Vital Ingredient

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Vital Ingredient

by Dr. Laurel Clark

John was a smart and active boy, full of energy and enthusiasm. Friendly and sociable, he made friends easily and wanted very much to be liked. Extremely talented, but highly undisciplined, he was the classic case of a child labeled by his teachers "great potential but needs to study. Is capable of much higher performance."

His greatest accomplishments occurred when he was directed by a strong coach, choir director or teacher. He excelled in sports, won wrestling trophies, played on football and basketball teams, and developed his beautiful tenor voice in church choirs. When he was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 15, John denied the seriousness of the disease although secretly he started imagining the worst. He even said to himself (after being told of possible future complications), "When I lose my eyesight then I'll begin to take care of myself. For now I can eat what I want because I'm so athletic it won't matter."

And so he did. Ignoring sensible advice, he tested the limits of his endurance. He drank beer, smoked marijuana, ate sweets and fried foods, and injected insulin to counteract the effects of a rich, out-of-balance diet. His young body was strong, and the high level of physical activity helped to keep his blood sugar levels somewhat balanced. What John failed to admit was that the extreme swings from high to low were taking a toll on his body.

Nearly fourteen years after first discovering that he had diabetes, John received his first Intuitive Health Analysis
His mother and relatives prayed for him when he developed diabetes and counseled him to keep a positive attitude and trust in God. John never pursued seeking a reason for him developing the disease. It did not occur to him that this was a sign, or warning, or message, that there was something for him to learn from this experience.

Nor did he respond to the need for discipline demanded by diabetes: the need to pay attention to his diet, to eat at regular times, to monitor closely the amount of physical exercise and balance it with the amount of insulin. He continued to live as he always had, spontaneously, doing things at the spur of the moment without much planning or foresight.

In college when he was engaged in activities he liked, he gave himself to them and shone brilliantly. At other times he was undisciplined and lazy and managed to pass with minimal effort. After college, with a major in communications, John decided he wanted to be an actor so he moved to Chicago. During this time, John never really examined why he was living as he was. He became tired more easily. He was not always able to push himself to the physical limits that he had in the past. But still he did not relate this to his diabetes, nor think very deeply about why he even had the disease. It was just a circumstance in his life that he dealt with as he needed to.

Nearly fourteen years after first discovering that he had diabetes, John received his first Intuitive Health Analysis:

...we see within the mental system there is a great deal of frustration that this one is holding onto mentally. We see that much of this is the formation of this one's own ideas as to what this one needs to battle against concerning the environment. We see that there are many ways in which this one does try to escape this one's own responsibilities. We see that there is a battle which is occurring in that this one is not responding to what it is that this one does want to accomplish and does want to do. Would suggest that by making the environment and what this one considers to be the expectations of society a scapegoat for the Self, and the excuse as to why this one is frustrated with the lack of being able to achieve goals, there will continue to be the frustration that is spoken of. Would suggest that each day this one set out to do something that is solely for the initiating that, this one could see that there is the time if this one will cause it to be available for the Self. Would suggest also to this one to listen to the ways that this one uses such phrases as 'should, ought to, needs to, or has to' do. Would suggest that in this way this one is setting outside and away from the Self any freedom that this one has and likewise is setting aside from the Self the responsibility for the action on the part of the Self, therefore putting it in the hands of others. Would suggest that by doing something that this one wants to do each day, this will aid this one in understanding that is to the Self that responsibility does lie... 6187aGBM

This analysis was helpful to John, because it brought to his attention the ways that he was keeping himself entrapped in limitations. He admitted to feeling like a victim and blaming his girlfriend for his failure to pursue his acting career. Prior to this, it had not occurred to him that "responsibility" meant much more than paying bills and taking care of physical needs. The analysis stimulated him to think more deeply about what "responsibility to Self" meant. A pattern began to emerge that John had yet to face: a need to understand himself as a spiritual being with a higher purpose for life than physical survival.

Would suggest that it would be important for this one to become honest in developing a worthiness as to this one's existence and a direction to be taken to fulfill this one's own purpose for existence.

