Deeply depressed, I sat on a rainy beach in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and contemplated how my life had become complete shit.
Just one year before, I’d landed a great new job, said sayonara to my mean boss and my cheating boyfriend, and moved across the entire country. It had been a wonderful, empowering moment.
I hated my new job and I got fired. I lived in an apartment I couldn’t afford, with a roommate who had dangerous personality problems. And my handful of “friends” criticized me and expected a lot of free service out of me. My life was worse than it had been.
And Then I Saw It
There was only one commonality between the life I’d had one year before and the life I had now: me. Something in me had run away from a set of problems and, in under a year, created larger versions of each of those problems.
I not only failed to achieve the goals I’d set for myself, my big move had cost me certain advantages. And I’d done this to myself.
I realized that I had to find a way to control the life-destroying demon within me. I immediately set about to fix myself. Over the following years, I committed tens of thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars to contemplation, acupuncture, neurolinguistic programming, hypnosis, counselling, therapy, naturopathic supplements, chiropractic adjustments, dietary controls, training, coaching, and even good-old conventional doctor’s visits. But I was putting all my energy in the wrong place.
Instead of turning my life around and becoming successful, I got sick. I developed back pain, blood sugar problems, anxiety disorder, skin problems, food sensitivities, heart palpitations, pleurisy. I was addicted to cigarettes. I had chronic bronchitis each winter. I also went from one abusive relationship to another, both in my personal life and in my professional life.
Seeing the Forest Instead of the Tree
I was a collectivist: taught that my priority is to be a “good citizen,” a “contributor to society.” To be normal.
I believed that the key to my happiness and success was to make everyone else happy and successful. Then, as a member of that collective, the happiness and success vibes would waft my way. All I had to do to fix myself was fix everyone and everything else.
The flaw in my logic wasn’t the impossible notion that I could fix the world. Or even my misguided moral desire to fix the world. (Golden Rule, baby: if we each put ourselves last, the world will be marvellous!)
My error came directly from the health industry and Western culture itself: a belief that the world around me controls how I feel and behave. Determinism.
The day finally came when I realized that what I was thinking was wrong. And that if I kept living from this way of thinking, I was going to die. Without accomplishing anything that was meaningful to me. I realized that I was running full tilt toward wasting my life.
That’s when I fell back on the scientific method. I began letting go of anything I could not know to be true.
Instead of trying to function on too little sleep, I started saying “no” to social activities that weren’t energizing me. Instead of trying to please my tyrannical boss, I told her to back off or I was going to quit. I broke up with my boyfriend because he tried to mould me into a “better person.” I began blocking toxic behaviour from an abusive family member. And kept turning my back on family dysfunction until I’d walked away from the family altogether. When I could no longer fit into the community because I wasn’t playing the role, I found a new community.
My symptoms healed not because I fixed the world, but because I stopped taking responsibility for it. I seized control over my own experience of the world.
Seeing the (Mind)Tree Instead of the Forest
Your brain controls every cell of your body with electrochemical and hormonal signals. But, sealed safely inside your skull, your brain has no idea what’s happening in the world around you unless you provide the data. You must see, hear, touch, smell, and taste the world around you. And then you must interpret the data your brain receives.
The “MindTree” – the decision-making “computer program” of your brain – does the interpretation.
It took me over a decade to fully see my MindTree and to fully heal. This is because I didn’t yet know about the five biological laws that Dr. Hamer discovered that govern symptoms and healing. But from the moment I first began to look within, at what I was feeling, and to take responsibility for that, I began to have control and I began to get better.
Instead of being a victim of the world, I now said “yes” to what I liked, and “no” to what I didn’t. And I accepted and dealt with the consequences. Because they were my consequences.
When I discovered Dr. Hamer’s work, I learned the biology of illness. I was able to use my symptoms to look back to that day on the rainy beach and finally understand. I’d been suffering from:
- an existence (refugee/isolation) conflict;
- self-devaluation conflicts of shame, intellectual inferiority, and inability to stand up for myself;
- an identity conflict, an entrapment conflict, a sexual rejection conflict, and a territorial fear conflict.
I could see how my conflicts connected to each other in a branching structure (the “MindTree”). I could see that an unresolved survival trauma (the existence conflict) was the trunk of the tree. I could see that I’d had several unresolved self-devaluation traumas from which I created a story that I had to be smarter, better, and faster. And I could see that I’d developed several strategies of relating to others based on unresolved territorial and separation traumas (my identity, entrapment, sexual, and territorial fear traumas).
By seeing how one traumatic stress left unresolved tended to lead to more trauma, I learned to be present with what was happening in my body and my psyche. I learned that I can solve my conflicts by turning and facing into them instead of running away from them.
Since the collectivist mindset is a cultural paradigm, you were probably also raised to “go along to get along.” Most of us will strive to be normal. Most of us learn to avoid what’s wrong with us.
When we do this, we’re screwed. Because avoiding facing trauma means avoiding the truth. And it means avoiding resolution of the symptom.
Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with me?” Ask yourself, “How is this symptom a solution to a problem?”
How to Get Help
In the same way that the eye can’t see itself and fish don’t know what water is, the MindTree has no idea that it exists. These things need contrast and separation – a mirror – to experience their own nature. Therapy, counselling, coaching, inner work – even a good friend – these are your mirrors. These are the only way you can see the MindTree (instead of the forest of the big world “out there”).
You cannot get your individual wellness from the world out there. It does not exist out there. And everything you do to try and “get” wellbeing from out there is making you sick and unhappy.
The solution is a total reversal of of your cultural training since infancy, but it’s really so simple. It’s flipping perspective, recognizing that you aren’t looking at the world “out there” …you’re looking at a mirror.
Once you can seize control this way, every experience becomes to your benefit. Every interaction with the world out there helps you to get better.