Change Your Mind Heal Your Body


Anna Parkinson

Change Your Mind, Heal Your Body

Extract from

‘Change Your Mind, Heal your Body’ by Anna Parkinson



Anna Parkinson, a busy BBC producer, has been diagnosed with a brain tumour which has proved inoperable. In an attempt to find a cure and after a series of disappointments with conventional medicine she has begun to explore the power of healing.  Each experience opens her eyes to a new way of looking at her body and awakens her curiosity about how healing works. Here she meets a healer who convinces her that her body expresses the language of her deepest feelings:



….My husband expressed the view that healing is

16th-century witchcraft. He has absolute faith in his

GP, in whatever this doctor tells him to do and nothing

else. I would not have been inclined to disagree with

that perhaps, in spite of my critical questioning of

pharmaceutical companies in the past, but for the

fact that all my efforts to find a medical solution to

the problems in my body resulted in ‘unprecedented’

confusion. The people involved were well meaning; they

intended to help me and were, no doubt, good at their

job, but a combination of accidents created confusion

around things that they held to be certain. No verdict

could be given on the developments in my head, in spite

of the highly sophisticated magnetic resonance images,

if the previous sets of scans were lost somewhere in the

bowels of the hospital’s archive.

So my husband was not best pleased when I sat up

in bed one morning and said that I’d decided to go and

see a man who would illuminate healing for me like no

one I had encountered before. American healer Martin

Brofman opened the door to my capacity for healing.

He believes that everyone can be a healer and ‘anything

can be healed’. That is the title of the book that made

him famous, based on his experience of healing himself

and the healing method he devised.

The Hawaiians say that ‘healing happens between

thinking and feeling.’ My experience with healing

so far had led me to many strange sensations, and

unfamiliar feelings, but I needed to understand what

was happening, to relate it to what I already knew. I was

more inclined to trust thinking than feeling. Martin

was the person who bridged that gap for me, and made

it possible to relate healing to my feelings and to what I

already knew about the way my body worked. There is a

logical side to Martin’s method, and then an aspect that

moves way beyond logic. Over 35 years of using and

teaching this system, the magical effects of healing have

continued to surprise him. When I had got to know him

better, I told him about my husband’s view of healing.

‘No,’ said Martin, ‘it’s not 16th-century witchcraft. It’s

21st-century witchcraft!’

Martin’s passion for the past three decades has been

the study of the power of human consciousness. In the

1970s he was a computer specialist. He worked as a

systems analyst for some of the big banks on Wall Street,

devising systems that would be proof against hackers

by hacking into them himself. That job requires a fine

logical mind and persistence in overcoming problems.

Martin is blessed with these qualities in abundance and

focused them on computer systems until he developed

a cancerous tumour on the back of his neck that

paralysed him down his left side and grew so much that

it threatened to kill him.

He was taken into hospital for an operation to remove

the tumour, only to find when he awoke from the

anaesthetic that the surgeons had found it inoperable.

They told him they could do nothing for him, so that he

was to go home and live the few months they expected

he had left to him as best he could. They also told him

that should he cough or sneeze, he might cut off the

blood supply to the brain, which would kill him.

Martin is a funny man and a natural storyteller.

My sister had introduced me to his work and taken

me along to a couple of his lectures in London. I had

laughed at his story about the impact of being told you

only have months to live.

‘What are you going to do if they tell you that you

only have a few months left? How are you going to

spend your time? What are you going to eat? Are you

going to worry about the nutritional value of your food?

‘Of course you’re not. You’re going to eat exactly what

you want. Every meal could be your last one. So I lived

on a diet of hamburgers and milkshakes and I was still

alive a year later.’

He had promised himself the holiday of a lifetime

if he was still alive when the new year came around,

so New Year’s Day, 1976, found him on a beach on

Mauritius. He met a Buddhist monk who was there to

teach meditation, and told him of his predicament.

‘Cancer begins in the mind,’ said the monk, ‘and that

is where you go to get rid of it.’

