‘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
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 . . .’