hoping for. It usually is enhanced by them feeling the same thing. Then I tell them to send others that want to get better. Sometimes I get the attitudes you speak of and try to blast through that each week with new successes that they agree happens but they go back to I did not cure everything and the problem overall can bring back the whole mess. Then I tell them they need to go to someone with more powerful diagnostic skill and/or healing techniques. Next.

07 December, 2009  

Comment by Barry: 
I am back. I am the same person that said I do not play fair. The one that prays (intends) that only people come to me that I can help. 

To put it another way I want my soul (higher self) to persuade the soul (higher self) of others to come to me - if I can help them. That is not saying much. It is how we separate beings work together most efficiently - listening to our higher self, by getting our ego out of the way. The part of our self that wants to reinforce our separateness. Rather then praying for an abundance of clients I only want ones that my knowledge and technique can redirect to improved functioning till the body can take over and correct the rest.

I am setting myself up for success by doing my part in that we all have a unique part to play. Therefore I am the missing link to what they are seeking. Sounds arrogant yet I seriously want to do what I do well: It is my calling. I tell my clients that we all want self healing bodies. Then I proceed to explain - when obstacles get in the way of self healing then a therapist is useful. Is it the clients fault that they were over exuberant too many times till a feedback loop reinforced their faulty behavior? We can each judge our self on that - but - as a therapist I will say yes to the client - you were over exuberant as we discover the exuberance. I and the client do not have to be condemning - that is judgmental: Just honest. 

I and my client want the success of renewed self healing body. For me, word of mouth advertisement is the best. So I use my assessment skills, treatment skills and client education skills to the max. Outcome: less habitual exuberance and a more balanced lifestyle as promoted by the Eightfold Path whenever applicable (can you think of an exception). Little do they know I am encouraging them to move toward a less separate self - toward a greater harmonious flow within the greater scheme of things. Now that is hardly condemning - I would call it down right liberating. Sorry about being short on the details - that is where the devil is.

23 March, 2010

Comment by Barry: 
Regarding those of us that are not immortal or plan to ascend into the Heavens rather than die, we do not always get better; no matter how good the therapist. Working within our limits is a necessary skill. I have a long list of long term clients that I have seen over the years. Some are highlighted in black with white letters. That signifies my clients that are living on the other side. I can only wish they miss our weekly, biweekly, or monthly appointments. I am sure the activities are abundant and are self affirming where they are. Yet health, life, living and existing has its drawbacks. 

As we strive to define our uniqueness we often get stuck. It is the healthy blending of boundaries that bring happiness and flow. When we find ourselves increasingly limited in old age and illness it feels as if we are beyond our prime. As if the good life has passed us by. Someone told me there is no such thing as darkness. As our light dims we feel alone and slipping. It is an opportunity to let go of the separateness. 
Many attribute that letting go as empowering. Some actually get a new lease on life. For those that pass on, the empowerment is realized on the other side. Those of us left behind have a chance to realize the value of letting go of the loss by reconnecting with our own inner strengths. It does take time. It is scary - that journey into the window of nothing. 

It is like the birthing process; we will find out whats next when we get there. For those that find things wearing out - labor pains begin when you get in position. Forgiveness sets the stage. Self Love gets you a starring role. Alternative Healing Approaches can help the process along, in conjunction with medical care and hospice. It's how you approach it.

24 March, 2010

Comment by Barry: 
Sorry about the above comments. As a body-worker I guess I was being defensive. Considering my own clients and thinking about how I treat those that do not seem to get better. Upon returning to the scene of my crime (rereading my comments, yea ego:) I choose to read with meaning your post Wim and pondered. 

We are directed and shaped and orchestrated into our limited understanding of who we are with boundaries intact.

It is nice to see you, Wim, can look at all of that and side step or better yet transcend getting out of the packaged self. Thank you for the opportunity to look at what we do that might contribute to the ills of our body. 

When clients present with traumatic undertones I learned from years as a staff with psych patients to encourage not to wallow nor hide. Some times distract (side step) and some times face the impact of the trauma. 

