‘The Horizon’, Part 2, Chapter 10:about suffering, creating, and healing by transforming painful experiences into personal wisdom — with examples of biosophy in practice
“I hit the road on a self-care pilgrimage and haven’t looked back.”Kris Carr
On Valentine’s Day in 2003 Kris Carr received a phone call that would change her life. It was a call by her oncologist. He told her she had a rare form of cancer in an advanced stage, and there was no cure.
Receiving this diagnosis at the age of 31 was a loud wakeup call. From being an actress and dancer with ‘her whole life still in front of her’ suddenly her priorities changed dramatically.
“This (diagnosis) sparked a deep desire in me to stop holding back and start participating in my well-being.” Kris says. “So I hit the road on a self-care pilgrimage and haven’t looked back. More than a decade later, my life is more connected and magical than it was before my diagnosis. Although I still have cancer, I am healthy, and I run a mission-driven business that serves my community and makes me feel profoundly grateful each and every day.”
An intense search for a medical doctor who could provide help on her healing journey eventually lead her to her own ‘inner physician’.
Kris Carr’s process of creating a healthy life started with radically changing her diet and life style. Practicing meditation, yoga, and self-compassion became essential parts of the treatment she prescribed for herself.
13 years after the diagnosis Kris’s cancer is not healed. But she considers herself healthy, and she is more successful and happier than she has ever been, because health is not just being free from symptoms.
Health is about leading a vibrant life, having happy relationships, a fulfilling life style, and the freedom to do what you love doing.
Kris Carr has published 5 books, some of them on healthy eating, and some about her personal journey with cancer. She has also made a film, and she is now considered a kind of ‘guru for healthy living’. In her humble view, however, the true guru is her cancer.
“By meeting real darkness face to face I can now also enjoy every sip of light.”Dominik Polonski
Dominik Polonski was a celebrated cellist when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in his late twenties. After several operations and a horrific journey through the darker side of the medical establishment Dominik had lost a quarter of his brain and was left paralysed.
There was nothing the doctor’s could do for him anymore, apart from giving the prognosis that he would never be able to walk again.
However, the young Polish musician had vivid dreams of hearing his favourite music, and some sensation returned in his paralysed feet.
Since the medical establishment was unable to help him, Dominik Polonski searched for someone who could. His search lead him to Martin Busch, a German psychotherapist and Feldenkrais teacher.
Through a sensitive tailor made treatment, including music, mental imagery, and specific gentle movement Dominik regained control over his limbs, and learned to walk again.
Then the tumour came back, and the brain surgeons offered to operate again. But he chose to continue his treatment with Martin Busch and his long journey towards recovery.
Dominik Polonski not only survived a life threatening tumour, and healed from his paralysis. He is also playing his beloved music again, and he gained a tremendous amount of wisdom from his personal life experience.
“I have never been as content with myself, with others and with the world,” he says. “I am happy. By meeting real darkness face to face I can now also enjoy every sip of light.”
His therapist is convinced that Dominik’s music will develop healing powers.
“In the past the music was an expression of his love for music and his understanding of the composers.” Martin Busch explains. “Now he has discovered a new dimension of relating to people and to the world … This difference will be fundamental, and everyone will be able to feel it… He will not only interpret the pieces of the greatest musicians — he will play his love.”
“Allow yourself to create yourself anew.”Martin Busch
It is no exaggeration to say that Kris Carr and Dominik Polonski saved their lives through biosophical learning. Both found their own ways to turn their experience of suffering into wisdom. And both created a whole new life for themselves along the way.
Dominik was guided through his healing process by a wise mentor. He hails his therapist as “one of the best in the world, a specialist in the reconstruction of the nervous system.”
Martin Busch’s modest response to this praise is: “I am neither a healer nor a guru. I am simply Martin Busch, an attentive farmer from the black forest, who studies the language of nature in order to understand more and more thoroughly how we learn, and how we can continuously develop further.”
“The human brain is hungry for new things,” the therapist explains. In order to satisfy the ‘hungry brain’ the learner needs to ‘return to the curiosity of a child and focus exclusively on the here and now.’
Dominik says he used to believe that it had to be his goal to become as he was before and be able to do everything he could do before the illness. He experienced a great breakthrough when he realised that he had to learn to do things in his own way.
And Martin kept reminding him: “Don’t pay attention to the idea of reproducing something, or reconstructing yourself. Allow yourself to create yourself anew, to build yourself up, to come into existence again.”
Of course it is not necessary to develop a life threatening disease in order to apply the principles of biosophical learning and gain personal wisdom.
Virtually everybody is suffering to a greater or lesser degree. It may not be a physical illness. We may suffer from living in difficult circumstances or being a victim of tragedies or violence.
We suffer from dysfunctional life patterns. We can suffer emotionally, socially, culturally, economically, or simply by being unable to live our own life without knowing the reason.
These conditions don’t kill us. However, if we can’t live our life, whose life are we living?
