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How Do <em>You</em> View the World?

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

How Do You View the World?

Return to the wholeness of life.
Bernie S. Siegel M.D.
Bernie S. Siegel M.D. More by this author
Oct 29, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Healing is connected to living and loving. It’s the experience of wholeness, or holiness. It’s being as one with life and our Creator. Curing, on the other hand, refers to the physical body. Being cured means overcoming a disease and, for the time being, postponing death.

But doctors can’t cure every disease, and ultimately, you can’t avoid death. You can, however, be sure that you don’t miss the chance to live. You can always heal your life, because you’re always capable of loving and living more fully. Sometimes the by-product of healing your life is being cured. A 90-year-old patient we treated was so full of life that she was, in her words, “too busy to die.” The will to live is a powerful force.

Some spiritual traditions view the moment of birth as a passage from a state of wholeness and knowledge to a state of forgetting. In this view of the world, we spend the rest of our lives searching for wholeness and knowledge, wellness and health—the balance and harmony we lost when we were born. If our wholeness is interrupted, then our health suffers, and we need to find a way to restore our sense of meaning. When we move in the direction of that meaning, we’re healing.

This is not a new concept. The Hebrew word shalom is usually translated as “peace,” or “hello” and “good-bye.” But shalom also means “wholeness.” In Hebrew, the question, “How are you doing?” is derived from shalom, so although the speaker may not be aware of it, he or she is actually asking, “How is your wholeness?”

Sometimes healing brings a cure or a full restoration of health, but it’s important to recognize that healing isn’t a single destination point; it’s a path that moves us toward balance. Many people have had afflictions that can’t be cured, but they’re still whole—think, for example, of Helen Keller.

If you want to be on a healing path, you have to be cognizant of your beliefs about yourself and the world. You define what’s stressful and what’s just one of life’s redirections. So if you choose to view your life as a learning process, then you’ll experience the “stressful” events differently. You’ll be able to stop seeing things as either good or bad, and start appreciating them as opportunities to learn to deal with difficulties—maybe you’ll even see them as having potential future benefits.

We know of a 93-year-old blind woman whose husband died. The woman was admitted to an assisted-living facility, and as she was being wheeled in, she said, “Oh, what a beautiful place.” The attendant pointed out that she was blind and asked how she could say that her new home was beautiful.

“I have a choice about how I see the world,” the woman answered, “and I choose to see it as beautiful.”

I often talk about 90-year-olds when I tell stories about people who have found peace. The reason is simple: When you make it to 90, you’ve already lived through all of the things that the rest of us still fear. I’ve often asked my 90-year-old patients to join our support group as therapists, because they can help others survive what they’ve already lived through. When I asked one support group what they feared, a woman in her 90s thought awhile before answering: “Driving on the parkway at night.” When that’s all you fear, you’re ready to be a teacher and help others survive their life-threatening situations.

Of course, not all 90-year-olds are perfect. My mom is in her 90s and still finds time to worry about the things that disturb her peace or threaten people she loves. We’re all human, and we all have some struggles to find peace—even at 90—but in general we get better at it with time.

About Author
Bernie S. Siegel M.D.
Bernie Siegel, M.D., is a retired general/pediatric surgeon who is now involved in humanizing medical care and medical education. In 1978, he originated Exceptional Cancer Patients (ECaP). Among other works, he is the author of Love, Medicine & Mi Continue reading