This suggestion was offered to heal scarring that had occurred in the area of the liver. At this time, John had no awareness that there were any problems with his liver until he heard it in the analysis. Other physical effects of his "disordered" attitudes included sluggishness in the lymph system, the spleen, the small intestines, and the colon. Because he had no physical pain and no outward indication of problems in these areas, John ignored that part of the report. As he was to discover much later, he habitually waited for some kind of loss to motivate himself to change.

The changes he made in response to the analysis were primarily physical changes. He had yet to address the fundamental issues of his own Self worth and creating a deeper purpose for living.

A year later, John received another analysis. His primary concern was an injury he had received to his face; he had been struck by a baseball bat resulting in a massive bruise and black eye. The report said the healing was progressing and just needed time, so John was satisfied. He did not really understand, nor pay attention to a simple and profound statement that explained why it was taking so much time for the healing to take place:

There is somewhat of an attachment to the condition that exists. When there is no longer the need for the attachment, then the skin can be produced as this one would have it. This one tends to use particular conditions and holds onto them, even though they may be unpleasant, as reminders to the self to identify to identify those causes. (82588GBM1C)

This analysis foreshadowed a gradual process of physical deterioration that eventually captured John's attention. It took him almost ten years to develop this awareness and to admit that his thoughts were causing his body to be as it was.
He asked about the condition of the diabetes and was told:

We see that there is a fluctuation in the activity as far as the pancreas is concerned. We see that as this one increases this one's reasons for identification with producing life within the self, this one can bring about changes here.

All John heard was that his pancreas wasn't dead. Traditional medical doctors had told him that diabetes meant an inactive pancreas. When he heard that his pancreas still had the ability to produce insulin, he was relieved but did not use that knowledge to face what he needed to change: the reasons for producing life within the self. He was still viewing his body as a machine, disconnected from his own thoughts and attitudes.

As a result, some of the physical conditions worsened. By November of 1988, (the next time John received an Intuitive Health Analysis), his pancreas was producing but not releasing insulin. This analysis echoed the one John received in June of 1987.

...We see that much of the conflict that this one is experiencing is a reorganization of this one's ideas of responsibility. We see that this one is attempting to change the ideas of responsibility as physical only, or being seen as burdensome to being more expanded in their outlook and in their influence or reaching effect. We see that this one has the ability to resolve these issues. This one has the knowledge, and the skill as well as the creativity to come to terms with who this one is and what this one desires. Would suggest that this one release doubt concerning this, and begin to move forward into the resolve that this one does have...

Again this analysis mentioned the need to focus upon desire and to express what he wanted. In fact, the analysis suggested that the mental cause for the diabetes was a need to understand himself as a creative being:

We see that much of this difficulty in the pancreas would be resolved as this one would learn to direct the creative ability purposefully. It is at times when this one fails to admit the purposes of the self and therefore create them actively that this one falls into feeling like he's being taken from or taking from others, falls into the difficulty in terms of the responsibility that has been described already, and this is what causes there to be imbalances in the pancreas itself. 11188BGR7

This passage is particularly significant, not just for John, but for many people in this day and age. Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the United States and is becoming more prevalent in other countries as well. Why? It has been attributed to diet, lifestyle, genes. This analysis sheds some light on collective attitudes that have become more prevalent, thus increasing the incidence of diabetes. Many, many people question their purpose in life. Often, these people want to know what they will "get out of" a job or a marriage. We have become attached to physical success, physical possessions, acquisition of fame and fortune. The reason we have physical possessions and physical life itself is for us to create! A purposeful existence comes from giving ourSelves to our endeavors, knowing who we are and how to contribute to make the world a better place. As one becomes more creative and purposeful, the pancreas does its job effectively. When we take what we can get from life, the pancreas shuts down.

This would change as this one would become attached to understanding the experiences of the self rather than attached to the experiences for experience's sake.

John admitted (years later) that at the time he had this analysis, he heard the words but did not know how to put them into practice.

As all the analyses had noted, John's creative drive was unchanneled. He desired to be a loving, giving individual, helping other people and using his artistic and musical talents. But he had fallen into habits of pretending rather than imagining, being critical or sarcastic rather than genuinely entertaining, and fearful rather than creative.