“The obstacles that we think most impede us from realising our deepest wishes can actually hasten their fulfilment.”Gabriele Oettingen
Experiences of people who have suffered from a life-threatening illness and recovered make good examples for the principles of healing and creating a new life. Their stories are more remarkable and convincing than, let’s say a story of healing an emotional trauma.
Moreover, when we suffer with a non-physical disorder healing ourselves is usually not as high a priority as when we receive a life threatening diagnosis.
However, the principles of self-healing apply to any kind of suffering. More than 20 years ago I suffered from a so-called ‘dysfunctional relationship pattern’.
I realised that the destructive relationships I had experienced were a reflection of an inner conflict within my own Consciousness, and I went on my personal healing pilgrimage.
Like Kris Carr I did a lot of research and put together a personal program for myself, which included ‘therapeutic writing’, mental imagery, and some sessions with a transpersonal psychotherapist.
I made relatively fast progress because I focused on my process of transforming my experience of suffering into personal wisdom. I made it a high priority and practiced daily. Within 6 months my dysfunctional pattern was healed. It was the beginning of a completely new chapter in my life.
At this point I want to note that the healing stories described here have nothing to do with the so-called mind over matter hypothesis.
In the 1970s the concept of ‘mind over matter’ became popular. There were stories of people who healed their suffering with positive thinking, affirmations, and visualisations, fuelling a whole industry of related books and courses.
Since the 1990s the ‘mind-over-matter’ approach has become increasingly controversial since it is rooted in an outdated model of human Consciousness. It splits the human organism into two parts: mind, which is reduced to the Intellect or the conscious part; and matter, which refers to the Body.
The German psychologist Dr. Gabriele Oettingen has spent 20 years researching the phenomenon of positive thinking. Her book Rethinking Positive Thinking is based on the results of this research.
Gabriele Oettingen writes, “the obstacles that we think most impede us from realizing our deepest wishes can actually hasten their fulfillment.”
This may come as a surprise to ‘mind-over-matter’ aficionados. Now there is a new generation of psychologists who believe that trying to correct negative thoughts can paradoxically intensify them.
Through a growing interest in Consciousness research, as well as increasing influences from the ancient Eastern science of the mind — also known as Buddhism — our understanding has changed radically.
Since quantum physicists have discovered that matter doesn’t exist, all Western scientifically minded people can no longer believe in a separation between mind and matter.
“Trying to correct negative thoughts can paradoxically intensify them.”new generation psychologists
The Solo System is a biosophical model of human Consciousness. It shows the human organism as one unit with 8 main Faculties, or ‘organs of Consciousness’.
In this model ‘matter’ and ‘mind’ are integrated. All mental and physical Faculties have vital functions which enable us to operate in the world.
Each Faculty has its own form of expression and unique power, and each Faculty is either predominantly voluntary or autonomous. The voluntary Faculties respond well to deliberate instructions — i.e. they can be directed at will, at least partially — while the autonomous Faculties operate independently of our volition and perception.
This means the autonomous functions of human Consciousness don’t necessarily respond to mental activities which are directed at will, such as positive thinking, affirmations, and desirable mental images.
Here is an overview of the 8 Faculties, their forms of expression, and their dominant property:
Faculty — expression — power — dominant property
Will — willing, willingness — volition — voluntary
Soul — being, becoming — identity — autonomous
Inspiration — questions — curiosity — voluntary
Intuition — hunch, belief — mystery — autonomous
Imagination — mental images — fantasy — voluntary
Instinct — feeling — harmony — autonomous
Intellect — thinking — logic — voluntary
Body — doing, having — evidence — autonomous
This model indicates why for example ‘negative beliefs’ under the influence of the Intuition are not affected by ‘positive thinking’, which happens in the arena of the Intellect.
On the contrary, positive thoughts can produce major conflicts within our Consciousness. This is especially true if we are unaware of the negative beliefs.
Any conflict in human Consciousness produces disharmony or imbalance. And every imbalance within the inner eco-system leads to suffering.
A disturbance of the internal equilibrium affects all Faculties, and it can manifest itself in different ways, including physical illness.
The story of Dominik Polonski is particularly interesting because it shows the interplay between different Faculties very clearly.
When he began his treatment with Martin Busch the Polish musician was unable to walk without aid. Through gentle movement therapy and specific exercises he gained new levels of awareness.
This new awareness and perception was not limited to his Body — and here comes the surprise — the movement triggered a memory of information which was stored in the cells of the Body.
During his last operation — while he was unconscious under the influence of anaesthetics — Dominik heard the surgeon talk about him: “It is simply too much… this time it is not going to end well.”
Through the movement therapy with Martin Busch Dominik suddenly remembered these words and burst into tears. The conscious recollection of this conversation between the doctors became a major turning point in his healing process.
Martin Busch confirms, “there are repeated indications that the narcotised organism of a patient during an operation can perceive conversations between doctors and that they can have effects just like posthypnotic suggestions.”
It was as if Dominik had been under a spell from the devastating prognosis made by his surgeon while he was unconscious. Before he could break the spell he had to bring it from the Dark Side of his Consciousness into the Bright Side.
