TTom, I’m glad you posted this. It’s one of the most talked about sections in that little book. I can use this opportunity to set the record straight. But this should have its own thread with a title like “When people don’t want to heal” or “not ready to heal,” to get a broader viewing because it’s important to understanding. This topic is not intended to criticize, but to help.
I wrote the book to honor Dr. Sarno of course, but also to help people see clearer. It’s the only book written specifically about his work and his impact around the world.
This section on “those not ready to heal” was intended to show some sufferers that they are not fully invested in their healing, based on what I’ve seen over the past two decades, and on a daily basis. The heart of my third book’s message was on “readiness.” All who are ready to heal will heal when their time comes, never before. In between now and then are signs that they aren’t ready to heal. I’ll take them one at a time:
The number one sign that a person is not ready to heal is when they trash the TMS message. This is obvious, right?
Other common signs that they are not quite ready are evidenced by the following actions:
* They throw Healing Back Pain across the room.
This was my sign of non-readiness but others have also done this. It seems I’m not the only dummy out there.
* They want free help only.
The word Tom should have placed in bold here is “only.” People who are often wealthy or can afford professional help will email repeatedly for free advice. They will also hang out at forums asking questions that are easily answered in the many TMS books because they won’t spend 10 or 20 dollars on something that will change their lives. They post threads at forums like, “what about journaling?” “What about when the pain moves?” “What about emotions?” “Is anger the only emotion?”These things are all well answered in the material or by TMS experts, but they won’t go there because it’s not free. At that point healing is a secondary notion, a side thing. If it’s free or easy they will heal, if not, they still have their cane or pain pills to lean on. If a person is poor and cannot afford something that is a different matter, and they are usually taken care of. I certainly do my best to help them. My point is they are not ready, when they CAN afford it and will still not put skin in their own game. This is an important point in healing because it reveals the unconscious motivations for failing. I’ve spoken to some TMS docs about this and they see it too. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure in a field, when you discover that treasure you will spend all you have to buy that field. When I finally “bought in” to Dr. Sarno I bought a half dozen HBPs, 4 or 5 versions of his audio, and several copies of MOBP. I was in all the way, ready to heal.
The idea of hanging out at free forums itself is part of the cause of TMS which is not having someone in their lives. Sufferers are lonely and need to be heard. Which leads into the other indicators that someone is not ready to heal. A forum should be used to gather information and to ask enough questions to discover where to go, and of course to hopefully connect with someone who has what you have, to ease fear.
* They search for discrepancies in the TMS materials to find something to dispute, to exclude themselves as potential candidates for healing, often proclaiming, "Not everything is TMS!"
It’s clear by now that everything is TMS, until proven to be the rare “otherwise.” So when people futilely attempt to exclude themselves they are not yet ready to heal. One common example is someone who contacts me saying, “Dr. Sarno says the TMS is on the bottom of the foot but mine is on the top!” One I received years ago was, “Dr. Sarno mentions the knee pain as being a half inch above the kneecap but mine is about 2 inches above?” Or, “TMS is seen in the back and limbs but I have stomach pain.” Every day, people are seeking ways out of healing through being the “exceptional ruler.” They feel different and unique from others, or try to set themselves apart because they are not ready to heal. By saying “not everything is TMS” they throw out the baby with the bathwater. And of course everything is TMS, until it’s ruled out.
* They impugn the motives of those who are helping people heal.
I sometimes get emails like, “you make me sick to my stomach that you charge people for help!” Of course I reply by asking them how many people they have helped from suffering, or how many lives they’ve helped to save? The answer is always none, of course. Those of us who are trying to help don’t have any other form of income, and there’s very little money to be made in TMS. We help because we enjoy it and want to give back. The TMS docs make very little from TMS. The idea is to survive another day to help people from needless suffering by spreading the correct information on how to heal. No one is in the TMS business to get rich. If I made a mi$$ion I would give most back to helping. But those who are not ready to heal use shadow projection to impugn the motives of those who are actually helping. Will there be those who come along to make a quick buck off of suffering? Yes! It is guaranteed, but they will quickly be revealed.
* They never act on the TMS information in front of them.
Dr. Sarno spoke of the 2 pillars in healing. The first is the acquisition of knowledge into the nature of the (TMS) disorder, ie, learn all you can about TMS and how the mind affects the body, read, watch, ask, learn. The second pillar in healing is acting on that knowledge, aka living it. People who are not ready to heal never step onto the second pillar. They will read and read and read the books, hang out at forums asking redundant questions and never change. This is a defense mechanism against healing. They fear the changes necessary and so stand on pillar one grasping to current knowledge.
* They ask questions to which they already have the answers.
This is one of the most draining aspects of helping people but it’s another defense against healing, and also part of the loneliness aspect of suffering. They talk just to connect (another reason for never stepping off pillar 1). They know the answers to what they are asking but they need to be heard/connect. So they ask questions to which they already have the answers, sometimes out of fear; trying to convince themselves of certain points on which they fear to change. But more often they ask redundant questions so they can be heard when no one’s listening at home. The TMS physicians have said that they can see some patients come to talk to them because no one at home is listening.
* They jump from one TMS expert to another.
This is a common one, people will often fly into America (or be dragged out by the feet if overbooked), or travel within the US to see a TMS doc. They get a TMS diagnosis and then travel to the next doc, etc, on down the chain. They are not yet ready to see the end and so they “practice getting ready to heal.” They often delay by doubting. If they were to accept the diagnosis they would then heal, yet are not ready.
* They hear but they don't listen.
I see it in this Wiki as well, I’ve answered some direct questions to people, and they then go on to ask the same question in a different way. Or, out in public a person is given the answers to their problem and yet keeps asking about healing. For ex., a person has an obvious case of TMS, their mother just died and they begin getting migraines. They are told about TMS and they keep asking about medications or chiro or acupuncture, they then ask about surgery or neck braces, etc. Their emotional pain is too deep to mess with healing; they still need the diversion and don’t listen. This falls into all the above categories as well, when people are not ready they will not pay attention, unconsciously. The definition of avoidance is “keeping away from something, or not doing something.”
The patterns of the people who heal are that they consistently never come to forums. They hear about TMS, read a book or hire an expert and they heal having never come to a public arena. The forums (not always of course) are places where people tend to delay healing. One that comes to mind is that almost every thread posted daily is already answered in the TMS books. Generally speaking why do people ask questions of others who are not experts? The answer is always to connect with those who understand them, to ease the sting of loneliness.
Healing is easy when the person is ready and it’s not about money. It’s about helping and wanting to be healed. Fred Amir offers free seminars, how many have attended? When people are not ready some reasons are clear, as I've written, but others not so clear as in the psychological nature of suffering and defense. It can get complex, but healing doesn't have to be at all. It's quite simple... with the correct information and a deep desire to heal.
Good luck to all who are, and who are not ready,