No Enemy Within

The most common reaction to the suggestion that an illness may be created to heal wounds to the deep emotional self, to the soul, is aggressive: ‘do you mean to tell me that I brought this illness upon myself? – that’s mad, off the wall!’ A medical colleague responded similarly exclaiming: ‘you are blaming people for their illnesses.’ On the contrary, my intention is to draw attention to the awesome power of the Self to heal the deepest dis-ease of all – alienation from one’s unique and sacred presence.

When we consider the many other ways that a person reveals  his or her dark inner terrain – depression, chronic anxiety, obsessiveness, perfectionism, aggression, addictions to substances, addictions to work, what others think and say, to the ‘body beautiful’, anorexia nervosa, hallucinations – are we equally going to say that ‘these creations are off the wall?’ It may be easier to accept that the foregoing distressing symptoms are creations in times of emotional danger, but, in fact, illness has exactly the same compassionate intention. After all, each of the conditions mentioned are cleverly devised to draw attention to a troubled and troubling interiority. It is not that a person wakes up one morning and consciously decides ‘I’m going to create a depression or, indeed, an illness today’; no, this process occurs unconsciously, and necessarily so, because without emotional safety, consciousness of the creative and defensive nature of the depression or an illness would weaken its power.

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