During my teenage years, I had frequently heard the phrase “Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body” without understanding what it really meant. The state of the body being healthy/sick was something that I could easily visualize, but not so with the mind.
Anyway, that the Body and the Mind are inescapably interconnected is something that has been known to mankind for eons of time now. What baffles me is the fact that the medical fraternity even today is choosing not to do anything for the Mind aspect while treating routine ailments like heart problems, diabetes, painful knees etc. While billions are being spent annually on research for making the Physical Body better, nothing much is being done by way of Scientific Research for Healing the Mind; at least that is the way it appears. We hear a lot about the advances being made in the field of medicine, drugs, surgery etc. but nothing about the research being done, if any, for healing the Mind. A bit strange, you may say, and this in spite of the mounting body of evidence, confirming the links between Body and Mind, that is surfacing everyday!
I want to share a few details of the interactions held with the Cardiac Surgeon and the team of Doctors and Physicians during the days when my mother went through a Coronary Bye-Pass surgery.
ALL cardiac surgeons KNOW that their patients are carrying a lot of emotional stuff linked to the pain and sufferings of the past as this is what the patients generally want to talk about.
Now during this crucial period for my mother, there were a number of interactions with various members of the team of Doctors, Physiotherapists etc. but not even one of them emphasised the fact that the stresses in her mind needed to be healed also. No one suggested, even once, that she seek professional help for getting rid of the emotional baggage. I remember, as I was with her all the time, only one of the doctors mentioning, and that too in a light sort of way, that she needed to change her lifestyle. To my mother, change of lifestyle meant changing her diet, which was not too much anyway. Yes, a bit of guidance was also given by the physiotherapist about some very basic exercises that could be done while sitting in a chair but no questions were asked during the follow-up visits to ensure whether or not she was doing these basic exercises. The most important aspect of Breathing-In more oxygen was NOT discussed even once. Anyway I doubt that majority of the practicing physicians and surgeons understand the importance of fresh air in life as I see them living life in closed air conditioned offices/homes/bed-rooms. I know I am risking offending a few close friends who themselves are practicing Doctors by writing all this but then I have never hesitated in calling a spade, a spade.
The point I am trying to make here is that the emphasis during the long period of treatment and follow-up for such routine patients today is on the Physical Body, the Surgery, the healing of the physical scar, the physical diet etc. Accepted that nothing can be done (by the treating doctors in the short period of time) about what has happened in the past but what about the mental scars and the emotional impact left on the Mind of a patient who has to go through the experience of this kind of surgery?
My mother never recovered completely from this surgery as this was what she talked about during the remaining days of her life. I wish that she had also been a student, besides being a mother, so that I could share with her the little bit that I know about these important aspects. The doors and windows were closed and the curtains pulled close, so to say, and therefore no light could pass through…
It is obvious that the human mind has a huge role to play for making the body healthier. We, however, need to take a second look at the phrase “A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body” as it implies that the body comes before the mind. In reality, it is the Mind that creates roadblocks on the path to better health. A healthier body is just not possible without the active co-operation of the mind.
So where do we start working – on the Mind or on the Body? The reality is that to achieve any degree of success on the path to better health, both the body and the mind need working upon simultaneously.
Stage 1: Getting Started
Let us consider the case of an individual who actively starts doing something to make the Physical Body better. It could be working out, doing Yoga, Pranayama, eating better quality of food, or following any other path of his choice. At this stage the mind is already involved as the motivation to get started comes from there.
Stage 2: Positive Initial Results
After a few days, some positive results are invariably attained. These positive results are pleasing to the mind as the human starts feeling good about him self. The positive energy from the mind can then actually encourage him to start taking more care of the body in other ways too; something that he may have neglected till then, for example introducing better quality of food in his daily diet.
Stage 3: Sustaining the Effort
On the other hand, the human mind can get bored and/or tired with the routine. The bored mind then forces the human being to start missing out on a (health) session every now and then and the downward spiral starts. This then has the potential to bring the individual back to the old state of (ill) health faster than what it took for him to become a bit better.
Both the Body and the Mind, therefore, need to be actively involved – simultaneously. The reality is that a Healthy Body AND a Healthy Mind co-exist. I will take it a step further. The two not only co-exist but actually help Co-Create each other. This is what the phrase “Body and Mind being in harmony with each other” actually means to me. [Please note that I have deliberately avoided using the word 'Soul' here as that bit comes later on.]
To sum it up; anything that affects the Mind influences the Body too – and vice-versa. This, of course, works both ways; positive as well as negative. The mind helps the body become better and conversely, it interferes in the process also. The body has to do its bit too. It is thus obvious that the active co-operation of the mind is essential not only to get started, but also to maintain and sustain the process of becoming healthier.
Stage 4: Encountering Detoxification
Another roadblock waiting on the path to Better Health... Naturally is when this actively working human reaches the stage when he starts experiencing the discomforting symptoms of detoxification. This human will inevitably be breathing in more oxygen (and life force, i.e. pranas too) irrespective of his chosen path. More oxygen will help generate more energy, triggering the ability of the human body to self heal. Detoxification is necessary and inevitable on ANY path to a better health but as I have repeatedly mentioned, not an enjoyable state. If the mind accepts this stage, the body can continue doing its bit; and if the mind rejects it, there is nothing that the body can do.
