Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2015

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Page 26 of 43

well-being of the living things on this planet. "But the person who contracts the disease is o en the person who re ects it back to society. Great souls have contracted cancer," she reminds me. " e idea that there is some direct linear connection, always easy to detect, or even necessarily there, between the person who contracts an illness and their own think- ing—the situation is much deeper and more compli- cated than that. "Now, that is not to ignore the holistic paradigm— body, mind and spirit," Williamson continues. " ere is serious work to be done, whether the condition is illness or any other problem. Part of my medicine in- volves a change in my thinking. But that's di erent from saying, "I caused this." "O en people think the work on consciousness is to go back and ask, 'How did I create this?' e issue in life is not just how or whether I created something, but how am I handling it right now? How do I work a miracle now?" "So what should I say the next time someone tells me I caused my own cancer?" I ask. She considers. "You put your hand over your heart—remember people speak to you on the level from which you're speaking—and, without judgment, you say, " at comment was so unhelpful." I don't doubt that miracles happen among cancer patients. I'm one of them. But I nd it hard to believe anyone would bypass chemo and surgery for a rma- tions or crystals or mangosteen. Conversely, I catch shade from folks who wouldn't get chemo if, well, their lives depended on it. What really heals us, and why do we snipe at each other about it? I ask Williamson how holistic healing works. Do we really expect forgiveness or meditation to heal can- cer? Again, the picture she paints is more nuanced and convincing than I expect. "According to A Course in Miracles," she begins, "the fact that we identify primarily with the body rather than with the spirit puts a stress on the body that the body was not meant to carry—and that's where sickness comes from. "It's the mind [not the body] that has an in nite capacity to do what we aren't even asking it to do," Williamson continues. " at's why meditation and forgiveness are such an important part of your medicine. Forgiveness is a willing- ness to extend our perception of an event, particularly of a person, be- yond what the physical senses per- ceive to what the heart knows to be true. It is a shi into the quan- tum eld beyond time and space. When I shi my consciousness into the quantum eld, it gives my body the capacity to relax in that moment. And in that relaxation lies restorative power." I think of the heart-lung bypass machine used in surgery, allowing the organs to take a break while re- pairs go on. e analogy makes sense for me. And I appreciate that Williamson is not saying, "Meditation good; pills bad." "It's called integrative care for a reason," she goes on. "Sometimes people go to the doctor and the doc- tor gives them a medicine—none of which is a hun- dred percent guaranteed, by the way—and they take notes. ey're so careful. 'Am I supposed to take it in the morning or the a ernoon, do I take it with food or without food?' Whereas with meditation, I'll say, 'Do you meditate?' and people will say, 'Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.' Meditation is medicine, just like your other medicines. You should take it just as seriously." "Let me understand, though," I say. "No one is guar- anteeing that your cancer is going to be totally gone one morning because you meditated, right?" "One of the best ways to heal the body is to accept the reality of death," Williamson counters. "We're all leaving here. Some of us are taking the 10:05 and some of us will be on the 11:20, but we're all leaving. And our over-attachment to the physical body, since the physical senses tell us that that's all our life is, is part of that stress on the body. "Your true self is deathless, and the more you identify with that rather than your body, then the more you're programming not just your subconscious but every cell in your body to be the perfect contain- er for your soul's work this lifetime. Now, that might mean you live a short time or a long time. Part of the healing is the realization that that's not what ulti- mately matters." Williamson pauses. "If we're supposed to be here for another 10 or 20 years— if that would be the highest level that life takes for all living things—that's what's going to happen. Cancer's not taking you." A er our goodbyes, Williamson's words leave a sense of peace be- hind. I may never understand the meaning of cancer, but on balance I'm grateful for the adventure. Life and death on an in nite continuum, with a chance to expedite a miracle or two? I can live with that. Anne Stockwell is founder of Well Again: Adventures in Life Beyond Cancer (wellagain.org). august/september 2015 27

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