Every one wants to be healthy and full of vitality, but few manage to be so. Why is this so? Each person creates his own health and his own illness with the way he lives, thinks and acts.
THE LEVELS OF OUR BEING
In order to understand how we create our health, we must understand how we create our lives. It will be useful for us to take a look at the hierarchy of bodies or systems which comprise our beings as humans on the earth. The accompanying diagram will help us to comprehend this relationship between the various parts of our being more easily.
CONSCIOUS AND SUBCONSCIOUS MIND
NERVOUS SYSTEM AND
ALL THE OTHER SYSTEMS OF THE BODY
At the top of the hierarchy we have the immortal part of man called the spirit. This exists before and after his appearance on the earth as a human being in a physical body. Just below the spirit is the higher intellect which has the function of observing the function of the common mind and discriminating whether or not it is functioning correctly. It is also responsible for making corrections in the way our mental programming improving in this way our functioning and our harmony.
Below the higher intellect we have the common mind (conscious and subconscious) which we know and experience on a daily basis. The main function of this mind is survival. It is interested in finding security, pleasures and affirmation in a world which it perceives as dangerous and threatening to its existence. Just below that we have the energy body which is comprised of bioenergy, the energy of life which supports all life functions from eating and digesting, moving, singing to thinking, heating up the body and the creation of new cells.
This bioenergy is essential for the proper functioning of both the physical body and the mind. It is the key to health and harmony. If the body is lacking in energy, it will be more susceptible and vulnerable to various foreign bodies and malfunctioning organs. If the mind is lacking energy, it will develop negative thinking patterns which will create disharmony in the endocrine and nervous system and eventually in all the body.
The last body is one which all know well and which most believe to be our only body. It is the physical body made up of atoms and molecules. There is also a hierarchy of functioning in this body. There are two master systems called the nervous and endocrine systems which regulate the functioning of the other systems of the body.
THE NEED FOR A MULTIFACETED APPROACH
Thus we can see how related all these parts of our being are. If we have a mental tension, this can create a disturbance in the flow of bioenergy which in turn can create tension in the nervous system and disharmony in the endocrine system. This will eventually create malfunctioning in the digestive, circulatory, immunological, skeletal or respiratory, or muscular systems.
On the other hand, poor eating habits or poor posture or lack of exercise can create a malfunctioning of the various systems such as the digestive, skeletal or muscular systems, which in turn may create disturbances in the nervous and endocrine systems. These systems then transfer the disturbance to the energy body which in turn disturbs the functioning of the mind creating mental tension, negative thought patterns and eventually negative behavior.
It is now easy to see why a real solution to any health problem must be approached from many levels simultaneously. To give a specific chemical substance to remove some symptom in the digestive system is a superficial, and of course temporary, solution to a problem which is actually the result of our way of life and thinking.
THERE IS ONE SOURCE OF LIFE
Natural therapy is a process in which an individual is educated in the art of how to live in such a way as to put himself into harmony with the flow of universal life energy. There is one basic life energy which gives life to all the various types of beings on the earth.
The one electrical current in a house can give life to a wide variety of appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, stereo systems, TV, electrical fans, vacuum cleaners, can openers, juicers and even computers and a wide list of others. All of these appear differently and perform different functions such as movement, heating, cooling, creating sound, or air or calculating numbers and ideas. Yet they all operate on the one and same electrical power. The same is true of all beings in nature including people, animals, plants, microbes, and even, if you like, crystals and minerals. We all function on the same universal energy which you might want to call nature, bioenergy, cosmic energy, universal consciousness or even God.
Health is a dynamic condition in which this life energy is flowing freely without obstruction through the various levels of our being. This means that there is a free flow of harmonious energy through the soul, higher intellect, mind, energy body and physical body. If there is a disturbance or blockage of flow in any of these aspects of our beings, then illness gradually develops in the form of unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms may be physical such as pain, numbness, weakness or malfunctioning of various organs. Or symptoms may be emotional such as depression, fear, bitterness, mental confusion, or conflict with others, etc.
THE LAWS OF NATURE
There are various laws of nature which govern the free flow of this life energy through our bodies and minds. These universal laws are like the various laws discovered by science like gravity, the attraction of opposite electrical charges, and Newton’s laws of thermodynamics. The function in an absolute way on all beings. The animals and plants in nature do not have any choice as to whether to follow the universal laws or natural laws or not. They live unconsciously in harmony with these laws, being mechanically governed by forces greater than they. We human beings, however, have the free choice to live or not live in harmony with these laws. When we live in harmony with the laws of nature, we experience health, happiness and harmony. When we continually disregard these laws we experience illness, happiness and disharmony.
