Is disease “awareness” a good thing?

Scientists, philosophers, religionists, psychologists and even the ordinary man on the street seem, these days, to be more and more willing to openly acknowledge the power of thought. “You are what you think” is becoming even more popular than “you are what you eat,” and at least some people are taking the time to consider the possibility that life is more subjective than they thought it was.

People who know nothing at all about quantum physics (like me) are familiar with the now proven fact that phenomena changes according to who is viewing it.  And yet, with all these hints, most people still don’t bother to try to manage their own thinking, or to consider the effect that the thinking of other people might have on them.

One all-pervasive example that comes to mind are the numerous “breast cancer awareness” campaigns. The name alone should alert us, shouldn’t it? What is “awareness,” after all? One dictionary definition says “having knowledge or consciousness.” So, the obvious result of these campaigns is that they make us think more about breast cancer. Is this helpful? I don’t think so. Also, the color pink is always associated with these campaigns, so when we see pink, we think (consciously or not) “cancer.”

Some might argue that this “awareness” brings in more money for cancer research. But there is no proof that the medical establishment is making any progress in finding a cure for cancer, and is all this “awareness” really worth the price we may have to pay?

It is my settled conviction that these and similar campaigns do more harm than good. If something, anything, is repeated again and again to our thought, we end up embracing it and it becomes part of our mindset. How many jokes do you see on Facebook or get in your e-mail about the so-called unavoidable decrepitude of old age? Do you really think this stuff is funny? I love humor and laughing is one of my favorite pastimes, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to laugh about decrepitude and deterioration and turn it into an inevitable in my thinking and experience.

It is proverbial that people who think the least about negative things have a more positive life experience. Countless old people are in great shape and we could hardly say that every woman gets or will get breast cancer. Why is this so? The medical establishment has all kinds of theories about it, but more often than not people’s mental states are shunted off into the vapory realm of “alternative” approaches to well-being and not taken seriously.

The idea of positive thinking has been around for a long time, but I believe we’re reaching a point in history where not only do we have to be more alert to what we’re thinking and what kinds of thoughts we’re being exposed to, but that it’s time to start thinking of the source of good, healthy, positive thoughts as being universal and spiritual, rather than personal and material.

I propose that we use our awareness to look inward to who we really are and outward to what we really love. Then let’s devote our thought to that instead of wearing pink ribbons that make us think of ourselves and others as perishable and destructible.

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39 Comments

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39 responses to “Is disease “awareness” a good thing?

  1. yourothermotherhere

    Very valid and excellent points!

  2. That’s terrific, Amy. I totally agree, but you said it WAY better than I could have. Amen!

  3. I guess we’ll just have to settle for a mutual admiration society. 🙂

  4. Right on, Amy! I mean, Write on! This is key!

  5. Excellent enlightenment on a much needed topic. More money and medicine is not the answer to all of our problems. The “good” in consciousness leads to “good” in experience. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Ian

    Amy, amazing blog post. Thanks for writing it!!

  7. I agree, there’s a limit to what you can achieve with “awareness.” By way of example, I recently found out that one of the largest homeless charities in the UK doesn’t actually use your donations to help homeless people, it just uses them to “raise awareness.” We’re already very well “aware” of homeless people – I see plenty on the way to work – surely the money would now be better spent on helping them directly?

  8. John

    Re-training ourselves so that our vision is a spiritual sight, our touch is a spiritual connection, our hearing is a spiritual perception, and our feeling is a spiritual sense… this is to “pray without ceasing”.
    To know the all-encompassing, ever-present good, God, Love, is to heal every human concern.

  9. Constanza

    I enjoyed your great post as I also prefer “to be unconscious” in this sense!!!!

  10. Shannon

    I have often found myself one to avoid “awareness” rallies like the plague – coworkers, neighbors, EVERYONE, it seems, gets all geared up, excited for these rallies that raise awareness (and $$) – but it seems that so much of the excitement for the event turns to sorrow and sadness for those lost or those struggling with a disease. In the times that I have participated, I have left the events with a great deal of sadness, not the intended encouragement. For those that I do not attend, I’ve often felt guilty about not joining in. Since I first read your article, I’ve noticed that I have really noticed all the various ribbons – ( true, most seem to be some shade of pink!) However, with your article in mind, my thought now does not turn to sadness but joy. These ribbons remind me to reaffirm my true identity.

    • Hi Shannon, I’m amazed that my piece had this impact on you, and it makes me very happy. If you can feel joy looking at those pink ribbons and use them as a positive reminder of what’s true about you, well, I think that’s wonderful!

