Thought proof

This past week CNN has been airing a special program about three people who apparently died and were brought back to life.  All three had experiences of an afterlife that they viewed as being heaven.  In all three cases, the physical death was for an extended period of time and they had similar experiences of what ‘heaven’ was like.

There are a number of books out on this topic.  I have read a few of them, but the one I would recommend to anyone who is interested would be Proof of Heaven by neurosurgeon Eben Alexander.  As a scientist myself, this book gives the best popularized empirical demonstration of likelihood that Alexander did die in the clinical sense, did return, and during the extended period where there was no apparent body or brain activity, had a clear and vivid experience of an afterlife. The book is the most compelling for those who do not have a religious conviction on this topic and I would Proof of Heaven Eben Alexanderrecommend it as a valuable and thought-provoking read.

But, that is not what interested me most about the CNN program. One of the individuals featured was a rather self-deprecatory woman who spent her life trying to be someone she was not, hoping others would accept her.  She was the victim of bullying and racial discrimination and thus over her childhood and early adulthood developed a serious inferiority complex, that was almost debilitating at a social and practical, everyday level.

Her best friend developed cancer and died from it.  This friend had been her first and most staunch ally.  Even though the woman in the program was married and her husband was a devoted partner, the illness and death of the best friend had a profound impact on the subject of CNN’s program.  So much so, that she herself developed cancer, ostensibly through her fear of getting it and watching the agonizing decline and demise of this close friend.  She literally ‘thought herself’ sick.

When she died, the beings she believed she encountered in the afterlife, or ‘heaven’, told her that she could cure herself by willing herself back to life, and continuing to fight to be alive and get well.  After that death experience, she did in fact revive and within a few hours, apparently, all the symptoms of her severe and very advanced lymphoma were gone.  If you can watch the CNN program, this particular segment is worth going to the trouble, as the medical records are shown and woman herself seems quite credible and responsible.

Among the things I deal with in my daily work, are people who have multiple disorders and many of whom are on drugs or medicinal pharmaceutical products of one type or another.  Reading the material that accompanies these drugs is eye-opening and alarming.  They all come with severe side effects, up to and including exacerbating the very problem for which they were prescribed in the first place.To heaven and back CNN

Reading these articles and informational texts on drugs, I have to enure myself against thinking about the signs and symptoms of disease as well as the contra-indications and adverse effects that accompany medicinal treatment.  One reason I do so is that I have concluded that we can literally think or will ourselves ill, or healthy, based on what we dwell on in our thoughts and imagination.  Thoughts are things.  This is an ancient Hermetic principle and it is as true today as it was thousands of years ago.  What we think about will come looking for us.

For this reason, I think the increased use of media advertising by the pharmaceutical companies, may aggravate and actually increase the incidence of disease, as people are continually bombarded with promotional material that is masked by seemingly innocent and appealing graphics and music, and depictions of benign scenarios.  One example that comes to mind is a serious psychotropic drug that is shown in the television ad with a diaphanous butterfly drifting over a sleeping woman, looking peaceful in a soft and idyllic night scene.  Another is the use of an animated bumble bee who buzzes in and out of a park-like setting with people (presumably the patients/drug users) engaged in some recreational activity, while a narrator reads a truly horrifying list of known side effects of the product.lunesta

All of this is clearly meant to sell more pharmaceuticals.  Big companies know that the best way to do this is to broadcast this advertising directly to the consumer.  Twenty years ago, little of this was done in mainstream media (newspapers, magazines, television, etc.). The only place the layman would encounter this material was in a physician’s office, where pharmaceutical sales people would promote their wares to doctors, giving them free samples and other ‘incentive’ courtesy gifts in the hope that the physician would select one brand over another.  There were sometimes plaques and ads around the doctor’s office or in the waiting room, and sometimes in “healthcare” magazines laid out on tables for patients to read while awaiting appointments.

Now, the FCC has apparently relaxed restrictions on this kind of advertising and manufacturers are free to push their products on air and in other types of media, with no restrictions on who will see this or the content and nature of the advertising.  I contend that much of this material is misleading and disguises serious consequences inherent in using these products, that are often rushed through the clinical trials process in the urgency to get them to market.

I do not dispute that when someone is ill, they are anxious to try anything that will take away the symptoms and hopefully arrest the progression of disease.  I completely sympathize with that altered state of consciousness and would never wish to deny anyone comfort when grappling with the terror that accompanies a serious illness.

