Mind, and the Placebo Effect
When I say, “mind over matter,” I’m assuming that a lot of people are going to think that it’s all just, “hippy junk.”
But just hear me out. Before we actually get to the meat of this article let’s take a look at something typically referred to as the Placebo Effect. The Placebo Effect- the word “placebo” is originally a Latin word that means “I shall please” or “I please.” It is usually a beneficial effect that is produced by a drug/treatment, although the drug/treatment could scientifically and biologically have no possible effects on any person. It works simply because the patient believed it would. “The more a person believes they are going to benefit from a treatment, the more likely it is that they will experience a benefit.” http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/mobileart.asp?articlekey=31481
But of course this can work in the other direction as well. If someone takes a placebo and they think they will get side effects instead, then that could happen too. The Placebo Effect doesn’t work for everyone. And for the most part it’s considered a phenomenon rather than scientific fact. “Companies seeking governmental approval of a new treatment often use placebo-controlled drug studies.” http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/mobileart.asp?articlekey=31481
So even though it isn’t scientifically proven, it’s still used by pharmaceutical companies.
Now I’ll get to the most shocking story I know, where mind over matter was the main element for a woman who cured her own cancer. Kyla, a friend of mine, is in her 30’s. She teaches meditation, yoga, and self-healing at Prana Yoga in my home town. When she was fifteen she woke up blind. At first the doctors had no idea what was happening. But it was later diagnosed as an Optic Glioma, which is a cancerous tumor found in the brain, but typically it happens in small children. Kyla only let doctors treat her until she was seventeen. She allowed them to remove the part of the tumor that was attached to her optic nerve, but didn’t let them remove the part that was in the frontal lobe. 100% of vision in her right eye was lost. The medication they gave her made her sick, so sick that she felt that the medication was actually killing her. Sure, maybe eventually the medication would have helped, but she would rather have 5 good years over 30 years of feeling sick. So she stopped all Western medicine and instead decided to, “attack” the tumor with meditation and positivity. And even if it didn’t work, it would make her feel better. You know the saying, “laughter is the best medicine?” For her it was, literally. Finding out you’re sick can be depressing. And for Kyla it had come to a point of quality of life over quantity, which is a situation I know all too well. And so she chose. Did she know beyond a doubt that meditation would work? No, but chemotherapy, steroids, and pills don’t always work either. She knew she was taking a huge chance. She couldn’t function on the steroids they kept pumping into her so she chose happiness while she still could.
For 3 years she meditated, ate healthy, learned to laugh, and believed. She believed in miracles.
Then she went into the hospital, the doctors took four scans before they could believe their eyes. While her right eye remained blind, the rest of the tumor that once made its home in her frontal lobe, was gone. Not shrunk and seemingly harmless, but completely gone. Her doctors didn’t know how to react. At first they thought they got something wrong. Maybe the scan was from a different person, or maybe the machine had a glitch. After four scans they finally realized that the tumor was just gone. They couldn’t explain it so they passed it off as a miracle. And it was, in a way. Kyla explained to me that having an illness like that, even after the tumor was gone and the blindness remained, there was a feeling of not being whole. Which is also something that can come with having a disability. You feel like you’re broken, or like you’re less than human. She says, “let go of the idea of who you could be in a perfect world, as a perfect person, because it ain’t gonna freaking happen.” If you don’t stop worrying about what could have happened, then how are you supposed to move on with the life you do have? How are you supposed to heal your soul if you can’t even move past the idea of having an illness?
The first step in getting what you want, whether it’s getting better or anything else is to learn that you can’t control everything.
Ironic right? Especially when we’re talking about mind over matter. What I mean though is, if you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry about the, “what could I have done?” Or the, “what if?” You are in that situation now. Worrying about what you could have done in the past, doesn’t exactly help you right now. If you put it in effect then it can help prevent bad situations in the future. But it still doesn’t help right now. That’s what I mean when I say you can’t control everything. You can’t change the past, you can only step forward and be open to healing. You actually have to be willing to get better. But isn’t everyone willing to get better? No, unfortunately not. As crazy and as sad as this sounds, you can get used to being in a bad situation, like illness. The saying “it could always be worse,” gets said a heck of a lot in these situations. And while the sentiment is true, because yes it could be worse, that doesn’t mean your situation is invalid. It doesn’t mean that you have to suffer just because it could be worse.
Willpower is the key to the whole mind over matter topic. You create what you believe. It’s never easy, but is life easy? God no. But it can be beautiful, and so we thrive in the good times. We push through the rough times. And in the really bad times? We take control and if we need to, we laugh and believe in miracles.
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How Angels Become Human by Kala Godin
Kala Godin is a 20 year old woman living in Alberta, Canada. She has Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2, which is a muscle deteriorating disorder that confines her to a wheelchair. In addition to being a writer she is also an artist.