What causes oesophageal cancer? Mainstream medicine sees it in a certain way. However, applying a symbolic lens i.e. viewing the illness from a holistic perpsective, may lead to powerful new insights and healing approaches.
The oesophagus: its physical function
Commonly known as the food pipe, the oesophagus is the second part of the digestive system. This flexible muscular tube connects the mouth to the stomach, and with a valve (sphincter) at each end. The core function of the oesophagus is to transport chewed food and fluid via involuntary muscular contractions (peristalsis) for digestion.
Psychological importance and symbolism
By applying symbolic sight, we can appreciate the role of the oesophagus, afresh. According to some authors, notably Thorwald Dethlefsen & Rudiger Dahlke:
- As the “carrier or passageway” that “moves important things forward”, the oesophagus represents movement and change.
- It points to the “conflict between flexibility and resistance”. The triumph of flexibility facilitates change.
- It also symbolises “doing the job effectively, without attachment to any outcome”.
What causes oesophageal cancer: a broader view
Many people resist the free flow of life and try to exert unnatural control over it. This creates barriers.
- Even though you can make different choices you can limit yourself and be stuck in a situation. Often, this can be due to your own inflexibility
- You may find it hard to exercise choice or express oneself.
- Or your unwillingness to co-operate or participate can gradually create a sense of disengagement and leave you feeling like a misfit.
2. Joy and Grief
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a different view and point to a correlation between digestive disorders and the emotions of Joy & Grief.
TCM emphasises harmony, balance and moderation in all aspects of life. For example,
- Joy is a positive emotion, but lack of, or excessive joy, can be a cause of concern.
- In the same way, excessive worry and unprocessed grief can also disturb your system’s balance.
- Such imbalances can block the flow of your vital energy (Qi or Prana) and ultimately manifest in disease.
- What aspects of your life are you unwilling to ‘take-in’, but forced to ‘swallow’?
- What are you resisting? Also what will help you to be more open/ flexible?
- Where do you feel ‘stuck’? How do you ‘push-through’ and move forward?
- What life-choices do you want to exercise, but feel unable to or constrained by? Also, how can you create more options for yourself?
- When do you express yourself honestly and openly – particularly your aggressive feelings? When do you hold back (and why)?
- What are some losses (material/interpersonal/ symbolic) which you may not have fully mourned? Also, what will light up the dark passageway?
- What are your primary sources of joy? How often do you engage/spend time with them
- In what situations do you feel like you don’t belong, or are a misfit? What prompts you to participate/ cooperate?
- “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay: Read review here.
- “Anatomy Of The Spirit” by Caroline Myss. Read review here.
- “The Healing Power of Illness“ by Dahlke and Dethlefsen. Read review here.
- “Traditional Chinese Medicine Approaches To Cancer” by Henry McGrath.
- “Molecules Of Emotion” by Candace Pert.
- “Cancer As A Turning Point” by Lawrence LeShan. Read review here.
- “The Type C Connection” by Lydia Temoshok and Henry Dreher. Read more here.