However, I am concerned that we are all being subliminally conditioned to dwell on symptoms and to immediately request powerful and dangerous drugs, at the first sign that we, laymen for the most part, believe we are experiencing the onset of disease.  And this is being done with wolves in sheep’s clothing: charming, entertaining, and child-like pictorial vignettes designed to minimize the potential severe consequences of bombarding our complex and delicate organisms with synthetic chemicals tested on laboratory animals (another sad story for another time). To me, it is especially concerning that these ads are often designed to appeal to children, starting them on a lifelong mindset of illness and drug use instead of healthy eating and living habits.  Remember the Camel’s ads with the cartoon-like and colorful, lovable rendering of the animal?  Who was that meant to entice to smoke cigarettes?  Those ads are still being used in the developing world, where governments place no restrictions on predatory advertising.  Today sugar and chemical-laced stimulative and likely toxic sports drinks are similarly pushed to very small children on our own ‘children’s’ channels.

nasonex

As long as drugs are sold with astronomical profit margins built into their costs, this will continue unabated.  But we need to guard our own minds and bodies and not allow this material to be imbibed wholesale for no good reason.  I object to hearing repeated commercials about male erectile dysfunction enhancers as well as the insulting and largely agest and mysogynist ads about female incontinence products – essentially adult diapers.  Not only are these meant to sell products, they are also quite pejorative and have a negative over-connotation that seeps into the collective cultural mindset about these cohorts and about our self image and self-health in the process.

If these drugs were not perilous and if self-induced obsession with them and with disease were not a danger, there would not be countless ads from ambulance-chasing attorneys promising compensation for ‘bad drugs’ and medical devices (implants, for the most part), that we see increasingly sharing air time with the drugs that are harming us as much if not more than they are helping.  Oftentimes these drugs continue to be sold, even after they have caused irreparable harm and even fatalities.  They may not be worth it.  And we should think twice before we accept their propaganda unfiltered, no matter what form in which it is delivered.  I think the woman in the CNN special would likely understand this danger.Yaz

It is something we should seriously consider.

Images: amazon.com,cnn.com, cbs.com, nytimes.com

paw2013

30 Comments on “Thought proof

  1. You have captured how I feel about the pharmaceutical industry and this onslaught of advertising. I have lived in western and Central Europe for over a decade now, and I have to say I am shocked when I come back to the states and turn on the telly. It just doesn’t feel right, these commercials. I am also not saying thy drugs should never be used, but they should certainly be used with the most extreme caution and not as a default resort. It concerns me that many young women take antidepressants without really considering other options like meditation, which is an amazing way to reduce stress and anxiety. Thank you go this wonderful post!! I have reblogged it.

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    • Thank you! We have become so accustomed to this propaganda here that no one protests it any more. It is scary, to me anyway. When these ads come on I mute them. I refuse to dwell on illness and being narc’d for profit. I appreciate the reblog, too. 🙂

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  2. Positive thinking is undoubtedly good, and I agree there is fat to much ‘propaganda’ likely to stir up all kinds of morbid thoughts. Making drug companies rich does not necessarily improve anyone’s health

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    • Exactly my sentiments, thank you. I have a friend who works for one of the Big 5 pharma companies that makes a Parkinson’s management (not curative) drug. He told me that each pill costs the company about 5 mils on a penny! They sell each pill for $75. Does that seem right?

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  3. Great post beth… I have been horrified for years after visiting USA and seeing drugs advertised everywhere, tv, magazines, even Oprah’s… for everything is a drug to cure it… It has been proved that the human body is not a machine… it is body, mind and spirit and the cause of all illness’s (apart from 2% hereditary) is our environment and dis-ease of our body… As Bruce Lipton puts it, when the body goes into protect mode instead of growth and nuture mode… the body starts shutting down… but we can heal it all ourself… IAM so glad these books are being discussed and read by more and more people…. Science and Spirituality… when the two meet… take care, Barbara

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  4. Exceptional post, Beth. I especially enjoyed the reference to hermeticism.

    Have you seen the documentary “Food Matters” that’s on Netflix? Also http://www.foodmatters.tv . You might find additional information there to further buttress your line of inquiry (e.g., niacin to treat depression).

    Thank you for the obvious effort that went into this one.

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    • Thank you Michael. I have spent my entire adult life trying to educate myself on the care of the whole human being, all of it founded on the proper care of the body. To do otherwise is to court illness. The mind is also important and we have to guard it against claptrap and deliberate disinformation. I feel so strongly about this. It is ironic that the CNN program emphasised the after life, not the fact that this one particular woman made herself sick.

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      • Indeed. Mind, body, and spirit must be made healthy together.

        I can see the attraction to the after-life aspect to the story, but you’re quite right. They missed emphasizing the important holistic health aspect.

