The following is excerpted from The Gift of Healing Herbs: Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life by Robin Rose Bennett, published by North Atlantic Books.
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As Marshall McLuhan famously stated, “If I hadn’t believed it, I wouldn’t have seen it.” And it’s true. Our beliefs are powerful; they can support or block healing. This includes the beliefs of the healing practitioners we choose to guide and help us, whether they follow a conventional medical path or a traditional herbal one, or any other.
Extraordinary healings can and do happen every day. Sometimes they are instantaneous. What do you imagine is possible in the realm of healing yourself or another? Consider this question carefully, because reality follows your thoughts, emotions and imagination. Or, as author and astrologer Caroline Casey says, “Imagination lays the tracks for the reality train.”
A woman in one of my classes healed her decades-old endometriosis following a profound realization. She changed her mind, and her body followed suit immediately.
As Albert Einstein said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
I saw another woman slowly heal her extensive endometriosis by changing her diet, doing daily poultices with ginger root and, just as importantly, altering her reality by realizing she was worthy of her own love and receiving love from others. She came to realize this was true even though her mother rarely showed her that she loved her, so this woman had felt unworthy of love for most of her life.
She has had no return of the endometriosis in over fifteen years, and has since had two healthy children that she wasn’t supposed to be able to conceive naturally, much less give birth to—yet she did.
If someone is bleeding, I don’t engage them in a philosophical discussion about the meaning and potential gift of the wound; I give them the herbs they need to stop the bleeding. But there is insight to be gained from coming through physical challenges, and wisdom waiting to be harvested.
If you ask for insight and the message you receive from “spirit” is negating and judgmental, such as, “You’re so stupid—what did you expect?”—or if the answer sounds as if you are being punished for something, as in, “You knew you shouldn’t have done that, so this is what you get!”—I assure you this answer is not from spirit. It is from old voices you carry around in your psyche. True communication from Spirit is always oriented toward your evolution, and is affirming even when it’s fiercely discerning and asks you to confront something about yourself that makes you uncomfortable.
One of my spiritual teachers had medically diagnosed broken bones in her foot heal two days after she broke them. It amazed her as much as anyone. Upon reflection, she realized that she had truly understood and accepted the teaching, so her best guess was that she no longer needed her broken foot to be a mirror and teacher for her. Powerful medicine!
I once experienced a taste of how this can happen, not with a broken bone but by a deep realization in the core of my being. I felt it land in my body and permanently change a physical condition in less than ten seconds.
In The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles by Dr. Bruce Lipton, surgeon Bruce Moseley says, “All good surgeons know there is no placebo effect in surgery.” He did a study of people with severe, debilitating knee pain to determine which aspects of his surgeries were the most helpful. It included one group of patients that received elaborately faked knee surgery, and he was stunned when the outcomes of the fake surgeries and real surgeries were the same!
The placebo patients didn’t find out for two years that they had benefitted from fake surgery. There were numerous cases, such as a man who had been walking with a cane, and after “surgery” he was playing basketball with his grandchildren. Upon learning the truth, he said, “I know that your mind can do miracles.”
Dr. Moseley said, “My skill as a surgeon had no benefit for these patients. The entire benefit of surgery for osteoarthritis was the placebo effect.”
Did you know that when a person receives a transplanted kidney, lung, heart, or other organ, some aspects of the donor’s personal quirks, preferences, and even talents often show up in the personality of the organ recipient? The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) published the following report from a study of heart- and lung-transplant recipients: “Parallels included changes in food, music, art, sexual, recreational, and career preferences, as well as specific instances of perceptions of names and sensory experiences related to the donors (e.g., one donor was killed by a gunshot to the face; the recipient had dreams of seeing hot flashes of light in his face).”
A few more ideas on healing for you as you deepen your acquaintance with healing herbs:
Every cell in your body is conscious.
Bodies are innocent, and believe everything you tell them if you believe what you are saying/thinking.
You can’t lie to your body.
Bodies are wise, and they always tell the truth, often inconveniently, uncomfortably, even painfully.
Look for truth and wisdom in what goes “wrong” in the body. It speaks truths for us that we may be unaware of, or simply uncomfortable, unwilling, or unable to express.
Your body loves you so much that it is willing to get hurt or sick in order to help you grow, evolve, and become fully alive.
It is impossible to separate body from soul while you are living.
Healing wounds, as well as ancestral wounds and (past-life, this-life or other-life) traumas, brings healing to you, your ancestors, and future generations. There is not really such a thing as past, present, and future. There is only now.
Any true kindness you extend toward yourself brings more kindness into the world. That kindness extends out into the environment at a creative level, and helps compassion and thoughtfulness to grow in people.
Compassion is more helpful than judgment in helping you to adopt new practices or release harmful habits. Whenever you can bring friendliness rather than forcefulness into your approach to healing yourself, it will help you more.
Illness and “accidents” happen for you rather than to you. And anything that happens for you also happens for the larger world around you.
If you look for the love letter in everything that happens, you will stand a better chance of seeing the love that is everywhere.
Nothing is a distraction from your life, or keeping you from your life. It is all your life, moment-to-moment.
Bodies are innately designed and oriented to heal themselves.
Healing is as natural as breathing.
Healing is a spiraling process, not a linear event.
Healing sometimes means to heal into death.
Herbs are healers. They know who they are, and what their purpose is. When you take plants into yourself as food or medicine, they can help you become who you came here to be, and to live your purpose.
Herbs work really well. You do have to actually take them, however.
When you look into the meaning of healing—tending to spiritual healing as well as physical—the healing goes deeper. You not only heal your body, you heal your life. When the illness alone is taken care of, the body often has to find another way to get your attention.
Bodies are real, and they are ultimately symbolic of everything that is happening within your psyche and how you experience your relationship to the world around you.
Without a connection to nature, including your own wild nature, a certain sense of loneliness, alienation and isolation is inevitable. This disconnection leads to the creation of our worst health problems, personally and socially. Yet what can feel so deep and irreparable is oddly simple to fix; regular walks in the woods or in a city park are a good start. Get your feet on the Earth. Move your body. Plant a garden. Drink herb teas. Grow and gather your own herbal medicine. These and other simple practices will lead you home. Remember, whatever you are seeking is also seeking you. As we the people come home to ourselves, together we can and will create a healthy world.
Remember to try the simple things, for they often work well.
Herbs often work surprisingly quickly.
When the basic physical makeup of a plant has been chemically altered in a lab, it is not quite an herb anymore. Now it’s an herbal product, and more prone to cause unexpected side effects.
Self-care is not self-absorption. It is about looking out for yourself as you would for any beloved. Self-love is the greatest healing force there is.
Condemnation and judgment are long hard roads, which will eventually lead you to acceptance; so why not choose the kinder road sooner—or even right away? No matter how long you’ve lived in self-judgment, the opportunity to choose self-acceptance comes around again, every instant. It is never too late to love.
Bodies always speak to us in the language of love.
Abundant Green Blessings to you!
Main image by Shawn Allen, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.