Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can

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Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can

By Caroline Myss, Ph.D.
Harmony, 1998
264 pages, paperback, $17.50

Reviewed by NANCY

Have you found yourself unable to move past a health crisis, even though you received treatment and a clean bill of health from the doctor? Or do you feel unwell, even though you aren’t sick?  Have you ever gone through a profound life-changing experience, survived, but found you could not put it behind you? Tapping into your healing potential can be a game-changer.

Caroline Myss, an intuitive healer, wrote Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can to help people understand the deeper causes of their emotional, mental, physical and spiritual pain. She shows the reader how they can identify what blocks their healing, gives them a process called “Three-Column Sight” to facilitate healing and provides information on things they can do to promote wellness.

According to Myss, we have a much greater influence on our health than we realize. “Our knowledge of nutrition and food supplements, combined with our knowledge of healing techniques both from Eastern cultures and from within our own holistic culture, have made available to us healing possibilities that challenge the familiar prognoses of allopathic medicine.” The challenge is to apply this knowledge. “Looking upon an illness as an opportunity to grow in self-awareness activates the potential for healing that lies dormant when you take a passive position or descend into self-pity.”

What we think about our situation, about the healing process and about what is possible, counts. Compounding the problem is the fact that we may be getting more from being unwell. Falling into a state of “woundology” can be appealing. When you are sick and get a lot of attention, care and concern from others, you may lose the motivation to work at getting better. When your current situation becomes a safe place to stay, moving on and working on healing yourself can be a challenge. Those who suffer from this cognitive trap have linked their identity or sense of self to their trauma or illness. They get caught up in the security of being defined by a negative situation.

Our mindset isn’t the only stumbling block, though. The reality is, “when illness develops because of a negative behaviour pattern – substance abuse, smoking, high stress levels, a stultifying job or relationship – personal change becomes part of the healing process.” Change is scary. Are we prepared to make changes and let go of things in order to heal?  It’s easy to let go of what we don’t want or things that are negligible. But how far will we go to heal ourselves? What are we willing to give up and change?

The practical aspect of dealing with a physical ailment is obvious, but all parts of our being must be cared for. Myss considers the traditional definition of a healthy person – one without a physical illness – outdated. Good health is determined by your consciousness. Spiritual un-wellness may be the biggest challenge one faces in life. However, “our spiritual needs must be met if our bodies are to thrive.”

According to Myss, moving from a tribal mindset to a symbolic mindset and building a bridge of action through individuated thinking is the answer. A major challenge in making this shift is to embrace the process while retaining the positive aspects of tribal thinking. Conceptualizing your situation in terms of archetypes helps you to recognize what is happening from a more detached and compassionate place. “Making contact with the archetypal realm allows us to see beyond the physical meaning of events and view them as Divine opportunities to evolve our consciousness.” This is about taking back our power to heal ourselves or to at least be co-healers. Archetypal reasoning “is the most richly liberating form of sight that you can develop within yourself. Combined with your Tribal and Individual power, the Symbolic mind gives you the ability to interpret the negative challenges of your life and realize that each one is a positive gift, even if that gift is not immediately evident.”

Changing how you see your situation isn’t easy, though. The process Myss outlines requires you to deconstruct your beliefs and assumptions about the healing process and rebuild or rewrite the rules for your own healing.  Staying aware is essential so you know when you are falling into tribal thinking patterns and to alert you to the fact that you need to work at transforming those patterns. Tribal consciousness is a problem because it represents where we act instinctively.

Myss includes a section on the chakra system, with meditations for each of the seven energy centres, because “jealousy, greed, the desire for vengeance and other lower-chakra issues remain among the leading emotional factors contributing to the loss of health and our inability to heal.”

An exploration of the astrological ages showed Myss how our fear-based, tribal mindset and the concept of scarcity influenced our ideas about health, wellness and our ability to heal. The “astrological-historical context for the emergence of spiritual truths may enhance your understanding of your own spiritual journey and your capacity to heal yourself and your life.” It was interesting to read how history shaped society’s thinking. It was encouraging to note that as we enter the Age of Aquarius we can expect an expansion of possibilities for individual healing.

Included in the book is a section on the five myths about healing, with instructions on how to challenge them for yourself.  Nonspiritual things, like learning to say no and having realistic goals, are effective in expanding self-awareness and setting the stage for improved wellness.

The Three-Column Sight system Myss promotes is quite complex and the attitudinal shift is radical in some cases, so it’s helpful that she includes examples on how to rewrite core beliefs. Her book is spiritual and practical. She’s tied together concepts and given enough background information on psychology, Eastern and Western philosophies, spiritualities and religions for the reader to be able to use them to facilitate their own mental, physical, emotional and spiritual healing.

Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can  excels at showing one how to get out of a healing rut by explaining what factors are in play. Uncovering core belief patterns that inhibit healing and transforming them is integral to success. Emotional detachment and self-love are also essential. It’s work, but it’s worth it; because, though challenging and possibly painful, growing into individual power “offers us the chance to emerge at a higher level of mastery and satisfaction.” This isn’t just about healing what ails you. It’s about reaping the rewards of embracing your life and living consciously to become the best you can be.

nancy-gillNancy, Night Sky Woman, has been doing psychic card readings professionally for over 15 years. She is also an astrologer and has studied a variety of spiritualities and philosophies. She has been writing Taroscopes for over five years and teaches the tarot through lifelong learning. She reads out of the Bella Vista Restaurant and at the Winnipeg Makers & Market events. To book an appointment or for information about classes, you can reach Nancy at 204-775-8368 or by email at ngill@mymts.net.


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