John's sixth analysis in 1992, showed a dramatic decline in his physical health. The attitudes were similar to those in previous analyses, but by this time (six years after his first health analysis) they had become more ingrained. The need for Self worth, for viewing himself as a spiritual being, for being motivated by a higher purpose, and to live rather than survive, were all addressed here. Because John had not changed these core attitudes, the effects on his body were more pronounced. The earlier analyses had said some of the problems were minor. In this one, it said the more he created a faç ade to cover up what he viewed as faults, "the farther and farther this one removes the self from the Truth and the ability to become whole." He was identifying more with being unhealthy, mentally, emotionally, and physically. This analysis noted breakdown in the capillaries, problems with the kidneys, and for the first time, signs of diabetic retinopathy (breaking of blood vessels in the back of the eye that can lead to blindness if left untreated.) Because John was not seeing himself clearly as a spiritual being with a higher purpose in life and because he was blinded to his true nature, his eyes were showing deterioration. The very first analysis John had noted a need for him to trust his perception; by this time his refusal to do so was reflected in some loss of physical vision.

When John heard this analysis, he could immediately link it to the facts in his life. He was having financial difficulties both in his own life and with the organization he directed. Rather than admitting it openly and asking for help or guidance, he tried to hide it, covering up mistakes in the checkbook and then becoming afraid someone would find out. Because his physical health was declining, John gave more and more attention to the needs of his body and removed more and more attention from the spiritual purpose for his existence. Some kind of counseling would have been of great benefit to him at this time, as he felt alone, trapped, and limited and this was all a product of his own thinking.

As all the analyses had noted, John's creative drive was unchanneled. He desired to be a loving, giving individual, helping other people and using his artistic and musical talents. But he had fallen into habits of pretending rather than imagining, being critical or sarcastic rather than genuinely entertaining, and fearful rather than creative. He could force himself into activity when his survival demanded it, but in so doing he was continually reacting to his environment rather than causing the life he was capable of living. Now, twenty years after the initial diagnosis of diabetes, his body was declining rapidly. This increased his fear. He knew he needed to do something fast; he could tell that his vision was getting worse, he had recurrent infections that would not heal, his nerves had suffered some damage and he had already lost feeling in his extremities. John still had difficulty admitting to himself and to other people that he had limitations; thus, many of the physical conditions worsened because he would not seek any kind of medical advice until he absolutely had to. He sought laser surgery to stop the bleeding in his eyes, and he began to see a chiropractor and Chinese herbalist for treatment of the diabetes. As John describes it, "I kept thinking I wasn't going to be able to get what I wanted. I was kind of desperate because at that point I was starting to have visual problems. I started to go to the Chinese herbalist because I was thinking I had to do something right then; I was getting worse quick. I didn't want to share that with anybody. I was doing things physically rather than attempting to do things mentally. Those Chinese herbs were a desperate attempt to fix my pancreas."

Again, it was pointed out that John needed to know himself as a spiritual being and to contemplate a deeper purpose for living. He was being more disciplined in a physical way. The attention he was giving to physical care had positive effects on his body, but in order for the healing to be complete it was essential that John also treat himSelf in a loving way. This included him embracing learning and creation as a way of life. Oftentimes, he was reckless or foolish, driving too fast, sleeping too little, picking at scabs until they became scars, forcing himself into action when he needed rest. He asked why he did such destructive things.

In part it is a result of apathy, but the apathy has arisen because this one has needed to learn the value of the will. This one has a very strong will. Because of this, this one has been indestructible. We see that this one has only recently recognized the force with which this one has tried again and again to prove his strength. We see that the destructiveness has arisen from this one wanting to eliminate weakness, to detach the self from it, to, in essence, destroy that which this one believed was weak. We see that this has come from a misunderstanding and a refusal to recognize the strength of this one's will to live. 41793BGC

This is a most instructive lesson, especially for anyone who has a chronic illness. Western medical treatments often focus on eliminating disease or disorder: destroying cancer with chemotherapy, cutting out diseased organs with surgery and attempting to restore wholeness with drugs. Much of John's learning revolved around him accepting himself with all of his strength and weaknesses, all of his understandings and misunderstandings, all of his talents and all of his needs. Until he was willing to simply accept himself he kept trying to either deny the facts of his condition or force himself into being in a different place than he was.

