What is disease and illness? To discover its origins, we must first know a little about our own origins, as human beings.
The Bible states that “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1-27. What does that really mean? It certainly does not mean we look like Him physically, because the Almighty can come in any form. It means we have the intangible attributes of God, in that, we come from perfection and our true birthright is perfection. So you ask, “If I come from perfection, then why do I suffer and have faults and imperfections?”. The answer to that is “free will”.
God gave us “free will”, or more simply, the ability to make choices for ourselves. It is that same “free will” that has changed each and every one of us into the person we are today. The problem is, free will is not free, it has a price. When we use our free will to make the wrong decisions or think the wrong thoughts, we suffer the consequences of those actions and must pay a price. Oftentimes, the price of those wrong actions is disease and illness.
Even the word disease itself implies wrong actions. If we break it down, we get “dis” and “ease”. When we are close to perfection, we are at “ease” with ourselves, and everything in life flows freely. However, when we make the wrong choices and pay the consequences, we are not at ease, or we have “dis-ease”.
Okay, so you take a hard look at your life and you are able to honestly say, “I have lived a good life, without harming anyone or harboring ill will towards anyone” or, you may think of the new-born child that is suffering and say, “This child has not harmed anyone. Where has this disease come from?”.
When we take wrong actions or make wrong choices, there is always a reaction. This is called Karma, or the natural law of “cause and effect”, of “action and reaction”, which controls the destiny of all living creatures. A reaction can manifest into the illness we are now talking about, but when does that reaction take place? For some, the reaction, payback, or karmic debt, may not take hold of you in this lifetime. It may remain with your spirit beyond the grave and carry over to your next incarnation or lifetime. This is where the disease of the “saint” or new-born child may originate from. To what disease the reaction, thought, or karmic debt turns into, is based on the wrong action that created it.
These cycles of action and reaction are going on all the time and usually involve the people around you. Someone does something to you, and then you react by feeling a certain way. When we are at peace with ourselves, or close to perfection, we do not let other’s actions influence the way we feel. When we are not at peace, we allow our emotions to run our lives and choose to react instead of forgiving.
Example: The Manifestation of Disease
Let us take the example of a person who is constantly critical of others in a negative way. Typically, one who criticizes does this because they themselves have been made to feel inadequate in some way or may have been criticized in the past. Here we have action and reaction at work and, it is running in cycles.
There are two individuals to analyze here: the person who first does the criticizing, whom we’ll call Cris; and second, the person being criticized, whom we’ll call Becky. When Cris criticizes Becky about her work, Becky takes it personally and in turn feels inadequate about herself, and her ability to do a job right. If Becky receives more criticizing from Cris, or the criticisms are echoed by Becky’s other co-workers, she begins to believe that she is incompetent or inadequate in some way. This is where the trouble begins for Becky.
As we mentioned above, everyone has a birthright of perfection, and that means we have no faults to concern ourselves with. A person of perfection has a knowing that s/he is beyond reproach and cannot be harmed by mere words. Ultimately, when perfection is our cornerstone, it is incorrect to believe we are unworthy or im-perfect, and thinking the latter becomes a wrong action.
Becky’s wrong action is her feelings of inadequacy. These feelings, if left unchecked, have the ability to manifest into various forms of disease and the disease type is based on the negative emotion involved. Let’s say in Becky’s case, the criticism results in feelings of failure, disappointment or shame. These specific emotions, for example, can lead to kidney problems down the road. How do we know this? Many people have studied the root causes of disease. Louise Hay, for example, is one of the preeminent authors in this field. Her best-selling book You Can Heal Your Life supports the key premise that because the mind and body are connected, illnesses of the body have their root causes in emotional and spiritual aspects of the mind and its beliefs and thought processes. The book is a composite of diseases and causes.
Now back to Cris. Cris started all of this by criticizing Becky about her work. If Cris was not being mean-spirited and made the criticisms based on an honest evaluation of Becky’s work, that is okay and is a part of learning, regardless of how Becky chooses to react. However, if Cris was criticizing Becky because she wanted to insult Becky or make her feel bad, then that is NOT okay. If the latter is correct, Cris would then have committed a wrong action against Becky.
Cris is due for a reaction to her wrong action, and in many cases, the reaction to criticizing, or harming another is guilt. Guilt, for example, can lead to deep, chronic pain if left unchecked. But Cris may not presently feel guilty for her actions. If that is the case, the reaction due may be held over until such a time as she is ready, or the timing is more appropriate, to receive the debt. This is where the “Why Me?” comes in. Since the debt shows up later, there may be no recollection as to why the feeling or disease has been aroused. If there is no present reason for the illness, she is left to wonder why this is happening to her or to blame God for punishing unjustly; disregarding the fact that the Karmic law has been in effect since the beginning of time. It is not God that is punishing anyone but one’s own God-given free will at play in contravention of the natural law.
Comparably, Cris could have been the product of criticism herself. Many times, people are inclined to do what they have previously been shown. If Cris was criticized by her parents, or another role model, her need to criticize others may simply be the repetition of a learned pattern. Nevertheless, even if an action comes from a pattern does not make it acceptable, nor does it exempt one from the resultant reaction. We all have free will and the power to change, to make it right.
Finally, Becky, having been criticized by Cris, could also take to criticizing others to vent her own frustrations and would later have to pay for those actions as well. So you can see how cause and effect can easily become entwined between interrelated people if emotions, wrong thoughts and actions are not prevented. All it takes is simply “letting go”, or forgiving others, because “they know not what they do” to both themselves and to the lives of others. Our free will is a gift, but it can also be a curse if we do not use it for what it was originally intended – to choose to return to God and to our birthright of perfection.