Even as alternative medicine becomes more popular, it faces a huge challenge. Can it reliably replace or enhance conventional medicine? In earlier posts I sketched in the faults of conventional medicine, which are well known, in any case. I don't want to gloss over its triumphs, however. Expensive and risky as many treatments may be, nobody could reasonably say that only alternative medicine is viable. What we're looking for is complementarity. At present, Americans fall woefully short in several areas: prevention, wellness, weight control, and stress management. People ignore guidelines for taking care of themselves before symptoms appear, and the brilliant success of mainstream medicine in many areas has led to an attitude of "I'll do what I want and let them fix it later."
Let's say that you want to fashion your own wellness program and maximize the benefits of the mind-body revolution of the past three decades. One should start, I believe, with the wisdom of the body. That wisdom already sustains life, and the problem isn't so much that it breaks down or makes mistakes but that the mind overrides it. We need to redefine the body as an aspect of the same intelligence that operates in the mind. Rather than go into a philosophical argument, let's cut to the final result. What do you want from life? How can the body help you achieve it?
The following is a vision of life that aims at the highest in personal existence:
1. You have a higher purpose.
2. You are in communion with the whole of life.
3. Your awareness is always open to change. From moment to moment it senses everything in your environment.
4. You feel acceptance for all others as your equal, without judgment or prejudice.
5. You seize every moment with renewed creativity, never clinging to the old and outworn.
6. Your being is cradled in the rhythms of the universe. You feel safe and nurtured.
7. Your ideal of efficiency is to let the flow of life bring you what you need. Force, control, and struggle are not your way.
8. You feel a sense of bonding with your source.
9. You are committed to giving as the reason for all abundance.
10. You see all change, including birth and death, against the background of immortality. Whatever is unchanging is most real to you.
The reason that wellness and prevention haven't caught on is that they aren't meaningful enough. Human beings need an overall vision for inspiration and purpose. These ten points offer such a vision (one that most people would want to live by, I believe). The points weren't picked at random. They aren't part of a religious or spiritual scheme. Rather, they happen to be how your body's wisdom operates already.
1. The body's higher purpose is to support you in whatever you want to do. This purpose is selfless and has no hidden agenda.
2. Every cell understands this purpose and shares in the common goal despite individual differences between liver and heart, kidney and brain cells.
3. The body is entirely flexible; it doesn't resist change. In fact, change is responded to instantaneously.
4. No cell, tissue, or organ dominates. Intelligence is spread equally throughout the body, even though brain cells and immune cells, for example, display their intelligence in different ways.
5. The body is creative while at the same time remaining balanced. It can adapt to a myriad of new conditions without losing its stable functioning.
6. The body is supported by Nature as a whole, being the end-product of billions of years of evolution. Every cell feels safe.
7. Cells don't struggle to remain alive. They exist in the flow and rhythm of Nature.
8. The body doesn't feel alone and alienated. It expresses life at its most fundamental.
9. The body expends energy and returns it to the environment freely. Most cells don't hoard more than a few seconds worth of oxygen and food, because they trust that they will be provided for.
10. Cells come and go by the billions, but the body as a whole is sustained. The invisible blueprint of life outlives individual cells.
Thus we see how amazingly complementary mind and body actually are. They have meshed silently for a very long time, and in many ways it's the body that has led the way and the mind that has had to catch up to its wisdom. In the next post I'll discuss how to consciously strengthen this bond, which is a natural outgrowth of viewing intelligence as the basis of both mind and body.
(To be cont.)