...This was a turning point for John. When he first discovered that he had diabetes he tried to ignore it. Gradually, as his physical body became less and less strong, as he became more and more tired, as he experienced more and more parts of his body shutting down, he had to pay attention.

"I remember years before that, even when I was in high school, thinking about my eyes, and thinking I can do this [be irresponsible about taking care of myself] until my eyes start to go, and then I can change.

"Now I see that back in 1987 the liver was showing problems, and the kidneys, too, but I didn't even bother to look at that. I was in denial and didn't want to face facts. I didn't want to read Diabetes Forecast. I didn't want to talk to other people who were diabetics. I didn't want to admit to people that I was diabetic. I think I just thought I was indestructible, but never even admitted that until I heard about it in this analysis. I started realizing the fragility of my physical condition."

This denial showed up in an analysis two years later, in 1995. In the two years intervening John still tried to force healing to occur, holding on to doubt and relying on willfulness to move him to action. Put simply, John was afraid to change. He was attached to things as they were, even though they were often unpleasant. The physical changes that had started in 1993 were slowing down, and his body was again showing the deterioration that had been taking place for years now.

John knew that he had to make some mental changes because he knew the physical things weren't working so well any more.

The pancreas cannot be forced to change physically, therefore this one must adjust in the mental and emotional systems. This one must learn how to initiate and to sustain motion. This one must learn how to surrender. 11894BGC7

John knew that he had to make some mental changes because he knew the physical things weren't working so well any more.

Within six months, John awoke one day and found that he could hardly see out of his right eye. He knew that his eyes had gotten progressively worse since he first noticed blurriness in 1990, but this still came as a shock. At the insistence of his wife he went to an eye doctor who told him that he needed immediate surgery to arrest further damage, although much of the damage that had already occurred was irreversible. Imagining the worst, John got another health analysis:

We see denial within this one. We see that for a long period of time this one has refused to face facts about the self. We see that as a result of this, this one is continually in fear that this one will find out something that this one is ill-equipped to handle. As a result of this, this one continually sets up conditions and circumstances in which this one does produce the results of this one's fears.

Would suggest to this one that there is a need for this one to build a desire for awareness. We see that there is a need for this one to form an image of the benefits that will be derived from this one knowing what is within the self and from knowing what is without the self, for we see that until this one does have awareness, this one will have very little basis to create from or to create with. 52595LJC1M

John knew that he was afraid, particularly because the near complete loss of eyesight in his right eye and partial loss of sight in the left eye meant that he could not drive. His whole sense of identity had been crumbling and now suffered a complete crash.

A series of choices and circumstances further amplified John's fear. He had major surgery done on the right eye. Because of the physical deterioration and increasing weakness of his body, including the lymph system, he developed an infection in the eye where the incision had been made. For a period of time John experienced extreme headaches, then further complications from the surgery resulted in a total loss of sight in his right eye.

(Three months later) he had another episode of bleeding in the back of his eye. As he described it, "everything was fuzzy; I could not focus." Since he was completely dependent on one eye for sight, the additional loss of vision was terrifying. The doctor said that the new bleeding and scar tissue was pulling the retina away from his eye. He said that John had no choice; if he did not have surgery he would become totally blind in six months to a year because the scar tissue would pull the retina completely away from his eye.

He sought a second opinion and the second doctor also recommended surgery since the benefits of surgery outweighed the risks.

This was on Thursday. As John describes it, "The bottom line was that I was scared, nervous, and wanted to be with people over the weekend. So it happened, my miracle weekend! The news of my upcoming surgery traveled to the National Headquarters of the School of Metaphysics, then to another teachers meeting in Kansas City. When I spoke with my wife, she told me that the college students and the teachers at the Kansas City meeting wanted to do healing on me; would I give permission? I responded yes! At the Dallas meeting Dr. Sheila Benjamin informed me she would do 'hands-on healing' before the Interfaith Church of Metaphysics service if I requested it. I did. I also participated in a healing class Sunday evening and received more healing. I called my mother and told her of the upcoming surgery and asked for her prayers. She called her friends and my brothers and sisters who all prayed for me.

