As the age of enlightenment progresses, new scientific dimensions are uncovered every day. Sometimes they cause a diametrical shift in thinking. One such area is health, and what it really means to be healthy. Owing to a staggering amount of research in the field, what was known just a decade ago has been replaced almost entirely by a new understanding.
So, what was the ideal of health 10 years ago? Simply put, it was the absence of disease. It was assumed that biological systems must contend with aging and disease and that one or the other were part of an inevitable process that was life. The body was expected to decline with time, either due to breakdown of the body over time or due to contracted diseases. This was set in stone – there was no way around it. Health was a relative term, meaning fewer diseases and a slightly delayed aging process. But today, the World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
One of the primary contributors to this new perspective on health has been research into holistic health. That the body is simply cells and atoms has been challenged periodically by noted scientists in the past decade. According to ‘Perfect Health’ by Deepak Chopra M.D, “the scientific community has shifted from outright rejection and ridicule of alternative healing approaches to serious investigation. If you access the National Library of Medicine’s database, you will find over forty thousand articles on alternative and complementary medicine with over sixteen hundred on herbal medicines alone. Meditation, yoga, massage, and nutritional approaches are increasingly embraced as mainstream tools for healing. St. John’s wort, Ginkgo biloba, and Echinacea have become household words, with almost every pharmacy in America carrying its own line of natural medicines.”
So, what exactly has been discovered to replace the old paradigm? ‘Perfect Health’ states that “there exists in every person a place that is free from disease, that never feels pain, that cannot age or die. When you go to this place, limitations which all of us accept cease to exist(…) This is a place called perfect health.” This is an invitation to a higher reality. A place that is not just a result of curing diseases, but complete freedom from them. And a place where aging is not natural, where it is recognized that the body does not even have to age.
At the heart of all this is the realization that we do not simply have bodies, we inhabit a body-mind.
In ancient civilizations and cultures, there is a different concept of consciousness than what we commonly refer to today as an opposite to unconsciousness. Consciousness is considered the intelligence that pervades everything; the very spark that causes us to have a will.
That we are this consciousness, and that this consciousness exists within a body that is relative to it, and indeed, possesses a mind that is part and parcel. Why is this a revelation? Because consciousness has volition and a will of its own. We have seen in quantum physics that electrons are affected simply by the consciousness that watches them; they behave differently simply by being observed. And we have seen from countless cancer remissions and placebo trial studies that the mind can influence the body. This changes the paradigm from man being just a body, subject to nature’s whims, to a deeply complex and capable entity that can influence its own healing.
For instance, today’s neuroscience suggests that the brain is plastic; it is influenced by thoughts, feelings, choices, and self-awareness. So, how you feel and what you think ultimately affects your genes. Which in turn affects your body’s ability to heal itself. Spontaneous remissions from life-threatening diseases occur from the body’s ability to heal itself. In fact, there has been some research on this matter. One phenomenon that was observed was that every time a spontaneous remission occurred, it was preceded by a radical change in the patient’s awareness. Great breakthroughs with relatives due to the crippling condition are a common example of changes in awareness.
These remissions are not outlier cases; removed from the norm. When the norm of humanity is so lost in negative thoughts, emotions, and lifestyles, these cases represent what would happen if someone’s life were more pure and ordinary. The body’s ability to heal itself could possibly even counteract the entire aging process.
A clearer understanding of health and disease is growing and has already reached a new frontier. Ample scientific evidence suggests that the body is not static and does not necessarily have to age or contract disease at some stage or the other. Empirical evidence has shown that the body can heal itself even from cancer if there is a radical shift in the thought process, feelings, and general state of awareness of a person. And scientific theory from quantum physics is beginning to discover that man is not just his body. He is a consciousness above and beyond, which is infinite in its potential. That this consciousness can impact the body’s healing is the new discovery of the age.
There are many ways to align with this new understanding. Adopting a healthier lifestyle, vegetarianism, yoga, and meditation are all core aspects. Reading and listening to teachers on the matter is another. Holistic healing methods such as Ayurveda and the like can also be utilized for maximum benefit. They are the open secret to long life, health, and happiness.