Hay says that illness is the body's attempt to adapt itself, to
represent erroneous ideas. The body obeys us. Fear makes us tense
the muscles of our head till they strangle the roots of our hair.
This is how we become bald. The refusal to know what is happening
around us creates eye and ear ailments. When there is something
in our life that we consider to be totally unacceptable, or when
we want to deny our self-worth, we get a headache. Repressed anger
causes pimples, fever and skin spots. Knee pain is a sign of rigidity,
the inability to be flexible, etc.
Louise Hay proposes a whole set of hypotheses of this kind, and
says that she has proven them to correspond to reality 90-95% of
the time. Her prescription is to oppose the negative idea's capacity
to provoke a headache by repeating a phrase that declares the opposite:
"I am perfectly capable of fulfilling my desires and I love
to do it." Perhaps this method can help some people. But if
it doesn't convince you, as it doesn't entirely convince me, you
can limit yourself to understanding the essence of this method by
finding a different way to apply the basic principles.
I read Hay's books in order to understand her thinking, which I
found very stimulating, even if a bit extremist. Hay never has the
desire to laugh about what she says. But perhaps she has her good
reasons. This is another thing that was hard for me to learn: not
to totally accept or reject other people's ideas, but to try to
gather everywhere that fraction of truth derived from concrete experience
(that is to say, from the richness that each person can give you).
The best solution that I have found for myself is to make an effort
at sincerity, to look inside myself and to see how I really imagine
myself. It happened when I broke my meniscus. As we saw earlier,
for Hay, the knees are a symbol of flexibility. In other words,
I was too rigid.
I reflected on this, and I saw how within me resentment and fear
created an ego (an idea of myself, a crystal that is the fulcrum
of my personality) that was only seemingly open and well-disposed.
Inside me there is a small, but very hard core. A small bar of steel
that refuses to open itself, to unite to flow. It is my impregnable
fortress, my presumption of being able to flee from the world by
creating a place which is my absolute dominion, which has the power
of not being part of this world. I talked about this with my friend
Gabriella and she told me that by contrast she feels like an empty
box that exists only as a producer of money to exchange with others.
She refuses, absolutely refuses, the idea of being able to be loved.
She doesn't love herself and has no self-esteem. She doesn't have
pain in the knees, but she suffers from terrible headaches.
I started to meditate on this vision of myself. I tried to understand
the working of the basic mechanism, to see how I poison my life,
and, above all, I tried to see how many opportunities I lose everyday
by following my arrogant ways. I realized how foolish, futile and
wearing it is to think that you are separated from the world, to
struggle in order to create a place inside yourself where the world
cannot reach you or strike you. To do this also means to create
a place inside yourself where the world cannot supply you with its
energy, its vital nourishment. In other words, you create for yourself
a personality, an ego that withers because the stream of life no
longer nourishes it.
The same happens to those who believe that they don't exist. That
which does not exist cannot receive the vital sap of the universe.
Essentially, we all suffer in various ways from the fascinating
manifold conformations of the same ill. In one way or another, we
deny our being part of the world. We invent an identity, our sick
ego, which isn't part of the world, and which asserts itself as
something other, as an antagonist of the world.
Millions of people have walked on burning coals.
We don't know how it is possible, but it is something that is done
everywhere in the world. One can learn to do it in a couple of days
for a few hundred dollars. I'm not too interested in doing it, but
it is an unquestionable proof of the power of the mind. If I think
that the burning coals are cool water, I can walk a few meters on
them, without the risk of burning myself.
If this is possible, it is also possible for a person to convince
himself or herself that they are not an indivisible fragment of
the universe. So instead of enjoying yourself being a cell, nourished
and counseled by the vital sap that flows everywhere, you experience
this folly of the ego crystallized into fear, into feelings of guilt,
inadequacy, and resentment.
In order to free yourself from all this, it is necessary to impose
a strange discipline on yourself. If you really understand your
error, if you contemplate it, identify it, and sleep on it, after
a while you will begin to recognize it in your everyday gestures
and little choices. And you will begin to dislike this thought of
yourself, because you have understood how dearly it costs you. Gradually,
as you experience the positive form of thinking of yourself as not
being divided from the world, you will be encouraged by the pleasure
that you obtain from it to perfect yourself, to analyze those choices
in depth, to identify and to unmask the behaviours that deny you
your right to life, love, and joy. It isn't easy, it isn't immediate,
but it is winning and exciting.