Avraham ben Yaakov
Torah Guidance on Healing

A Call to Live

Many people never really appreciate what a blessing health is until illness or injury suddenly changes the course of their lives.

If you are ill, in pain, frustrated, anxious and despondent, you may feel that you have reached a very low point in your life. But it need not be so -- if you are willing to hear the deeper message your illness or injury is sending you. It is a call to live! If your normal life has been disrupted, it is to teach you to be more fully aware of the preciousness of life, so that you will live your life with greater purpose each day and every moment up to the very last.

By heeding this call, you can transform what you are going through now into a profound learning experience that will open up new dimensions in your life and bring you to deeper fulfilment and happiness.

You surely want to heal in order to be able to achieve all your goals in life. Then don't wait until you are feeling better before you start living. There is no more effective way to encourage the healing process than by living your life to the full extent that you can now.

To be healed is to be able to live life to the full. Living well is a skill, which, like any other, can only be developed through practice. Practice now! Decide that you are going to live now! Making this decision is one of the most important steps you will take to recovery.

Living on a higher level

Physical and other limitations may make it difficult for you to continue with many of your usual activities at present. But don't grieve over what you can't do. Instead, think about all the things you can do to give meaning to your life at this time. Your physical limitations need not prevent you from living an active, fulfilling life on the mental and spiritual planes. These are precisely the levels within yourself that you should now seek to cultivate in order to be truly healed.

Be ready to explore new pathways of mind and soul. Learn how to relax and to meditate. Ponder the meaning of life in this universe. Reflect on your own destiny and purpose. Discover who you really are. Even if you are under stress owing to your physical condition, your medical treatment, emotional, financial or other pressures, be sure to avoid sinking into morbid anxiety and depression. Turn your pain and frustration into prayers. Try to see the positive side of what you are going through.

As you work on yourself, work also to enhance your relationships with others -- your dear ones, friends, and all the other people with whom you have contact. If you are experiencing pain and hardship, learn from them to empathize with other people who may also be suffering. Even as you seek to fulfil your personal needs and pursue your purpose in life, take account of the needs and sensitivities of others. Develop your ability to communicate and live cooperatively with those around you. Be willing to learn from everyone.

Healing the Inner You

Many people think of healing as having to do mainly with the restoration of normal bodily functioning. It is certainly proper to do everything necessary on the physical level in order to bring about recovery. But medicine alone is not enough. That is because your body, crucial as it is to your existence in this world, is nevertheless only one part of an even greater whole: YOU.

You are a whole person with your own unique identity, your thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, desires, memory, reason, imagination, goals, ideals, aspirations... as well as amazing untapped potential. The essential You, the living, thinking, feeling, creative I at the center, is what philosophers and psychologists call the mind or psyche, while religious and mystical traditions call it the soul or spirit.

A physical illness or injury obviously has far reaching effects on the mind and soul as well as on the body. Your bodily condition directly affects your mental states, your thoughts and feelings. However, the relationship is more than just one-way. Your mental and emotional states, your attitudes, your feelings about yourself and the way you run your life have a decisive influence on your level of physical health, your immunity to illness and injury, the extent to which your body is able to heal, and at what rate.

More than this, your mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing are really the key to your overall happiness in life since your inner life is the very essence of your life. The health of your inner self -- your mind and soul -- is what makes the difference between a fulfilling, satisfying life and one that is not. There are people who may be technically fit and healthy physically, but they really have no life at all because their lives are wasted by emptiness and depression.

Your doctors may be treating you medically to try to cure your body. But as you wait and hope for your body to mend and heal, know that your inner personal healing -- healing the bruises of your self and soul -- is primarily in your hands. Since the mind and soul influence the body, the more you succeed in healing and cultivating your inner self, the greater your body's ability to heal. Therefore the most important contribution you can make to improving your physical condition is by working to heal and develop your inner self.

Life after life

There are times when the body cannot heal. Some conditions are chronic, others terminal. Everyone eventually ages and deteriorates physically, because in the end our bodies have to die. The body is a finite, material structure of limited duration: in due course it must disintegrate.

The body dies, yes, but the inner you never dies! The essential self and soul is non-finite spirit, and the spirit is everlasting. For the soul, death is not the end but a new beginning. Death is the gateway to a higher stage of life, a new state of being on a plane that we cannot even imagine as long as we are still in our bodies.

Death is death only in relation to the material world. But for the essential you -- your soul -- death is the stepping stone to a more exalted, more intense and vastly more joyous level of life on the spiritual plane. This is because of the greater ability of the soul to expand in the spiritual dimension when liberated from the physical body. If the prospect of death is awesome, this is because the soul then draws closer to the Source of all things -- God -- and God is awesome.

Illness may make us deeply aware of the great step that lies ahead of us. Sooner or later everyone must face this. A dangerous, life-threatening condition is a call to make your peace and come to terms with the prospect of death in order to use the time you have left in this world in the best possible way. Your body may be weak and in pain, but this need not crush your spirit. For the spirit is invincible.

Being willing to accept the prospect of death does not mean necessarily that you are going to die soon. Life and death are in the hands of God alone. No-one dies a moment before or after their appointed time.

You cannot control death, but that does not mean that you cannot choose how to live in the face of it. The idea is not to spend all your time morbidly preparing for death. On the contrary, you should shift from being a passive victim of fear and anxiety to actively taking charge of your life. Take stock of yourself. Work out your priorities. Drop whatever is meaningless and wasteful. Say what you want to say to your dear ones and friends. Fix what is in your power to fix in this world -- and live.

Know that death leads to new life, and therefore you will never really die but only live. Now you are alive here in this world; afterwards you will be alive there, on a higher plane. Whether you are here or there, the main thing is to be alive! By deciding to live now, even within the limitations of illness or injury, you are making the most of your time here while at the same time preparing yourself in the best possible way for your life after life there later on.


Seriously ill or not, the fact is that in this world we are all condemned to death! None of us knows when his or her time will come. Sick or healthy, everyone can only benefit from accepting the fact of their own mortality. When we know that our time here is limited, we value it more and take full advantage of it.

Every single moment is precious. That is why you must live now. Don't put off living until tomorrow, saying I can't live the way I want to right now because I'm not well: I'll wait till I'm better and then I'll start living. The day you are hoping for may never come, and even if it does, you do not really know what it may bring. In this world it is not possible for everything to be perfect. You have to carry on living even when things are not as you might want them to be.

You only have today! Discover how rich life can be right now, even amidst all your problems and difficulties. Find joy in whatever comes to hand. Prize each new insight you gain about life, especially those won through pain and suffering. Treasure times with dear ones and friends. Enjoy each act of kindness and love that you or others perform. Cherish each smile, each kind word, each good thought, each word of prayer and outreach to God. It is by living life now that you will heal, because this is precisely what healing is all about: living now!

Chapter 2: The Secret of Health and Healing





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