by Thomas Zinser Ed.D.
“Psychosomatic medicine” recognizes that the mind often plays a part in one’s health, and sometimes a very powerful part. Up to this point, though, Western medicine limits itself, generally speaking, to the physical level of diagnosis and treatment. In the last thirty years, it has also begun to recognize that emotional and psychological factors can play a significant role in some people’s health and well-being. (In the scientific world, these forces are still treated as suspect and vague.) Medical science and modern psychology limit their vision of the person to these three dimensions. It would view a person like this:
A soul-centered approach to healing would agree that these levels – physical, emotional, psychological – are real and valid, but it also acknowledges other levels of the self as well. I talked about these in an earlier post and called them the energetic, psychic, and soul levels. Expanding on these levels, I would visualize it something like this:
From a soul-centered perspective, each person is a multidimensional being, and in terms of healing, each of these dimensions of the self would be considered a potential source of a person’s symptoms or complaints. It also assumes, like other esoteric approaches to healing, that causality runs in both directions – from body to soul, and from soul to body.
Is it possible, for example, that depression has a psychic or spiritual component? Could a psychic conflict lead to depression and, in turn, create a chemical imbalance, rather than the other way around? Yes, it can. From a scientific point of view, we just don’t understand how that works. We can’t explain it. I think Western medicine will open up to these levels, but it will mean a major shift in paradigms.
In terms of treatment, how strongly each of these levels should be considered depends on the specific symptoms or problems the person is presenting. The diagnosis and treatment of a broken arm, for example, would obviously be treated at the physical level. In addition, it might be treated at an energetic level with acupuncture and healing touch. It might also require emotional and psychological treatment if the person was so traumatized by the event that it interferes with his or her healing and well-being. At a spiritual level, the injury may be treated with prayer, a healing ceremony, or a request for help from spirit guides. While the focus with a broken arm is on the physical level in this example, these other treatments can support and foster that healing as well. Sometimes it is one of the other levels that is the focus of treatment.
We don’t have a unified vision in our culture yet of the person as a multidimensional being. I believe this vision is beginning to take form and will eventually emerge. In some ways, it is still the unfolding story of East meets West. The eastern traditions have a great deal to teach us about these subtle levels of consciousness and energy. They have a great deal to teach us as well about the spiritual dimensions of the self, and about spirits and other entities that can interfere with human consciousness.
We also have a great store of knowledge in our own culture about these other levels of healing, but it has been kept underground. There are many esoteric schools and traditions, for example, that recognize these other dimensions and address them in their different ways. There are several phenomena where the research is so extensive that the evidence appears incontrovertible. These include near-death-experience, past-life memories, and communication with discarnate entities or spirits. (It can even be embarrassing the way science ignores these phenomena and the evidence for their validity.)
What we don’t have is a unified vision of a person as a multidimensional being, and we don’t have that yet because it will require a leap. It will be a leap for medicine, for science, and for our culture as a whole. Sometimes I think we’re on the threshold of that conversion, other times that we’re still approaching it. In the field of healthcare, though, the emergence of alternative methods of healing is one sign that the shift is happening.
*Chakra image courtesy of Josian d’Hoop.