What is Holism?
. . . and beyond
Body, Mind, Spirit
In the second edition of the Wellness Directory of Minnesota™,
we published an article called Beyond Medicine. It touched on things
that influence all aspects of healing and go way beyond medicine
such as prayer, meditation, and simple understanding and knowing. It
also touched on those things that are beyond the grasp of science
because science cannot taste, touch, or measure them. If you are the
type of skeptic who must debunk or dismiss everything that goes
against your sensibility, then this section is not for you.
Life desires a bit of mystery. We need not believe to feel when
the feeling comes first.
This section will grow with time. I will add interesting links
for you seekers, a new paragraph here and there, and expand on some
topics, always hoping others will feel free to come forward and
For now, we shall discuss the body/mind aspects of healing with
some references to spirit, since no part can be separated from the
whole when we delve into Holism.
Holism, or Holistic Medicine, is one of the most abused terms
today. If you take a vitamin or a homeopathic, have a regular
massage, or drink herbal tea, you are not being holistic. The word
holism comes from the word whole. In fact, holism can be spelled
We are body, mind, and spirit. If you are agnostic or atheistic,
there is probably no room for spirit and I don't know what to tell
you. Perhaps you'll have an open mind and follow along because there
are things that resist explanation (unless you must supply one) that
might interest you.
Modern medicine treats the body, but there is so much more to
being human than having a body. The body, mind, spirit is a
microcosm for the Christian beliefs in the holy trinity. To truly
embrace our humanness, we must embrace the entirety of humanness.
Holistic Medicine treats the patient as an entire being without
focusing on the current symptoms. If a person has cancer, that
matters little to a true holistic physician; balancing the body's
systems, clearing the patient's mind, and reconnecting the patient
with a higher power are the goals.
In reality, there are no true holistic physicians (though I could
be wrong). Absolute holism is a standard that we can only approach
but never reach. As humans, doctors, therapists, and healers will
always keep a focus on present illnesses of the person who came to
us for help, just as your tongue has to consistently return to that
chipped tooth. Human nature.
For discussion purposes, we can focus on one at
a time, so let us chose the mind first. But watch for overlaps to
Thought is energy. If modern science doesn't agree, it's simply
that they've not been able to measure it. Always keep in mind that
we are much more arrogant than intelligent here in America. We
laughed at Chinese medicine and acupuncture for a long time. But
then, in 1994, using high tech instruments, our science discovered
the energy lines (called meridians) that the Chinese had discovered
some 6000 years ago using only their senses.
Prayer is thought. Prayer is energy. To improve their odds,
people in an interesting study out of California brought friends and
family and even their minister, priest, or rabbi along to their
chemo sessions and everyone prayed for the chemotherapy. Not only
did their odds of success improve, the patients did not lose their
hair or experience the normal side effects.
We will discuss prayer further on because it works, and today,
even science knows it works because someone decided to study it in a
laboratory. Even in the laboratory, prayer works.
Just as thought can heal disease, it can also create disease.
Here and there in this world, some people have healed their cancers
through hypnosis. The hypnotherapist is getting to the root cause of
illness by clearing out all the unresolved issues, old emotional
baggage, and stinking thinking. Steven Parkhill, a hypnotherapist
with a history of healing cancers in people who were left for dead
by their physicians, wrote a book called
Answer Cancer - Answers For Living. His book is out of
print and hard to find, but here is a short review by the husband of
one of Parkhill's successful patients: "Parkhill's methods work; he
tells how: A stunning book, written as if Parkhill were simply
chatting with you. He explains how the mind works, how a lifetime's
emotional baggage leads to disease, why diseases recur, and how to
remove the causes permanently through hypnotherapy. Every patient
needs this information. Dare your doctor to read it."
PMA - Positive Mental Attitude. This one comes with a warning
because it can backfire. Deepak Chopra talks about one of his
patients who appeared consistently, nearly frenziedly high on her
positive attitude. She never said one negative thing. And one day he
questioned her about it and it turned out that the reason she was so
positive was that she was terrified to have a negative thought.
Creating a PMA is more difficult than you can imagine. If PMA
were the all and end all, no one would ever get sick and those who
did would quickly cure themselves. As you look around, you can see
that this ain't happening. So, there must be more to it.
I've have talked about in the past a database that consists of
cancer patients who reversed their own cancer against the odds given
them. Call it spontaneous healing or just call it just healing, they
all had something in common: they transcended (went beyond) their
fear of cancer, their fear of death. There is a bit more, but we
shall focus on this for now.
