Grief and Shock as a Root Cause of Illness

HMM. I HAVE BEEN CHEWING SOME serious spiritual cud in the last couple of months around the root causes of illness.

As a yogi, I perceive certain cause-effect inter-connections that may not be apparent to the naked eye because since early childhood,  I have been able to sense the different energy ‘sheaths’ as they are known in yogic physiology to know what is going on in the subtle fields. And I tell you, all is not what it seems…all misalignment of the inner sheaths starts with a thought in the mental field which affects the emotional which – if long term – will cause disruption in the physical sheath.

I have always said if you clear the mind, you will clear the physical ailment if you catch it in time. We can IMMEDIATELY lose a headache if we hear good news, as much as we can feel sick if we drop our wallets. I am flippant here because esoteric anatomy and yogic physiology is extremely complex, and here is not the place for me to blind you with that kind of knowledge.

I had reasons to consider grief and shock as a fundamental cause when I asked somebody recently how long they had been suffering from wipeout chronic fatigue and dizziness, and the straight, immediate answer was: “Ever since a major loss and shock 7 years ago.” Aha, so the lady knew exactly what her body was telling her –  to the point of when and where. Interestingly,  I am not surprised. Are you? Something feels right, doesn’t it?

In many energetic healing modalities – if not also in regular medical practice – there is the question:”Since when?” And I started thinking about all the dramatic loves and losses we experience from early life, and how many shocks we have in a year. Think about it – loss of  a job or income, loss of a lover/spouse/partner whether as a separation or bereavement; God forbid, loss of a child or sibling, parents and if I may say without facetiousness, a beloved family pet.

I remember when I was at school aged 14-15, my friend broke down sobbing in the English class because her horse, Zhivago, had been put down by the vet  that morning. In those days the teachers were viciously brutal, and she was told ruthlessly to pull herself together immediately, and read the next line from Macbeth. We cowered in devastated sympathy listening to her hoarse, convulsed voice.

I continue: there is the shock of a mortgage/rental increase, a bad accident, news of an illness, a house fire, cyber-bullying, identity and credit-card theft and all the other delightful 21st century whoopies that have come in to grace our lives.

And here it comes – what about PTSD? What about the war veterans? Who looks after them? How many turn to alcohol, drugs  and self-harm because of the atrocities they have seen? After the world wars, there were sanatoria where shell-shocked, deeply disturbed skeletons of shattered men were permitted to rest under medical supervision for extended convalescence until deemed well enough to go home. EXTENDED, please. Many never overcame the memories of combat, and the terror of the chase and Armageddon of death – and still committed suicide anyway.

What about victims of sexual assault, knife crime and GBH, and their families? or people coping with a murder of a loved one? And what about long term? Yes, we know about clinical depression and self-harm which is profound unexpressed anger and rage and which sits in the etheric liver. The treatment is anti-depressants which numbs the pain. But where then does the pain go? It stays hovering to manifest as something else … because the emotions causing it have an unresolved energy which is weakening the physical sheath. Notice here the connection with the liver and numbing through alcohol.

Do you feel Parkinson’s Disease sounds as if it could manifest from extreme shock? Think about Muhammad Ali and the blows he took to his head. You will say that he was a boxer and took hits directly onto the physical. But can you envisage PTSD victims suffering later in life with Parkinson’s? Wouldn’t we silently whisper, “I wonder if anything happened in his life?” 

Do you think a person can die of a broken heart? We know that is true if we have ever truly loved somebody. And do you think you can give up the ghost and pop off to dimensions anew? So you do concede it is a choice …

Listen to me, please. If you have unresolved grief and shock that you have swept away because you are too busy and need to get on with life – I ask you to stop immediately, and slow down to nurture yourself. If during your life, there is a build-up of these unresolved thoughts and emotions, your physical sheath will reach a critical mass of energetic misalignment from the information it receives, and you will manifest an illness, if not multiple.

The tragedy starts when we swallow pharms to cure/suppress the physical illness when the root is somewhere floating out in the subtle fields. Pharms do what we know they do – no discussion here about that topic – but using the love that you really are – even if you can’t find it – there are many sweet prayers and gentle words which can bring you to a place of love eventually – and that love you give youself before anybody else. 

I have found a lovely modern prayer in a Christian book from my library.  I have edited it, and it is below.

Please, listen. For God’s sake …

Beloved, liberating God

Please, walk with people who are:

– Coming out of long-stay psychiatric hospitals

Unsure of their places and their welcome

in the communities where they want to live

– Coming out of prison after long sentences

Unsure of their ability to break the pattern

Of former behaviour and association

– Coming out of the darkness after years of anguish,

Rejection and open hostility and learning not to be

Ashamed of being LGBQT

– Coming through the bleakness of giving up drugs or alcohol

Unsure of their ability to face life without these supports

– Coming through the waters of grief and loss

Unsure of their ability to love alone

Walk, dear God, with those who counsel and support them.

                                                                                    Jean Mortimer (edited)


With love,


Selima Gurtler is a distinguished spiritual writer, philosopher, and Jnana yogi.

Her modern observations to Self-Realization and Liberation are uniquely flavoured through the perceptive eyes of her Indian and European heritage.

Free copies of her books are available for download here:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu are patrons of her work.

Title featured image adapted by Selima Gurtler



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