Following the promptings of an esoteric healing guide I one time asked a women to face her demon which resulted in her screaming - top of her lungs. Live and learn - (It may have helped). Another psych patient solicited my help saying she was ready to break up dishes - so we ventured to the gym and I sandwiched her between two wall mats and let her punch her way out. Periodically facing trauma might be just allowing the emotion to exist - deal with it. 

For the Chronically Ill it may be the painful reality of the illness is here to stay. I remember a stroke victim that I met 5 years after a water polo ball hitting his neck. As his therapist for the next 5 years (till he died) he would occasionally disappear into his frustration of not being able to pitch a ball. He could not talk just clench his left fist. As if to say if only I could ... Focusing on one piece of the frustration was easier than the gestalt. The distraction part is the fun part. Do things that take the mind off the problem. Like a wheel chair bound college student that I was a care taker for. Snow balls high over my shoulder into the air with him dodging or being receptive. I know I am being lame by putting out one idea of the many that at times are difficult to encourage when someone is down and out. 

Getting the momentum in the right direction is commendably. The direction has everything to do with getting with the program: any program, just so the getting with it is in gear. Overwhelmed to Subdued - I agree the attitude is part of the illness. Research and Science has indicated being overwhelmed has detrimental effects on our immune system. To say I cannot handle this is to say to your body I cannot deal with this. We do well to prioritize and mobilize to deal with what we can mixed with lightening up and distract ourselves by cultivating joy. Habits are hard to kick. Sometimes a therapist is just the thing. But when it comes right down to it, for all of us, we all have to do it alone. From a chronic recipient of tinnitus.

26 March, 2010

Comment by Barry:
OK, in reading again I heard the word fault finding after reading the progression of self and other directed accusations sticking in our head. It takes a while to let your words filter in. If I did not know you were so visceral your words would be a challenge that I might dismiss. Difficult to grasp, I ponder our separateness. Catholic school 12 years so yes - I have sinned. Let me count the ways. Heaven hopeful yet hell bound by standards set in stone. 

I am one of the good guys - gentle, sensitive, caring, intact with my shadow side nicely encapsulated (far below radar) just under the surface of the veil. That felt good to say. You mention megalomaniac. It was not long ago that you gave me the tools to understand what that means. Thank you for that. 

Arrogance on the surface yet a trauma, hidden in the past, inaccessibly deep within. Unable to know the insecurity that a scarred psyche holds - a need to prevail intact with a foolproof armor of knowledge. Ouch that must hurt and feel pretty good at the same time. What is that sweet on the forehead and the calm demeanor with intense quick verbal stab with a challengers pry. 

As I judge those that fit the persona I ask - can it describe the lot of us. Who is looking. The veil is intact. My sins may be forgiven. Rationalization, a skill that improves with age, just do not look through me - is a cry that melts one as knees buckle and adrenalin mixes with angst raw. Just saying all is OK till it isn't OK. They call it gnashing of teeth in the good book. I think that is why prostrations happen before the all knowing. 

Unsteady knees keep one low. What are we all avoiding, the basis of insecurity: stark aloneness. Not fitting in. Falling down the rabbit hole and not blending with Oneness intact. 

Why? - - - Because we were taught we were sinners and fall short and our human wants led us to a normalcy that is less then pristine. Diet, Posture, Fitness, Scholastics, Volunteerism, Civic Mindedness, Social Justice, Law Abiding, Uncoveting, Church Going: need I say more. How many doctrines should I look to in adding to my list of how to get it right. How many doctrines make it clear that the road is straight and narrow. 
So to arrogance we might add shy or isolated or any other method to keep our head above water to avoid any sucking vortex leading to that inner journey. Just Saying - even though Self Forgiveness is a running theme. Experimentation seems to take precedence over a judging God. And we have lifetimes to get it right. Hope I am right about my new cloak. And the Substance of the Fabric is Relatively Opaque.

26 March, 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I speak as someone who understands chronic uncompromising illness. And now see the perfection, the elegant orchestration of illness and the accompanied burden on all who love you. Today, I see that there is perfection in this endless creative flow of the ever creative Shakti. Trust and Love.

Wim, Thanks for your post.