In sickness and in health

African healer Credo Mutwa in “Shaking out the Spirits: a Psychotherapist’s Entry into the Healing Mysteries of Global Shamanism” by Bradford Keeney says this about disease:

“Every one of us exists in two worlds at once. There is another earth existing side by side with this earth. In the other earth, we are all cannibals. When a person develops cancer, we believe it involves the cannibal counterpart of ourself from the other world that is slipping into this world to devour us. When a person is attacked by cancer, he must never show fear or else he makes himself weak. Disease, being a living animal, is ahead when you are afraid. In the religion of the Great Mother, you must not call anything or anyone an enemy. If you do this, you make it stronger. … When you have cancer, you must never panic. You must fight your sickness with a great calm. You must, above all, realize that what kills you is not so much the actual disease itself as it is your own mind that is tempted to surrender to the disease. Take your mind and occupy it fully in a very exciting project or occupation. This will give the body time to heal itself. This I know. I have kept diabetes, tuberculosis, and cancer at bay with this understanding.”

I believe there is a hidden message to this. I believe that this is telling us in a roundabout way how to prevent disease. From learning how to heal sickness, we can learn about how to create health.

Here it is – If you engage yourself in an exciting project, in something of great purpose and meaning, then you will prevent disease from striking at you. Laziness, sloth, inactivity causes disease. It opens the door.

It is when we do not live out our purpose in life that we get sick. We were created for much more than eating chips on the couch and watching reality TV. We were created for so much more than engaging in gossip and worrying about what latest trend we should follow.

God has created us to do good in this world. God has created us to be a force for change. We weren’t created for ourselves.

The prophet Micah tells us – “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NIV)

The prophet Isaiah tells us more (Isaiah 58:6-7)

6 Isn’t the fast I choose:
To break the chains of wickedness,
to untie the ropes of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
to clothe the naked when you see him,
and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?

We are created to heal others – to feed, clothe, and house them, and to rescue them from all kinds of prisons (mental, physical, educational, psychological). We are to be the hands of God.

We have to take care of these bodies that we have been given. They are delicate machines and need to be maintained. It is important to do this so that we are in our top form to be able to do the will of God in this world. Yet we must remember that we must do this only so that we can serve God. We must never believe (like so many modern ideas say) that we should just take care of ourselves. Self-less service is why we are here, not self-ish gain. We were not created to bask in waves of delight for delight’s sake. God most certainly wants us to be happy, but even more certainly wants us to be useful to others.

These thoughts from “The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Healer, Teacher and Visionary” might help you see a way to help yourself so that you can help others, or a way to remind others how to unlock their own healing from within –

“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:
1. When did you stop dancing?
2. When did you stop singing?
3. When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
4. When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.”

So healing is to be found in dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence. Do those things and you will get well. Do those things and you will prevent sickness. It isn’t really about when you stopped doing these things – so much as starting to do them again right away.