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Healing Mind and Body

Thoughts on The Healing Power of Illness by Dethlefsen and Dahlke (a wonderfully radical book!)

HealingAn article by Tim Bellows.

The words in this volume could stand anyone's life on its head. Or I should say set it, finally, properly on its feet? The gist of the book is that whatever we reject, hate, shun, or refuse to deal with will surely be brought, by the nature of existence, into our outer lives, often as illness or accident. Of course there's far more to this challenging, heady book: Highly recommended . . . but not for the faint of heart or for those not wanting to face total responsibility for their views and situations.
Wildly summarizing from page 37, I offer this as the heart of the book: anything we identify with and affirm always leaves one pole (its opposite) out in the cold (or in the shadow). But all the things we don't want to live out, don't want to identify with, go to make up our shadow. Rejecting one half of all possibilities, far from causing them to disappear, merely banishes them from the conscious mind's I-dentification, as the authors would say.

Later, going a step further, the authors explain, "Everything that we do not wish or approve of originates in our own shadow for it is the sum of everything we do not want. However, our refusal to get to grips with this one part of reality and live it out for real is precisely what ensures that we never get what we hope for [because] the rejected aspects of reality force us to devote ourselves to them all the more intensely" (37). Why? Because life at its most profound and powerful insists that we experience and accept all, and so it brings us a certain illness or a something that, in an analogical way, equals what we've rejected! And that something plays out in the physical arena of our life.

In short, life is inexorably leading us to be whole, to shed hard-minded opinions. Author Paul Twitchell often spoke about the value of being neither for nor against, and The Healing Power of Illness fits well with his idea, truly drives it home - in case we haven't quite gotten it!

So if we can’t stand Republicans, we'll surely, in time or in lifetimes, come around to marching strong and carrying that Republican banner. I'm reminded of religions that rail against sexual "deviation" and any kind of joy of sex. Funny how they can end up with some of their highest members on trial for, say, child molestation. And the examples abound! And in other arenas my life shows off the same principle. Like many of us, I once rejected and criticized the traditional life of getting a job, dressing decently, and playing along with society. I was a rocker who wanted to play guitar or party. Now you can guess I'm pretty straight laced and affirm things like dressing decently any time its needed. To honor others around me.

I could go on for days about this life-changing book. Here's one standout point: What wisdom, perfection and total consciousness amount to is the ability to see and recognize the whole of existence in all its validity and perfect balance. (This is pulled from the chapter on polarity and unity.)

I only wish The Healing Power of Illness was not so tricky to find. But I hope you'll search it out. It took me a few days of checking.

The authors quote this part of the Tao te Ching, highlighting the idea of how polarized most of us have become (here's one translation):

When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.

Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.

Therefore the Master
can act without doing anything
and teach without saying a word.
Things come her way and she does not stop them;
things leave and she lets them go.

She has without possessing,
and acts without any expectations.
When her work is done, she takes no credit.
That is why it will last forever.

~ from ~

That second stanza truly points up how opposites actually go together, support each other. Therefore to hate anti-war people would make us un-whole. To me, the idea is to be spiritually enlightened, to give love to all, to remain undisturbed by the ever-turbulent world around us. (Still, we’re not to be passive; we make our choices and do our work, but in a more detached way.)

---As I write this, The Healing Power of Illness is now over $100.00 on Amazon, but you can try,, and other major online booksellers. Certain libraries may be the only places to find the book in 2008.---



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ruleThe illusion that we are separate from one another is an optical delusion of our consiousness.” -- Albert Einstein

Keywords: healing spiritual, energy healing, healing prayer, hands healing, healing technique, faith healing, healing psychic, divine healing, healing miracle, distant healing, distance healing, spiritual healing, spiritual energy healing, spiritual physical healing


Tim Bellows, with a graduate degree from the Iowa Writers´ Workshop, teaches writing at Sierra College in Northern California and is devoted to lakes, mountains, and inner travels. His Huts Under Smooth Hills” was nominated for the 23rd Annual Pushcart Prize. His book Sunlight From Another Day – Poems In & Out of the Body has just gone live from AuthorHouse Press out of Bloomington.

He edits a monthly e-newsletter, Lightship News. It welcomes subscribers through If you’re "an unabashedly spiritual poet in an increasingly cynical world" (Todd Temkin), this is your golden spot. Also, Tim is administrator of the blog at – for trail-trekkers and radical mystics?

Other poems appear in the Desert Wood anthology (University of Nevada Press), two issues of Midwest Quarterly, three issues of Modern Haiku, and other periodicals such as Interim, Embers, Wisconsin Review, Damaged Wine, The Small Pond Magazine, Terrain, Portlandia Review, South Coast Poetry Journal, Phoebe, CQ, and Potomac Review. Finally, Tim is a contributing author to Angel Cats: Divine Messengers of Comfort (now in its fourth printing).

The Healing Power of Illness
The Healing Power of Illness
by Thorwald Dethlefsen and Rudiger Dahlke, MD

This is a book that challenges accepted ideas of exactly what illness really is. The patient is not the innocent victim of some quirk of nature, but actually brings about his or her own sickness.

Symptoms are bodily expressions of psychological conflicts, able through their symbolism to reveal the patient's true problems.

This radical book is for people who are prepared to cast aside traditional notions of illness, who long to explore more deeply their inner nature - people whose goal is enlightenment.

More info
Fighting Terror with Forgiveness
The Amazing Cures of a Brazilian Miracle Man
Radical Forgiveness
Aspects of Spiritual Healing & the Spiritualization of Matter
Spiritual Healing as the Energy Side of Einstein's Equation
Distant Healing
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Healing Mind and Body