Cancer is only a word, not a sentence. If you
cut your finger, unless you are a bleeder, you do not think you will
bleed to death. You know you have to wash it, care for it, keep it
clean and it will heal. If you catch a cold, you do not immediately
assume that it will progress to pneumonia and you will be pushing up
daisies in no time at all. No, you assume that you'll suffer for two
weeks or so and get better. Even if it hangs on longer, we don't
normally assume it will kill us.
Then why the big fear over cancer? We are taught to fear it.
It's like getting old. We don't have to get old, but we see
others doing it and we believe we have to do it too. Did I tell you
about the acupuncturist who died in a freak water-skiing accident?
He had a spill, hit the water wrong, his heart started to fibrillate
and by they time they got him in the boat, he'd drowned. Could
happen to anyone. But he was 89.
As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, 30% of all cancers go
away on their own. Imagine if you did not have any knowledge of
cancer. You'd never heard of it before. And your doctor says you
have cancer, take care of yourself, and it will go away. That 30%
might easily jump to 60% if this were the case. But it is not the
case. We all believe that cancer is a death sentence, especially
when your white smocked physician looks deep into your eyes and
hands you the news.
When an elephant is small, they chain its leg with a very thick
chain to a very large, sturdy tree. As the elephant grows, they use
smaller chains and smaller trees. When the elephant is an adult, a
slight rope around its leg attached to a sapling will hold the
elephant in place. It doesn't matter the reality of the situation,
it matters what the elephant thinks. The elephant feels the tug and
THINKS it is securely fastened. The elephant is chained in its mind.
That's all it needs. Mind chains.
It has been said, "You must be as a child…."
Let me tell you a story.
Two boys went ice-skating, and one of them fell through the ice.
His friend, who was quite a bit smaller, saw him flail around in the
water and then disappear under the ice. Desperately, he tried
breaking through the ice with his skates and his fists to get to his
friend, but it wasn’t working.
Then he noticed a huge tree limb lying at the side of the pond.
He ran to it, pulled it over to the spot where his friend was
trapped, and amazingly, lifted it up over his head and drove it
through the ice, creating a hole so his friend could get air. He
then pulled his friend out of the water.
People wondered how such a small boy had been able to lift such a
big limb and save his friend. So they asked, "How did he do it?"
Several explanations were offered, but the best one came from the
boy who had been rescued. He said, "He did it because there was no
one around to tell him he couldn’t!"
If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you won't.
This is why Chopra recommends meditation: "to slip between the
cracks of reality and drift into the unlimited possibilities of the
Here is another of my favorite stories:
A young man in an advanced math lecture fell asleep in class. The
professor meanwhile wrote two problems on the blackboard as
illustrations of equations that had no solution. He explained their
history and discussed some of the great minds that had been up
against them only to fail time and again. When the bell rang, the
young man awoke, looked at the blackboard and, thinking the two
equations were his homework, he copied them down and ran to his next
The following Monday, the young man came to class and told his
professor that his homework was the toughest assignment he'd ever
had. He wasn't sure about the second one, but he'd gotten the first.
Sure enough, he had solved one of the "impossible" problems, because
he didn't know it was impossible.
Sometimes it is not what you know that counts, but what you don't
know. Sometimes, we learn more by forgetting than by remembering. I
know that in healing my own life, I've had to learn from others. One
book that brought a huge positive shift into my thinking and
advanced my healing immensely is
Teach Only Love by Dr Gerald Jampolsky.
From the Publisher:
In 1975, Jerry Jampolsky cofounded the Center for Attitudinal
Healing in Tiburon, California, where people with life-threatening
illnesses practice peace of mind as an instrument of transformation.
Based on the healing power of love and forgiveness, the 12
principles developed at the center, and explained in this book,
embrace the idea that total giving and total acceptance are crucial
to the healing process and that attitudinal healing can lead to
harmony, joy, and life without fear.
Reading this book was truly transformational. I learned that my
attitude needed healing before my body could heal. Shortly
afterwards, my body found its path to healing all on its own.
Western medicine tells us that disease is a mechanical process.
The germ theory of medicine sells antibacterial soaps and sprays.
But what accounts for those individuals who are never sick a day in
their lives? They've come into contact with just as many bacteria
and viruses as anyone else, but something in their makeup does not
allow the bug to catch hold.