We are now learning to live consciously in harmony with nature. We have for many years ignored these laws, and have polluted not only the world around us but also our own bodies and minds, and even our relationships with others. This has happened through our mistaken idea that we can become happy by disconnecting ourselves from the world around us and seeking personal security, pleasure and affirmation without giving importance to the consequences of our actions on the beings and situations in our environment. Unfortunately we have now learned the hard way that this does not bring happiness, nor security. We are becoming gradually conscious of the truth or our ultimate unity and need to live in harmony and paying attention to the results of our actions on all beings.
Most children are healthy and full of vitality. Some are relaxed because they feel the nurtured and protected by their parents. When we mature into adults, we feel the responsibility to protect ourselves and our families. This leads to an ego centered survival attitude. As we eventually mature spiritually, we become aware of the nurturing and protecting energy of the universal spirit and are once again as relaxed as a child, but we are now conscious. We regain our free flow of life energy and health and harmony.
ILLNESS LEADS US TO HEALTH
Properly used, the symptoms of any illness can become stimuli which direct us back to health. When the symptoms are ignored or covered up with tranquilizers or other chemical substances so that they are no longer heard, we no longer have the motive and the clues which we need in order to reorganize our lives towards real health. The accompanying diagram may help us to understand this.
We see a river which flows from right to left. This is the river of life, which flows from ignorance to enlightenment, from separateness to unity, from fear to fearlessness, from mortality to immortality, from suffering to bliss, from unconsciousness to omniscience, from selfishness to love. We are all floating down this river, each at his own pace. Most do not trust this “river of life” and try to attach themselves to the bank or twigs in order to gain the feeling of stability or lack of change which makes them feel secure. People do not like change. They feel insecure when things change, even if they change for the better. Sometimes people get used to illness; they feel secure with their state and all of its side realities – such as attention from others, or being the victim. The possibility of change frightens them, even if it means health.
While we are moving down this river, trusting in life and following the guidelines of the natural laws of flow, we enjoy happiness, health and contentment. When for some reason we tend to move out of the flow of evolution or get stuck in some particular place, we start to get symptoms called illness or unhappiness. These are feedback signals from life itself which come in order to cause us to readjust our ways of eating, living and thinking so that we can once again come into the mainstream flow of our evolution.
When we stray off the path of evolution for long periods of time, our condition worsens and the messages get stronger such as unbearable pain, insomnia, intense conflicts with ourselves and with others. In such cases the situation may get so bad that there is no other choice but drastic measures such as chemical drugs, surgery, or in the case of relationships, separation.
We would do well to listen to the messages we are getting from life early so that we do not need to resort to such drastic measures which in themselves are quite destructive to our health and harmony and take many years to recover from. Our main obstacle towards flowing with the river of life is attachment. We out of ignorance have come attached to certain ways of eating, living and thinking which may at one time have been useful to us. But as we move down the river maturing and evolving emotionally, mentally and spiritually, we need to be able to let go of old sources of security, pleasure or affirmation and adopt new ones. Our mistrust in our own power and in the flow of life are the main obstacles to our being able to make these changes, and flow again with the river of life. Here is where the help of a lifestyle educator may become useful.
LIFE STYLE EDUCATORS
A life style educator is an individual who has studied theoretically and practically the effect of various ways of living and thinking on our human health and harmony. Some would tend to call him or her a therapist. But this word does not describe his function. He does not heal. He educates people in how to eat, live and think in harmony with the laws of nature. He is an educator. He may at time play a role similar to that of a therapist, psychologist, priest, teacher or even the role of a simple friend. The difference is that, unlike the other professions, he never takes on the responsibility for the others’ physical, mental or spiritual condition. He is there to listen to the person and after hearing about his way of living and thinking, to offer him some suggestions about what he might be doing or not doing which might be responsible for his lack of health or harmony. He may go so far as to suggest certain exercises for the body, breath and mind which may recreate vitality, peace and harmony.
But the therapist is the individual himself. He will heal himself if he chooses to take his life in his hands and make the necessary changes. Otherwise, there will be no result. There is no magical formula for health and happiness other than realigning ourselves with the flow of universal life energy. One can learn how to do this.
