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Emotional Transformation and Cellular Healing

by Kevin Billett(more info)

listed in healing, originally published in issue 37 - February 1999

There is a myth, passed down through the ages, that if you are sick you must have done something wrong. Religions have fostered the idea for millennia. In The Bible, when people were 'struck down' with diseases, it was believed to be God's punishment for some sin committed. In the Middle Ages, society, including your own family often shunned you if you were ill, believing you to be guilty and cursed by God.

The author, Kevin Billett, and Noreen Clarke – Journey Processing
The author, Kevin Billett, and Noreen Clarke – Journey Processing

And even in this more 'enlightened' age, the myth is perpetuated in a different form. The belief that we are to blame for our sickness is still endemic, but it's no longer God who is punishing us. We are doing it to ourselves through our unhealthy thoughts or negative emotions. Certainly, there is a lot of evidence to corroborate this belief.

Participants during and after The Journey's 'Purification Retreat' which combines Journey Therapies with a cleansing diet and bodywork therapies
Participants during and after The Journey's 'Purification Retreat' which combines
Journey Therapies with a cleansing diet and bodywork therapies

Psycho-neuro-Immunology research has produced compelling evidence that our thought patterns directly and instantaneously affect our whole body chemistry, and can suppress our immune system.1 We all 'know' that angry people get more heart attacks, and stressed-out people get ulcers. Only happy is healthy, and some evidence even links grief, fear or resentment to cancer.2

So, if all these intense emotions can create disease, is it healthy to even think or feel anything negative? So much of modern personal growth and mind-body healing therapies focus on ridding ourselves of these 'dangerous' thoughts and emotions. In Neuro-Linguistic Programming we learn to re-frame them, make them seem smaller or defocused and push them away.3 In creative visualisation we are taught to picture positive thoughts instead of negative ones. Some therapists believe in the power of affirmations, of repeating positive statements to ourselves. Others teach the efficacy of meditation as a mind-stilling practice. Some workshops offer emotional catharsis, while others focus on analysing and identifying who is to blame for why you feel the way you do. It is all about getting rid of negative thoughts and emotions.

But why is it that people who do all of these things still get sick? Why is it that someone who feels balanced, centred and fulfilled; one who is eating healthily, and getting fresh air and exercise can still get cancer? If our current thoughts and feelings are the cause of disease, how then can disease strike down someone at the peak of good health?

A person who has had first-hand experience of this is Brandon Bays, having been one of those who had 'done everything right'. She had been in the alternative healthcare profession for 12 years, and was teaching nutrition, health and wellbeing. She ate a healthy vegetarian diet, exercised daily, lived in a sea-front cottage, breathed fresh air and drank only purified water. More important, she was fulfilled in her 18-year old marriage, and felt deeply at peace with herself. Yet, in 1992 she was diagnosed with a tumour 'the size of a basketball'.

She says, "I was forced to go beyond everything I had learned in the alternative field – it clearly hadn't been the complete answer. I was driven to look beneath the surface for something deeper. And I was catapulted into a soul searching, and ultimately freeing healing process.

"I underwent a profound process of introspection. To my surprise I discovered that stored inside the tumour was an old unresolved traumatic memory from my childhood. Through a powerful process, I was able to finally face, resolve, forgive and complete that old issue. When it was complete my body went about the natural process of healing on its own. I didn't have to visualise the tumour gone, make affirmations about it or reframe my emotions. It had absolutely nothing to do with my current diet, lifestyle, thoughts or emotions."
Six and a half weeks later, she was pronounced 'textbook perfect clean', tumour free. She had taken no drugs, and had undergone no surgery.

What Brandon thinks she may have experienced was the effect of 'cell memory'. In 1989, Dr Deepak Chopra in his book Quantum Healing4 published the theory that trauma and suppressed negative emotions are often stored as 'phantom memories' in our cells. He argued that these cellular memories act subtly over long periods of time, and can cause disease and illness many years after they have first been put in place. What Brandon may have discovered, was how to access specific cell memories and, more important how to actively resolve and let go of the stored issues.

"It was only when I had uncovered the root cause of my current condition," she continues, "that my body could naturally go about the process of healing itself. My body healed completely and perfectly without me having to think or do a thing." She believes that the possibility exists for each of us to participate in our own healing process.

"I cannot tell anyone how to heal. Part of the healing process is that each of us must discover his or her own truth. But, what I can do is point people in a direction that can help them to uncover the issues they have stored deep inside, and offer tools that help resolve and let them go. Their body wisdom knows how to handle the rest. "

So, it worked for Brandon, but can it work for the rest of us?

50-year-old Maureen Clarke, medically diagnosed as needing a hysterectomy and a laminectory – she also had a breast lump before beginning Journeywork. She now has no gynaecological problems, no back pain and no breast lump. (Breast lump medically diagnosed as benign.)

50-year-old Maureen Clarke, medically diagnosed as needing a hysterectomy and a laminectory – she also had a breast lump before beginning Journeywork. She now has no gynaecological problems, no back pain and no breast lump. (Breast lump medically diagnosed as benign.)

"It can work for anyone open to the possibility that they can participate in their own healing process," she affirms. "Using this process, hundreds of people have freed themselves from all manner of emotional and physical issues. These powerful processes have remarkably profound and lasting effects. Chronic pain simply vanishes. A long-standing panic attack problem simply disappears. Self esteem issues dissolve, addictions fall away, and illnesses – chronic and acute – can resolve and heal. The countless letters people have written me are a testament to their own courage, and proof that the body's innate intelligence is its own remedy."

