Greg Anderson is one of those rare individuals who has miraculously harnessed the power of god to save his own life and help thousands of others save theirs. co He describes his path of wellness as magical and gives us steps to make the magic in our own lives Greg knows first-hand that all the modern medical treatments cannot save lives; everyone has to take personal responsibility for their wellness.
Over ten years ago Greg was told he had a month to live. Today he writes and lectures about how he changed his illness into a blessing for us all. His message is to improve your health, not only with the usual physical practices like exercise, but through your spirituality. He has a network of support for people with life-threatening illnesses called the Cancer Conquerors. He is a respected authority and a recognized leader in alternative health care methods.
Greg was a tough-minded businessman when his cancer struck. His touching personal story in The 22 Non-negotiable Laws of Wellness moves you to understand the strength and courage it took for him to change his life. HE went through days of forgiveness to purify his body.
As I talked with him I found myself admiring him as a person, but more than that, admiring him for his commitment of share his blessing with the world. His life is a miracle. In this interview, he shares his philosophy about what makes life worthwhile. Surprisingly enough, he does not does not feel it is your health. His message is for everyone, not only those with an illness.
Jill: How did you get started on your mission of healing?
Greg: I am a psychologist who had a connection with a religious organization in 1984 and was involved in a ministry. a somewhat religious person, and by the rules I was religious, but I certainly wasn't spiritual. then, all of a sudden, I had a cough that wouldn't quit. After poking and prodding we discovered it was caused by cancer and I had my left lung removed. I thought, "Close call, but I made it."
Four months later I had a lymph node that just exploded. They opened me up and quickly closed. The next day the surgeon said, "I don't know how to tell you this, but the tiger is out of the cage." My cancer came roaring back. He gave me about 30 days to live. That was in December of 1984.
I was confronted with the question, "What do you do when you have only 30 days to live?" One thing I had working for me was my own will to live. Part of it was my year-old daughter. I wanted to see her grow up.
Although it started out as an iron-fisted, white knuckle will to live, it evolved to what I can only describe as a spiritual path. My path to health is not only diet and exercise, it is a spiritual way to health. That is were the search needs to quickly lead whether we are dealing with physical problems or whether we are simply living life.
Jill: Have you seen the spiritual practices work in a lot of cases?
Greg: Yes, part of my work since that time was to start the Cancer Conqueror Foundation. We have over three4e hundred support groups around the country. In fact, we have a database of over 11,000 people who have been told they have a life-threatening illness, though not necessarily terminal. It is really from that base where my work comes.
Some people say I am too spiritual for the medical community, but I am a bug on scientific methods. I want to try to prove these things and I am trying to understand scientifically how meditation and prayer can help us.
Jill: Wouldn't you agree the topics you discussed in The 22 Non-negotiable Laws of Wellness are really how people should be living, not only to be used when someone I dying?
Greg: I agree. The book is divided up into six major sections. They are: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, vocational, and spiritual. These philosophies are a powerful determinant of life satisfaction. They are the contexts in which we live. I want people to understand there is power in this approach to living. I will focus on the vocational and spiritual for this interview. I used to believe if you had your health you had everything. That is not true. If you have a purpose, if you have a mission, then you have everything. If you are on a spiritual path you will always have the amount of health you need to fulfill your mission. Some people say they want to live to be one hundred, but is that part of their mission.
Jill: The big dilemma with a mission is finding it. How do you know what it is?
Greg: There are three thing you have to consider. First, focus on the missionary. People say, "Oh yeah, I should have a life mission." The first mission we have is to live in the constant presence of God. It is sometimes a difficult task. Some days, some hours, some minutes are wonderful, but some days are not so good. Our first mission is this connection, this alignment. This is the number one requirement.
absorbing is of such Number two is service right where you are. Most people think they are going to have this mountain-top experience and see the big picture. The big picture is how you and I live on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis. We need to determine what we can do to make this world better. It means love, peace, and forgiveness day-to-day right were we are. We need to do things like give a word of encouragement to a person doing service to us. When we start doing that we change the world and our lives.
Third, we must take our unique gifts and talents to a larger scale. Each of us simply needs to look within and find that unique talent interest to you that when you b\do it you just lose track of everything?
In order to get our mission clearly in mind, we need to write mission statements. Each member of my family has mission statements. We also have a family mission statement. We take the New Year's holiday vacation and we review our mission statements and make our modifications.
Jill: Are they concrete or general statements?
Greg: They are fairly concrete. WE summarize them in one sentence to start and then we clarify them. My mission is to create wellness. I am not only creating it for myself, but for the world. For myself, wellness means being in the conscious presence, make the world a little bit better for the people I meet, and use the talents I have been given.
