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Often in medicine, the tendency is to view illness as antagonistic. But, like everything else, a simple shift in perspective can point one in a whole new direction. If one thinks of their illness as part of themselves rather than something separate, one can view their illness as a way of getting to know oneself better. The Type A personality who has a heart attack may have an opportunity to slow down and “smell the roses;” the father who suddenly loses his job gets to spend time with his children; the cancer patient who comes to terms with her mortality and can fully appreciate the time that she has left, are just a few examples. I have had patients who later became very thankful for their illnesses and the lessons that they learned from them.

Illnesses, symptoms, etc. are a chance for us to purify ourselves; purify our negative karma, change faulty beliefs, let go of pain, sorrow, anger, etc. that no longer serves us. We need to view our symptoms as something that is trying to teach us something. Our job is to figure it out. We can’t squash it with pain medication, or antibiotics, or chemotherapy. We need to face it head-on. To be a warrior and fight through the suffering to get to the other side. Be on a quest for truth, simplicity and finding one’s inner nature.

And above all, don’t be afraid to change. If you see your imbalances as rooted in your thought patterns, your past actions and your behaviors, without changing one can never heal. Your symptoms are your opportunity to make the necessary changes and adjustments. Failure to adapt and change breeds illness. Awareness is the first step.

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