LOUISE L. HAY is the author of the international best seller “You Can Heal Your Life”. I was lucky enough to interview her at her home in San Diego. When I called to apologise for running 30 minutes late, she told me very calmly “All is well…” This is her catchphrase. She’s a cool dudette – and proudly in her 70s.
Metaphysical heath expert Louise L Hay admits she was “terrified”, when was daignosed with cancer in her 40s.
“I went into total panic. I went immediately to my (spiritual) teacher and he said ‘Louise, you haven’t done all the work you’ve done on yourself to die of cancer. Now let’s take a positive approach’.”
And so she did.
“I did everything; nutrition, prayer, affirmation, meditation, visualisations and therapy. I think one of the big things that really helped turn the thing around was learning to forgive. That was tremendous, because that helped me release the resentment and rage that was in there.”
Louise L Hay, as any serious New Age-er knows, is the author of the rainbow covered self-help book You Can Heal Your Life. First published in 1984, it’s been translated into 25 languages, published in 30 countries and is almost ‘the’ basic handbook for anyone interested in self-development or healing.
Most strikingly, it contains the claim that different physical ailments – from simple planters warts to cancer and even AIDS – are physical manifestations of emotional blockages and negative beliefs and attitudes.
She writes, for example, that gall stones may be caused by bitterness or pride, neck problems represents a lack of flexibility, while cancer is about deep hurt, resentment and carrying hatreds. Simplistically, ‘bad’ thought patterns make you sick, ‘good’ or ‘healthy’ thought patterns keep or make you well.
Hay’s fans say she makes a lot of sense. The medical fraternity – although the first to acknowledge that around 60% (at least) of physical illness is stress- (and thus mind-) related – have a harder time embracing her ideas. Critics say that putting the ‘blame’ for illness on to an already-sick person might only make them feel worse.
Louise can only speak from experience – her own and others. As a child, Louise was raped by a neighbour, abandoned by her father and abused by her stepfather.
“I had a heavy duty childhood. There was just a lot of sexual stuff. When I left home I was just so glad to get out of there and I just wanted to push it all away and not think about it and I did what a lot of people do and just shoved it down.
“Little wonder, then, that I manifested cancer in the vaginal area.”
Louise claims to have cured herself of cancer without surgery, although she would never recommend that people eschew medical help.
“I think it’s important to go to the doctor – a holistic doctor – because you need to get to the pattern which contributed to creating this disease, so it doesn’t happen again.
“It’s perfect that the cancer came along for me when it did. After my years of study, it was as though I was safe enough to deal with it. Once I came out of it, I was very strong in my convictions that if you’re really willing to do the work you can change almost anything.”
Not for one second, though, does Hay claim to have invented the idea of the mind-body-wellness connection.
“They are ancient ideas. They come from ancient India and other cultures, and then they got lost somehow. I don’t know why they got lost, just as I don’t know why they’re coming up again in this century.
“I first heard about them when I was studying. It was 1972 and I went to a lecture and they said something which blew my mind. They said ‘if you change your thinking, you can change your life’.
“It was the first time in my life I was ever interested in a subject. I was a high school drop out and never studied anything, until my 40s. Also, I had no religion as a child so I didn’t have anything to unlearn. I could grasp ideas and they just made so much sense to me.”
During the 80s she worked extensively with AIDS patients and claimed to have witnessed many total remissions.
“Yes I’ve seen people go from HIV positive to negative but the thing with AIDS is that there’s so much public stigma that those that do get well go back into the woodwork about it.”
She brushes aside criticism that her ideas put the burden on the sick for having caused their own ailment.
“That’s one way of looking at it. I don’t buy that at all. I think (my methods give) people a tremendous opportunity to make changes. If they don’t want to, that’s fine. I am very careful about not selling my ideas. If you come to me as a person who wants to learn, I will share some ideas with you.”
Louise stresses that her methods go beyond positive thinking to actually changing the way we think.
“Remember, it’s not just about healing you body, it’s also about healing your life and everybody has issues. No one gets through life without any problems but I think it can put you in a mental frame where you can handle the issues which come up.”
The way Louise L Hay sees it, if there can be such a thing as psychosomatic illness, why not psychosomatic wellness?
A special meditation from Louise. To be spoken aloud – preferably into a mirror – in the morning
“Take a nice deep breath and just let all the tension go and just notice that your scalp needs relaxing. Let’s release all fears, all stress, all anxiety and let’s just take a moment to know the truth for ourselves. I am a Divine, magnificent expression of life and all of life loves me. I am open and warm and receptive. I bring good experiences into my life. This is a day I have never lived before. I will rejoice in every moment for I know I shall never live it again. I affirm for myself good health, wonderful relationships. I know that my prosperity is expanding, my income is constantly growing, I prosper wherever I turn and I am at peace. I express myself creatively and I have fabulous relationships/. I now open my consciousness to bring some wonderful new people into my life. People I can laugh with and have fun with and can exchange wonderful spiritual ideas with. I know and affirm that I am treated with respect at work. People appreciate what I do and I am well paid. I go forth to meet this day rejoicing in all that I am and all that I have and all that shall unfold before me. I am safe and all is well. And so it is.”
From Reiki to energy healing, the mind-body connection is a broadly used paradigm. The right side is generally accepted to be about the male, the left about the female. For example, a problematic ankle, whether caused through a birth defect, through illness or accident, would be connected to a problem with direction/moving forward/receiving joy. So if a person had a bad left ankle, it might reflect problems with receiving joy from a woman. The left and right side can often reflect mother or father issues, stemming from childhood.
Eye Problems: Not liking what you see around you
Neck: Problems with flexibility, refusing to see two sides of a story
Breasts: Problems connected to mothering and nourishing
Arms: You capacity to hold life’s experiences and reach for your goals
Elbows: Accepting new challenges in life and taking new directions
Stomach: Fear. Unable to digest new ideas
Legs: Support, fear of the direction you’re heading in
Knees: Problems with authority, pride and ego
Feet: Your ability to ‘keep your feet on the ground’, to ‘stand on your own two feet’, your life path
C Yasmin Boland 2001