“As within, so without; as above, so below.” ~ Hermes Trismegistus
Last year in India, I stayed with a family in Leh Ladakh for one month.
I spent most of my time with the mother of the house, Tsewang, and her mother-in-law, Padma. Padma has been ill for seven years. She sat still all day long in her chair. She wasn’t even able to communicate with others. If she needed something, she’d moan for help.
One day, as I was having tea with Tsewang, I asked her about Padma’s illness. Tsewang chuckled and said:
“She’s fine. It’s all in her mind. Her sickness is her mind.”
I was startled by Tsewang’s answer. Then, she added:
“She can talk, walk, and eat by herself if she wants to. But, she doesn’t want to. She’s always worried about her family. Her mind is sick, not her. She’s physically okay.”
As I spent more time watching Padma, I figured out that Tsewang was right. I could actually see that at times Padma would eat by herself or talk.
In other words, she was happy when her mind was happy.
This year in India I learned more about the powerful instrument that we possess—the mind. It is believed in Buddhism that the mind is the object that creates our reality, including our health.
Buddhism ascertains that the cause of disease is our mental defilements.
I researched this idea during my stay in Tushita Meditation Center earlier this year. I read a couple of books about Lama Yeshe, the founder of Tushita.
Yeshe died in 1984. I felt a strong urge to investigate his death and to apply what I’d learned about the cause of disease from the Buddhist point of view. One day, I stumbled upon an old newspaper in the Gompa that tackled the story of his death and his reincarnation. It turned out that Lama Yeshe had severe rheumatic heart disease. Patients who live with this disease, have a very short period of time to live as the blood isn’t correctly distributed to the rest of the body.
Lama Yeshe’s doctors suggested replacing the damaged valve with an artificial one. Lama Yeshe refused the treatment, and to my surprise he lived for 20 years after he was first diagnosed.
In one of the discussions of Lama Yeshe with his students, he said:
“Since a long time Western doctors have said I’d be dead three years ago but they know nothing of psychic energy and this magical illusory body. I’ll be here for a looooong time!”
Lama Yeshe’s story stunned me and I could actually link it to Padma’s case. Padma wasn’t physically ill and yet, she was unhappy. On the other hand, Lama Yeshe was actually physically ill, but happily; he lived longer.
I asked myself: Why is one person healthy and the other unhealthy? Why is one person happy and the other sad? Why is someone successful and another one a failure?
Truth be told, some are in control of their minds whilst others are not.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe’s student, explains that in order to understand physical, mental and emotional suffering, we must first understand their prime causes. Any problem, even sickness, is the creation of the mind and it will manifest if we don’t heal its cause.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche gives an example about skin cancer. It is believed that skin cancer is caused by prolonged exposure to the sun. But, if this notion stands true, then all of us would have skin cancer. Exposure to sunlight is a condition for skin cancer but not the main cause. The main cause is internal and not external: it is the mind. For people who have the cause of skin cancer in their mind, exposure to the sun becomes a condition to develop skin cancer.
When we understand the nature of our mind and accept that it’s the main cause of suffering, we can better understand that healing also comes from the mind.
Buddhism explains that healing through external means isn’t the best solution because the cause of suffering isn’t external. Since the cause is internal, then the cure must come from the inside.
Lama Yeshe’s wisdom on how to put an end to our suffering:
1. Have faith. In order to heal on any level, we must believe that we will be healed. When we hear the word “faith,” religion directly comes to mind. But, in fact, faith has nothing to do with religion. In The Power of our Subconscious Mind, Joseph Murphy puts it this way:
“The Buddhist, the Christian, the Muslim, and the Jew may all get answers to their prayers, in spite of the enormous differences among their stated beliefs. How can this be? The answer is that it is not because of the particular creed, religion, ritual, ceremony, or offerings, but solely because of belief or mental acceptance and receptivity about that for which they pray.
The law of life is the law of belief. Belief can be summed up briefly as a thought in your mind. As a person thinks, feels, and believes, so is the condition of his mind, body, and circumstances.”
2. Stop labeling. Buddhists believe that everything verbal we say becomes a reality. The reason is that words pulsate with vibrations, and the universe (with its bigger cosmic energy) responds to these verbal vibrations. It doesn’t matter whether they’re good or bad, or whether we want them to happen or not.
Anything that we label, we bring to life. Everything is created through labeling, even disease. To stop disease from manifesting, we must refrain from creating it through verbal labeling.
3. Meditation. The best cure for any kind of suffering is to use our mind correctly. Let’s take sickness, for example. Some diseases have no cure at all or are difficult to cure. But, those who practice meditation will definitely see some results. Even if they’re not entirely cured of their disease, they at least live longer (like in Lama Yeshe’s case). The reason is because meditation works on the level of the mind and the mind is essential for healing if we wish to eradicate the causes of our sickness.
White Light Healing Meditation can also be very effective during times of physical suffering.
4. Be compassionate. Never underestimate the power of compassion. Lama Zopa Rinpoche ascertains that a compassionate person heals himself—and others—simply by existing. The proof is that when we’re sick and a compassionate person visits us, we feel quite happy and healthy; it is because we have picked up his positive vibrations that are full of compassion.
Being compassionate makes miracles. When we’re full of love and kindness, we automatically remove any shortcoming that is causing us suffering.
Source: Ultimate Healing, Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Neil Fowler/Flickr
Editor: Caitlin Oriel