The Deeper (Spiritual) Meaning of Cancer

There is a meaning, a message in any illness that we need to understand in order to heal. When we contemplate on the essence of an illness, we come to the deeper meaning of it. The most characteristic trait of cancer is absolute freedom. Cancer cells do not obey any laws set forth by the human body: they multiply without restriction, they take all the nutrients and oxygen they want, and they travel to any organ at will.

This is freedom in the wrong place. On the physical level, every cell and every function of the body need to follow organ specific, strict and predictable laws, otherwise illness and/or pain occur.

On the spiritual level, however, the opposite is true: freedom of expression, creativity, and individuality are the laws we need to follow. There is nobody else on earth who comes close to our individual creativity. Every one of us is unique.

The purpose of life is to express God’s love. How can we do this?

First, we have to become conscious about our thinking, feeling, and actions. This is what Zen is all about: mindful awareness in all we think, feel, and do.

The following seven exercises are meditations to raise our consciousness and transform thoughts and feelings into positive energy:

1. Seriousness needs to be transformed into humor
2. Imitation needs to be transformed into creativity
3. Doubt needs to be transformed into faith
4. Hatred needs to be transformed into love
5. Fear needs to be transformed into courage
6. Despair needs to be transformed into hope
7. Wish to die needs to be transformed into will to live

As an example you can focus on day one on seriousness. Remind yourself in the morning that you want to be conscious about your seriousness. Whenever you become aware of it, try to lighten up, look at the situation and find something humorous in it, something that you can enjoy. This takes obviously practice, but these exercises will be very rewarding, and remember: don’t despair, there is always hope!

Second, we have to find our selves, to find out who we are and why we are here, how we can bring out the best in others and ourselves. This is a very personal, individual path. We need to use our freedom to find out. This is not done by imitating somebody else or stepping into our parents’ footsteps. Unfortunately, we often go the path of least resistance. In most cases, there are two areas where we are “opportunistic”, and the consequences work against expressing our true selves, our creativity, and our uniqueness: in our intimate relationships and in our careers. 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Many marriages that do not end in divorce are merely working relationships. Only 10% of all Americans enjoy their jobs.

Of course we need to look at our life style: eating habits, exercise, stress, etc and help the body fight cancer with medicines that destroy the tumor, support and detox the organism and modulate the immune system. However healing is ultimately an inner path rather than jetting across continents to centers that offer the latest cures and run up credit cards for paper bags of supplements.

Recommended books:

– Love, Medicine, and Miracles by Bernie Siegel
– Cancer as a Turning Point by Lawrence LeShan
– Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins



Peter Hinderberger, M.D., Ph.D., DIHom practices at Ruscombe. The mission of his practice is to promote optimal wellbeing by providing health care through an integrated approach, combining conventional and complementary therapies, which include Anthroposophic medicine, homeopathy, and salutogenesis.

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