People tend to think of breakthroughs in medicine as a new drug, laser or high-tech surgical procedure. We find it difficult to believe that the simple choices that we make in our lifestyle – what we eat, how we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, how much exercise we get, and the quality of our relationships and social support – can be as powerful as drugs and surgery. They often are; in many instances, they’re even more powerful!
As observed by then President-elect Barack Obama, talking about his own country (though of a universal dilemma):”This nation is facing a true epidemic of chronic disease. An increasing number of Americans are suffering and dying needlessly from diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and HIV/AIDS, all of which can be delayed in onset if not prevented entirely….if we want to make affordable health care available to the 45 million Americans who do not have health insurance, then we need to address the fundamental causes of health and illness, and provide incentives for healthy ways of living rather than reimbursing only drugs and surgery”.
Does this make sense to the lay person faced with this dichotomy? What is a person with serious health issues to do? It can seem hopeless and unfair. They worry if can they afford to pay for expensive procedures. They worry if the procedure will work. The anxiety surrounding ‘doing’ of itself can lead to a deterioration of health, or what I call Mindful-mess.
Each day, Mindful-ness, of health in particular, and life in general, is for anyone to choose. In the face of bewildering advice most find they take no action at all and stay with what they know, which is the state provision of healthcare or insurance funded care. I believe it doesn’t matter what country we live in, or what healthcare provision we have, what makes a difference is entirely up to us as individuals. Every morning we have that moment of choice. Choosing to live each moment as it comes along becomes a path to lightness of being.
The concept of Mindfulness is that the moment we detach ourselves from fear and anxiety, we will get to a place where we will be able to understand all things without even trying. It is a state beyond words. It releases us from ‘battling against the odds’, a feeling many of us are all too familiar with. Is this easy? Not really, but you do get better and better with time and practice. This puts everything into perspective for me. Find quiet time to observe nature, or walk by the sea. Appreciate yourself first then extend it to others. Try smiling more and breathing with conscious awareness. There are many books to inspire you and people willing to guide you.
By letting go of Mindful-mess, by transcending the weight of the past and the fear of the future, we are on our first step towards living with Mindful-ness.
In the words of Rudolf Steiner (Metamorphosis of the Soul): ‘‘Whatever the next hour or day may bring, I cannot change it by fear or anxiety, for it is not yet known. I will therefore wait for it with complete inward restfulness, perfect tranquillity of mind. Anyone who can meet the future in this calm, relaxed way, without impairing his active strength and energy, will be able to develop the powers of soul freely and intensively. It is as if hindrance after hindrance falls away, as the soul comes to be more and more pervaded by this feeling of humbleness towards approaching events’’.
If you’re interested to find out more, watch this excellent YouTube video from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn on ‘EGO’.
This article was written by Cynthia Sillars DipIK KFRP BRCP of Healing Touch Therapy. Cynthia is passionate about health and for good reason – it has transformed her life and those of others. Her commitment to bringing the value of natural remedies and to treating the whole person, not just the symptoms, are expressed through the work she does in her Kinesiology and Naturopathy clinic.
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