In Part 1 of this four-part blog series, I discussed how there’s no place for blame, shame, or guilt in any healing conversation, and nobody should ever feel like it’s their fault if they’re sick. In Part 2, I talked about the importance of healing not only the conscious mind, but the subconscious mind, which operates our programs ninety-five percent of the time. In this blog post, I’d like to talk about the road block I hit when writing my book Mind Over Medicine—the question of “Why do some people do everything ‘right,’and yet they get sick or stay sick anyway?”

You might argue, for example, that my friend Kris Carr, who is thriving with Stage 4 cancer and has been for ten years, should be cancer-free. After all, she religiously eats a raw foods, vegan diet, drinks her green juice and does detox cleanses, tends to the health of her mind, is passionately pursuing a calling, surrounds herself with those who love and nurture her, meditates, and attends to her own self care. Yet, she still has cancer.

Is she doing something “wrong?” Abso-freakin’-lutely not. And if you’re like Kris, doing everything you can to optimize the health of your body, but you’re still saddled with an illness, it’s not your fault either.

So Why Do Some People Experience Spontaneous Remissions and Others Stay Sick?

This is the question that ultimately tripped me up when I was writing Mind Over Medicine. And the scientific data failed me here. I ultimately determined that the answer isn’t so much scientific as spiritual.

I believe our souls come to this earth because we’ve agreed to learn something in this life. And perhaps, for some of us, illness is a vehicle by which our soul gets to grow and learn and wake up. As a doctor, I’ve seen over and over that illness can be a potent opportunity for spiritual awakening—if you’re able to resist the temptation to fall into victimhood.

I’m not suggesting that some punishing God slaps people with illness so they can learn a lesson. But perhaps, on some spiritual plane, we sign up to be sick so we can learn the lessons we’re here to learn. And in order to fully express those lessons, we need the illness.

Not to suggest that she ever “signed up” for Stage 4 cancer, but you might even argue that Kris Carr’s message of hope is even more potent because she still has cancer. While it would be super inspiring if her body demonstrated a radical spontaneous remission, I find it even more inspiring that she’s able to be so present in the moment and that she thrives in the face of stage 4 cancer. What a role model for all of us to find our peace in the present moment rather than future tripping about what tomorrow might hold!

Illness as a Vehicle for Awakening

If some of us are sick because our souls have something to learn, the key comes in being willing to make peace with the journey. Not to suggest that anyone should ever give up hope or stop trying to heal the body, but perhaps the real healing comes in accepting what is and fighting against it. If illness can be a vehicle for awakening and you’re fighting an illness, are you taking advantage of the lessons inherent in the healing journey?

What is your illness trying to teach you?

What is your soul here to learn?

Are you willing to be a humble student of life? Will you let your body teach you what it’s trying to communicate?

If you’re already doing everything you can to optimize the health of your body and mind, can you make peace with things as they are? Can you trust the divine path you’re traveling?

The Difference Between Healing and Curing

In the last part of this blog series, I’m going to address one key point: the difference between healing and curing.

What do you think about all this? Please share your stories—your triumphs, your frustrations, your thoughts—in the comments below.

Trusting your journey,


Lissa Rankin, MD is the creator of the health and wellness communities and, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary. Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself and check her out on Twitter and Facebook.

*Photo Credit: madlyinlovewithlife via Compfight cc