The only real healing is self therapy through a change of life style. Other methods can bring only temporary relief. Our symptoms may disappear with some other method, but if we do not change living habits eventually the inherent disorder which remains will express itself elsewhere perhaps with other symptoms.
ONE SYMPTOM – MANY CAUSES
In dealing with a particular problem, a headache for example, we must realize that there can be many different causes. The solution to a problem, of course, will depend on the cause. Thus the most important aspect of healing ourselves is to determine what the real cause of our problem is and not simply what the symptoms are . Symptoms are clues which can help us discover what the real problem is.
In that case of the headache there are a wide variety of possible causes. Some possibilities might be: 1. An accumulation of toxins, especially if there is a history of constipation. 2. High blood pressure. 3. Low blood pressure. 4. Anemia. 5. Hormonal disturbance. 6. Emotional tensions. 7. Insomnia. 8. Disturbances in the digestive system. 9. Displacement or salt deposits in the cervical vertebrae. 10. A brain tumor. 11. A weakened or disturbed nervous system. 12. Eye problems, or 13. Circulatory disturbances in the brain or scalp.
One’s headache may be the result of one or more of these or even of other unmentioned factors. If we want to find what adjustments must be made, or which exercises or breathing techniques or dietary guidelines would be most beneficial, we need to be able to determine the causes.
How one may diagnose the cause of his problems is a long and complicated subject. Most would do well to go to a doctor who is experienced in the process of diagnosis. But one would do well to explain to the doctor that one is not interested in simply removing symptoms, but would like some information concerning how one could live in such a way as to heal the real cause in natural ways. It is amazing how many doctors are willing and able to help a patient cure himself in this way. We quite frequently have doctors send patients to the center to learn to relax through exercise breathing and relaxation. More and more doctors everyday are discovering the invaluable benefit of this age old system of physical and mental maintenance.
THE FLOW OF LIFE FORCES
What is the form which these life forces take in the physical body and how can we facilitate their flow?
1. Blood is the basic transport system of the body. Through the blood all the cells of the body are supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones, antibodies essential for their vitality, and healthy functioning. The blood also serves as a waste removal system which carries away various toxic substances which disturb and eventually poison and kill the cells. Thus our first goal in healing a certain part of the body is to discover how we can through dietary guidelines, exercises, body position and breathing or other techniques purify and increase the flow of blood to the parts of the body which are suffering. (Except in cases where there is hemorrhage or the possibility of thrombosis).
We will also be interested in bringing blood to other parts of the body which may have some direct relationship with the functioning of the particular part of the body which is suffering. Thus, in most cases, because of the governing role of the nervous and endocrine systems, we are interested in ensuring abundant blood flow to the various endocrine glands, the brain and the spinal column.
Blood flow may at times be stimulated by other technical means such as heat in the form of compresses, hot water bottles, hot baths, massage on the he body parts, or reflexology massage on the sole of the foot. Of course, there will be situations in which some or all of these techniques may be counter-indicated. One should always consult one’s doctor or some health professional if one is not sure about whether certain procedures are applicable or not for one’s specific condition.
I would also like to express an important point before continuing. This text is both philosophical and practical but not to be used as a guide for self therapy, for there are many other factors which one would have to consider before setting out to heal himself.
2. Our nervous system is the communication network between the mind-brain complex and rest of the organs of the body. If this system is not functioning well, we can expect all sorts of malfunctionings and disturbances in the body and mind. It would be like the telephone system of large city failing for a number of weeks or months. The results would be disastrous.
Thus we are interested in freeing the nervous system of any blockages, tensions or toxins which may be disturbing or limiting its efficient functioning. This means ensuring the proper flow of nutrients to the brain and caring for the flexibility of the spinal column and the relaxation of the nerves in all parts of the body on a daily basis.
3. The endocrine system supplies chemical hormones to the various organs of the body. these chemical messages regulate the function of the various organs including the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, reproductive organs, stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, kidneys and other organs of the body.
We are thus interested in creating a harmonious cooperation between these organs, and especially in the master gland called the pituitary. Many illnesses which appear in various parts of the body may be a function of hormonal disturbances. Some examples are asthma, headaches, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, cancer, allergies, nervous tension, emotional disorders and psychological problems. We are not saying that the endocrine system is the only cause in these problems, but it often plays a very important part, and thus we give much attention to these glands in our attempts to recreate health.
