Whenever you feel ill, you want a simple recipe to quickly feel healthy again. Your ego complains: “Just tell me how to get rid of these symptoms as soon as possible…!” Usually, this process begins with consulting your doctor. Your wish is clear: “Doctor, what’s going on with my body? Please help me!” There’s always uncertainty involved, since you’re unsure about what it could be, let alone what the exact cause of the dis-ease is. You really don’t know what to do; you hope the doctor knows the answer. The doctor, to the best of his or her knowledge, refers you to various specialists. These qualified people attempt to help you as best as they can, each from their own perspective. They carefully investigate your physical body: blood samples are taken, your heart is checked, the lungs are audited. Various tests are carried out; certain medicines are prescribed. Oftentimes this does ease the pain, resulting in a much-wanted feeling of relief.
Sooner or later, however, it seems that the deeper root cause of the symptoms has not yet been touched upon: the physical dis-ease reappears, or re-enters in some other form. Perhaps you are among those who know of friends or family having visited one specialist after another, without ever regaining total health. Eventually, they start pointing fingers at the doctor and the specialists: “They should be able to cure me, should they not? But apparently they just as clueless as I am!” You feel frustrated… but so do the doctor and specialist or therapist. In spite of all knowledge, skill and good intentions, really curing an illness can be very complex. So your question: “Doctor, can you please help me?” remains without a satisfactory answer – to all parties involved.
What is going on here?
Such a question, posed from an attitude of “I want to be repaired” comes down to handing over your own responsibility for your own health to the doctor, specialist or therapist. They take up this responsibility, and start the diagnosis and treatment. That’s how the medical curricula have always been set up. We need to realize, however, that the true source of total health is within the patient already. Symptoms are not just bothersome. They carry a useful message for your life’s path. This is not to say that doctors, specialists and therapists are not needed. On the contrary, they are in an excellent position to help you understand the ‘message behind the message’ of the symptoms, if only you participate actively out of your own responsibility.
Many patients slowly start to realize that their own part in the road back to total health is more important than they thought. From the moment they start to consider that “being totally dependent on others for my health simply doesn’t work!”, a deeper desire is awakened to more seriously utilize the possibilities for regaining health inherent within themselves. This is about actively taking responsibility for your own health.
A new kind of journey then starts. Depending on how well you are able to open up to the field of infinite possibilities, you will find wholeness (total health) again on your own, or perhaps guided by various medical guides. We certainly do not advise you to dismiss any (medical) guidance on this journey. On the contrary; an effective interaction with these guides serves to light your path back to wholeness. So what should such an interaction be like?
The reciprocal relationship between patient and health guides
The quality of the relationship between patient and health guides increases as it becomes more reciprocal. Ideally, such a relationship is fully reciprocal. This is to say that one is never ‘above the other’. From both sides there is a willingness to ‘look’, ‘adapt’, and ‘supplement’. To adapt means to reconsider your previous notions based on the input of the other. To supplement is to allow space for hierarchical difference on the level of content. After all, the doctor, specialist or therapist does know more about the background of a disease than the patient does. This, however, does not automatically mean that the doctor, specialist or therapist automatically knows what’s best for this patient in this situation. The patient knows best about what are the key influencing factors in his or her life and surroundings. This will have to be made very explicit, if the relationship is to be truly reciprocal. So if the doctor, specialist or therapist is able to hold back a bit in immediately applying this formal knowledge, this then creates some space for the real desire of the patient to shine through. Moreover, this deeper desire must surface first, if the common discovery trail back to wholeness is to be effective at all. In the shared exploration of this “hidden” desire is in effect a mind transformation, from “I don’t want this!” to connecting with the desire of what you do want.
In this way, the relationship between patient and (medical) guide becomes the ideal classroom for both of them. The doctor, specialist or therapist learns much more about the person who desires total health, and so discovers new elements within him- or herself that are needed in the healing process. This also opens up the possibility to finding out what method or process could be effective now, without knowing all the possible steps beyond beforehand. Dr. Scharmer has coined the term “Perceptory-driven participation” for this attitude. The doctor, specialist or therapist opens up to a whole new learning field of possibilities. No more prejudice or condemnation from the outside. The way the patient perceives him- or herself becomes a key guiding vessel in the process. The reciprocal relationship comes down to constantly searching and learning, for both sides.
In the end, this process of loosening your mental hold on past ideas, future expectations, and perceptory judgment and condemnation, comes down to practicing the principle of letting go, letting come. This is what makes the relationship truly reciprocal. You are beyond the old inclination to want (or offer) a quick fix. There is willingness to seek out the root cause of the need involved, to explore what the true message of the physical symptoms is.