Even if you say, this too is mechanical; it's their immune
systems, can you be so sure? Many scientists today feel the immune
system is actually a circulating consciousness. This is discussed in
Immune System - The Rest of the Story.
Before we leave this discussion of the mind, let me ask you:
Where is the mind? Do you believe it to be restricted to the brain?
Is the brain the mind? Other organs in the body also produce brain
chemicals. Is the entire being the mind? What about those moments
when people receive messages from a loved one. Time Life Books
has even dedicated a set of books to a discussion of the paranormal,
E.S.P., and other unexplained phenomena such as the mother who gets
a feeling her daughter is in trouble and rushes to her home just in
time to save her life. Are our minds interconnected?
The feeling that the mind is not local, not restricted to our
brains or, for that matter, not restricted to our bodies and that it
exists in connection with a mass unconscious is starting to gain
favor among thinkers. Proof? You won't find proof; many examples and
experiments, but poof? Before I leave you, I will tell you one more
story. It is one of my favorite stories. It is called The
There were some researchers on these islands. The islands had
very large populations of monkeys. The researchers decided, at one
point, to feed the monkeys but in a way that would still require a
bit of work from the monkeys. The researchers went down to the sandy
beaches, and tossed grains over the sand. The monkeys came down and
began the painfully slow process of extracting the grain from the
One day, one monkey scooped up a large handful of grain mixed
with sand, walked to the water, and dropped it into the water. The
sand sunk to the bottom, the grains floated. With one sweep, the
monkey grabbed up the grain and tossed it in his mouth. Monkeys
learn by "modeling" behavior. It wasn't long before another monkey
learned this technique and copied it. More and more monkeys began
scooping up their grains and bringing them to the water.
Then one day, the hundredth monkey caught the trick. The
hundredth monkey scooped up the seeds and grain and went down to the
water. When the hundredth monkey had finished eating, all the
monkeys, on all the islands suddenly knew this trick. The next day
there wasn't one monkey who didn't know this new technique for
gathering the grains from the beach.
If you want to read more about this non-local mind and many the
experiments and revelations involved with it, one of the best books
I've ever found is written by a medical doctor, Dr Larry Dossey,
Recovering The Soul. Avoid reading the introduction, as it will
really put you off the book.
More References and Links:
Editor's Note: The links here are to Amazon. We
used to have an affiliate program through them, but the state of
Minnesota suddenly required sales tax be paid on sales from Amazon
and they dropped us. The links still work, we just don't get paid a
commission (which was about $15/month).
Mysterious Light: A Scientist's Odyssey: The personal story of a
scientist as he discovers spirit.
Experiments: Prayer is taken into the laboratory and using our
Western style science "proving" its existence and power.
Conversations With God (Volumes 1, 2, and 3): These are life
changing books, translated into 28 languages and on the NY Times
best selling list for over 3 years.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart
Tolle. One healer once told me, "We live our lives 60% in the past,
30% in the future, and 10% in the present. Do you have any doubts as
to why we get sick when so little of our energy is focused on
healing which can only take place in the present?" This book, if you
follow its advice, take time to absorb its content, can not only
heal your life, but it will bring you boundless joy that no
disappointment can ever erase. I've not only read the book, but I
often listen to Eckhart Tolle read his book with The Power of NOW on
Working on Yourself Doesn't Work: A Book About Instantaneous
Transformation. This is one amazing book. Along with The Power
of Now, you can change and heal your life, today. Simply written,
simply understood, there is magic in these pages.
Recovering the Soul: A Scientific and Spiritual Approach by Dr
Larry Dossey. This book will open your eyes to things undreamt of.
Just avoid the introduction; it is unreadable.
Staying Well With Guided Imagery by Belleruth Naparstek. This is
a great introduction to how to use guided imagery to do some very
deep healing or to simply stay well while all around you are
Health Journeys: A Meditation to Help You Fight Cancer by
Belleruth Naparstek. This tape will amaze you. It is a very hypnotic
tape, just sit back and allow Naparstek's wonderful, healing voice
to flow through you. If there are two tapes every person should own,
every person who wants to take back their health, it is this tape
and Louise Hay's tape Cancer:
Discovering Your Healing Power.
Warning: do not listen to these tapes while driving!
Love, Medicine and Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from
a Surgeon's Experience with Exceptional Patients by Dr Bernie
Siegel. This is the audio tape version. We live in a fast paced
world and if you find yourself spending more time in your car than
in your home, then this is the perfect companion.