"Monday morning my wife and I set out for St. Louis. As I went through the routine of testing the eyes, there was a drastic difference in the left eye. On Thursday, all I could read was the giant "E" on the eye chart. On Monday I could read several lines farther down, and I could focus. The doctor's assistant said my vision had improved from 20-300 to 20-30 from last Thursday. 'I'm just a student,' she said, 'but I think the doctor may not do surgery.' When the doctor came in, he examined my left eye, re-examined it and repeated three times, 'something has changed'. He said that something must have changed over the weekend because the scar tissue that had been pulling the eye from the retina had been dislodged or dissolved. It was no longer there. He then advised me not to have the major operation, and to let him do laser treatment instead. This would stop the bleeding and be much safer than a major operation requiring an incision and general anesthesia.

"What had happened? What had occurred? My eye had improved in three days. I began to put the pieces together: went to teachers meeting, was in a healing environment with other teachers and metaphysicians, received hands-on healing from Doctor Sheila, as well as being healed by the teachers in Dallas, Kansas City, the healing classes in Springfield and at the college, and healing prayer from my mother and family. Yes, I must be receptive to healing. Yes! I asked for healing. I prayed for healing. I meditated for answers to the question of surgery or not. My quest for understanding has a vital ingredient, which is to ask. Ask for courage, ask for love, receive truth."

You might think that this is the end of the story, a happy, hopeful, positive ending to a tumultuous journey. John was receptive to healing because he was scared. He was afraid that this surgery might turn out as the previous one had. If he lost the vision in the left eye he would have no eyesight at all. Remember all of those analyses that counseled him to focus on desire? In this situation he concentrated his attention completely on the desire for an alternative to the surgery, and he received what he asked for! But once the crisis was over, John's doubts crept back in. He even began to doubt that the miracle he experienced was real. He rationalized that the first doctor had misdiagnosed his condition rather than continue to build upon belief in the power of the mind to cause miraculous healing. Although he did not admit it, accepting the miracle of his healing meant that he was responsible for a new way of thinking.

Although it was too late for John to change the past, he could live now and needed to live now. For reasons oftentimes unknown to his conscious mind, his soul still wanted to use this physical body even with its limitations and areas of degeneration. This analysis described the disorders in the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and pancreas that had been there for awhile, and continuing deterioration in the nervous system and circulatory system. The eyes showed scarring and blood vessel proliferation, and when John asked how to heal the eyes, the report said:

In order for there to be change in this area, this one does need to decide that this one wants to see what is present within the self and what is present around the self and as long as this one dwells in the past and avoids facing what is truth in the present, this condition will continue.

By this time, John did admit that in order to cause physical changes that would become permanent, he needed to change his ways of thinking. He had tried so many different physical remedies and treatments, had tried different doctors and healers, had listened to advice from many well-meaning friends and relatives. Every time he found a treatment that produced temporary change in his body, he was relieved, but soon afterwards his body would begin its destructive course once again. This time, he asked what changes to cause mentally in order to produce permanent healing:

Would suggest to this one that this one does need to admit responsibility for what has occurred within the Self and within the life. Would suggest that this one cease viewing this as blame or condemnation, for we see that as long as this one views this as blame, this one does avoid facing the truth. Would suggest that this one create an attitude of discovery and create love for the self and for this one's ability to learn and to give this one's full attention to how this can occur and what this one wants to occur in the present. ... True responsibility is this one's power to create based upon the choices that this one has made and does make.

When John heard this, he says "I still wasn't willing to look at what mental state I was in totally or fully accept that it was a place where I could learn or discover. I'd heard it intellectually but it didn't sink in. I didn't even look at my high blood sugar levels as a place of endangerment. I wasn't very diligent about what I ate or keeping my blood sugars down. I wasn't willing to face responsibility to accept a new way of thinking as the way to heal. I was still blaming, I was still condemning myself and blaming others. I wasn't willing to say, this is a great lesson for my soul. I was still expecting acupuncture, Chinese herbs, enzymes, all that stuff was somehow going to pull me through. I did not yet admit the big part that has to be done has got to be from me."

That winter John had a series of episodes during which his legs started to cramp, then spasm, until he could not even support his weight on them. He started doing acupuncture treatments and taking additional minerals which helped some, but he still experienced these convulsions from time to time. Twice during this time he blacked out for a brief period of time, finding out after the fact that his blood sugar levels had been extremely high. He did not relate the leg cramping and the high blood sugar reactions to each other at the time.

