In Beyond Medicine: Exploring a New Way of Thinking, Dr. Richard A. Dicenso attempts to integrate a new age spiritual awareness with medical science. Whereas traditional medicine only focuses on the physical realm of the body and confuses symptoms with disease, new age thinking aligns the mind, feelings and intentionality with health and the very creation of one’s reality.

He begins the book distinguishing between “physical”, “biochemical” and “virtual” modes of being. The virtual world stands opposite the physical realm, conjoined by biochemical processes that allows them to communicate and interact.  Ignoring any individual realm will lead to health problems as they interact with each other on all levels.

Dicenso distinguishes 7 of what he calls “caveats.”

1) Anything can cause anything. The law of cause and effect exists only in the physical realm, not the virtual or biochemical, but symptoms can originate from any realm [ed: not very clear about this point – why no cause/effect in the biochemical realm? And if disease is “caused” by problems and imbalances in the “virtual” realm?].

2) For every action there is a reaction, but it is very difficult to determine the particulars of the reaction.

3) Everything works in a unique way. Procedures for treating symptoms will vary for each person.

4) There are no panaceas. The origins of symptoms must be identified to be effectively treated. We must be willing to do the hard work of unearthing the true cause of our disease.

5) When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Everyone has a unique perspective, which defines the problem itself. Each perspective may contain some truth, but only partially.

6) When you hear hoof beats, look for horses. Begin searching for solutions to problems in the most obvious places.

7) Everything is what it isn’t. Perspectives used to define problems will help create the reality of that problem. Expanding our awareness allows for new solutions and alters the very nature of the problem.

About 20% of Dicenso’s patients present with chronic and non-responsive problems he calls VCD‘s or Vicious Cycle Disorders, the origins of which are very difficult to discover.

The symptoms of problems, however, serve a number of different functions. They push us to action; focus our attention; illuminate directions for change; and highlight desires. Symptoms reveal patterns of being that restrict our choices, such as: repetitive thoughts and emotions; behavior learned in childhood; our daily habits; alienation from our spiritual nature.

We are free to choose our actions and behaviors. Some disorders are the product of habits gone bad and taken to an extreme, such as becoming an alcoholic. A couple of drinks in the evening can be a great way to relax, but drink too many and problems arise. Same with attitudes: anger may prevent us from being exploited, but carrying around too much eats away at our health.

Feelings are recorded in the cells of our body and if not properly processed will remain in the body’s “memory” where they can create symptoms and problems throughout our life.

Quantum physics can shed some light on our understanding of VCD’s. Energy can take the form of a wave or a particle, but never both at the same time as observation “causes” one or the other form to emerge. The same is true for symptoms of VCD’s. Our thoughts and feelings – our world view – determines what is possible and what constitutes our “reality.” Old childhood thoughts and feelings alienate us from the virtual realm of spirit where we can discover our higher self.

The development of (self) awareness is critical when attempting to change bad habits and alleviate symptoms. Awareness allows us to integrate the 3 realms of our being and pick and choose which thoughts and feelings are healthy and which should be discarded. Awareness is a way of bringing unconscious material into consciousness where it can be shaped, rather than acting upon us through the form of symptoms. We can actively shape our reality, or become the passive victims of unconscious conflicts.

Awareness also directs our attention. We can choose to remain fixated on unhealthy habits or embrace positive thoughts and feelings. Important is that what we CHOOSE to focus our attention on will materialize and become our reality. Actions follow thoughts and we are in the driver’s seat. Increasing self-awareness builds our relationship to the virtual or spiritual realm, where the infinite potential of the universe is ours for the imagining.