I recently attended a metaphysical lecture facilitated by Guy Williams, a friend of mine who also happens to be a minister of Religious Science. After the lecture, Guy opened the floor for prayer requests, and one of the attendees asked for healing for a family member who was experiencing a significant health crisis.
In the course of the discussion, Guy asked if the attendee was certain that her family member actually wanted to heal, observing, "Most people don't really want to heal. Most people just want to stop hurting."
Once again, an off-hand comment by Guy Williams completely rearranged the furniture in my head. (If you'd like to see the results of some of Guy's other off-hand comments, check out The Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life. The sections on forgiveness and anger are both inspired by Guy's wisdom).
Most people don't want to heal. Most people just want to stop hurting.
Most of us want to wave a magic wand and make the pain go away. Most of us focus on treating the symptoms: we'll take pills, injections, or have surgery. We claim that we want to heal, but we rarely choose to heal. We remain motivated as long as we're in pain, and once that pain has become bearable or manageable, we choose to return to our normal lives.
This is not healing.
For most of us, healing is a big, scary, and uncomfortable prospect. Healing requires that we do two very simple, yet incredibly unappealing tasks. First, we must accept that we are responsible for creating our own illness: Our thoughts, beliefs, choices and actions are directly responsible for the imbalance and dis-ease we are experiencing in our physical bodies. Second, we must be willing to change our lives and eliminate the thoughts, beliefs, choices and actions that created and supported the imbalance and dis-ease, replacing them with new choices that support balance and health.
The process of healing really is very simple, and if we break it down into small, manageable steps, following the process can also become easy as well. As with most challenges we encounter during our human experience, healing requires that we first become familiar with and learn how to master our egos.
THE CARE AND FEEDING OF THE EGOLet's begin by remembering who we truly are. We are each whole and complete, eternal, multi-dimensional beings, individualized aspects of All That Is. We are also each currently having a human experience, in the third dimension of matter and form, on the planet Earth.
When we begin our human experiences, we're given a very useful tool to help us to interact with the third dimension: the ego. The ego is entirely a third-dimensional construct. In a sense, we put on an "ego suit" so that we can experience and explore the third dimension from a unique and specific point of view. The ego helps us to pretend that we are individuals; more specifically, the ego helps us to pretend that we're not, in fact, connected to each other as a part of All That Is. Ultimately, our egos are designed to help us to remember where we left our car keys, and not much else.
The problem is that our egos don't know this.
Our ego believes that its job is to protect us from what it perceives to be a very cruel and dangerous universe. Since the ego was created to help us maintain the illusion of separation from the Source, separation is all that the ego knows. The ego feels lost, isolated and alone. In an attempt to protect us from the pain of the world, the ego increases our sense of separation. Of course, the greater the separation, the more pain. The more the ego tries to protect us from the pain of separation, the more pain it causes.
The ego's single greatest fear is death. Everything the ego does, it does to try to prevent itself from being destroyed. The ego can be destroyed-it's a product of the third dimension, and therefore it's fragile and finite. We, on the other hand, are eternal, multi-dimensional beings who can never die or be destroyed because we are a part of All That Is. We get into trouble when we start to identify with our egos and forget our true natures. When we start to believe that we are our egos, we see the world from our ego's point of view and experience fear and pain.
All fear comes from the ego. All fear, in fact, is directly related to the ego's fear of being destroyed. Fear can only exist when we believe that we are separated from the Source. The more we believe the ego, the more we believe we are separate from the Source, and the more we experience fear.
Only two states of being exist: fear and love. We experience fear when we listen to the ego and buy into the idea that we're separate from the universe. We experience love when we remember the truth that we are whole and complete. It's not possible to experience both states of being at the same time, although most of us are masters at switching between them almost instantly.
Many of us are familiar with the truth that our reality is nothing more than words. Our thoughts and beliefs define our experience of reality. Therefore, if we change the words, we change the world. We can, in fact, change our lives in an instant, simply by choosing to create more elegant and supportive thoughts. We can release any negative belief, eliminate any destructive pattern, and instantly experience the levels of joy, love and prosperity that are our birthright.
The challenge is that the ego does not understand this. And, more to the point, the ego has a vested interest in making sure that we do not change our thoughts, beliefs, patterns or behaviors. Moreover, whenever we do set an intention to change our thoughts, our egos interfere in subtle and insidious ways to insure that we continue to think, believe, and behave exactly as we have in the past.
And why does the ego do this? The ego does this in order to protect us. One could even go so far as to say the ego does this because it loves us. Granted, it's definitely a "Mommy Dearest" "No-More-Wire-Hangers" kind of love, but even so, when the ego encourages us to cling to our painful, negative beliefs, it does so because it truly believes that it's acting in our best interest.
Remember, the ego is a part of the third dimension; we are not. What the ego believes is in our best interest is not always actually in our best interest.
The ego believes that it is protecting us from being destroyed. (In point of fact, the ego is actually protecting itself from being destroyed. The ego can be destroyed. We, on the other hand, cannot, because we are eternal, multi-dimensional beings, and individualized aspects of All That Is.) The ego believes that even our most painful, limiting beliefs are essential, because the small amount of pain that we experience actually protects us from a much bigger pain: death.
When we choose to change our thinking, we must be careful not to trigger our egos. One of the most powerful ways to approach changing our thoughts and beliefs is to consider this radical thought:
Every belief that we currently hold, no matter how negative, painful, limiting, and even wrong it may be, actually serves us. Because we are whole, complete and perfect exactly as we are, it follows that each and every one of our beliefs is also perfect.
This may seem a strange approach to changing our thinking, but consider it more deeply. The root of every negative, limiting belief is the belief that there is something wrong with us. This belief, in turn, can only exist when we buy into the illusion that we are separate, and forget the truth that we are completely and eternally connected to all of creation; that since we are individualized aspects of All That Is, we are, by our very nature, perfect.
Often, when we believe that there is something wrong with our beliefs, we trigger the ego. As a result, we beat ourselves up for having created the negative belief in the first place. This, of course, only reinforces the root of all of our negative beliefs: that there is something wrong with us. When we accept ourselves and our current beliefs as perfect, we avoid triggering the ego. This is the most effective way of actually changing our beliefs.
Once we've convinced our ego that there's nothing wrong with the beliefs that we currently hold, we can introduce a new thought. While all of our beliefs are currently working just fine, it may be possible to upgrade our beliefs, and make more elegant choices.
Consider this: most of our most limiting and painful beliefs were formed while we were children. We created these beliefs using the resources and skills available to us at the time, in order to protect us from very specific circumstances and situations. Even though these beliefs worked beautifully when we were children, we've never actually updated them. Our circumstances have changed. We've developed significantly greater skills, and have infinitely more choices and resources at our disposal as adults than we did as children. It may just be possible that we can create a new belief that does an even better job of protecting us than the old one did.
Or, to put it another way, when we formed most of our painful and negative beliefs, we only had the 8-color box of crayons to use. Now, as adults, we have access to the big, 128-color box. The 8-color beliefs still serve us, but when we're ready, we can also choose to upgrade and create more elegant, skillful, and above all, more colorful beliefs.
**In Part 2, we will explore the steps that we must take in order to truly heal.**
Kevin B. Burk is the author of The Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life.