We all have been ‘hypnotised’ with impressions from an early age: ‘I am not good enough’, ‘I am stupid’, ‘I am a failure’, ‘Nobody loves me’, etc.
These impressions provide a fertile soil for our experience of suffering — especially if we cannot consciously remember them. This means, most of us live under a personal spell which limits our creative capacity.
“There is no such thing as a spontaneous event in nature, for every event must have a cause.”William Boyd
In conventional medicine doctors speak of ‘spontaneous remission’ when patients heal themselves from an ‘incurable illness’ by unconventional means.
Spontaneous means ‘by itself’, and remission means ‘return to the previous state’.
The history of medicine is littered with stories of ‘spontaneous remission’, and the medical establishment generally dismisses them as ‘anecdotes’. There have, however, always been some exceptions.
One of them was William Boyd, a Scottish pathologist who researched the ‘miraculous’ cures of ‘incurable cases’ in the 1950s and 60s.
William Boyd said, “anyone who thinks about it only briefly must realise that there is no such thing as a spontaneous event in nature, for every event must have a cause.” He believed that talking about an ‘incurable case’ as a ‘miracle’ is basically an admission that the doctors don’t understand how and why the patient has been able to heal him- or herself.
Medical doctors feel more confident when they can give a name to a certain condition. William Boyd therefore suggested “to call certain carcinomas that disappear ‘by themselves’ Saint-Peregrinus-Tumor, after a monk called Peregrinus Laziosi who lived 700 years ago… He developed a carcinoma on his foot, which made an amputation necessary. On the eve of the operation Laziosi prayed all night long, and when he fell asleep in the morning he dreamt that the tumour had gone. He woke up and was healed.”*
An unconventional cure of cancer or any other disorder is not something that happens by itself. The person who is determined to heal him/herself works very intensely and very focused to stimulate and support her or his own self-healing powers.
Kris Carr’s healing process wasn’t spontaneous: she changed her whole life-style, and 13 years later she is still on her healing pilgrimage.
Dominik Polonski’s brain tumour and paralysis were not healed spontaneously: he worked with his therapist Martin Busch for many months.
My own ‘relationship disorder’ did not heal spontaneously: I followed an intense program of specific exercises for six months.
Even St. Peregrinus — who is incidentally the patron saint of all those who suffer from cancer — wasn’t healed spontaneously: he prayed all night.
In none of these examples has there been a remission either. None of us returned to our previous condition.
People who integrate their experience of suffering through a creative learning process and get healed are not the same they were before the ‘miracle’ happened. After their healing journey they are completely transformed. Nothing in their life will ever be the same again!
Kris Carr became a health- and lifestyle guru. Dominik Polonski experiences and shares his music much more deeply than before. I have now lived in a happy and healthy relationship for 19 years. And Peregrinus Laziosi became a Saint.
I suspect that everyone who has gone through a deep personal healing experience is transformed because the healing itself is the result of a transformation within individual Consciousness. This means, everything changes. Life becomes more intense, more fulfilled, more balanced.
“Suffering is ultimately an internal experience, and it needs the power of our creativity in order to heal.”Veronika Bond
You may wonder why a book on creating one’s own life contains so many stories of suffering …
Suffering is the human experience of pain, hardship and misery. It is also the human capacity to tolerate pain, hardship and misery. The word suffer literally means to bear, tolerate.
Creating is the human ability to bring something new into existence. And the focus of our creativity is naturally away from pain, hardship and misery. Everybody wants to create a world for themselves, which is free from suffering.
In this sense we could say that suffering and creating represent two complementary forces.
When we suffer, we assume the cause of our pain, hardship and misery is an attack on us from the outside. In response to this attack we use our creativity to defend ourselves.
This means the focus of our creative work is directed outwards — towards the perceived external cause of our suffering. In other words, we invest our creativity in external circumstances and inventions in an attempt to get rid of our suffering. But paradoxically human suffering often ends up getting worse as a result of our ‘creative external solutions’.
Here is a potential explanation: Suffering is ultimately an internal experience, and it needs the power of our creativity in order to heal.
Of course, suffering is not an inevitable companion of creative work. However, when we do our work of creation, it seems to bring any hidden pain, hardship, and misery to the surface, which have already settled in the Dark Side of our Consciousness.
This is an opportunity to become aware of the deep and complex connection between these two complementary abilities. Suffering seems to be the Dark Side of creating.
Suffering and creating are two forces that stimulate one another. When they dance well together, they can lead to healing.
The story of Dominik Polonski is a beautiful illustration for the profound connection between suffering and creating within human Consciousness. His music — i.e. his creative medium — stimulated the healing process, and his journey through suffering and healing gave a new and richer dimension to his creativity.
I have come to understand suffering as a personal invitation to participate in our unique work of creation. And health — or wholeness — is ultimately the destination we are all moving towards.
* From the book Die Weisheit des Körpers (The Wisdom of the Body) by Heiko Ernst
© Veronika Bond, 2016
This article is a draft of the tenth chapter of The Horizon, volume 2 of The Solo System.
It is complemented by an e-letter, containing additional background information about the progress of the book and the creative process.
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