Then, in July, he was awakened from sleep by his legs twitching convulsively. Three times in a row he was rendered unconscious by seizures. He was rushed to the hospital and placed in intensive care. The doctors thought perhaps he was epileptic, since the seizures had the classical symptoms of grand mal epilepsy. A battery of tests including an MRI and EEG showed nothing, and the doctors were at a loss to discover the cause for the seizures. They insisted that John take Dilantin, an anti-seizure medication. John was not eager to take more medication. In the past year he had been put on three different blood pressure medications, diuretics, countless antibiotics, and still took insulin twice a day. The attending doctor would not release John from the hospital until he took the Dilantin so John did, but he did not like the effects of it at all. It affected his equilibrium and his thinking, making him foggy and unsettled.

The hospital stay was a big warning signal for John to take command of himself. John says, "How much more did I have to hear to take a step toward loving myself? I'm glad I made the choice to go into the hospital, because I think that ultimately the inactivity gave me an opportunity to sit there and think about what I was really doing. What did I want to do? I was stimulated to think, am I just trying to give up here?"

All of the tests, all of the technology, all of the medical books and medical knowledge had come up with a big "zero" in terms of identifying the cause for the seizures John experienced. He got a health analysis to understand what was going on. This, his thirteenth analysis, pinpointed what was going on in his thinking and how it affected him physically:

We see extreme tension in the mental system at the present time. We see that this is revolving around immediacy and reactions to stimuli that have occurred. We see that there is a great deal of extremes that this one is experiencing between turmoil and submission. We see that in order for this one to think more clearly and in order for this one to be able to pursue lines of thought and creative thought which would be of benefit to the Self, there needs to be a calming that would occur in the mental system. There needs to be a focus which this one can direct the energies toward and there needs to be the alertness of this one's willingness to contemplate. We see that this one is aware of the means by which these can be procured. We see that there is a need for this one to recognize the capability of the Self of accomplishing these.

We see within the mental system that there is attachment. The attachment is deep, and it is very strong. We see it has been practiced over a prolonged period of time. We see that it is toward anything of the physical. We see that this one has made a pattern of life in how this one is attached to how things appear to others, how things exist in regard to the environment outwardly rather than there being any sense of inward compass or means by which this one would direct the Self. We see that this has caused there to be severe limitations in this one's mental, emotional, and physical systems and we see that it has in effect produced the kind of existence that this one is in such turmoil concerning. We see that this one needs to become freer in the willingness to cultivate a connection with a sense of conscience. We see that this one's attachment to the physical has led this one to a point where it is more and more difficult for this one to deny the sense of inward environment. In essence this one is more and more feeling forced to turn inward. Would suggest that it would aid this one to be willing to surrender to the condition. This is not to say to give up anything, it is to say to be willing to open the Self completely to what is Truth and to merely direct the attention inwardly as much as this one can.

This suggestion to turn inward made perfect sense to John. Being in the hospital for five days, he did explore and examine his thoughts much more deeply than he had previously. There were no distractions and he had a great deal of time to simply sit and think. It was becoming clear to him why his physical senses were shutting down. He could relate to the idea of force, and now he was being forced to turn inward because he had been undisciplined in causing it. Why had he been so stubborn in refusing to do this earlier?

We see that this one has feared the inner parts of the Self and has imagined fears over such a prolonged period of time that this one has not had the desire to reach inwardly and has held on therefore the more tightly to those things of the physical, but we see that this one has not understood the nature of the physical existence and therefore this one is experiencing what are considered limitations that do stimulate this understanding within this one. Would suggest that this one still has volition, therefore there are many choices that this one can make and there are many choices that this one needs to make. Would suggest that this one begin by attaining the calmness that has been stated and by being willing to transfer the attachment to the inner Self rather than feel that he must give it up. Would suggest that this one also admit that the imagined fears that he has built over a prolonged period of time are a product of his imagination and therefore can be changed in a like manner. The worst that this one can think and can be is what this one has already manifested. It is not something that is unknown to this one.

