The bad news is: It’s all in your mind. The good news is: It’s all in your mind. In 1989, Bantam published a book written by Deepak Chopra, M.D. entitled Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. Chopra’s book was not the first ever written on the subject. A seminal work by Dr. Kenneth Pelletier, Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer, was published in 1977. For that matter, mind/body medicine is at the core of ancient texts dating back to the Bible, the Vedas, and Chinese medicine. But in 1995, Chopra’s book about the nearly forgotten role of the mind in healing set a benchmark, spending two years at the top of best-seller lists. America was ready to remember.
So it’s not news that the mind has an innate connection with healing. What we can do is look at how simple it is and how available it is to all of us.
First, simplify the way we look at the mind. Psychology, like most Western disciplines, gets pretty convoluted, defining all sorts of different parts of the mind. The problem with that is, the average intelligent person has trouble making it practical and applicable. (I have yet to figure out whether a thought came from the id or ego or the super-ego or wherever!)
The simpler, the better. It’s much simpler to consider just two parts to the mind, parts that nearly everyone can relate to: the conscious and subconscious. They’re like two different stages of awareness, really. Everything in our experience must be run by mind since thought precedes form as cause precedes effect. I can identify that the conscious part of the mind handles that which I am immediately aware of and the subconscious takes care of the rest.
The conscious, analytical mind excels at tasks like, well, adding numbers, alphabetizing, analyzing data and a limited amount of things like that. The subconscious literally does everything else. And it’s a lot of “else.” The subconscious runs our bodily functions like heart rate, immune system, cellular repair, digestion, focusing eyes, respiration, walking, forming words in our mouth, scratching, etc. You name it. The subconscious is capable of amazing tasks and effects. No wonder the subconscious is sometimes called the “other 90% of the mind.” It’s probably more like the other 99.9% of the mind.
In the Zone. There’s an everyday example of the power of the subconscious. Imagine basketball legend Michael Jordan taking a jump shot. Did Jordan consciously “think” about it? “Let’s see, the basket is 23 feet away, mmm... 10 feet off the floor. This ball weighs 1.5 pounds. If I elevate to 34.4 inches to clear my 6’9” opponent and propel this sphere at .7 ft/ms with an arc of 37°, it should arrive at the locus within the radius of the annular iron rim.”
There’s no way Jordan could intellectually guide a jump shot. The conscious mind could not do it. If the conscious, analytical mind could pull off 23-foot jumpshots, we would have physics majors playing round ball, not athletes. In fact, athletes regularly use the word unconscious to describe a particularly successful performance. “I was unconscious out there,” they often say. Or describe the shift in awareness as being “in the zone.”
The amazing, incredible, physics-defying feats of Michael Jordan are done by his subconscious, non-analytical mind. And, the amazing, incredible, physics-defying feats you do are done by your subconscious, non-analytical mind; like walking, like focusing your eyes, like breathing. You just plain couldn’t consciously think fast enough to consciously instruct the hundreds of tasks required for your body to walk, increase heart rate as you moved uphill, slow breathing as you stopped, tell each muscle how to move and how far etc., etc. While at the same time digesting your lunch. Your subconscious is by far the most powerful part of your mind. Learning how to use it to direct the healing power of the body is natural.
Think less, know more. In the case of the subconscious mind, or as A Course in Miracles calls it, the higher mind, less is more. The harder you try to do something with the subconscious, the less likely you succeed. For example, the more effort you consciously expend on remembering someone’s name, the less likely you will be to remember it. It’s when you relax, maybe in the middle of doing something else, and the name just pops into your mind, effortlessly. Because the conscious mind “got out of the way,” the subconscious performed easily. To use this more powerful subconscious mind then, the first order of business is to get the busy-ness out of the mind; to quiet the chattering analytical mind and allow the subconscious to do its perfect work. Learning to still the babbling conscious mind is the key. Then, using specific methods to engage the subconscious, we can connect the mind with the healing functions of the body. The subconscious can work like a projector and display results on the silver screen of our reality.
Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit HeartlandHealing.com for past articles.