No wonder, so many just give up instead of sticking to it AFTER accepting the discomforts of detoxification.
Paths to Better Health:
Working out, regular exercise, Yoga, Pranayama etc. are the obvious paths that are easily available to all. Easily available they are, but not easy to practice consistently as many have discovered for themselves because of various constraints like lack of time in the early mornings, being on empty stomachs, not having the basic energy to just get up and go, lack of commitment etc.
For lazybones like me, Reiki is a god-send as it can be practiced at any time of the day. After attending the basic course, the person becomes a Reiki Channel and can start helping others too, but only those who are willing recipients. I found out real early in my Reiki practice that Deep Breathing started happening spontaneously within moments of starting Reiki treatments. This deep breathing happens in the recipients too, without their having to do anything, which is just great.
Deep Breathing - the common factor:
Anyway, the noticeable common denominator in all these paths is that the practitioner breathes in more oxygen and breathes out more carbon dioxide. Practitioners become healthier because of the self-healing abilities of the human body which are triggered because of more oxygen (and pranas) that are now available.
Whatever the path that is chosen, the human mind will still need to be actively involved as the roadblock called Detoxification will still appear on the path to better health and that just can not be overcome without the mind’s active participation.
Voluntary and Involuntary Control of Diaphragm:
A point was made near the end of the last Chapter regarding Humans having been blessed with the incredible ability to voluntarily control the one muscle – the Diaphragm – that can actually make us healthier. This is in addition to the involuntary breathing that is already taking place.
God/Goddess in His/Her amazingly loving, merciful and wise ways has given us this gift because we humans are the only animals on Earth to have been given Free Will.
This Free Will includes:
opting to keep on being in the state of health that we are currently in
opting to become healthier
by investing in terms of time, money, learning etc. that may be needed in the path that we have chosen.
In order to for us to succeed with this option of becoming healthier, He/She has given us this astounding ability to voluntarily control THE one muscle that can actually help us to breathe in more life force and oxygen; the essential ingredients for Becoming Healthier...Naturally.
Now how can we use this voluntary/involuntary ability to control the movement of the diaphragm for becoming healthier?
The diaphragm is under the involuntary control of the Autonomous Nervous System when we are not actively doing anything. We do not become healthier during this process as the Mind is controlling the movement; a stressed mind results in lesser movement and therefore lesser quantity of oxygen and pranas are breathed in.
This diaphragm starts moving faster when we do physical exercise, work out, do pranayama etc., i.e. when we actively do something to improve our health. We then breathe in more oxygen and pranas and get the benefits provided there is acceptance in the mind of the detoxifying effects.
The limitations here are that a person needs to be Healthy Enough and Fit Enough to embark on these active paths to becoming healthier. Old age is a deterrent and of course these activities are totally ruled out for the ones who are bed-ridden. Now you know why they do not become healthier in spite of the best medical help, medicines, food etc.?
Reiki is a god-send in the sense that not only do the Reiki Channels receive energy directly (which the sceptics don’t believe, but that’s cool with me) but the fact remains that the diaphragm starts moving involuntarily while practicing. Not only that, those who are old and bed-ridden can also learn and practice as the only physical process involved in the Reiki practice is touching the body at various positions.
The best thing is that a Reiki Channel can work with willing recipients and help them to become better. To answer a question that is not being asked: I could not help my mother beyond a certain limit because she was not a willing recipient.
There is a Natural System available too besides all these other systems when healing takes place while sleeping, reading, working and enjoying life.
When a Human Being/Mind Accepts Everything As It Is in Life, he is totally at peace with everything that is happening around him. In that peaceful state of mind, the diaphragm moves involuntarily and effortlessly. No 'exertion' or 'efforts' are required (as in Pranayama, Reiki, work outs etc.) for a human who has reached this stage and his body virtually heals itself.
The Mind needs to be totally 'healed' to get to that state of being - and it is possible to reach there. The journey is through the path of learning and growth and does need investing time, energy and of course money.
As I said, we have been given the Free Will to stay the way we are and also the Free Will to not take things for granted and actually become healthier. Miracles start happening when humans start implementing this second option. I am blessed to have discovered this fact for myself.
So can you.
And so it is.
I know that I am sounding like I am promoting Reiki here, which I am considering the fact that I am a practicing Grand Master. This is a safe and easy option that is available for the modern human beings and worth considering, especially when the other options appear not to be working or are practically not possible to pursue.
One of the most profund principles of Sikhism is "Raza", the acceptance of God's Will. Seems to me that's what you are suggesting here as well, right? Isn't it amazing we know these principles but don't believe or act upon them?ReplyDelete
Acceptance does not happens easily especially in situations involving common issues such as abundance, overweight, health issue of someone close etc. We also have problems Accepting the other person's view that conflict with ours whenever such situations arise. Furthermore, minds that have been conditioned to control do not let go easily. In spite of all this, the minds can be taught but it does take a bit of time.ReplyDelete