What’s worse for your health? Eating a sweet, sugary cookie, or having guilty thoughts whilst eating a sweet, sugary cookie?
Dietitians and doctors are fairly sure that sugar in excess is not good for you. Tooth decay did not exist among native tribes before Western civilization took over. Nor did obesity, diabetes, and imbalanced cholesterol — the list goes on. We could now continue to debate the effects of the high sugar, low fiber modern Western diet. But you’ve probably read these articles. It’s almost getting a bit old, despite its incredible relevance in an age where all these so called ‘chronic’ deceases are still on the rise. So let’s try to take a different angle.
Fact. Chronic deceases are on the rise, predominately in developed nations.
Fact. Modern drugs and hospital treatments are challenged in dealing with these conditions and diseases in that they struggle to address the exact causes.
Fact. Preventative medicine and health self-support systems are absolutely vital, if we are to decrease our dependence on pharmaceutical drugs and professional medical care.
- How often do we witness people taking a pill just because the doctor ordered it? What does this healing business mean and who’s doing the hard work?
- Is any practitioner able to heal another person in the first place?
- Or can a doctor, therapist or shaman only support another being in their own healing process, at very best?
- How detached have we become from our own health?
- Maybe we are just so caught up in this journey of becoming happy, rich and healthy that we just don’t have time to listen to ourselves—if we even remember who that ‘self’ is.
- In the unfortunate case that we do get sick we simply throw ourselves at the mercy of a doctor or surgeon and scream, “heal me, whoever you are!”
So what can we do to support our health? Well you’ve probably read such trendy articles like these:
- Eat your greens. 2.0. New Age style. Cut out wheat unless you shoot straight wheat grass juice. Chocolate must now be raw. Gggrrrr. Don’t have a cacao tree out the back of your house? No worries. Find the trendiest inner city café and they are sure to be retailing fine raw chocolate at about $19 a bar. Lasagna for dinner? Sure. Raw! With raw cashew cheese. And raw dessert too. Raw cheesecake. Raw! Long Live Raw!
- Of course you need to practice yoga, preferably ashtanga, hatha and kundalini. But if you are a truly self-respecting health hero, you go for no less than Bikram yoga. Spend 2 hours of raw stretching and breathing at a body temperature heated room, taking sweating to a whole new level. Don’t worry, your bright green yoga shorts will have a state of the art body juice reservoir built in, designed for the most brutal bikram bender.
- You meditate, as all the famous people do now and even Harvard Medical recommends it. Ever tried meditating in the sand dunes and are so focused that you just levitate your way to the ocean? That would be a big surfing applause for sure. Or another choice might be to take your stress load up to the point that you are about to burn out, then lock yourself into a super strict and conservative monastery for a 21 day vipassana ‘holiday’, which involves no talking, booze or sex and a good long, hard stare at your innermost ugliness. Come home like a new person. That’s if you survive.
Sarcasm aside, there’s a common denominator in the above cases. We are trying to find a way to relieve the stress caused by our ever busy minds trough using this very busy mind. Of course taking time out to stretch, breathe and eat vibrant food must be good for us. But how do we surpass our conditioned beliefs and attitudes about what good health needs to find that place deep in our inner being that is yearning for something special and specific? This catch-22 may be the very reason why people tend to give up so soon after initiating a radical life style change. Let’s assume that there are two major categories that people tend to tackle on their journey to greater wellness.
- Visualize a triangle with optimum well-being at the top.
- On the left side is diet and lifestyle which we can improve by choosing healthy foods exercise.
- On the right side is mental, emotional and spiritual wellness; the more elusive of the two.
It involves relationships, acceptance of past, trust in the future and a great relationship with the here and now. It’s improved by regular relaxation, spiritual practice and joyful activities. It can be radically changed by deep meditation journeys, holistic counseling and spiritual healing. This is what people are referring to when they say they are ‘working on themselves’ or ‘working on their stuff.’
It’s now common, more than ever before, for people to just be so full, so overwhelmed and so exhausted that they just don’t know where to start. It’s good to know these two sides of the triangle. Trust, that by climbing one side, one step at a time, the other side automatically becomes less steep. You may decide to start healing your past, face your fears or quiet your mind to find that all of a sudden you have a spontaneous motivation to go for long walks or drink intense and nourishing green smoothies. Flow with that. Enjoy the journey because this is what you came here for. This is preventative medicine. Science is showing today what ancient cultures have always known and considered. Thoughts and attitudes create worlds and we as humans are capable to shape our very own reality to whatever extend we allow ourselves. The key might be just that, allowing.
At Bali Silent Retreat we have created a space for people to primarily just be. Be with ourselves, listen to our inner cravings and give ourselves the greatest gifts we can. You are loved and supported at all times.
Thanks for reading and listening and thinking about how you want to live your life.