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How to harness the placebo effect for healing

I mean it!


At first glance, the above sentence indicates that I am certain about something. But let's look at it more closely.


Could it indicate that I am bringing something [it] into existence? Could meaning, or mean-ing, be the process of creating it? (The suffix -ing usually indicates a verb.) After all, when we find mean-ing in something, isn't it becoming real for us? Don't we then find its footholds and learn how we can engage and move with it? Doesn't the world then change for us a little bit, and don't we also change for the world in the moments we find or discover or create mean-ing?


Consider that the world does not just have meaning, but could in fact be mean-ing. We don't know what the world is fundamentally made of, after all, so we might say the world is the meaning we give to it. (In the Vedic tradition, a world is a loka, or field of experience, not just a physical thing.) Another way to say it is that our collective perspectives mean the world, or mean as the world. This is Mind-Body-Flow Theory writ large at the collective level.


Applying Mind-Body-Flow Theory at the individual level, the mental body, or mind, means as the physical body. This is consistent with our complete human anatomy, Quantum Anatomy, which suggests the outer layers of our anatomy are the renderings or mean-ing of the inner layers.


If this is true, then what we called the placebo effect is nothing but Mind-Body-Flow Theory in action. It is not exactly that what we believe is what we are, but more precisely, what we find meaning in is mean-ing as our bodies.


But wait... if that's the case, if I simply change what I find meaning in, and change what something means to me, like my body, why wouldn't my body change completely?


In fact, the body does change in response to meaning. If you find deep meaning in a more muscular body, the actions that are necessary for that to happen are more likely to take place, and the body will become more muscular. But it does appear that there are some limits to changes that can happen in the physical body as a result of meaning. Why? There are two reasons.


  1. Meaning is not yours or mine alone. Meaning is collective. The collective meaning we make together as families, friends, authorities, cultures, and a global civilization cannot be entirely divested from the meaning we make as individuals. Another way to say this is that Mind-Body-Flow Theory is not just yours or mine, it is a global phenomenon, indeed a cosmic phenomenon. Even the apparently separate, external, physical objects around us carry meaning. They mean something to everyone, and much of it is common meaning.

  2. Much of meaning-making is subconscious. It is well-known that many of the decisions we make are based on subconscious beliefs and emotions, not on the rationality that is popularly accepted. I may want something on the outside and equally be terrified of it on the inside, or vice versa.


Still, this perspective offers us tremendous insight into the nature of how things happen. It shows us why sham surgeries have sometimes worked as well or better than real surgeries. (The hospital, surgeon, scalpel, cost of the procedure, uniforms, and more convey the meaning that something important and powerful based in tested knowledge is happening. They mean a healthy body.) It shows us why pills that are apparently inert can work as well as pills that have what we understand to be biochemically active ingredients. (Research, scientists, and glossy marketing have all "proven" that "pills work," after all. Pills mean health is near.) In other words, the meaning we apply to our [subjective] perceptions translates to the [objective] perceptions that we call a physical body.


Just as the brain doesn't distinguish the reality of a dream, which is apparently fictional, from the reality of our waking state, which is apparently non-fictional, our subjective perceptions are not fundamentally different from our so-called objective perceptions, which after all are more accurately understood as being inter-subjective. Therefore, at a metaphysical level, what we are saying is quite simple: one perception (body) follows the other (mind) and vice versa, unless we restrict this flow of meaning-making with conceptual boundaries like mental, physical, subjective, and objective.


This not only affords us insight into the mechanism of the placebo effect, it puts the power of the placebo and beyond right in the palm of your hand, and the cradle of your mind. It's not as crude as bluntly saying change your thoughts, nor is it as mechanical, fortunately. Rather, the process of calling forth one's potential begins with a simple question: What does this mean to me? What is the meaning held by the container of this experience? What is the mean-ing re-presenting itself as this experience?


Here, your power and truth take center stage. The beauty is you don't have to make something happen. Making something happen is already the nature of this cosmos, Mind-Body-Flow Theory at play, no different than gravity at play. It's already taken care of. All you do is shape the making by feeling into, dis-covering, and becoming aware of the contour of your depths. This is meaning-making and human-making.


A discussion of this topic would not be complete without once again addressing its most common misunderstandings, which are the notions that


When all of this becomes clear, what we realize is the power to heal is always within us, between us, and among us, along with nature and the environments we create. We lend power to certain aspects of our creation, such as a particular approach to healing or a medical system, and often forget it was our power to lend.


This is why there is such a momentous turn toward holistic healing today. Holistic simply refers to seeing ourself wholly, which is to say beyond the outer layer of the physical body and into the deeper layers of meaning-making.


We are remembering ourselves.

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