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  5. Great post, as usual. I get easily enraged by the pharma companies- and the proliferation of misinformation about health issues. I witnessed an online discussion- that degenerated into name calling and hurt feelings- about questions of whether or not to medicate for certain problems. Both sides were speaking from positions of emotion- rather than anything like fact- and sound bites that are presented in the media- not just commercials, but those 4 minute segments on morning shows and the like.

    The drug/fear pedlars our there- and our governments, who remain complicit with their lobbying- are among the worst criminals that humanity has on offer. Why use science to search for viable cures, when selling pills (at insane profit margins) and treating symptoms is so very much more lucrative?

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    • They are really the worst types of financial predators because they confound medicine with drugs and health with sickness and sick care. The Chinese tradition only pays the healer when the individual is healed. We would do well to switch to this system. It would take physicians off their pedestals and wean them from the feedbag that fat, sick Americans have supplied, whether unwittingly or not. Shameful that the medical field has enabled these vultures at our expense.

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  6. I totally agree. I think one of the worst offenders has to be ADD/ADHD and the medication of small children. That said, I do know people who truly cannot function without medical assistance – one friend is bipolar with psychotic episodes; I have seen her off her medication and trust me, her issue is for real, and she takes for it and as has for years. The toll that med has taken on her physically though, is massive. It’s a very serious drug, as is the one represented by that sweet little butterfly.

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    • I agree, believe me. There are medications that are vital to being a productive member of society or enabling someone to manage or even overcome a disease condition. One great example is lithium, effective for 100 years for managing clinical depression. I would never advocate the complete rejection of all medications. Only, I think a physician (or other trained health care professional) and the patient in concert are the ones to identify and prescribe that medication, after a proper diagnosis has been made based on a real and urgent set of symptoms or the beginning of alarming changes in health. I don’t like the idea of people hearing symptoms on tv and running to a willing doctor who wants to please a pill pushing salesman, glancing quickly at the patient and writing out that prescription in haste.

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  7. Also, I cruised on over to Amazon Kindle and downloaded a sample from that book. Ended up buying the whole thing immediately and am still reading. Fascinating read.

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  8. There’s a verse in the Bible – as a man thinks, so is he. It speaks to the power of the mind – our thoughts affect us powerfully, for good or bad. I agree that the pharmaceutical industry is a villain that is overly focused on profit. Certainly, some drugs are vital to healing, but I think healthy eating, positive attitudes like gratitude, faith and hope, are lifesavers too. Thank you for this thoughtful post, Beth.

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  9. This is precisely why most doctors mock you and look at you as if one of your brain vessels has burst when you ask them about natural alternatives, herbs, and essential oils. The last time I brought these things up to my M.D., he actually giggled a little and looked at me like I was a hippie whack job.

    On to the book, Proof of Heaven. I read it in one sitting. It changed something within me that day.

    “I have concluded that we can literally think or will ourselves ill, or healthy, based on what we dwell on in our thoughts and imagination. Thoughts are things. This is an ancient Hermetic principle and it is as true today as it was thousands of years ago. What we think about will come looking for us”. Also true. While some people market the Law of Attraction in ways that are a bit cheesy and woo woo sometimes, I definitely believe in its fundamentals. In fact, its theory has been around way before The Secret came out. There are so many people who have cured themselves of various diseases, including cancer, without toxic pharmaceuticals and body-killing radiation and chemo simply from believing they could, eating right, and having a positive frame of mind…only focusing on positivity and envisioning themselves as cured.

    As always, you are spot on. Have you every considered writing for a magazine? You definitely have the talent for it!

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    • Kim, you are so generous and encouraging. I have been virtually tossed out of doctor’s offices for suggesting that I knew something about the body and wanted to offer my own input. They just forget that we have brains and have lived (in my case) in our bodies for decades – isn’t it logical that we would have insights into them, literally? They can’t handle that – they must be absolute in their authority over the physical care process. I am not a big fan of physicians in the US.

      I am not sure how many people can cure themselves by their thoughts, but I am quite sure many people make themselves sick by their thoughts. Perhaps because the fear associated with illness becomes an obsession and permeates the mind of that person in a way that more positive ideas cannot seem to do.

      As for writing for a magazine – I think it would make me nervous. Here, I am free to be ridiculous and most people indulge me :-).

      We learn from each other and give mutual support, Kim. I truly value your input and your blog.

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      • My son died for between 7-30 minutes they say…I believe it would probably have been near the latter since he was hit by a truck while crossing the road on his bike in the very early morning hours. He was in a coma for a while. He claims God spoke to him, but he is slightly brain damaged now. However, I dreamed of an Angel standing over him while he was still in a coma…it was so real and she was so beautiful. I still don’t know what to believe. That’s why I find the article interesting.

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