“The greatest wealth is health” Virgil proclaimed 2,000 years ago. I don’t remember where I heard this growing up but heard it I did and it stuck in my consciousness. I have often asked classes at NMSNT if this was something they had also heard. The number of positive responses led me to believe this saying is still kicking around the collective consciousness. For those that have lost their health the meaning of this wisdom means something much deeper than to those that have never experienced the loss of health. This holds especially true to those suffering from chronic illness. To experience chronic illness is to experience a loss or limitation of many of life’s activities. This often effects a person on all levels of their being. Those that are not suffering chronically take many of their freedoms of health for granted. To those that have lost their health this wise saying becomes especially potent as there is no guarantee that the individual will once again regain this precious wealth. How do we protect this wealth?
A human being is comprised of spiritual consciousness (soul), mental body comprised of thought, emotional body comprised of feeling, etheric body comprised of elemental prana and physical body. Each of these components has health needs. How are you doing providing these needs?
Here are some suggestions for a healthy lifestyle. Many of these will require time and the awful D word discipline. I guess it depends on how much you value your health wealth.
Feed spiritual consciousness by action. Our spiritual action is food for spiritual consciousness. Some believe that spiritual food is our highest nutritional need. Sit each day with the goal of stillness. Call it meditation or contemplation makes not difference nor does the particular discipline. Do it to feed your soul’s health needs. How long do you sit? Depends on how serious you take the soul’s health needs. Let’s give it a range of 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Spiritual/Mental/Emotional health requires self nurturing. What are your daily activities that nurture you? Make a list of all activities that you do daily that make you feel nurtured. As you feel more nurtured and energized add to the list. Some suggestions: share, give to others, make things with your hands, be helpful, dance, sing, be optimistic, cultivate love, read, walk, stretch, forgive, prepare healthy meals, observe nature, play, smell flowers, take a bath, light a candle, relax. Get the idea. It’s in your hands. It’s your actions. The goal is to eventually reach the point where everything you do is nurturing. If you experience difficulties in finding anything you do that is nurturing then take the flower medicine Jasmine. This will assist in helping to find new ways of thinking and acting and opening up the channels of creativity. Jasmine is a great medicine for propelling us out of our ruts of non nurturing behavior.
Etheric body/Physical body health depends largely on activity and diet. Exercise is key. Give some time each day to exercise. Walk, run, swim, dance, jump on a trampoline, stretch, play. The important thing is that you enjoy the movement. If you enjoy then you will look forward to doing it. Try more than one movement activity so you have some options. Not only time options but options of enjoying more than one activity. Diet is simple. Eat a plant based diet. A wise man once said: “75% of all health concerns are diet related.” If you need some data concerning this statement read The China Study. The data compiled in The China Study states clearly the impact of a plant based diet on health. A plant based diet is especially impactful on chronic pathology. If possible eat completely organic. Support local organic farmers. Your food choices have a strong impact on the health and balance of nature. As our friend Wendell Berry says: “How we eat determines to a considerable degree how the world is used.”
Try transitioning to a plant based diet over time. Embrace a lacto-vegetarian transition diet. A lactovegetarian diet eliminates meat, fish, fowl and eggs. A lot of good food choices left. This transition diet will allow you to become used to plant based protein foods. When ready go full on plant based or during the transition lactovegetarian diet try some days completely plant based. This will give you an idea of how you will be eating and feeling as your diet choices solidify. How long should you eat the transition diet? No dogma here. As long as you like. Take your time. Another option is just to completely eat a plant based diet. Go for it. Do it. If you feel like your health is at a critical state and you would like to just become plant based, do it. No worries. Relax. Plant based diet is safe and healthy. As Hippocrates the father of modern medicine stated: ” Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.”
Another important aspect of health building and regaining health is water drinking. Drink 3 liters of water every day. That is the baseline. If you want to drink more feel free. Hydration effects positively all of our systems. This includes mental activity and available energy. When you feel tired drink water. When you are spaced out and can’t concentrate drink water. When your memory is weak drink water. Experience the miracle of this simple activity. Our friend Dr. Edward Bach said: “Don’t let the simplicity of the method deter you from its use. For you will find as your understanding advances that all of nature is simple.” The more complex the world becomes the more we are moving away from the simplicity of nature.
One of my earliest impactful teachers in the world of natural healing was Svevo Brooks. Here is Svevo”s Prescription For Health And Happiness At Any Age / Take Daily As Directed
Prescription 1) Upon rising do a few gentle stretching exercises, breathing deeply through the nose.
Prescription 2) Do some simple, practical thing with your own hands. Work in the garden. Hang clothes on the line. Bake. Sew. Carve. Draw a picture for a friend.
Prescription 3) Take a long, vigorous walk in the fresh air. Get to know flowers and trees, insects and animals, children and neighbors. Walk tall, in good posture.
Prescription 4) Close your eyes. Relax. Take a nap. Give yourself a few minutes of complete relaxation every day.
Prescription 5) Establish a harmonious rhythm of living. Go to bed before you are overtired. Rise before the sun gets too high in the sky. Avoid taking on more work or responsibility then you can comfortably handle.
Prescription 6) Actively work to preserve the beauty of the natural environment. Make the earth healthier for having trod upon it.
Prescription 7) Think and act positively. Laughter, smiles, and kind words are powerful medicines. Feeling good is contagious. Infect other people with your own health and happiness.
Quotes to contemplate:
Hippocrates: “Nature is the healer of all disease.” “The physician is only the servant of Nature.”
Paracelsus: “Nature is the teacher of science.”
Albert Einstein: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Ancient Ayurvedic Proverb: “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
Voltaire: “The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”
William Oiler: “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”
Unknown: “Health is the only immunity, we don’t need protecting from out there.”
Thomas Edison: “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”
Meryl Streep: “It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.”
Kurt Vonnegut: “We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.”
Henry David Thoreau: “There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before.”
Carl Jung: “The healthy man does not torture others—-generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.”
Dean Ornish: “I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.”
Margaret Mead: “It is easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet.”
Dr. Edward Bach: “Disease is a kind of consolidation of a mental attitude and it is only necessary to treat the mood of the patient and the disease will disappear.”