John was ready, finally, to hear the suggestion to use his imagination productively. He contemplated the idea of surrender and used it. As a child he had been taught to pray but it had been years since he had made that a part of his life, and after hearing this analysis he reawakened his connection with God.

"I have had so many analyses before, but the biggest difference is that I've taken this analysis in. I haven't really dwelled on the physical stuff. It's there, but I've been focusing on what I can do with the mental and emotional direction from this analysis, and the physical stuff I've just simplified. In the other analyses, I heard the words but I didn't have a clue as to what to do about it. Here, I had a clue what to do. I understood what it said about being mentally tense and experiencing turmoil between tension and submission. Before, I looked at surrender as giving up, as weakness. Now I saw submitting being to surrender to the condition, a place of strength, a place where I could recover, and respond and be responsible. At first I thought I had no choice, [because everything was shutting down anyway] but once I started to do it I realized I did have choices! I was able to do it. I was able to respond and be responsible."

In 1996, John received another analysis. The information was not new. The difference was that John responded differently. "I've had those times where I felt like I was incapable so I had to stop and look for a solution, clear my mind, and where I needed help, to ask for it. The analysis talked about a sense of inward compass, and I wanted to find that inner compass, I wanted to get in touch with it. It really stimulated me to do every day what I had avoided and denied, going inward. I was willing to listen and I wanted to discipline my mind to listen for inner guidance every day...I finally understood surrender. In surrendering I was discovering, I was actually using what I had to offer in the situation rather than thinking I was being taken from by not being able to do certain things.

"In learning about diabetes, in learning how to control and direct my life, and the insulin, and eating, and all the factors of taking care of myself physically, it would lead to opportunities for me to give beyond just myself, which is what I want to do. Like, to be a teacher, to learn how to do all the things I'm going to learn to do without vision. Even if my body heals and I can see again I can be like my mobility teacher and teach people. It wouldn't be like I would be doing it for nil, or giving up because I was on a way of no return. Teaching people ... I was inspired by being in the hospital by what these people did by coming around and teaching me how to direct eating habits and choices. All these situations would lead to many areas that would be a place for me to give and teach and serve and to help others as well as myself. I hadn't seen that before.

"Why did I finally pay attention? I'm not sure. I think it was the whole scenario of events that happened. I had three seizures. That scared me. I went into the hospital. I felt really weak. The test showed my kidneys were failing, a third of my liver was gone and not working, the high blood pressure was a real risk of stroke, my eyes were going. I mean, you name it, my physical body was not there for me in every way. I was humbled by admitting where I was. Everything about my existence was slipping away.

"The physical part of the analysis shocked me. In just about every analysis prior to this one it talked about liver deterioration, but this one said that part of the liver was dead. I thought, my God! I had no idea it was that bad. It alarmed me, the seriousness of this. I knew that all this time I had been ignoring it, and I couldn't ignore it any more. I felt very determined, scared but determined. When I heard that it was caused by the refusal to become cognizant of anything that is not physical I thought , 'I have been totally oblivious to just how physical I was being, and it's killing me!' All of a sudden it just clicked about what really was the source of my existence. It wasn't my body! I needed a body. My soul needed a vehicle. And I also realized, if I'm still here, then my soul still wants to learn with this vehicle. So I decided that I want to give my soul some attention."

In the months following, John exercised much more care and discipline than he had in all the years since he had become diabetic. On a physical level, he learned more about how to adjust his insulin dosage and was more regular in testing his blood sugar levels. He paid closer attention to his diet. He had decided not to take Dilantin and instead used the suggestion to sound the two musical notes when he felt a seizure coming on, which proved to be effective in most cases. Spiritually, he continued to meditate and pray daily, and to listen to the inspirational and motivational tapes. He also started psi counseling to help him uncover and change the long standing habits that had kept him so engrossed in limitations. As a result, his condition started improving, not dramatically (as had occurred with the miraculous healing of his eye) but gradually.