So began a long search by a 20th-century American

with a daring temperament and a logical mind. The

result was that Martin healed himself, the tumour and

the paralysis disappeared, his eyesight cleared, and in

the process he developed the healing method he calls

the Body Mirror System. It is based on the essential

understanding of the Hindus and Buddhists of existence

as a state of mind. It is consciousness made ‘real’ by our

perception, so that when our perception changes, our

reality changes. Martin has mined and distilled the

wisdom of this ancient philosophy and translated it

into the practical experience of everyday life – so that

there are no mystical symbols, no prayers in Sanskrit,

no sets of rules and no barriers to any human being

who wants to understand. This is an understanding he

has sought to convey in the language that is closest to us

– the language of our bodies. For me it was something

like Buddhism – in English.

I had known about Martin’s work for over a year by

the time I decided to go and see him for a personal

healing. I learned his view of the chakras, and I learned,

without understanding, about his view that reality as

we perceive it is a co-creation where two or more points

of consciousness intersect. I liked his direct manner, his

wit and his apparent willingness to tackle any question

fearlessly. So the question I asked myself was, why had

it taken me so long to go and ask him for healing?

Fundamentally it’s a matter of trust. Illness of any

kind makes you feel vulnerable. You look for someone

you can depend on, someone who will take care of you.

Our social education has schooled us to trust doctors,

but not to trust healers. A diagnosis of a potentially

fatal or a permanently debilitating condition induces

such fear that you are open to any suggestions from a

doctor. In the six months after the diagnosis I would

certainly have offered up my head to the surgeon’s

knife if I had been told that an operation was possible.

Again and again I thank my luck for making such a

thing impossible. And if I had been willing to sacrifice

a part of my body, how could it seem more threatening,

to both myself and my husband, for me to open up to

working with a powerful healer?

We can willingly allow someone to remove a part of

our bodies surgically because we are told it is in our

interests, but not to ‘interfere with our minds’ for fear that

we will never be the same again. There is a certain logic

in this fundamentally illogical reaction. We know in our

hearts that our consciousness is our life. The prospect

of someone interfering with our minds seems far more

threatening than the prospect of someone removing

an arm, or a leg or a breast. Yet this idea is based on

an impossibility. It is far simpler to change your mind

than to regrow an arm or a leg. If someone influences

your thinking in a way that you find damaging, you can

change your mind back again. Your consciousness is you

and it is all yours, for life. Nothing and no one can take

it away from you. There is consciousness in the parts of

your body too, but this is something you only see the

value of when you don’t have it any more.

However, the night before my visit to Martin, I

dreamed I had wandered into a shabby charlatan’s

den where I’d become stuck fast. The impression of

needing to ‘beware the healer’ was buried deep in my


The impact that Martin makes on first meeting

is disarming: a highly original mind with a highly

unoriginal, ribald sense of humour, a generous belly

and eyes that dance at a deep level. He made me think

of a Middle Eastern carpet salesman, timeless in his

wisdom and timeless also in his showmanship. Yet as

soon as I sat and talked to him he set about readjusting

the state of mind that had made me sick with the

practised assurance of a master.

‘What can I do for you today?’

I explained about the tumour they had found in

my head and the symptoms I was experiencing. He

waited until I stumbled into the magic phrase that came

uneasily to me: ‘I want to be healed.’

‘I look upon the body as a point of consciousness,’ he

explained. ‘Tensions within the body are tensions within

the consciousness, and the parts of the body where you

have disease, or tension, tell a story. A tumour on the

pituitary tells a story of not following your passion. You

have to focus on what you want for you, like the author

Tony Robbins says. The resolution of this problem is in

your brow chakra,’ said Martin, ‘to do what you want

and to do it well and to earn a living out of that. That’s

what you must do. What was going on in your life at the

time of diagnosis?’

