“Fight for it “ is a common expression and a common way of approaching suffering, and sometimes the struggle is so intense that a great relief occurs when the fighting stops and a healing process begins. I think of patients who have been “sentenced to death ” by a severe diagnosis and who are still living, and all what they did was to stop fighting and to start living.
Fights and struggles have an impact on our health and well being.
If we look at cancer as an example where we don’t know the exact reasons and prognosis for the disease in a specific individual. What we know in general about cancer is that cancer cells expand and apparently the immune system is not able to eliminate the cancer cells, in the way it usually does. The body has an inborn ability to remove cancer cells among other dysfunctional cells and it happens everyday through the immune system. What we also know is that the immune system doesn’t work properly during stress. So a very logical way to strengthen the body in order to start healing is to reduce stress.
So what is stress about? Stress is an individual response to an individual experience of a burden. And if we inquire what the individual stress response is about, we may discover that into the core it is about anxiety and fear. The fear and anxiety of losing control of life, love and power, something, which in fact is uncontrollable. The fear of losing may end up in struggles and fights and of course it may also end by giving up or giving in. The fight is not just about the fear of loosing it may also be a desire to gain power, love and life, still it may become a fight out of the fear of not gaining power, life and love.
The fights may be very subtle and unconsciously and sometimes more visible and manifested as bodily symptoms through the neuro-hormonal stress response. The stress response could also be measured by the level of the hormone glucocorticoid, which increases during stress and decreases during prolonged stress. It makes sense why glucocorticoid and morphine in some way are used as “universal- products” for many different symptoms, since they work on the neuro-hormonal stress response. However the body has a limit in its capacity to maintain and deal with the fight, so the body will always call on us through the symptoms, in order for us to take care of “the fears and fights”, since the body has a natural drive towards homeostasis; a balance in life between contraction and relaxation. Contraction causes the stress response and relaxation initiates rebuilding and healing of the body, in some way quite simple to understand.
So how to stop fighting and start living? Giving in is a very powerful way, which is about letting go of “fights and fears” and instead observe the many different ways of being, doing and believing and start making choices out of our most valuable values.
It could happen through awareness training of the bodily symptoms and awareness of the fight and fear mechanism and through authentic communicating and relating. Of course this is not done in one day, and of course we may fall into “fight and fears” from time to time. It is about discovering the struggling and ending the useless fights and so with the senseless fears. The gain is that when the body is in balance, it starts to heal what may be healed. After all it is the body that do the healing. Whatever we may chose to do or treat according to our beliefs may at best facilitate the body’s own process.
I am sure there are many ways to recognise the fights and fears and I am sure that if we support each other in handling it, healing will work faster and the joy of living will increase.
The most important is to love all our “takes” and “mis-takes” and enjoy life,- after all this is a very good reason for being alive.
Read more in the book. www.mindfulmedicinebook.com