The series of Intuitive Health Analyses John has had over a ten-year period show why his body has not healed despite the many different physical treatments he has tried. He has used Western medical methods -- insulin, surgery, high blood pressure medications, antibiotics. He has used nutritional supplements -- vitamins, minerals, enzymes, vegetarian diets, wheat grass juice, flax seed oil, aloe vera juice, colloidal silver, and more. He has tried alternative treatments -- chelation therapy, acupuncture, liquid oxygen, Chinese herbs, colonic irrigation, chiropractic. These are just some of the ways he has tried to make his body keep running. Most of them have worked for a period of time to produce temporary physical improvement. But all of them, sooner or later, either ceased to interest John after the newness wore off, or ceased to work. His body simply adjusted to the new substances or treatments and followed the direction of his thinking.

The poet Kahlil Gibran said, "pain is the breaking of the shell that enclosed your understanding." Perhaps for some people it is only when they are in pain that they recognize what they are missing.

John's analyses over the years showed a pattern which is revealed in the key words that repeat time after time: desire, purpose, imagination, worthiness, belief in Self, creative power. These are the karmic issues John has yet to face. When he focuses on what he loves, on who he is and how he can most genuinely give who he is to help other people, he is the most at peace and his body begins to heal. When he falls into old habit patterns of thinking of himself as worthless, he becomes selfish, holding back and becoming engrossed in identifying who he is according to his physical appearance, state of his physical body or the physical conditions in his life. Then he gets scared, because his physical body does not have the stamina it once had, he no longer has the use of his eyes, and he cannot do what he was once capable of doing physically. The analyses have pointed out that John has been motivated by fear. When he thinks he is losing something or when he has, in fact, lost something, then he is motivated to action. But clearly this kind of motivation is temporary. As soon as the crisis passes, he takes for granted what he has and waits for another crisis to spur him to action. His vast potential can only be channeled with regular, consistent discipline and he continues to discover that when he is disciplined change occurs.

I have often asked myself, why is John still alive? He has had so many near-death experiences and has lived so recklessly, it would have been very easy for him to die many times. But something keeps him going. Something within him urges him to stay here, in this physical body, this physical plane, this physical existence, this lifetime. What does his soul want?

The poet Kahlil Gibran said, "pain is the breaking of the shell that enclosed your understanding." Perhaps for some people it is only when they are in pain that they recognize what they are missing. If you don't know that you have something, how can you use it? Maybe for John the whole process of disease is a way for him to discover buried treasure -- the treasure of his own understandings that he has taken for granted. There are lessons that John is learning that he did not learn when he had the full use of his body. Most of his life he has done things at the last minute, and now he cannot so easily procrastinate. Since he cannot drive, he must plan ahead to arrange bus rides. When he was younger, he made it through school without learning to concentrate; thus, he never discovered the full extent of his intelligence. Now, he must give attention to simple tasks like getting dressed or preparing a meal and can no longer get by with scattering his attention. To read, he must concentrate and immerse himself completely in what he is analysis using special magnifying lenses. He has to draw upon his resources in more creative ways and communication has become a necessity. He is trusting his intuitive perception to a greater extent, relying on telepathy and clairvoyance when he cannot see who is in the room.

Perhaps his greatest lesson right now is that he is a soul, not a body. This is a challenge. In high school he was voted "best body" and received acclaim for his athletic prowess. He used to make a living by modeling. He often searched for self worth through girlfriends; if women thought he was attractive he could believe that he had some value. He is still handsome, but his real beauty comes from within, when he is giving and sharing who he is. He is gradually discovering that the physical body he has been so attached to is not the same as it was twenty years ago. Ultimately, everyone must come to this realization, but it is not always a constant reminder that we live with every day. For John, daily he must face the fact that he is not his body. Daily he must nurture himself and live with discipline to cause his body to function.

I feel certain that when John has learned all he wants from this condition he will either heal or leave his mortal frame. For now, his life holds a message for anyone who wants to learn. The mind is tremendously powerful, and it is in our hands to determine the quality of our existence. We can live creatively, producing health, or we can deny the very reason for existence, and cause the body to wear out. The physical world has its limits, and so do physical treatments. They will work for awhile, but eventually restrictive attitudes cause physical breakdown. To go beyond survival, we must nurture the spirit. Every day holds opportunities to learn, to become better, wiser, more loving, more disciplined, more whole. As we learn, as we love, as we create, we have life. (Excerpted from Vital Ingredient by Dr. Laurel Clark. SOM Publishing, © 1998)

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