In the first verse of the Bhagavad Gita, the blessed lord Krishna said: “Although you mean well Arjuna, your
Each of us holds within, all of the tools needed to create perfect health within the body and the mind and ultimately to use this quest as a catalyst for the evolution of the soul. More than just strong words, this reality becomes quite possible when we make the conscious decision to live with intention and to create holistic health. Holistic health is an approach to wellness that recognizes the deep-rooted relationship between the longings of the soul and the actions of the physical body. Tapping into this wisdom, we are able to decode our actions and to free ourselves from detrimental habits we may be employing. By demystifying our drives and unraveling any pull they may have over us, we create the space to needed to reacquaint ourselves with our true nature. Approaching health with the intention to unlock the mysteries of the soul allows every conscious breath to become spiritual practice, and for spiritual practice to result in vibrant, dynamic health.
Instead of treating symptoms alone, a holistic approach aims to treat the whole person and to uncover the origin of discomfort, which in many cases may have nothing to do with the body itself. The term “holistic health” emerged as doctors began to embrace the understanding that one’s state of the mind plays a role in the health of the body. Using this framework, the state of the body is actually an outward manifestation of the state of the mind. The state of the mind in turn is an outward manifestation of the deep driving desires of the spirit. By observing our actions, emotions and thoughts, we begin to reveal the workings of the soul.
Ayurveda, the holistic health science of India, recognizes that all disease begins when we lose the connection to our source. A healthy individual has a strong union with the universal consciousness that unites us all. When this connection is interrupted, we attempt to fill its void by using the physical body as an experiential object. From this distorted place, we may mistake the goals of the senses as the ultimate goals of this lifetime and eventually begin to overindulge or misuse them. If the goal of the soul is to reconnect to a state of conscious awareness, then any action that limits this connection is detrimental to the desires of the soul and is, ultimately, self-destructive. By becoming aware of our motivation at this time, we can start to unravel the nefarious intent and reverse detrimental actions. By realigning with the intent to connect to our spirit, we are able to rediscover our true ultimate goal—union with the divine consciousness.
To begin addressing our health holistically, we need to become clear on our current level of health. To assess your state of health, consider your answers to these questions. Do you have any symptoms of imbalance? Are you generally free from any digestive discomfort? Is your sleep restful and refreshing? Do you have all the energy you need to complete all that you would like to do? Is your mind calm and capable of sustained focus? Are you happy? These are not idle questions. The answers allow us to understand our unconscious desires. Creating health in one aspect of our being begins to positively influence the health of all aspects of our being.
If you are not satisfied with the state of the health of your body or mind, it is likely the outward manifestation of an unmet, unconscious need. Once time is taken to explore the need and meet it, the requisite for the physical or mental symptom no longer applies. For example, if I have been deprived of love or have actively deprived others of experiencing love in their lives, I may have an overactive need to experience love.
by observing our actions, emotions and thoughts, we begin to reveal the workings of the soul
If learn to equate food with love, I may develop an overactive sweet tooth. I indulge in the consumption of sweets at the expense of the health of my physical body. Eventually, I may develop any number of disease conditions that can be linked to the over-consumption of sweet taste; diabetes, obesity and tooth decay are but a few.
On the other hand, if I become observant of myself, I may begin to notice I crave sweets when stressed or feeling unloved. I may notice I use my sweet tooth as a motivating force, as a reward for a job well done. I may use sweets addictively and in a self-destructive way. When I become aware of the mental state that motivates my physical craving, I can take steps to address my mental attachments apart from food. My sweets craving is not accepted as an inherited trait or something I need to resolve to discontinue. The craving provides a window into my psyche and allows me to examine, and eventually heal, those places that are hidden from me. After addressing the issue on the mental level, the substance loses its allure. I can then choose to eat in ways that are healthful and balanced. Allowing sweet taste to be a preference and not an addiction, I can choose to indulge when it will not create greater imbalance in my body and mind.
It can be more difficult to assess the state of the mind since it is with the mind that we ascertain its state.
if the goal of the soul is to reconnect to a state of conscious awareness, then any action that limits this connection is detrimental to the desires of the soul and is, ultimately, self-destructive
Emotions can be used as helpful mirrors, giving us feedback about our mental state. An emotion is a thought that generates a physiological response. If anger is my primary emotional response, then I will look upon all situations with a highly critical and judgmental eye. If worry is my chief response, I will always be wary, ready for the ambush. If sadness is predominant, I will spend most of my thought on the past and what is missing from my life today. Each of these emotions sets the stage for a predictable physiological response that will leave me susceptible to poor health choices for my physical body. Self-observation and self-honesty are the only tools one needs to begin to disassemble these negative patterns.
So, we begin our journey to health in the mind-body-spirit by observing the choices that we make for the physical body. Do our choices support our health and vitality or do they allow us a stimulating sensory experience at the expense of our body’s optimal health? We feed the body through the five senses. Evaluate the foods you take in. You literally are what you eat. Compare the taste and color of a fresh tomato purchased in a local farmers’ market in the summertime to a canned tomato. It’s easy to recognize which has greater life-force energy and which would create the healthiest tissue in the physical body. Our intake through the other senses largely creates our state of mind. By staying present, we can more easily choose to expose ourselves to sights and sounds that generate peace and connection rather than circumstances that fuel intense, charged emotions. When we engage in regular, healthful exercise we unite the body, breath and mind. Daily exercise is essential for management of the nervous system and strengthens the body’s ability to withstand stress.
The mind is both the cause and the effect of the state of the physical body. The mind’s distractions create perceptions of our reality. We can choose to feed the mind through the five senses in ways that will solidify or dissolve these perceptions. If we allow the mind to be driven by our senses, making choices for the momentary experience over the sustained health, we create disease in the physical body. If we observe our mental state and make choices to pacify our negative thoughts rather than stimulate them, we choose the future health of the body over the present desire of the distracted mind.
Overcoming our latent tendencies to uncover the deep, driving desires of the soul can be the most exciting work of one’s lifetime. When we operate on autopilot, we allow our predisposed desires to become our definition of self. Instead of observing our anger and owning our responsibility to transcend the emotion, we have been conditioned to look for a place to lay the blame. We have come to believe anger is generated outside of the self and that it is justified. Many of us feel that if we could just control our environment then, finally, our anger could be put to rest. When we lose sight of ourselves within an emotional response, we allow our innate tendencies to determine our thought patterns and, eventually, influence our physical actions.
The deep, driving desire of the soul is to become enlightened and to live in a state of unyielding conscious awareness. Our actions can at times prevent us from experiencing this state by drawing our attention into the false world of our senses, emotions and experiences.
self-observation and self-honesty are the only tools one needs to begin to disassemble these negative patterns
By turning our attention inward, we can uncover the higher self and discontinue the disease-creation pattern influencing the physical body. When the soul is free to radiate at its highest frequency, one feels a deep sense of connection and becomes capable of basking in perfect health.