Neither I nor any other teacher in the New Thought (Not the same as “New Age”) movement say that anyone is to be “blamed” for their illnesses.
What I am saying, having studied biology and microbiology extensively both for my profession and for my own interest and the raising of my family, is that microbes only grow in receptive environments. Gardeners know that plants don’t get pests or diseases if the soil is healthy and the plant is getting what it needs. Biologists know the laboratory conditions have to be right for the microbes they study to flourish. Parents know that if the child eats, sleeps, and plays well in a consistently supportive environment s/he is less likely to catch anything, and if such children do they sluff it off quickly–my self, my children, and their father being cases in point (we never missed a day of school for illness). Everybody in our culture is aware that when they’re doing what they love to do they don’t feel pain, and if they’re in love they don’t get sick, and if there’s a crisis whatever was bothering them no longer exists–at least for the duration of the crisis.
New Thought simply takes these well-established observations the next step. It says that, using certain tools, we can choose to operate in the same states of consciousness that we’ve called “being in love” or “doing what we love to do.” And when we do so, we make it highly unlikely, or even impossible, for any illness to exist.
I teach the tools that help us shift states of consciousness, and meditation is one of them. It’s useful because, as we say in the book Empowered Care, every form of meditation, even the simple process of Progressive Relaxation, helps to restore harmony and well-being in the mind-body system. The practices we call meditation help us step out of the state of consciousness that includes the experience of illness and into one that doesn’t. That simple.
Now, New Thought goes beyond this understanding. The fundamental New Thought teaching (based on observation) is that different physical conditions are associated with specific emotions and habits of thought. For example, liver problems are typically related to ongoing repressed anger; lower-back issues are typically associated with fear of lack of support (see the work of P. P. Quimby and Louise Hay based on experience, and Bruce Lipton based on lab science). As I’ve written about in various places (check my book page for some of them), for the past 150 years most people who’ve addressed the underlying emotions/thought habits have had a significant reduction or elimination of symptoms.
This is not “blaming” the person for having symptoms, it’s helping people use the symptoms to find the underlying issue that’s making the body-mind system less than fully functional–big difference. It’s using contemplation to restore harmony to the system. It’s empowering!
Another illustration: when asked, most people remember at least one time in their lives when they “chose to get sick” because they didn’t see any other way to avoid something. They remember focusing on not feeling well until the symptoms got too intense for them to do what they didn’t want to do. A similar situation occurs when medical students experience the symptoms of the disease they’re studying. Again, this is not “blaming” but rather acknowledging that we CAN play a role in our condition. Again, it’s empowering.
A third illustration: when a meditation master realizes it’s time to leave this life, he can simply go into meditation and begin to shut down the body, organ by organ, and can transform it in the process. Now that’s empowered!
In my personal experience I’ve seen this understanding work many times. When I was about 4 I made the decision and managed to get thru 13 years of pre-, primary, and secondary school without a sick day; I “chose” to get sick at the age of 16 and again in my 20s; I used meditation methods to get past the typical/expected pain response and healing period of 3 C-sections; with training and new understandings I used meditation and elimination of harmful emotional/thought patterns to turn around a terminal diagnosis; I’ve used meditation and continued elimination of such patterns to live a life that my peers consider impossibly busy and stressful with general ease and joy; I’ve avoided virtually every cold and flu that goes by even though I meet and hug about 200 people every month, for almost 20 years since, and observed dozens of others doing the same. Clearly, this model has demonstrated itself as accurate and effective over and over in my life!
So I don’t believe in “blaming” anyone. I simply maintain that (1) illness is a function of the state of consciousness a person is operating in, and (2) we can choose the state of consciousness we’re operating in. And, as I understand it, choosing what state of consciousness we’re in is what all Buddhists are aiming for through the many practices of the many disciplines within the tradition, and what all New Thought practitioners and teachers are aiming for, too.
May you enjoy wonderful health and well-being in all the states of consciousness you experience!