Gabor Maté

“While all of us dread being blamed, we all would wish to be more responsible—that is, to have the ability to respond with awareness to the circumstances of our lives rather than just reacting. We want to be the authoritative person in our own lives: in charge, able to make the authentic
decisions that affect us. There is no true responsibility without awareness. One of the weaknesses of the Western medical approach is that we have made the physician the only authority, with the patient too often a mere recipient of the treatment or cure. People are deprived of the opportunity to become truly responsible. None of us are to be blamed if we succumb to illness and death. Any one of us might succumb at any time, but the more we
can learn about ourselves, the less prone we are to become passive victims. Mind and body links have to be seen not only for our understanding of
illness but also for our understanding of health.

Dr. Robert Maunder, on the psychiatric faculty of the University of Toronto, has written about the mindbody interface in disease. “Trying to identify and to answer the question of stress,” he said to me in an interview, “is more likely to lead to health than ignoring the question.” In healing, every bit of information, every piece of the truth, may be crucial. If a link exists between emotions and physiology, not to inform people of it will deprive them of a powerful tool. And here we confront the inadequacy of language. Even to speak about links between mind
and body is to imply that two discrete entities are somehow connected to each other. Yet in life there is no such separation; there is no body that is not mind, no mind that is not body.

The word mindbody has been suggested to convey the real state of things. Not even in the West is mind-body thinking completely new. In one of Plato’s dialogues, Socrates quotes a Thracian doctor’s criticism of his Greek colleagues: “This is the reason why the cure of so many diseases is unknown to the physicians of Hellas; they are ignorant of the whole. For this is the great error of our day in the treatment of the human body, that physicians separate the mind from the body.” You cannot split mind from body, said Socrates—nearly two and a half millennia before the advent of psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology!”


Gabor Maté, When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress
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When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress by Gabor Maté
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