What is health? And how can we sustain and regain it, other than with pure pharmaceutical methods? In these times of great un-well-being challenge, the question is more than ever appropriate.
WHO defines health “as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This holistic definition of health has a stark resemblance to the idea of health as perceived by the ancient tribes and cultures, world over.
The exuberance of life energy marked with enthusiasm and positivity was the ancient idea of vitality. ‘Life is meant to flourish and not just survive’ seemed to be the underlying philosophy of the wise elders among the planet’s original inhabitants.
The contemporary idea of good health as a body without disease is too narrow. It denies due importance to mental and social wellness. The gusto and zest for life have lost their place in the modern idea of good health.
Modern medical science is more focused on treating illness symptomatically rather than addressing the underlying cause. And this increases the possibility of recurrence, which is detrimental to the immune system in the long term. As opposed, the natural healing systems based on ancient traditions attempt to nullify the causative factors. The traditional healing systems profess holistic healing, concentrating simultaneously on body, mind, spirit and emotions. Finding the perfect internal balance between the three is wellness.
Ancient wisdom understands the human body as a part of the whole environmental ecosystem and universe. We breathe in oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide, whereas the plants take in carbon dioxide to give out oxygen during photosynthesis. In the words of Jaggi Vasudev, a mystic from India, half our lungs are hanging out on the tree. That is the symbiotic relation every entity in the universe has with one another. With variation in the finer details, different branches of the ancient medical practice unanimously accept the human body to be built up of five natural elements, water (72%), earth (12%), air (6%), fire (4%) and ether (space) (6%). The constitutional make-up of the human body is the infallible proof of our bond with the universe and surroundings.
Any internal disturbance of the physical body, mind, soul and emotions or detrimental variations in the external ecosystem can disturb the fragile balance resulting in sickness. The modern lifestyle has moved us far away from the nurturing universe. This deprivation explains the dangerous dependence of the human population on all sorts of chemical pills and drugs. Apart from managing the symptoms for some time, these modern medicines can be detrimental to or even poison the human body and the environment. What results is a severe down surge of the life-sustaining environment and our relationship with it. It is sad to see the humans exhibiting allergy reactions to the very food that nurtured their ancestors. Intolerance to wheat, milk, nuts, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, shellfish, soy and even flowers prove how far we, as a race, have drifted away from nature.
Though fearsome, it is not a hopeless situation. The proverbial silver lining in the cloud are the surviving practices of natural medicines & healing systems in different parts of the world. Being down and obscured by the modern medicines, these branches of ancient healing and wellness are thankfully claiming the lost ground.
A human body is naturally endowed with healing abilities. And the traditional healing systems believe in kick-starting or supporting the immune system to initiate the healing process leading to a permanent recovery.
Re-connecting with the universe is inevitable. The wise old women and men of the tribes always advocated that the human body is a miniature representation of the universe. Connecting with oneself would be the first step towards re-integrating with the universe. Sit with yourself, watch your breath, watch your thoughts and watch your emotions. Ancient wisdom says: become the witness of what happens to your body and how it responds. To do that, we have to be very mindful and be in the present. Gradually we can re-connect with ourselves and the universe and gain back that rightfully belongs to us as a race.
Another foundational aspect of ancient medicine considers the body as an energy field that is subject to various kinds of energy emanating from food, the thoughts, sound, living space, people around, their thoughts and actions and much more. Negative or incompatible energies tend to disrupt the balance of the energy in the body, which leads to dis-ease or illness.
The positive energy, known as Qi/Chi (in China), Ki (in Japan and Korea) and Prana (Indian Sanskrit system), needs to be optimally recalibrated. And that forms the functional principle underlying the ancient curative therapy of Reiki, Qigong, acupuncture & certain types of massages.
The Tibetan system of medicine realises that the stress hormones created out of bad emotions and energy make the body sick. The relation of the physical body with one’s mental and emotional constitution is established, and the focus is on the holistic treatment of the mind and body.
Shamanism, an indigenous spiritual practice followed around the globe, precedes the established religions. The shamans riding on their altered consciousness connect with higher spirits to seek guidance from non-material realities to resolve personal and community issues, including health problems.
Ayurveda bases its highly effective therapeutic practice on the theories of Panch Mahabhuta and Tridosh. The unique combination of the five elements Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether (Panch Mahabuta) builds the Tri Doshas (life forces) of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Any imbalance in the five elements or Tri Doshas leads to an ailment. Finding the imbalance and correcting it using herbs and various therapies (Panchakarma) is the underlying curative practice followed in Ayurveda.
The ability to bounce again is a sign of active life. A tree battered by the storm and, if not uprooted, begets new leaves and branches with time. It does not destroy itself, carrying the memories of the destructive storm. Resilience is the character of nature. As we start connecting and identifying with nature, this natural resilience will be a part of our character too. Bad and traumatic experiences will have a limited effect on us. It would not mean the end of life.
Nothing in nature gives up in the face of adversity, and neither should humans. A job loss or a broken relation in this boundless universe with immense possibilities cannot be the end of any story. The only way to overcome all limitations of life, be they physical, mental or emotional, is to connect or re-connect with the universe and its unlimited resources. And be assured that this is a natural process. No one has to put herculean efforts to do it. Just open up yourself to the possibility and follow what wise women and men of traditional communities have been teaching for ages. Going back home is a natural process. Athena Wisdom Institute will be pleased to walk you down the path -safe and sure.