I would like to look at meditation, health and sickness today and makes some points to how we may manifest wellness.
We are living in a new age of unparalleled technological and scientific progress, we are also experiencing poor social, health, and environmental conditions that could bring our species to the brink of catastrophe. We have created significant advances in technologies to better control disease outbreaks, extend our lifespan, enhance global communication, increase our work productivity, and improve our overall quality of life. We are unfortunately facing major health care crisis with sickness care as the only healthcare and the uprising of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and mental illness.
What can we do?
We have learnt recently that mind-body medicine, including psychoneuroimmunology, placebo, and neuroscience that we have our own capacity within us to change our DNA. This is now known in science as the area of epigenetics and is the most important discovery in science this century as this means that we are in control of our health and it is not genes that determine our health but our lifestyle choices and environment…So if you were to separate two twins and send them to different geographical locations and they made different lifestyle choices, they would express different health and ‘symptoms’.
Mindfulness is a word you may hear a lot in the health arena at the moment. Mindfulness is associated with meditation and is the main tool to practise mindfulness. This is the only way that one can look at themselves scientifically so that we can see ourselves precisely. Why do we need to see ourselves precisely?
Unfortunately, as a species with all of the problems that we see around the world, we are becoming more scared and angry causing a lot of stress. People are losing softness toward themselves and the outside world believing that the problem is out there. labelling everything as scary or crazy as I often hear, then that is what we are going to manifest more of. These words are used a lot now in the English language. I do not remember these words being used so much when I was growing up. This fear based lens is increasing and the only way that we can get through this is by becoming more aware of our behaviours and practise being forgiving to others and indeed to ourselves. If we are always thinking that there is something wrong with us, we will look outside of ourselves for something better than we are. That search can go on indefinitely and in my experience is the root to most addictions!
Meditation allows one to gain contact with the natural state that we were born with. That can be a happy, painless one or a raw rugged state of mind. To make friends with all of the aspects of oneself can most definitely be challenging but is getting to the root of what we are, be that beautiful or gritty’, as we can’t rent a helicopter to fly us into the pith of our problems, unfortunately. The practice of mindfulness meditation presents us with a straightforward technique for the development of mindfulness in our lives that are valid for our psychological situation in our life.
Why do we get sick?
We are an ecosystem of cells- An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. As ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment,they can be of any size but usually encompass specific, limited spaces[, although some scientists say that the entire planet is an ecosystem.
Consider a rainforest that is made up of individual cells and the health of the rainforest, as a whole, is based upon the collective health of the individual trees (thus the health of the individual trees diminishes so goes the health of the rain forest).
You, as a multi-cellular organism, are made up of an ecosystem of individual cells. So, like the rainforest, your health, as a whole eco-system, is based upon the collective health of your individual cells. As goes the health of your individual cells, so goes the health of your whole ecosystem. If all of your cells are healthy, you are expressing your health potential. If some of your cells are sick, you are sick and yo are not expressing your health potential.
Furthermore, Physiology is the branch of biology that deals with the ‘normal’ functions of a living organism. This was my favourite subject at Chiropractic college, To understand sickness, I think we need to further understand physiology. One concept in medicine is that genes are thought to express illness with some people being more prone than others.
It is my experience and belief that anytime you eat, move or interact in ways that are toxic and deficient, that are genetically incongruent, you increase your rate of cell division in your body. Stress has a habit of breaking people down.
From adaption to growth and Healing
We have a choice every morning to either ‘choose’ a healthy lifestyle. Whether that is getting up earlier to fit in a healthy habit, fitting one in our schedule during our day or delay in eating etc..or we can blame aging as a convenient mechanism for our lack.
So it is actually unscientific to blame lifestyle illnesses in aging. Getting older does cause aging but most of the sicknesses that many assumed were due to aging are not due to age at all, they are due to the bioaccumulation (Bioaccumulation refers to the accumulation chemicals in an organism.) This includes the environment, drugs, etc.
Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism absorbs a – toxic – substance at a rate faster than that at which the substance is lost by catabolism and excretion. The effect of stressors and of genetically incongruent lifestyle choices and environment leads to failure of adaption and results in one moving towards sickness rather than health.
Think of the beautiful orca whale. They age and bio-accumulate more and more toxins such as PCB’S and fire retardants (PCB use has been banned for decades but the PCB’s do not break down and have infiltered the entire eco-system. So when the orcas become sicker as they age, should we conclude that it is because of old age, or because they have bioaccumulated poisonous toxins?
I dislike the concept or our culture of anti-aging and much more prefer the health goal of normal aging being a wonderful, beautiful, part of life.
Yours in well-being,
Sean Phelps MChiro, D.C.
Doctor of Chiropractic