Recent models of the relationship between stress and illness have pointed out the major role played by the endocrine system in transferring stress to physical symptoms through the adrenals and the suppression of the immunological systems. We feel that as science continues to expand and deepen its understanding of this extremely intricate system, it will discover that it is the major factor in the creation of health and illness, and that much attention must be paid to how to keep it in harmony through exercise, breathing and relaxation as well as positive thinking.
4. In the West we have not given much attention to the factor of health called bioenergy. Recently, through the work of Rudolph Steiner, Wilhelm Reich and the method of Kirlian photography, non-believers are forced to accept the existence of this energy field which exists in and around the physical body and seems to have a great influence on its vitality and health. Lyall Watson in his book called Supernature cites some very interesting and natural phenomena which affirm clearly the existence of this energy body as independent from the physical structure.
5. The free flow of emotions and thoughts is essential for health, harmony and happiness.
Thus a lifestyle educator would help an individual determine how he could ensure the abundant and proper flow of these factors; blood, nerve messages, hormones, bioenergy and emotions and thoughts through all levels of his being through some of the methods described below.
TECHNIQUES FOR HARMONIZING THE BODY AND MIND
It must be understood that the methods described below are not separate techniques which are applied alone or in some random fashion. They are applied in combinations appropriate to each individual so as to re-establish harmony on all levels of being, physical, vital, emotional, mental and spiritual.
1. Proper diet is an essential requirement for any who wants to have a healthy body and clarity of mind. The human body was built to operate in nature on the substances which come from nature, as much as possible in their natural form. This human body does not have the capacity to break down complicated chemical substances nor to function effectively on foods which have been robbed of their essential vital forces through various forms of processing. Thus the best diet is a natural one, with vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts and dairy products.
In some cases a pure diet may not be enough to recreate one’ s lost harmony. One may need to do some fasting (under guidance) and perhaps various cleansing techniques such as enemas, cleansing of the sinuses etc.
One must also take care to avoid the various forms of «empty starch and sugar» in the form of white flour, white sugar and white rice. These deplete the body of basic B complex vitamins and various metals which in turn leave the nervous system weak and susceptible to stress, anxieties and fears.
Some may need to take various vitamin and mineral supplements for a period of time in order to strengthen their nervous systems, and in general, the vitality of the body.
2. Physical exercises are especially important to those who are living physically sedentary but mentally stressful lives. All exercises are beneficial to most bodies, but the system of yoga exercises and postures are specifically designed to bring strength and harmony to the nervous and endocrine systems.
They also balance the harmonious flow of bioenergy throughout the body. In this way they establish health and harmony at all levels of being from the digestive and muscular systems to the nervous system and the mind itself. Blood flow is enhanced, toxins are removed, tensions dissolved, organs stimulated and nerves relaxed and harmonized. After 20 years of practicing these exercises, I still remain astonished with how quickly and efficiently they can improve my state of body, energy and mind. I am grateful to them for changing my life.
3. Breathing techniques are a great asset to the modern man who develops so much stress in the form of activity, anxiety and sensual overloading through the various forms of media. Breathing techniques allow one to learn to increase the volume, slow down the rate, and develop a harmonious rhythm of breathing. This process of breathing slowly, deeply and rhythmically creates greater vital energy, peace of mind, emotional harmony and clarity of mind.
The breath is the key to the nervous system since it is both consciously and autonomically controlled. We can gain access to the autonomic nervous system and learn to relax it through developing control over our breath. Even personality problems such as lack of self confidence or depression can be effectively overcome through deep rhythmic breathing.
Eventually one may learn to breathe alternatively through each of the two nostrils so as to bring about a balancing between the active and passive energies in the body and mind, thus creating a state of inner and outer harmony and creativity.
4. Deep relaxation is a technique in which we learn to consciously and purposefully relax all the parts of the body and eventually the mind. This is a great asset to health, and effective functioning in any professional or social situation. A person who can, in a short period of time, relax his body and mind has a wonderful tool with which to face the various obstacles and tests of life. A relaxed body and mind function much more effectively and successfully in all situations.
