I think that everyone would agree with the statement “books have the power to change the world.” How big of a leap in logic is it then to state - “books have the power to cure most diseases”?

I have for the past couple of years read books that had a profound effect on my life - all truly good books do that. They make you look at the world around with different eyes, through a broader scope. These specific texts resonated deeply and I started seeing parts of their message manifested everywhere. There’s a cognitive bias called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, where one stumbles upon some information – often an unfamiliar word, name, concept – and soon after encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. Have you ever thought to yourself or uttered “That’s weird, I just heard/read about that yesterday”? I mention it here because I think that we need more of those moments in our lives. They mean that we are learning, awoken to the world around us an interacting with it.

These books (list of books at the end of this article!) touch upon the subject of sickness and death, among many other things. They explore and expand upon the ancient knowledge of being, of stillness, of meditation, and how these concepts help you become a healthy, at peace human being. There is indeed a big community of people who believe also that you can achieve incredible healing results through the power of meditation and mindfulness, including the curing of cancer, diabetes, and other such lethal diseases.

The aim of this text is not to convince you about any particular healing theories or methods. I’d just like to talk a little about learning and changing.

Confessions of a full-metal-sceptic

I used to be very sceptic, with a desperate (and ridiculous) need for science, numbers, graphs, statistics, studies, academia, expert opinions. After hearing some extraordinary anecdote about a miraculous healing episode I’d answer “ok, but show me the statistics, the science, the numbers, the evidence!” I’m still not entirely cured of my scepticism, but what has changed is that I’m no longer inherently resistant towards ideas that challenge my preconceived notions about the world, and this change in stance truly made me a calmer, happier, more knowledgeable person. I now listen more carefully, truly listen (listening is an art form, I am convinced), and laugh at the sceptic monster in me that feels the need to come out and interrupt, argue, be against, always afraid of change. When you truly listen to ideas that go wildly against your own, you are engaging in the millennial and beautiful act of learning and empathizing from and with the other.

“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” Albert Einstein, The Curious History of Relativity

There is a good Einstein quote for everything.

In the same way, it’s important to question your own ideas and the establishment, both within and without, and this method is a great starting point. For example, how long did it take for us as a society to accept that slavery was inherently wrong and act on that change? How long did it take for us to understand that bloodletting, the withdrawal of blood from a patient to cure illness and disease, was in the overwhelming majority of cases harmful to patients? This list of anecdotal blunders we have collectively committed is endless. The question that follows is, what kind of acts do we engage in today in the field of science, industry, philosophy, etc, that will be considered barbaric in 50 or 100 years? Conversely, what is it that we as a society and individual have lost touch with? I believe that spirituality is one of these things.

Thoughts on the documentary Heal (2017)

These were some of the things going through my mind when watching the documentary Heal (2017). Much of it resonated deep within and reinforced my opinions and beliefs on the importance of leading a life more grounded on spirituality. It made me consider alternative/complementary approaches to conventional medicine practices. My scepticism of course also tried to come out, but instead of giving in to it and rejecting all I was seeing on the basis of fear, I engaged in a healthy conversation with it. Here is more or less how that conversation went: Why do I have a side that is so closed to these ideas which seem to affect the lives of thousands? Surely there must be something to it… what is it? And why do they have to use this generic “inspirational” soundtrack with shots of the sea and beach with a voiceover? And so on.

What remained was a heightened awareness of this world. The knowledge of the ideas themselves, their value, and an added anecdotal evidence on these extraordinary methods of healing and, ultimately, being - what are our beliefs made of if not a more or less aleatory set of anecdotes and stories we have gathered throughout our lives?

I hope that this text ignites a little spark of curiosity that later turns into an awareness of this (re)emerging world of healing through alternative methods, and perhaps make you sometime soon think “haven’t I read about this somewhere just recently?

List of works:

Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Way of Zen, Alan W. Watts

The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle

Written by David Cameira Gomes