What is illness?
The Dalai Lama once wrote in Power of Compassion that, “all sentient beings, particularly human beings, want happiness and do not want pain and suffering. On those grounds, we have every right to be happy and to use different methods or means to overcome suffering and to achieve happier lives. It is worthwhile to think seriously about the positive and negative consequences of these methods. You should be aware that there are differences between short-term interest and long-term interest is more important.
So, what does this mean? First, it points out that each of us has a deeply innate desire for wellness. This is because; we are each gods of our own universe, the intricate microscopic ecosystem that creates what we have defined as “body”. Our bodies are filled with tiny microscopic life forms that have no idea of our existence or of their purpose in sustaining our existence. They just do what they do without purpose, which ultimately sustains their life. When they stop doing what they do, or are prevented from doing what they do by forces outside themselves, the god of their particular universe becomes ill. So, in theory, if our cells are unhappy, we are unhappy. If the universe within us is unhappy, the universe beyond us will appear to be the same.
There are several theories on what causes illness and how we should cure it. The problem is that many of us don’t understand what we are trying to cure. An outward sign of illness is usually the symptom of a combination of factors stemming from an origin. For example, someone is suffering from extreme headaches. They choose to take an aspirin to help elevate the headache, the pain subsides, but will come back because aspirin can not change the fact that the person suffering from the headache has two shots of espresso in the morning with a large latte chaser and three Krispie Kream droughts followed by soft drinks in the afternoon and maybe one glass of water. In this case the headaches are an outward sign that this person needs more water, not aspirin. Though this may prevent unhappiness by easing the pain of the headache, in the long term the body will become more dehydrated affecting the universe that creates that person. This can lead to skin problems, organ problems, retention of water when it is consumed, and a number of other disorders that an aspirin cannot cure.
So, as stated in the beginning quote, it is in our best interest to understand illness so that we can choose the appropriate method for addressing it. To do this we must understand what illness is. My theory, based on all my research, is that illness, in most of its forms, is in someway connected to, or caused by, our captivity. Essentially human beings are living in a world they designed with good intentions. Well into the creation of this world we began to see its side effects. These side effects are forms of illness that we created through our determination to build a better life for ourselves. Along the way we redefined what a “better life” was and lost sight of our original intent, which was health and happiness. Now, many of us unknowingly sacrifice health and happiness to have what we now define as a “better life”. It’s an amazing deception and causes most of the illness we endure today. For example, someone sits at a desk all day performing his or her job while staring at a computer screen. This is not a natural position for a human being, and will ultimately affect the body system in several negative ways. When our movement is inhibited, our lymphatic system cannot function. This combined with drawn in shoulders, forward neck, strained eyes, compressed spine, and stretched rhomboids (back muscles) will eventually cause various parts of the body system to become imbalanced and cause pain and illness… especially if we feed it chemicals to exert what energy it has left to keep us going through the day until we eventually crash on the couch, immovable, in front of another brightly lit screen that allows us to live the “good life” vicariously through others. As we continue doing this day after day we begin to develop illness within our body which affect not only the way we feel, but our ability to interact in the world outside of our body.
I am not saying that everyone should quit their jobs, shave their heads, join a commune, and weave baskets for the rest of their lives. We have created a society that would collapse in on itself if we all woke up at the same time and decided to break free from the causes of our imbalance… plus many of us have a family and a mortgage to take care of. Some of us even like our jobs and look forward to going to them every day no matter how much it may be affecting our overall state of being. What I am suggesting is that, by understanding the cause of our illnesses, we give ourselves knowledge to eliminate any future symptoms caused by imbalance. With knowledge we can choose an appropriate method to counteract the damage we are doing to our bodies, bring us back into balance, while creating positive long-term effects that increase our quality of life.
Short term -ignore the cause and take care of the symptom Long term - understand the cause in order to reduce or eliminate all symptoms.
The energy our bodies can produce is endless when taken care of. The more energy, the more balanced it becomes. The more balanced we become, the more happiness becomes our state of being. Western medicine, though well intentioned, is better at alleviating our symptoms than helping us treat what caused the imbalance in the first place. We can live without anger. We can live without fear. The causes of most illness are in our mind. They can be discovered, managed, and eliminated so that we experience a new perception of reality without constantly having to contend with the symptoms of our delusions.
The knowledge is out there. The path to wellness is change.