With all the talk about the flu lately, and how seemingly healthy individuals can have very serious cases of it, it brought to mind how we think of health.
In the tradition of western medicine, the definition of health is an absence of symptoms of illness or disease. In actuality, one could be out of balance, on the verge of developing an illness or disease, and not have what doctors would call a symptom. Our bodies, when becoming out of balance, are whispering to us through many varied signs such as: trouble sleeping, feeling irritable, wanting to eat when not hungry, feeling lethargic or anxious, irregular bowel movements, foggy headedness, lack of joy, headaches, indigestion, lack of appetite, and so on. None of these conditions will make you run to the doctor, but all are signaling that there is something off, something amiss, and if you ignore it and don’t change whatever habit or behavior caused it, you might develop something more serious, or your immune system may be affected. Your body may get louder and louder until you have to pay attention.
According to Ayurveda, the ancient system of the art and science of life, perfect health means you fall asleep easily, wake feeling energetic and positive, you have smooth, regular elimination of all waste, hearty digestion, good appetite, calm mind, laugh easily, and you release resentments and as well as prejudices. We are all striving to get there.
I’m not suggesting by doing everything Ayurveda recommends and we will never get the flu, but our life will be enhanced with vibrant health for much of the time. Even if we have a chronic condition or serious disease, by following healthy principles we can feel a lot better.
Ayurveda sees food as medicine and a first line of action when there is an imbalance:
When diet is proper, then medicine is of no need.
When diet is improper, then medicine is of no use.
My suggestion today is listen tenderly and carefully to what your body is telling you. That is your first step in creating wellbeing for yourself.
A poem on the topic
It’s not what the scales say,
It’s how you feel in your skin.
It’s not how far you can run,
It’s how light you feel in your step.
It’s not what job you have,
It’s the love you feel when doing it.
It’s not how many people love you,
It’s how much love you feel for others.
It’s not how much money you have,
It’s how much you feel free.
It’s not how many hours you sleep,
It’s how often you awake with joy.
It’s not how attractive you look,
It’s how much beauty you see.
It’s not what things you have,
It’s how you use what you have.
It’s not fame that makes your life full,
It’s whether it authentically expresses you.
(From I Know…Me Too, A Collection of Poems, by K. Claytor)