We live in a world scope-locked on what our bodies look like. Are we thin enough? Does our physique conform to societies’ ideals? Popular television shows like The Biggest Loser® emphasize diet and exercise as the path to a healthier life, but the question arises: Are diet, exercise and body image all there is to achieving health?
If not, what then is the essence of wellness? Is it simply about our bodies and how they look, or does health also encompass the whole of who and what we are – our thoughts, our feelings, our attitudes, our minds, our relationships, and our ethics, as well as our interface with the non-material world of energy and information beyond our bodies, perhaps even beyond space and time?
Further, can we realistically think of ourselves as healthy when we carry grudges, or if we ignore long-standing emotional habits and attitudes? What is the difference between experiencing an emotion and being caught in its web, only to recreate the experience of that emotional chemical over and over? How does an increasing awareness of our thoughts, feelings, dreams, and challenges provide us with the opportunities to awaken into greater levels of health?
And, how do we create and engage a life rich with change and transformation as an integral and life-long journey of attaining greater states of health and well-being? SuperConsciousness addressed these questions and more with eleven emissaries of our more advanced future health care systems. They have played and continue to play important roles in the evolution of our understanding about health, healing and wellness.
For Dr. Bernie Siegel – or Bernie, as he prefers to be called – it was the lessons taught him by his surgical patients about their miraculous capacity to self-heal that changed the direction of his career. He started out as an elite, western-trained surgeon, but through his fascination with watching miracles unfold, he became a physician driven to understand how the human mind and sheer will are more effective healers than his scalpel. Bernie shares his insights in both an article and an interview about how resilient, “bad” patients who take proactive roles towards their own healing are ultimately more successful at reclaiming their health.
Dr. Joe Dispenza – “Dr. Joe” of What the Bleep fame – shares his story about doing just that: Being the proverbial bad patient, taking responsibility and then directing his healing regimen after a lifechanging accident, an event that ultimately changed the course of his focus and career. And Matrix Repatterning physician Dr. Dan Gleeson shares his story of how he passionately evolved his chiropractic understanding about healing from a purely physiological perspective to one that encompassed physical injury as a valid and demonstrable system of energy expansion.
But then, changing one’s life is what health is all about, and Dr. Joan Borysenko is a living example of that earned, personal truth. Although considered a pioneer in integrative medicine, she has come to understand that health and wellness are not about what kinds of medicines are used to mitigate illness (pharmaceutical or alternative), but that illness itself is an opportunity to transform oneself and to engage life from new perspectives and attitudes. She agrees that paying attention to the basics – nutrition, exercise, rest, some form of contemplative meditation – are fundamental requirements for everyone’s life, and in this issue she also provides us with ten key elements to help us better negotiate today’s stressful environments.
Supporting our bodies is not the only important change we make to understand health. Research evidence clearly shows that the relationship between our thoughts and attitudes is a paramount component in our experience of well-being. Perhaps the person who has done more than anyone to bring that understanding to our attention is Louise Hay. We are honored to pay her tribute by including a short excerpt from her newest book.
If attitudes and perspectives are important components in shaping the future quality of our lives, they would continue to be so during our later decades. Psychologist and Harvard Professor Dr. Ellen Langer conducted some interesting research decades ago showing that revisiting the past and happier times has a demonstrable effect on the markers used to determine age, and a spunky, ice-cream eating 98-year old shares with us some of her perspectives about maintaining joy and happiness during her almost century of life.
Have you ever experienced trying too hard to be healthy? John Parkin just says, “F**k It!” He created The F**k It Way as his own form of discipline to assist him in releasing self-imposed “have-to’s” and the stresses of the world generally. As shocking as it might initially sound, just saying “F**k It” provides a surprising release of tension, that in this day and age, everyone can use to their advantage!
What if we allow ourselves to keep hidden and buried the emotions we are most ashamed of, or that we try to protect and suppress? How does that affect our health? Life coach Debbie Ford undertook exposing her own demons to realize that what goes unaddressed in our lives not only wreaks havoc, but is also the door into experiencing and expressing our greatest potentials.
Psychologist and Vedic Astrologer Brent BecVar agrees. He carried the shame of the experiences in childhood of systematic sexual abuse by trusted Catholic leaders. His journey of healing brought him to an extraordinary understanding: It was his emotional vulnerability that was at the heart of what truly needed to be addressed and healed. Today he integrates that wisdom in his practice.
What exactly is mind, and how does it play a role in our experience of wellness? Dr. Daniel Siegel, a preeminent researcher and clinician has brought to the scientific arena a working definition of ‘mind’ – one that extends our understanding of mind to include our relationships. This verifiable hypothesis broadens our concepts of health to include our social networks. If mind, then, can be demonstrated to extend outside the physical body, the implications become exponential, and have yet to be fully explored by most of us.
Yet there does exist repeated phenomena that are unexplainable by current societal and scientific means, and the extraordinary Brazilian healer John of God is one such anomaly. Dr. Miceal Ledwith was invited to stay in the healer’s home recently and shares his story about the experience.
As our knowledge and understanding increases about the functioning of our bodies, our brains, our emotions, our states of mind, and the complex ways in which those coalesce to become what we refer to as ‘our lives,’ so, too, does our understanding about what constitutes a ‘healthy life.’ Subsequently we evolve beyond a mindset that is exclusively physical and extend our understanding into a more mature perception of ourselves – one that is not central to the body, but includes the body. Everyone we spoke with reinforced the fact that developing the ability to focus our attention beyond the physical was integral in healing. Thus, for many, the genuine journey of regaining health often becomes one of profound spiritual awakening.
All of us here at SuperConsciousness hope you enjoy this issue and utilize these concepts to transform your life into one of continuous change and well-being.
What is your favorite interview from the HEALTH issue?