Psychic Cancer: Defining It, Coming To Terms, and Healing
I’ve just completed the final edits on Healthy, Sexy, Happy: A Thrilling Journey to the Ultimate You. But my learning and conceptualizing of health philosophies has not stopped. I’m always thinking of ways that people can lead better lives. I’m going to India in October and planning that trip started me thinking about human suffering. When I went to India as a teenager in 1968 impressions of human suffering were stamped into my brain. As I’ve matured, I’ve realized that the emotional pain that someone feels sitting in their mansion with a private jet parked outside can be just as painful as the emotional pain of a severely handicapped person who lives on a platform in a dusty third world country street. The Buddha taught that pain is universal to all human beings. And emotional pain is relative.
There are times when a person’s problems become so compounded and intractable and the joy of life is so distant that it seems they will never have another day without feeling emotional torture. I coined the term “psychic cancer” to describe their suffering. Psychic cancer usually involves a number of toxic influences. Five major sources of psychic cancer are often found together.
Legal Battles (divorce, lawsuits, criminal prosecution)
I’ve said in Death by Supermarket and Healthy, Sexy, Happy that I do not condemn people for being overweight or sick. Because we live in such a toxic food environment there are millions of overweight and obese people who are victims of the food industry. And because medicine, products, and environment are permeated with toxins, and our stress is over the top, even the person who tries the hardest can be diagnosed with cancer, autoimmune conditions or another serious illness. The best we can do is eat real food, avoid toxins as much as possible and do everything else I’ve outlined in my Healthy, Sexy, Happy program. If you do get ill, my hope is that you’ll follow the path of holistic healing (even if combined with conventional medicine).
I also said this in both of my books and will repeat it here. I have many doctor friends, some very close friends, and I respect and admire doctors in many ways. I’ve had spectacular experiences under enlightened doctors’ care. I’m lucky to have relationships with enlightened doctors because traditional medicine is toxic and so are the doctors who inflexibly adhere to the so-called “standard of care.” Traditional medicine has strayed far away from prevention and healing and the doctors who practice this medicine don’t understand or want to know about balancing the entire person, mind, body, and spirit. Rather these doctors practice compartmentalized medicine (called “specializing”) so that each organ and system is treated as an individual entity rather than an integrated whole. The treatment is comparable to duct taping (OTCs or long-term prescription drugs) or hitting a problem/symptom with a sledgehammer (radiation/surgeries/procedures). Toxic doctors categorize women as “hysterical” if they can’t figure out what is causing a health problem. They have put the vast majority of American men and women over the age of forty on an accelerated aging path with dangerous nutritional advice and cocktails of drugs. They stonewall any evidence that eating a historically eaten diet including cholesterol and saturated fat is healthy, and refuse to even consider that the low fat diet was a mistake. Toxic doctors, for example, don’t understand the dangers posed by MSG in hospital food, of heavily vaccinating an infant, of prescribing unproven drugs, and so on.
If you feel that your doctor isn’t receptive to your desire to seek wellness through the integration of mind, body, and spirit, and belittles or condescends to you, find an enlightened doctor. You can find enlightened doctors by Googling “integrative physician” in your area. Many doctors are coming over to the light and want to partner with you on your health.
Like chemical toxins, people toxins can get under your skin and smolder. You can suffer the same adverse health effects from toxic relationships including chronic fatigue, insomnia, and many other ailments. Toxic people aren’t just those who are negative, angry, or difficult, but they can be cunningly manipulative, playing mind games and head-trips on you that cause your insides to turn and your emotions to seesaw. Because toxic people may not show that poisonous side to anyone but you they can cause an extra internal battle of the continual “Is it me?” Toxic people can be complaining, blaming, emotional garbage dumpers, word vomiters, life-force suckers, narcissists, teasers, humiliaters, minimizers, trivilizers (of your problems), gossipers, or any other type of user, abuser, or loser. As much as we want to love everyone and respect everyone, love and respect are due ourselves first. If associating with someone makes you feel toxic, you don’t need validation, you just need to cut off the relationship nicely and move on.