When I say "create wellness" I mean if first for me, then those right around me, then the larger picture. That mission statement helps me keep the focus. For me, one of the first things is to communicate this message through writing. Another of my missions is to be a happy husband and father. I changed it two years ago from "effective" husband and father.
Jill: Do your read your mission statement daily?
Greg: Not everyday, but once or twice a week. It gives me clarity. When I need to make a decision I can always refer to it to make that decision. Mission statements give mental, emotional, and spiritual clarity. They are not as effective if they aren't written down. It keeps me more and more on track than I have ever been in my life. I am on purpose and focused on that mission. I have found this with many people I interviewed. When you get started and continue focusing on your mission you build momentum.
It is easier to give up control when you are on your mission and you know God is the great source, the constant supply of anything and everything we need. Why would you have to worry about money or anything? For example, we needed to buy a house. We didn't have the one we were in sold. I said, "Lord, this is your issue, not mine. I am going o go about my mission." We were given $%0,000 out of the blue as soon as I was able to release it. I have been shuttering and crying over that. YOU learn to trust that more and more. This is what I mean when I way we are on the edge of magic.
Jill: My mission seems so grand to me I put up roadblocks. Do you think everyone's mission seems that grand?
Greg: I would hope everybody has keen excitement about heir mission. More than that, I hope we can get excited about putting ourselves in the constant consciousness of God. I hope we can get excited about serving the world just on a local scale.
So often we tend to want to breeze by that part of it. It starts with that personal commitment. Then the second thing is to serve the needs that have been put in front of us with love, right here, right now. Only after those two preconditions have been met will the larger picture show up. A lot of people don't see the importance of this vocational wellness. The whole issue of thinking it is not important that I get along with people, or that I don't need to be the one to take the initiative to change the relationship. is simply not realizing that all of those people have been put there for us to learn form. It is all part of a wonderful opportunity to mission, to serve.
I want your readers to know I am not someone who practices this perfectly: I am a student of this. I used to be a pretty toxic person. A -worker once told me after I had not seen her for years, "Greg, you surprise me. I never would have guessed you would have been diagnosed with cancer; I have always thought you were a carrier."
Jill: Tell me more about the spiritual context.
Greg: I feel I need to make a distinction that it is not religious. We are talking about something that is much deeper. It is not a creed or putting five hundred dollars in the offering basket each weekend. That is not were it is at.
For me, it comes down to four issues: forgiveness, gratitude, personal peace, and unconditional love. The only doorway I know to this is through forgiveness. I don't mean to be imposing a doorway for others, but I have interviewed a lot of people over the last decade who have taken this read. Most say forgiveness is the doorway. It is some of the toughest work we have to do but if we want to change a -whether it is health, or a relationship, or whatever- we need to forgive.
It is so powerful I can trace the absolute turning point in my physical recovery to the work of forgiveness. At the time I was so ill I was sown to 112 pounds. For the best part of a week I did nothing but forgiveness.
Jill: Do you still do that now?
Greg: oh yes, I try to make it a way of life. When I have a conflict my practice is to find a quiet place and meditate. The first thing I do is to look inside and see if I need to do the work of forgiveness. It is the state of mind and heart that changes within me that makes the difference3. j
Jill: Do you always know exactly what you need to go out and do? Or does it change without your doing anything?
Greg: It varies. Most of the time it requires something of me. Once I have had this change of heart and mind I typically need to take the next step. whether that is to see someone, or make a phone call, or write a letter, or face the situation. I go to the person and say, "I want to approach this again with a different set of heart and mind. would you b e willing?" Because of what I initiate, I find people absolutely changed, It is so exciting. This is the spiritual journey: constant presence,. service, and using our unique gifts. We are on the edge of magic. We are on the edge of things e do not understand. We can just experience them with awe.
Part of our responsibility id to know we are messengers. If we are going to make changers in this work we have to risk when we deal with someone who doesn't\doesn't understand where we come from. We need to make ourselves very vulnerable and say, " I am going to rise above this because this is the bests of me and this is where I am going to operate from now on." When you do that you will see miracles; not one hundred per3cent, but you will see conflict resolved. This is what I mean by saying through this one person at a time.
It is probably most difficult for you to be the agent of change for people you are closest to. You cannot do it by words, you can only do it by deed. The one who gives the most profound lessons in my life is my 12-year-old daughter because I must walk my talk around her.
Jill: What holds us back form following these logical wellness principles?
Greg: Fear holds us back. Let go of the fear and you can take the spiritual path. when you do, your life satisfaction will soar. Don't be afraid to do it, take it step-by-step. Start with forgiveness. Be grateful for the very gift of life you have been given every day, every month. Take the attitude of gratitude in your daily life. See peace. Be loving, not of what is coming to you, but what is coming form you. you will change your life, you will change the world.