Aggressive language in treatment
Conventional medicine attacks, fights and wants to conquer diseases, and invests enormous resources in counteracting natural processes such as aging and death. About 30 percent of medical costs are wasted on the last month of life, to little avail other than to stimulate the medical economy and to pretend that modern medicine can deal with death.
By battling something we label as an enemy we are actually giving it lots of energy and perpetuating its negative existence. While this may work with a physical problem, it does not work with psychological, relational or spiritual problems. Fighting to make your way out of a vicious circle, you are focused constantly on the negatives in your situation. This will not make the negatives go away. In fact, it highlights the negatives in your awareness, puts you in an aggressive, negative frame of mind that is not health-promoting, and in the end is unlikely to be effective. In fact, it is likely to perpetuate and worsen your problems (Benor 2004; 2005.
EmotionalBodyProcess, Part II (Benor 2000; 2001) discusses ways in which negative beliefs, traumas and emotions can be dealt with through acceptance, love, healing and forgiveness.
Being angry is actually a choice. No one can make us angry if we’re not in a mood or of a mind to respond with anger. However, we are conditioned to put the responsibility for our feelings on other people through the common usage of such terms as “He made me furious!” “This makes me sick!” or even “Seeing her smile makes my day!”
I work a lot with children and their families. From years of observing their behaviors (as well as observing my interactions with my own children) I am impressed that when parents are in a positive psychological space, children’s natural misbehaviors are handled much more successfully than when parents are in a bad mood.
Just last week, two year old Susie spilled a whole box of crayons on the floor in my office. Jennifer, her mother, responding from a place of anger, loudly reprimanded her: “Why do you always have to make such a mess?” Susie walked off to the play chest and refused to help her mother pick up the crayons. Jennifer continued to rant at Susie. Rather than cooperation, she elicited more rebellious and negative behaviors, stirring herself and Susie to escalating angry interactions.
In anger we tend to blame others for “making us angry.” Jennifer had nothing but criticisms for Susie. She could not understand what her baby sitter’s secret was for dealing with Susie, who rarely had angry outbursts while she was babysitting. I suggested to Jennifer that she might explore this question with her baby sitter.
Yesterday, Jennifer sheepishly acknowledged she had begun to see how her own frustrations and anger were probably stirring Susie to be an even more rebellious terrible two. With further discussions, she was able to see that her frustrations and anger (over marital and financial problems) was feeding on itself, and that she was venting her anger on Susie. She was pleased to report that in the past two days Susie had been behaving much better, responding very quickly to her mother’s more positive attitude towards her.
Divide and master
Our Western scientific method dichotomizes. We have the world of matter and separate realms of mind and spirit.
Even our bodies are subdivided into various parcels. Health care has gerrymandered* our bodies into territories that are convenient for caregivers to treat. Focusing on a problem that is in the heart or kidneys also allows caregivers to specialize in treating these organs, honing their skills and deepening their clinical knowledge. The enormously rapid pace of development of medical research makes it impossible for any one person to master all of medical practice. So, in the name of efficiency, we have a medical system that trains doctors to care for parts of people, but often neglects the person who brings the problem for treatment.
The result is that people feel neglected – however well their various limbs and organs are being addressed. One of my favorite cartoons from the New Yorker pictures a patient at the receptionist’s desk, asking “Does the doctor hug?”
The body is the focus of conventional medicine to such an extent that many doctors have little training in understanding or dealing with psychological problems. Western medicine has been successful in curing acute problems, particularly infections and trauma. It is less successful with chronic illnesses, where symptom management is the focus, and where psychological components are present – certainly in response to the stresses of being ill, and often in contributing to the development of the illness in the first place through poor stress management.
In the physical world of conventional medicine, we tend to view things in either/or fashion. Either the pain is caused by an infection, by trauma, or by some other cause. Wholistic medicine tends more towards both/and understandings of illnesses and approaches for dealing with problems on all levels.
What a healing we might have from the Russian word, danyet. Da means yes and nyet means no. Combine the two and you get something that is both yes and no – blending in the same word, in the same feeling; not alternating back and forth between a polar, separate yes and a distant, separate no, but intimately intertwined and inextricably parts of each other. Colloquial German similarly uses jain for ja (yes) and nein (no) combined.
The Chinese have vastly expanded upon appreciation of the polarities in life, acknowledging that absolutely everything in the world is a contrast to everything else. Yin, the feminine, is seen in open, receptive, Yang, the masculine, is expressed in assertive, forceful, outgoing actions.
At first it seems as though yin and yang are dichotomizing, but as we delve deeper, we see that the opposite is actually the case. Yin is the shady side of a slope, representing cold, darkness, passivity, resting, inward movement, and decreasing, feminine, receptive. Yang is the sunny side of a slope, that stands for warmth, light, energy, moving outward, growing, masculine, assertive.
Everything has yin and yang qualities, either of which may be more apparent relative to different relationships. Temperature can be hotter or colder; weight can be lighter or heavier; light can be brighter or dimmer, and so on. Infinite subdivisions and permutations are possible within any relationship. The back of the body is yang relative to the front, but the front at the chest is yang relative to the belly.
While yin is separate from yang, each depends upon the other to be in a relationship with itself in order to define itself. Health would not be appreciated as health were it not for illness. A terrorist could not be a terrorist or a martyr without an enemy against whom to fight. America could not be the defender of freedom without someone to defend against.
Benor, Daniel J. Healing Research, Volume II: (Popular edition),How Can I Heal What Hurts? Wholistic Healing and Bioenergies, Medford, NJ: Wholistic Healing Publications 2005
Benor, Daniel J. Healing Research, Volume II: (Professional edition), Consciousness, Bioenergy and Healing, Medford, NJ: Wholistic Healing Publications 2004 (“Book of the Year” award – The Scientific and Medical Network http://www.datadiwan.de/SciMedNet/11.htm)
Benor, Daniel, von Stumpfeldt, Dorothea, and Benor, Ruth, EmotionalBodyProcess, Part I. Healing through Love, International Journal of Heahng and Caring – On Line www.ijhc.org 2001, 1(1), 1-11. http://www.ijhc.org/Journal/0601articles/love-I-1.asp
Benor, Daniel, von Stumpfeldt, Dorothea, and Benor, Ruth, EmotionalBodyProcess, Part II. Healing through Love, International Journal of Heahng and Caring – On Line www.ijhc.org 2002, 2(1), 1-18.
*An expanded version of this article appears in Benor, DJ, In a Word, International J of Healing and Caring – On Line, www.ijhc.org January, 2001, 1-8.
(Continued in next column, The Healing Potential in a Word, Part 3)