Being poor is toxic. Being poor means you have little or no buffer between you and the toxins that lead to physical disease. It means that you can’t afford anything but toxic doctors. It usually leaves you susceptible to toxic relationships, and if you have legal problems you will not have the luxury of an Ivy League attorney to help you through them.
I have rich friends and I have poor friends. I see the struggles that poor people go through first hand. But one thing that differentiates being “toxically poor” from “living with modest means” are the decisions that people make. The happiest person in my entire circle of friends is an artist who lives in a house that some may view as a shack. He paints all day, plays golf with clubs he bought at the Salvation Army, buys his clothes second hand, cooks gourmet dinners for himself, entertains friends by playing the piano and ukulele, is well read, and writes himself. He generally enjoys every waking moment. But he does not have credit cards. He doesn’t spend money that he doesn’t have. He isn’t in debt. Debt is toxic whether you are rich or poor. But if you are poor and in debt, then that is something you need to deal with immediately.
When I first went to India all those years ago, it opened my eyes to the fact that Westerners basically have no idea what it means to be happy. I saw extremely impoverished people smiling and laughing. I’m not saying that being poor is a happy state of being. But as an Indian friend once said to me, “The villagers only started getting discontent when they got TV antennas on their roofs and started watching Dynasty and Dallas.” Dazzling riches are seductive. But real happiness comes from letting go of grasping, and clinging, and accepting yourself and your circumstances.
Legal Battles (divorce, lawsuits, criminal prosecution)
Our legal system may be the best in the world, but having gone through several lawsuits in my lifetime I can attest that our system is not entirely fair and can be excruciatingly toxic. You may have wondered why I included criminal prosecution in my parenthetical definition of legal battles. My philosophy is who knows what a person may end up battling in the legal system? Gross injustices can befall an innocent person. Or maybe you’re not so innocent and you made a regrettable mistake that’s led you into a quagmire.
If you are in a legal battle right now, the best thing you can do for yourself is to take care of your mind, body and spirit so that the stress does not lead to disease, toxic doctors, toxic relationships, and financial problems.
Healing From Psychic Cancer
There is no way to completely avoid emotional pain and there is no guarantee that you will not fall into a mess of psychic cancer due to physical disease, toxic doctors, toxic relationships, financial problems, and legal battles. If you’re suffering from psychic cancer right now you can still love and take care of your mind, body, and spirit.
Anyone can engage in mind clearing activities. Some examples are meditation, yoga, hiking or walking in nature, sex with someone you love (not a toxic relationship).
You know what I’m going to say. Even if you’re struggling financially you can do what my friend does and go to the farmer’s market to buy real food. Other ways you can take care of your body are to quit addictions and I outlined a complete program for quitting in Healthy, Sexy, Happy. Exercise. Stop making excuses and do something fun that will move the energy in your body. When your energy is moving you feel better and are more able to think your way through your psychic cancer mess.
Get grounded through meditation. Our brains are wired for survival. The amygdala, which is the primitive part of our brain, is always on the lookout for danger. Because of the plasticity of the brain, the more you use the areas of your brain that respond to stress, the more dominant those areas are going to become. It’s like working a muscle. When you meditate you work out your amygdala so that comforting emotions dominate. The amygdala, which processes emotion, is trained with meditation to feel pleasurable sensations of security and safety, and to set fear and anxiety aside. It’s really neat to feel more in control, happier, and more content as you develop your practice.
I was late getting my column written this week. I like to have it posted before I do my weekly radio show on the same subject. I’m going to stop now and meditate. I hope that no matter what your day is today, whether you’re forced to take the bus because your car broke down, or you have to sit in a waiting room with a crying baby, or you can squeeze in a ten minute break at work that you’ll close your eyes and repeat to yourself: May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I live my live with ease.
Peace, Fun, Love.
Your girlfriend in health,