Love is the heart of wholeness. … Love is the power that integrates, balances and actualizes the soul. Hatred wounds and separates us. Love heals and unites. Loving oneself and others is an essential part of becoming whole. And love is the natural expression of wholeness itself.
Love and Healing
Love and healing are interwoven. Genuine love heals all human relationships. To heal a broken relationship is to replace hostility and mistrust with love and trust. Love brings wholeness to our relationships.
Love is essential for healing our psychological wounds. … Most psychotherapists and counselors believe that self-acceptance and self-love are important therapeutic goals. Self-love is both the pathway and the product of becoming whole.
The relationship between love and physical healing may not be quite as obvious. Yet love is a key element in physical healing and in the maintenance of physical health. Many physicians have seen evidence of the positive effect of love in healing the body.
Dr. Bernie Siegel tells of a young woman named Evy McDonald who had a severe case of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Her neurologist told her that she had six to 12 months to live. In a letter to Dr. Siegel she wrote: “Death seemed inevitable, and a part of me was truly looking forward to ending this life. Yet I had unfinished business: a strong compulsion to discover what unconditional love was about before I died.”
In a separately written article, she describes her experiences after she made the commitment to discover unconditional love. She began by sitting in front of her mirror:
I looked with disgust at my deteriorating body …
I sat in a wheelchair with acutely atrophying muscles. My arms and legs were shrinking …
As I sat in my wheelchair, six months from death, a single, passionate desire pressed to the front of my mind. In my last months of life I wanted to experience unconditional love …
But how could I even hope to realize that goal if I couldn't accept my own body?
… The first step was to notice and write down how many negative thoughts I had about my body in the course of each day, and how many positive ones. When I saw the huge preponderance of negative thoughts on the paper, I was forced to confront the degree of hatred I had for my body.
… To counter this habitual and ingrained negativity, every day I singled out one aspect of my physical body that was acceptable to me, no matter how small. Next, I'd use that item to begin the rewriting. Every negative thought would be followed by a positive statement. … Each day a different positive item would be added.
… I couldn't pinpoint just when the shift occurred, but one day I noticed that I had no negative thoughts about my body. … I was totally at peace, with a complete, unalterable acceptance of the way my body was—a bowl of jello in a wheelchair.
I accepted by body. It didn't need to be any different; it could be whatever it was and whatever it was to be. … My illness was a challenge and a gift. I was stimulated to examine my deepest thoughts, desires and beliefs. The journey of self-discovery restructured my life and led me into a powerful experience of the mind-body connection.
In her letter to Dr. Siegel, [McDonald] said that her physical body “stopped deteriorating … and began reversing the havoc wreaked by ALS. … Physical healing did not occur because I set out to ‘cure' myself, but because my job on earth [to discover unconditional love] was not complete. … Since then, I joyously awake each day, filled with enthusiasm, and continue to play my role in the transformation of medical practice.”
[Her] intention was not to change her body but to change her mind. Replacing self-hatred with self-love was a healing in itself. Although this was her primary intention, she received a bonus—a body that began to heal as well. Her intention was not to change her body but to love her body as it was. This was the first and the primary healing. If that were the only healing, it would have been significant in itself. But then her body began to reflect her state of mind, just as it had during the illness.
Evy discovered that the body responds to our attitude toward it. Science is beginning to discover this as well. In recent years, researchers have studied the physiological impact of the experience of love. Research shows that love positively impacts our body.
… Jesus, [Unity's co-founders] the Fillmores, and others have taught that love is the greatest healer. It is the healer and the harmonizer of the body and of relationships. Yet its true nature remains a mystery.