She illustrates the point with the story of Jack, a feisty 67-year-old, who three years ago was diagnosed with an egg-size cancerous lung tumour. He was given three months to live. A combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and Jack's fighting spirit had arrested the growth of the cancer, yet, with no knowledge of alternative health beliefs, Jack knew that a piece of the puzzle was still missing. He came to Brandon wanting to know why the tumour had occurred in the first place. He knew he hadn't learned something the disease had to teach him, and he didn't want it showing up somewhere else in his body at a later time.

In his Journey, Jack uncovered a childhood memory. It was during World War II, and the air raid sirens blasted. Avoiding his masters, Jack ran out of school and headed straight home to his mother. Unable to find her, he tore frantically through the streets ignoring the distant sound of exploding bombs. Eventually, he found his way into what had been the High Street – buildings lay in ruin, their rubble strewn across the road. It was there that he found his mother. She lay undisturbed, as if asleep. He shook her and shook her, imploring her to wake up – until a policeman came and pulled him away with "She's dead, son."

He felt absolute rage – rage at the enemy for killing his innocent mother, and rage at God for allowing her to be taken before her time. How could they do this to her, an innocent woman? How could this possibly be right? Not knowing what else to do, or how to face the pain, young Jack suppressed it, stuffing it away deep inside. He did his best to forget it, and move on – as we so often do.

The profound uncovering and revelation Jack underwent in his process allowed him to finally face, understand, forgive and ultimately come to peace with a trauma that had happened more than 50 years before. When he was complete, his face looked as if an angry mask had been replaced by a feeling of deep serenity.

A few weeks later, he had an MRI scan, and the doctors could find no trace of the tumour. There was just a hairline scar where it had been. He was told his was the first documented case of this type of cancer disappearing without surgery.

My own experience, though less dramatic than Jack's, is no less remarkable. Since my teens I had suffered from clinical depression. Though a relatively successful businessman of mostly positive and out-going disposition, I would often find myself in despair, not able to get out of bed in the morning. I would take days off work lying on the sofa, unable to motivate myself to do more than watch television and sleep. My family's advice that I should either 'learn to live with it' or 'snap out of it' was of no solace. Drugs were not an option I was prepared to consider.

By my late 30s, I was in an intolerable state. Mentally disassociated from my friends and my family, I was unable to focus my attention long enough to hold a simple intelligent conversation. Anxious about every personal circumstance, I would often find myself sitting in my car in remote places, not knowing how I had got there. Suicidal with despair, I turned to my GP, who recommended a psychiatrist. With no other realistic option, I numbly accepted his prescription of 40mg of Prozac daily. The drug enabled me to function normally, at least. Though it left me with a sense of unreality and, more worrying, with an overt aggressiveness that I did not recognise as part of my normal self. My greatest fear was that my supply of Prozac would be interrupted, and that I would plunge back into depression.

It was then, in late 1994, that I first met Brandon Bays. A friend suggested a therapy session – I agreed without excitement. What I experienced was probably the most profound revelation of my life to that date. Encouraged to uncover the emotional layers which lay beneath my depression, I eventually encountered a hopelessness so overwhelming that I had been prepared to do anything in life to avoid it. In finally facing it, its hold on me evaporated. In resolving the childhood issue with my father, which had originally put it in place, I felt a sense of inner peace, stillness and confidence that I knew no one could ever take away.

Within 48 hours it became more painful to keep taking the Prozac than not. Against the advice of my psychiatrist, I stopped the medication. Although I would never recommend anyone withdraw from this type of drug so abruptly, I found that the depth of wellbeing I had discovered remained. I have not had a moment of depression since that time.

"It is my belief," says Brandon, "that thoughts are not inherently detrimental to us. It's what we choose to do with them that makes the difference. We can choose to accept our thoughts and let them go, or we can choose to invest specific meaning in them, and get attached to them, or worse, become obsessed with them. It's only then that they become unhealthy to our bodies.5

"Similarly with emotions. Feeling emotions is an essentially healthy thing. If our emotions are fully felt, they normally cannot last longer than a few minutes, and tend to 'clean us out'. It's the telling ourselves stories about them, or blaming ourselves and others that perpetuates the feelings. If we then fail to express them, and instead repress them, they can end up stuffed in our bodies as the 'cell memories' which can eventually cause us health problems.

"We don't need to rid ourselves of anything. We simply need to accept, forgive and embrace what is already here. The possibility exists for us all to have a healthy relationship with our minds, bodies and emotions."

References

1 Jeanne Achterberg, Imagery in Healing. Boston. Shambala. 1985
2 R J Weber & C B Pert, Opiatergic Modulation of the Immune System, in E E Miller & Andrea R Genazzini, Central and Peripheral Endorphins. New York. Raven Press. 1984
B S Linn, et al, Degree of Depression and Immune Responsiveness, in Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 44. 1982
3 Ian McDermott & Joseph O'Connor, NLP and Health. London. Thorsons. 1996
4 Dr Deepak Chopra, Quantum Healing. Bantam Books, 1989.
5 See also, Dr Christiane Northrup, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom. London. Piatkus. 1995

Further Information

Brandon Bays' book The Journey will be published by Collins in March 1999.
The next Journey weekend is in London on February 20th and 21st. The course fee is £195.00. Call 07000 783646 to book or for more details.

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