A lot of people think they want to be well but have no positive vision of a life that requires being well. I come from a Cypriot family and found that moaning about aches and pains was actually a bonding ritual. This is very perplexing for a person who genuinely desires to be as well as he possibly can. Being well has implications however. If you are well, then your response- ability- your ability to take responsibility for your life is greater- and that is very frightening for many. You can no longer avoid unresolved situations. You can no longer blame the world, others or God for your unhappiness because there is the terrifying realisation that your true pain is not really in the body. It is in the mind and heart. When your ability to respond to this truth directly is impaired then in some ways it makes life easier.
There is a lot of vested interest in staying as we are.
Unaddressed emotional pain eventually finds it way into the body.
Problems with your eyes?
What is it that you don’t want to see?
Problems with you ears?
What is it that you don’t want to hear?
Problems with your heart?
How much are you giving and receiving love?
Problems with the Liver?
What is the source of your anger?
Problems with your Lungs?
Do you lack inspiration in your life? Holding on to old grief?
Problems with your stomach?
Do you eat to live or live to eat?
Problems with your lower back?
Is your life too heavy a burden? Does it feel like one long chore?
Problems with your shoulders?
What are protecting yourself against?
I developed lower back pain quite early in life. I was an anxious teenager who was very hyperactive and depressive at the same time. (Was I Bipolar? I never really found out). Like many teens, I had body image issues and was convinced that I was too thin. I look back and laugh now because nature has it that now I have the opposite problem! I only have to look at food and I put on weight!
A prolonged period of anxiety and excessive exercise eventually took its toll on my back. I was foolish to do weight training without adequate support and ended up slipping a disc. It took me 18 months to fully recover from it and set me up for a lifetime of subsequent lower back pain and weakness. I didn’t make any connections between my back and state of mind till it went again when I was 36. It was the dreaded meeting with the oncologist who announced that my father had terminal cancer. The news was such a shock that I really didn’t know what hit me. I didn’t want to express my shock at the time neither to my father nor to the rest of the family when we had to break the news. I tried to busy myself foolishly by deciding to clean out the freezer. Bend – twist- bend- twist- WHAM! It was like someone had stabbed me in the back. It was the most physically painful experience of my entire life! There it was. My pain manifested!
At this point, my father was still well and helped me back to health by bringing round food my mother had cooked, driving me to an Osteopath and various other helpful chores that I couldn’t manage at the time. As the months went by and I got better, my father’s health got decidedly worse and the roles were reversed. It was me who was now taking him to various doctors for tests and consultations. The whole thing was rather surreal. It taught me a very important lesson about the power of the mind over the body. You simply can’t discount the emotional content of a disease.
Roots and branches
It is important to understand that we can still do a great deal to heal the diseased branches of our tree as presenting symptoms, as long as we understand that in the long term, the problem won’t be solved at the root until we have made a deep enquiry into the nature of our illness. Many are not ready to make that enquiry because there is too much vested interest in staying the same.
It is a sad truth that most people want to get better without actually changing anything. People are looking to alleviate their symptoms so that they can continue with the habits that probably contributed to their illness in the first place. This seems like a kind of madness but I have come to realise that we are all a bit mad below the surface!
Scientists believe that the Earth is half way through its life because the Sun is half way through its life. It stands to reason that the human race in its current state is a manifestation of this too. It seems we are at a junction between unconscious animalistic behaviour and a fully conscious being. We are somehow still following the same drives as animals, which are:
To seek shelter
To rest/ sleep
These essential drives are so deep and instinctive that almost everything we do is related to one of them and if we are not in active pursuit of one of these drives, we like to hear about and watch others pursuing them.
Is there any form of entertainment that doesn’t involve the active or sublimated pursuit of these four drives? In the UK, we go to the cinema to watch our favourite actors courting each other (sometimes the same ones in various different story lines!); fighting baddies to protect land, wealth, home and loved ones. Even the supposedly lower and higher art forms engage with similar themes. Shakespeare was a great philosopher and teacher of life, but his story lines still had the same concerns. Even the engagement of sport has been linked to this idea. Sport is very akin to the mating rituals of nature where males were pitted against one and other to earn a female of their choosing. Sport draws upon the Mars or sexual energy. These are the stuff of life.
What is your favourite form of entertainment? Can you match it with one of the four drives?
|Eating in restaurants|
|Watching romantic comedies|
|Watching war movies|
|Relaxing in cafes|
|Spending time with friends and family|
How does nature ensure that these drives are maintained? It creates very powerful urges which when fulfilled, create a sense of elation, a limited period of contentment until life pulls us back into the never ending cycle of desire once again.
Nature versus nurture
There is an intrinsic balance built into nature in that when these four drives are in dynamic flux, nothing stays the same for very long. There is a tension between our urge to create a permanent sense of security in our home, partnership and food supply but the impulse of nature is such that we are regularly thrown out of balance and confronted with the impermanence of life. It is the realisation of this very impermanence that brings about a state of anxiety.
The way forward
Do you want the good news or the bad news? The bad news is that the human condition is such that you can never fully overcome negative programmes and that is by design. By design in the sense that a longing for something is the driving force of life itself so by removing desire, you are in some ways removing an essential component of being human.
The good news is that there is a vast array of techniques out there to help us manage the trials and tribulations of life and I have devoted much of my own life to exploring them. What a wonderful journey! I am healthier now than I have ever been. Yoga has helped; Ayurveda has helped, learning how to love others and myself has helped (that’s a really big one) and getting a real perspective on what is important. Life is short so why wait to be rescued. You can rescue yourself and it’s not that hard! Just a little effort every day can change your life completely.
Sometimes people ask me “What is my Karmic destiny? And I always answer:
Never mind what you say, it’s what you do with your life now that determines how it will look in the future. There are of course miracles and sudden turnarounds in life but from my experience, the longer lasting changes are gradual. That’s why I do what I do.