  11. js

    You seem to be suggesting that breast cancer campaigns actually cause more breast cancer. However, if you cause more people to believe this, won’t their “perceptions” alter reality further and make breast cancer campaigns even more likely to cause disease? Shouldn’t you try to think and write positively about disease campaigns, so that they will become positive things?

    • I appreciate your feelings…I know this is a highly charged subject. However, I’m a firm believer in the mental nature of all things, and I think it’s important to bring issues like this to people’s attention. And no, I don’t think it will cause more breast cancer…On the contrary, I think it will alert people to the fact that they need to watch their thoughts and what kinds of things they’re taking in and believing. This goes not just for disease campaigns, but for TV commercials and many other things that are floating around in the general thought and influencing people without their realizing it.

  12. Amen! I’ll be sharing this. “Where focus goes, energy flows.” Thanks as always, Amy, for your thoughtful, provocative message.

  13. Rebecca

    Hmm. I understand your point here and totally believe in positive focus. At the same time — and I speak as one who has been totally immersed in the little-known world of pediatric cancer for the past six years — that pink ribbon has been immensely successful in bringing in the dollars. (Do note that I am not a fan of the Susan B. Komen operation because, in fact, too small a percentage of their donations goes to research.) But we would certainly like to have that recognition for the gold ribbon for pediatric cancer awareness or the “Be a Good Cookie” logo, because kids get cancer, too. Teenagers. Little kids. Babies. And there’s seldom a way to determine that they are ill until it is stage iv and the prognosis is not positive. We HAVE made strides, both in awareness and research, and our doctors and researchers HAVE developed new and promising treatments. I realize that I’m heading off on a tangent, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that awareness is good — just make sure that you know where your money is going and don’t just jump on the bandwagon and thik everything will be OK. It all takes hard work and commitment!

  14. Hi Rebecca, thanks for stopping by…we’re coming at this from different angles, but I totally appreciate and respect what you’re saying!

  15. Aniliesis V.

    You have a very good point Amy, good work. This post was very good, great in fact. You are a very good writer! Thanks for posting this!

  16. Well done, Amy. It is a good thing you have done, speaking up and presenting another side. I have long believed fear is the root cause of mortal troubles. Fear in the present context has become as the red dragon FEAR.
    “To weave one thread of
    Science through the looms of time, is a miracle in itself.
    The risk is stupendous. It cost Galileo, what? This
    awful price: the temporary loss of his self-respect. His
    fear overcame his loyalty; the courage of his convictions
    fell before it. Fear is the weapon in the hands of
    tyrants.” Misc. 99
    I have been studying MBE’s works along these lines and find this in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 196: “The press unwittingly sends forth many sorrows and
    diseases among the human family. It does this by giv‐
    ing names to diseases and by printing long descriptions
    which mirror images of disease distinctly in thought. A
    new name for an ailment affects people like a
    Parisian name for a novel garment. Every one
    hastens to get it. A minutely described dis‐
    ease costs many a man his earthly days of comfort. What
    a price for human knowledge! But the price does not ex‐
    ceed the original cost. God said of the tree of knowledge,
    which bears the fruit of sin, disease, and death, “In the
    day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
    (The margin note here is the “Higher standards for mortals” you alluded to through out your writing.)
    The less that is said of physical structure and laws, and
    it the more that is thought and said about moral
    and spiritual law, the higher will be the stand‐
    ard of living and the farther mortals will be re‐
    moved from imbecility or disease
    We should master fear, instead of cultivating it. It
    was the ignorance of our forefathers in the departments
    of knowledge now broadcast in the earth, that made them
    hardier than our trained physiologists, more honest than
    our sleek politicians.”
    I normally wouldn’t use such a long quote, but in this case she says it best!

  17. I’m glad you included those quotes and I hope others read them!

  18. Amen and amen. Thanks Amy.

  19. Hey Amy! Thanks for sharing this with me. And although I agree in great part that our mental state has a lot to do with how the rest our being will navigate through the mess, I think that acknowledging a problem is the first step in being able to have the right mindset.

    BTW according to the cancer.org, many cancer deaths are down. So perhaps some awareness helped along the way.

    I am here.

    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/news/cancer-statistics-report-death-rate-down-23-percent-in-21-years

  20. Acknowledging, but not dwelling…people tend to identify themselves with their disease: “my” cancer, “my” diabetes, etc. and often join “support” groups…not a good idea, imho.

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