This weeks blog on a Tree of Health will review some aspects of Hope vs. Hopelessness. Over the next few weeks we will also talk about the others below on this "Tree of Health."
Hope, Faith, Belief, or Trust, all crucial qualities for healing, occur at the deepest level of being. They support the Will to be well.
“Faith is a very strong thing and if a man has faith and a simplicity that does not rationalize he will be found worthy of reaching the rung of grace (see Faith above on the Tree) which is even higher than that of holy wisdom. Chassidic saying
Hope, Faith, Belief, Trust frequently have been connected to cases of spontaneous remissions of disease. This miracle has also been reported following certain religious or spiritual ceremonies and shamanic rituals. A common denominator usually was the patient’s inner knowing and overwhelming belief or faith that they would be well.
Faith, Belief, Hope and Trust
“Faith in the gods or saints cures one, faith in little pills another, hypnotic suggestion a third, faith in a plain common doctor a fourth … The faith with which we work … has its limitations such as we find it, but faith is the most precious commodity, without which we would be very badly off.”
“He is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
When the first white settlers in South Africa encountered the indigenous Bushmen they reported that if perfectly healthy men or women were imprisoned they would die quickly and unexplainably in their cells. Since the Bushmen lived so much in the present moment, absence of any Hope of being freed destroyed the Will to live and dissipated the Life Force.
Contraction of Hope can be fatal.
We should never underestimate the significance of Hope on the Life Force and the Will to live. Survivors in extreme situations will attest to that.
Belief and Hope boost the effectiveness of the Inner Healer -- the “placebo response.” The healer or physician who is aware of the power of Belief on the Inner Healer of the patient can put placebo to good use. The stronger the Belief that the patient has in the healer, the more the Trust, and greater the empathy, the more profound the influence of placebo. Placebo goes to the root of healing, which is the relationship between the physician, the therapy and the Inner healer of the patient. Some doctors exude a sense of unruffled calm, certainty, trust, composure and confidence that augment the placebo effect. Others do the opposite and create a nocebo result. Patients who are gullible, suggestible, in denial or even ignorant may do better with Belief and Faith than someone who is highly intellectual and overburdened by all the negative predictions resulting from research into his or her disease. Powerful rituals and prayer that manipulate belief can enhance placebo enormously. A shaman may go into trance, put hot coals in his mouth (without being burned) and then lay hands on the patient who can feel energy coursing through his body. This is powerful medicine working not only on belief and placebo but also through universal healing energy coming through the Field to the healer’s hands.
Activation of the Inner Healer occurs within the Belief system of the patient. At one level or another, the healer is also treating the patient's own specific consciousness and conviction. Ultimately this will translate into better alignment of the patient’s energy body.
Most Western physicians do not have the training or the time to deal with illness in this way. Nevertheless, they need to pay attention to it, in order to more effectively help their patients. If healers disturb the Belief system of the patient by imposing their own belief, they will compromise the magical ability of the system to work. Faith or Belief in the healer is critical and there must be a consistency between the patient’s notion of healing and the doctor’s approach.
A Westerner may be satisfied with a written prescription and explanation as to how the medication is going to work. A Bushman would Trust a hands on approach combined with some sweat from the healer in a post-trance state.
Physicians are well aware of the fact that experimental trials on new drugs are often successful when they are first introduced. Hope may have a lot to do with this. When studied later by other groups the success rate seems to drop off. The patient’s Hope and Belief that a new therapy can cure, and the enthusiasm of the investigating team that it will work can lead to spectacular results. When the patient has no prior knowledge that this treatment may not be effective and neither do the physicians. Belief can be total.
Subsequent trials on the new drug may be less successful since the doctor now has newly acquired facts showing suboptimal results that she has to disclose before giving the patient potentially toxic therapy. Any expressed doubt on behalf of the physician will mitigate against Hope and placebo. Also if negativity is sensed by the patient, nocebo may be invoked consciously or subconsciously. Furthermore, if a physician dispenses treatment that he is unsure of or does not believe in, this weakens the healing effect. Even if the information is not shared with the patient there may still be negative non-local affects caused by contraction of the Field of possibilities.
Shamans, on the other hand, are brilliant at expanding placebo with their powerful rituals and working the non-locality of the Field to their patient’s advantage.
When an oncologist tells the patient that he has a 50 percent chance that the drug or chemotherapy might not work, the power of Hope may have been diluted in half. For the treatment to work optimally the patient and the physician must believe in and be hopeful about its effectiveness. Due to the fact that the relationship between patient and physician is not something that can be quantified, we may never be able to truly measure the result of a treatment because placebo or Belief cannot be entirely extracted and isolated.
Prayer is strong medicine that bolsters the power of faith and belief. Prayer is a way for the patient to enter the Field and garner some of the healing power of God’s love or universal healing energy which is just love in disguise..
“Some patients though conscious that their condition is perilous recover their health simply through their contentment with the goodness of the physician..”
What exactly is the Doctor-Patient Relationship? This is a special alliance formed, not only between the patient and the doctor, but also between the Inner Healer of the patient and all the physician has to offer. Certain physicians are more influential than others even when the same treatment is administered. This occurs because of a special bond of Belief, Faith, Hope and Trust that arises between patient and doctor.
A lack of Trust or Belief in the physician could be harmful and even toxic to the patient’s health. No patient should be forced to put up with an interaction that creates disharmony. The deeper effects of this mal-alliance need to be appreciated more fully during this era of “managed care” in the United States and national health elsewhere. Managed care insurance companies underestimate the Doctor-Patient Relationship and think that any “Doc in a box” form of supermarket care will do. This bottom line idea is terribly wrong!
For the Inner Healer to be most proficient the patient has to make a special association with his or her physician and this requires an active Choice as to who is the best healer for the task. Patients who for financial or other reasons have access to a fixed panel of doctors with few options may have their own special needs compromised. This may not matter for the average medical problem but can become vital when managing difficult health challenges.
The implications of the word, health care “provider” has succeeded in demolishing the Doctor-Patient relationship that has been crucial to healing for eons. Synonyms given by Thesaurus for the word “provider;” include, pimp, panderer, runner, agent, hustler, supplier, purveyor, and procurer. This kind of loose and insulting business labeling of physicians strikes at the heart of the essence of healing itself. Most of us need the vital healing energy a compassionate healer can give us to help trigger our Inner Healer.
We should never underestimate the importance of the Doctor/Healer-Patient Relationship that is vital to the placebo response. Just as a shamanic ritual is a powerful “container” for healing, a physician’s prescription or words are no different. These containers all come with a healthy dose of placebo within them. The response will depend on the Trust and Belief the patient has in the healer. Hope must never be dispelled!
Hope of course is a serious undertaking because it may require the hard work that Will demands of it. Not everyone is committed to working hard to achieve the Balance required for healing or for achieving or maintaining optimal health.
A friend of mine once said to me, “Ever since I gave up hope I feel much better!” There is comfort in denial and resignation. We can just let go, believe there is nothing more to be done and let nature take its course. In the most extreme this may take the form of a death request. There are times when this approach is entirely appropriate but there are others when it is not.
At the end of the day we should have profound gratitude for the magical ability of our Inner Healer to heal. If it was not for this power all physicians and healers would be lost.
"Hope is about believing in spite of the evidence and then watching the evidence change."