Copyright (c) 2009 Stephen Lau
In Western medicine, health is "absence of disease." Hence, without disease, you are deemed "healthy." However, from the Oriental perspective, "absence of disease" may not be an indicator of "good health."
Disease begins with the mind, not the body. The mind and the body are two fully integrated features of life. As a result, disease of the mind is reflected as disease in the body.
How does disease begin in the mind? According to Oriental medicine, good health is a state of positive consciousness. If we are conscious of the true self: who we are and what we are, we make a conscious effort to keep us healthy, physically, mentally, and spiritually. This is mindfulness: mindfulness of eating, mindfulness of self and others. On the other hand, if we are conscious of the material things in this world, instead of self, our focus will be on what pleases the senses; our emotional and mental commitment to these things will create craving and attachment that ultimately brings imbalance and disharmony. From the Oriental perspective, all things are impermanent, and attachment is the source of anxiety and anguish, as well as emotional and mental disturbances.
We become what we think. A toxic mind brings about a toxic body. The body's ability to metabolize begins to deteriorate: this affects assimilation of nutrients from food to build healthy cells and tissues; metabolism of emotions, resulting in anger and stress. Poor metabolism also adversely affects elimination of toxins, leading to accumulation.
Accumulation of toxins is the initial stage of disease in the physical body. This stage may continue for some time without showing any physical symptoms. The individual may feel that he or she is healthy.
As the toxicity accumulation continues, distortion of normal functioning of body organs, cells and tissues begins to occur subtly and almost imperceptibly. Again, this may take some time.
At some point, however, the toxicity level may be elevated such that it can no longer be contained, with vague systemic symptoms such as chronic fatigue, headaches, or complaints of minor pain. With further aggravation, the toxic imbalance may manifest itself in the form of an infection in an area of the physiology where some weakness preexists.
If nothing is done to reverse the conditions of the body and the mind, disease may disrupt and become full-blown.
We all have the innate potential and power of self-healing provided by Nature.
But Nature cannot be rushed, and, unfortunately, many of us have neither the patience
to wait for Nature to run its course, nor the willpower to reconnect ourselves to the
wholeness of the body and mind that we have lost at the pathogenesis of disease.
For more information on how to
be healthy the Oriental way, go to Stephen Lau's websites:
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom -
Healthy Living; and Are You Healthy?.
Stephen Lau is a writer and researcher with websites on longevity, eating disorders,
mental depression, Chinese natural healing and Zen health.