Mental Problems and Illness. Chapter I

The relationship between mental problems and mental and physical ailments need not be dealt with in great detail here, for most people fully accept that almost all illnesses are a result of some kind of mental disturbance. We merely want to emphasize this point.

The mind, on a personal level, is in a continual state of activity at all stratas. Ideally these processes should occur spontaneously and naturally, without the slightest hindrance. In the mind of most people, however, there is psychological constipation and indigestion, caused by mental frustrations. This results in the growth of psychological tumours in the mind. If these tumours, blocks, frustrations and mental problems are sufficiently intense they can result in psychosomatic illnesses and/ or mental illnesses or breakdowns. If the mental problems are milder, but nevertheless present, they will manifest in the form of unhappiness and depression; in fact general discontent with one’s relationship with life and other people.

It is widely accepted that there are many illnesses which manifest physically, but which have psychological causes. In modern language these are called psychosomatic diseases. Under this heading are included more obvious related diseases such as neuritis, but actually yoga believes that almost all diseases are caused by mental disturbances. Modern science is slowly coming around to the same conclusion by experiment. For example, the general treatment for cancer in recent times has been radioactive bombardment of the cancerous area. Yet at a symposium held at Stanford University in U.S.A. in 1972, a radiologist had a far reaching conclusion to convey to medical science. His revelation caused a stir at the meeting. He said that he had been using radiology for many years in the treatment of cancer patients. Because of the widespread occurrence of cancer, thousands of patients besieged him seeking a cure. He of course could not treat them all at the same time and so he was forced to make many of them wait for treatment, often for several weeks. Some of the people were suffering great pain. The usual method of combating this pain is administration of drugs. To reduce this dependence on drugs, the radiologist recommended that the patients relieve their pain by practising relaxation and meditational techniques. To his great surprise many of these people showed marked improvement in their state of health. His conclusion, which he presented to the members of the symposium, was obvious: the cause of cancer lies in the mind, nowhere else. We would also like to add one point: many people claim that the cause of cancer, the only cause, is cigarette smoking. Figures and statistics are presented which clearly show and prove that the incidence of cancer is greater with smokers than with nonsmokers. This may be true, but they miss one important factor; namely, that people who smoke are generally those who are very tense. We are not saying that this is the reason why they smoke, but that those who smoke have a tendency to be more tension-ridden. Therefore, we feel that the cause of cancer is not the smoking, but mental tension. Smoking may have some bearing no doubt, but it is a side issue.

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