Relaxation can also be used to send healing energy to various parts of the body or even to aspects of the mind which need healing or added energy. In the state of relaxation when the conscious and subconscious mind are both aware we can reprogram the subconscious mind with positive thoughts of health, success and happiness. We can imagine ourselves functioning more positively in life with greater assertiveness, inner peace and comfort. We can imagine ourselves healthy and happy. This has a tremendous healing effect on the body.
5. Positive thought projection as described above is a powerful healing tool for both physical and mental problems. Such positive thoughts and images can be created either in the state of relaxation or can be entertained in the mind throughout the day. They can also be written as positive affirmations twenty or more times a day. One may also make a cassette which can be turned on an hour after sleep or an hour before sleep by an automatic timer. These messages which are put on the cassette will go directly into the subconscious mind and reprogram it. The effectiveness of this has been shown by those who learn languages in this way.
6. Prayer is an ancient technique used by all religions and all cultures for calling divine healing energy into the body and mind. The words may be different but the process is the same. The individual opens himself to the flow of Divine Universal Life energy asking that it enter his own or another’s body and correct the malfunctioning that exists. The effectiveness of prayer cannot be doubted; too many people have been cured in this way. One may doubt whether it is the intervention of a divine being of the mind of the individual which is bringing about the change. But as a healing tool it makes no difference – it works for those who work it.
7. Meditation is something new to some people. All have been exposed to prayer, but fewer to meditation. They are similar but different. Meditation may also include dialogue with a divine being as does prayer. Meditation may start with prayer, but eventually the dialogue will cease and the individual will feel a dissolving of the body and the mind and a unity with the Divine. Meditation is a type of concentration on some symbol which unites us with the Divine Universal Life Energy. Eventually the symbol begins to expand, becoming more subtle so that one gradually becomes aware of an indescribable energy of consciousness flowing through and becoming one with all parts of his being.
Thus rather than praying for the universal energy to come upon him, as in prayer, one seeks to disidentify with his body and mind and merge with the universal energy. This, of course, establishes harmony on all levels of the being resulting in health, inner peace, inner guidance and harmony with one’s higher self and the world around him.
Meditation has been used effectively as a cure for high blood pressure, cancer, allergies, asthma and a wide variety of psychosomatic problems including fears and other emotional problems.
8. Creative self expression is being recognized today as an essential human need which contributes to health and whose absence can lead to a stagnation of physical and mental energies leading to illness and unhappiness. Various forms of creative self expression can be used to liberate suppressed energies which may disturb the functioning of various body organs and mental functions. Some possibilities are dance, singing, music, drawing, writing, poetry, gardening, cooking,decorating, or any other form of creative expression from developing a new business firm or scientific research to offering selfless service to the community around us.
9. Selfless service not only offers an opportunity for creative expression but also for meaningful and often loving contact with others which creates a sense of purpose in people’s lives. This is extremely healing. One gradually becomes an instrument of the flow of that universal consciousness in the form of thoughts, words and actions which better the condition of society. This is healing to both the individual and society.
These are some of the many possible techniques which might be used by an individual who is trying to re-establish health and harmony in his life. There are a wide range of external forms of help which one may need to rely on if his situation has gotten out of control. These range from drastic measures such as pharmaceutical drugs, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to more natural and less harmful forms of help such as accupunture, osteopathic manipulation, homeopathic medicine, herbs, massage, color therapy, sound therapy, or even spiritual healing, among others (new ones crop up each day as people creatively search for new ways to heal).
I feel however that one would do well to see how far he could go on his own without resorting to external factors. In this way he would make the necessary inner changes in his way of eating, living and thinking and would not become dependent on a certain drug, or a massage or some other person to restore his balance. Of course, as I have already mentioned, there will be bountiful situations which will need external help at least at first. Fortunately there are people qualified in these fields to help them.
Ideally then we would heal ourselves through a change in life style. If our situation has gotten so bad, we may then need to resort to natural forms of help mentioned above. And if even they are not able to put us into balance then we resort to more drastic measures such as surgery or drugs etc. Once we have regained our balance then we proceed from there on with the natural way of living so as to stay in harmony with the flow of universal energy.
LOVE AND WISDOM
As we gradually are able to maintain the state of harmony with the universal energies around us,we begin to realize that there are two forces which are beyond techniques which have the power to keep us continually and forever in a state of health, happiness and harmony. They are universal love and universal wisdom. They connect us through the heart center and the center of higher intelligence to the universal source of energy and harmony.
When we are able to love ourselves and all beings around us there will never be any str