The Key to Self-liberation: 1000 Diseases And Their Psychological Origins

This is a review of the 14th Dutch edition, while it looks as though the English edition currently available is a translation of an earlier edition. I don’t think that limits the value of my review, but of course I don’t have an opinion on the translation and if your disease is one not mentioned in the latest translation you’ll have to settle for a more general description.

Because what this is, is basically just what the title says: a look at disease and it’s psychological origin (or meaning). I’ll stick to meaning, because the metaphysical claim that the psychological causes all disease is one that’s just a bit too extreme for me personally.

This book came to me serendipitously. That doesn’t happen to me much: I’m the kind of person who steers a course through life, I don’t let coincidences rule me. However, as I’m in a process of change, right now I guess it does play it’s part.

I was visiting a member of our local Theosophical lodge and she showed me this book: her Bible she said. Reading up on the diseases that have plagued me over the past year I got a lump in my throat. Emotions linked to the sciatica that came up two months ago. Those ear infections, that itchy nose.

On my way home I stopped by the bookstore I’d seen the same book in a week previous to buy the latest Dutch edition (which is the language Christiane Moorland writes in. She’s from Belgium and apparently Flemish).

It’s the sort of book one expects to have been written in the 1960s, but the first edition did in fact come out in 1992.

There’s good reason for it’s popularity.

The sceptic in me says it’s no more than some psychobabble around the logical associations with disease. Well, however the book helped me make a decision (yesterday) that I’ve been working towards for months. Nor does it change the fact that in our age of excellent medical care, illness still does have a psychological side to it. And reaching that aspect of the situation is not easy, especially if you’re in the middle of dealing with the disease itself.

I’ve always been troubled with psychosomatic illness. That used to take the form of a weekend on the couch, or a fainting spell in high school. By the norms of doctors I was actually very healthy: those fainting spells stopped and an extra cold hardly registered on my general practitioners radar.

The upside is that my body tells me when I’m in trouble. The chances of me going beyond what’s right for me, aren’t very big I used to say.

And yet, that’s what I’ve been doing for three years, I conclude looking back. And yes, my body told me: from skinallergies and infections (thankfully temporary) to chronically swollen glands in my nose. With the by product of regular ear infections, at least 3 in the past 12 months. And then sciatica two months ago. That problem is mostly over by now, but I have been rather confronted with my body recently.

I do follow doctors orders, but underneath such disease does of course have a psychological meaning.

Christianne Beerlandt doesn’t just know how to diagnose the meaning, she also shows a path towards the transformation necessary to get through it.

Maybe it’s no more than giving meaning and comfort to people who need it. Maybe in future the book will get such a status that it starts working stifling. However, Christiane preempts that by saying (my translation):

Finally, let this book be a ‘Key’, but don’t hold on to it. Go on, learn by yourself, en be your own master. Don’t grab hold of the pointer on your path, you can only use it gratefully to get onto your lifepath more quickly. (p. 8 in the Dutch edition of 2011)

And, to my relief, Christiane repeats several times that of course this book is no replacement for a doctors visit in case of serious complaints.