I shrugged. Nothing, it seemed to me, or nothing

out of the ordinary anyway. Everything was going on

as normal. I was just about to have time to follow my

passion, to fulfil my long-held ambition to write a book,

and this diagnosis had been a severe interruption to


‘It’s very important’, said Martin, ‘to ask yourself what

was happening at the time of diagnosis. Your body’s

symptoms express your unconscious reaction to the

circumstances that occur. You can also ask yourself

what the effects of the symptoms are and so what the

symptoms do for you.’

I nodded, but I was mystified. How could anybody

want to experience the headaches and the dizziness I

had been living with? How could I have wanted double

vision and the fear and trauma of a brain tumour?

These symptoms certainly prevented me from doing a

job I had been longing to move on from, but they also

came close to preventing me from doing anything at all,

even from following my passion and writing my book! I

was English enough to swallow the expression of these

feelings and get myself ready for the healing session I

had come for.

Martin explained he would hold his hands over

the different energy centres of my body, touching me

lightly in each place. While he was doing this I would

sit in a chair and do nothing, and then afterwards he

would discuss with me what he had seen in my energy.

This was a strange language to me, in spite of almost

six months of reading about chakras and a glimmer

of understanding of how people could see the body

in terms of energy. Nevertheless, when Martin asked

me whether I accepted the possibility that I could be

healed by him in this session, I said yes. I allowed the

possibility, but I think I expected nothing.

When Martin put his hands over me it was like

being plugged into a battery charger. I felt an intense

electrical current descend through my head, and then

I was lost in a space that felt like a tunnel without end.

I imagined at one point that I would die in a gutter

alone. I felt a deep sense of isolation, with the despair

of abandonment rising up in me like dirty water that

threatened to engulf me.

When he had finished I heard him whisper, ‘You can

open your eyes now.’ He asked me whether I felt the

same or different.

I stood up and walked around the room. What could

I say? I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Not entirely

marvellous, but my feet seemed a long way away from

my body. I was amazed and open, in a way I had not

been in our discussions before.

I was even more amazed when Martin began to

describe what he had seen in my energy. He rattled

through my whole life story.

‘Your sense of being nurtured by your mother was

a little bit weak. I expanded the energy there, and put

your roots deep down into the centre of the earth so

that you can feel nurtured and trusting.’

It was true that although I was close to my mother,

she hadn’t exactly been the nurturing type. In my

adulthood I had felt this relationship draining me of

energy rather than helping me, but how, I wondered,

did he know? Was he guessing?

Martin went on to describe other parts of my

experience that I recognized, in my everyday life or

from a long time ago, until he came to something that

started so far back it was almost indistinguishable from

my experience of life itself.

‘What was your relationship with your father?’

‘He and my mother split up when I was very small. I

don’t remember ever living with him.’

‘So were you close?’

‘I wanted to be but I never felt I could talk to him. He

died six months before these headaches began.’

‘You’ve felt a great sense of separation from your

father, and as a result you’ve had a deep feeling of

isolation all your life and a difficult relationship with


I was choked with an intense sadness as he spoke,

even though these facts had been familiar to me all my

life. How, I was wondering, could a stranger simply

wave his hands over me and see all these childish

emotions that were buried so deep that I didn’t think

they mattered any more? Was I so transparent that I

was dragging these feelings around with me? And did

they matter? Could such ancient feelings really have

caused my physical symptoms?

Nevertheless I felt, rather than thought, that whatever

I was experiencing was having a profound effect on me.

What Martin was saying induced a kind of wonder in

me. I felt my habitual control dissolve and an unfamiliar

openness steal upon me in his company. By the time he

walked me to the door, I was drinking in his words.

‘We are all divine. In our culture it is considered

insane if you say, “I am God”, but in fact it’s true. We are

all part of God, or the Divine, or whatever you want to

call it. So it’s true to say, “I am God”, just as it’s true to

say, “You are God”.

‘Yes,’ I said, happily. ‘It’s a verb. You can conjugate

it like any other. I am God. You are God. He, she, it is

God, we are God . . .’