“Though sickness is so familiar a thing, we are by no means clear in ordinary life about what it is. We recognise pain and discomfort or limitations in the use of the bodily powers as tokens of its presence. We ascribe it to outer causes or to inner disturbances of the emotions — but still we have by no means grasped what it is in itself; a living process in some way out of harmony with the other living processes of the body as a whole — yet having a curious, independent life. This uncertainty is only part of our general uncertainty about the relation of body and soul. We live in this body, profoundly unaware of the immense variety of processes through which it can be the instrument of our thought, our feeling and our willing.
It is not only the one who is ill who is involved in the inner struggle to build the body afresh. Those who are close to the patient through love or friendship, or who are helping to nurse or treat him, are involved in it too, more or less deeply. It can be one of the profoundest links between human beings to share in the struggle with a bodily handicap, and what is won in this way is not simply restoration of the health that was there before, but a new power. The soul has gained a new connection with the archtype of the organ which was affected; and so have the people who have loved and helped. It is the God in us, the heavenly Self, in which there lives a spark of the Divine creative fire from which man is sprung. Where people unite in concern of a patient, their heavenly Selves are joined in supporting him.”
Human Needs and Cosmic Answers
Rev. Adam Bittleston