We believe that in most cases the individual on his own is able to do much more for himself than any physician, nurse, alternative therapist, social worker or any other expert can do. You can achieve this by seizing the meaning of life.
Life is about being the master of your own existence. This means that you fashion your life to your own liking rather than allowing others to shape it in ways they prefer.
Taking responsibility for your life means that you are willing to see that the real barriers to health are not all external ones, but include things that can be found within yourself. What makes us ill?
What makes us ill?
What makes us ill are all the life-denying decisions we take when we are overwhelmed by pain and troubles. We take these decisions in order to escape pain, and in doing so we construct a view of reality that minimises our own responsibility. This dynamic is very simple, but generally poorly understood.
The sick or troubled person who leaves the responsibility for the essential decisions in life to others can be certain that the decisions made are not optimal. This will lead the person to go downhill for as long as this lack of responsibility continues.
Do you live with your heart or have you already pawned your soul? Only a person who truly believes in himself has the opportunity to discover what is really right or wrong for him.If you do not have the courage to listen to your inner self you will inadvertently live a life in which you will have to rely on others’ interpretation of things.
Think of life as a great and complicated building. Every right decision throughout life adds a stone to our life’s castle. Every small, wrong choice removes a stone from the castle. If the balance tips the wrong way we will gradually, over the years, lose the order in our lives, tear our building down and gradually but systematically become more disconnected, superficial and unwell.
What is required for healing?
Healing requires us to let go of all the limiting beliefs, all the life-denying decisions we have taken throughout our lifetime. The minute we do that, we start to heal. Generally our philosophy of life lies embedded in pain and only through confronting that pain can we get close to these life-denying decisions. We can then articulate them precisely enough to let go of them.
Our organism gradually falls apart and degenerates towards death during the last decades of our lives, our old age. Degeneration and sickness in old age is the result of hundreds of life-denying decisions that you now have to identify and let go of to be healed. We are meant to be cheerful and light-hearted, and if we are not, we can today begin the change to become so. In theory, the recipe is very simple.
- Acknowledge your misconceptions of life, self and the world.
- Adjust your map by letting these misconceptions go.
- Open yourself humbly to the fact that you have not understood the most profound and important things in life.
- Seek high and low for the meaning of life. With the right spirit this project always succeeds.
- Be brave-hearted and save yourself by assuming responsibility for your life.
To be able to become well again you have to confront the suffering of being ill. You need to carry this suffering into your very soul. If you distance yourself from the suffering, you often also distance yourself from healing. We do not mean to say that you have to devote yourself to the suffering, but you need to turn towards it and not away from it, so to speak. Feeling the pain associated with the sick part of the body is often the key to healing, because that pain represents the relevant, life-limiting decisions you took in the past. Confronting the pain makes these decisions surface in consciousness where they can be analysed, articulated correctly and finally released and dropped for good, leaving you with a better attitude towards life.
In our experience, this process of healing and learning will always lead you to the centre, to the core of existence, and to the suffering you feel here when life is not what it should be. A deep existential distress is inevitably found and felt. The process of becoming well again is consistent with the process of discovering the profound meaning in and joy of life.
To seize the meaning of life
When we finally acknowledge that the world extends beyond our reason or that there are forces at large that matter more than our impulses, then we can proceed. When we realise that there are values on Earth that far surpass the value of our small life, then we will be humble enough to accept the gift (and task) that is life. Then we can put behind us our faith in authority and our loyal, but out of date and limited, description of the world. To discover the meaning of life means finding yourself and the values that you can always, and without faltering, use as the foundation for your own life.
To gain the meaning of life does not mean to be forever happy. It means that you find your fundamental challenge as a human being and you take up that challenge. You become a person with a mission.There are things to be corrected both on the inside and the outside, things within you and things in the world around you. If you are really clever you will see that in reality there is often little difference between the two. You cannot escape this world with its superficiality, materialism, abuse of power and false values. What you can do is to improve that part of the world that is you.
Ask yourself what it is that you want:
- What is needed for you to obtain what you want with the opportunities you have?
- What about your work? Do you really exert yourself and improve anything? Do you gain the expertise necessary to express yourself creatively and spontaneously? Do you solve your tasks to your own personal satisfaction? Do you have enough influence on your own work? Do you actually accept what your company produces or should you be doing something quite different in order to be of use in the world?
- What about your time off? Do your holidays fulfil your dreams or do you just end up wasting your time on casual pursuits, before returning home to your boring routine? Do you burn for your life, your work and your love?
- Do you or your life contain any nerve at all?
- In the final analysis, how do you feel if you are really and totally honest? Are you okay? Do you get out of life what it can give you? Do you exploit all your opportunities? Have you accepted the challenge that is yours? Is your life in balance? Are you at peace with yourself because you have acknowledged your own personal mission in life?
Our problem is that deep down we do not really want to know the meaning of our lives, because if we do, we have to acknowledge that the life we actually live is a pale shadow of the opportunities we hold. When you are conscious of your big dream, but shy away from working to make it come true, you suppress yourself. This works fine only as long as you are not too aware of it, but with the growing awareness the suppression of your own life becomes still harder to bear.
When I experienced this process I felt a strong and almost unbearable sensation of unworthiness. When you realise the brilliant standard that all mankind inhabits deep within the soul – all that we are meant to be, our real potential – then our present existence often seems pretty pale, insignificant, and sometimes close to a total failure.
As long as you compare yourself with your next door neighbour you can always claim success. But when you start comparing your present state of being with that of a person at his full peak – like Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci or spiritual masters like the Baal Shem Tov, Dalai Lama or Sai Baba – it is difficult not to feel grey.
When you compare yourself to your true potential, you might find that what Nature or God intended you to be is amazingly different from whatever you thought at first.
This article is based on the book, Evidence-Based Holistic Mind-Body Medicine, by Søren Ventegodt MD & Joav Merrick MD, published 2013 by Nova Science Publ Inc.
Søren Ventegodt MD trained as a medical doctor and was director of a research division at University Hospital, Copenhagen. For the last 10 years, he has been practising holistic mind-body medicine as an alternative therapist without a medical license. He runs a holistic hospital in Sweden with Pavlina Kordova. They will be conducting workshops on the Gold Coast in October 2016.
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