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11/08/2010

The meaning of health Part 1

(NaturalNews) Health is a very ill defined term. In the western countries many people see health as a black and white concept. You are healthy unless you have a disease. Many people go to a doctor with some conditions that the doctor will send away saying, "You look healthy to me".

It may be more useful to look at health as a gray scale of 1 to 100 (1 being almost dead and 100 being incredibly healthy). In this way a person can always be motivated to get healthier. As a person progresses down the scale to ill health that's when they start to have diseases that a doctor can identify like heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, etc. These conditions could have been prevented had the person looked at health in the way of getting healthier way before they got sick.

So, that begs the question of what exactly is health?

According to the Ayurveda system, health can be seen from several different layers. At the core is spiritual health, defined as living a life in harmony with your true purpose in life. It can also be defined as a life in service to God or some cause greater than yourself. Another aspect to spiritual health is to lead a life that does not cause harm to other living beings. This is why in Ayurveda a vegetarian diet is recommended for spiritual life. Spiritual health is more important than physical health, but it is also the basis of all other forms of health such as emotional and mental health.

The next layer of health is your mental and emotional health. The Bach flower remedies were introduced because Dr. Bach recognized this level of importance. He believed that mental and emotional health imbalances usually lead to physical diseases. Nature, in her wisdom, has given people natural remedies that help restore health.

Chinese and Indian medicines also recognize the importance of this layer for optimum health. In Chinese Medicine, for example, someone who gets angry a lot can easily get liver problems. Too much sadness affects the function of the heart, etc. Herbs, acupuncture, exercise and lifestyle changes will help bring a person back into balance.

The last layer of health is physical health. If a person is spiritually and emotionally healthy then physical health is a lot easier to come by. This is the level where exercise, etc. plays a bit part. There are many people in the Western world who just emphasize this level of health. Bodybuilders, joggers, etc. sometimes suddenly get cancer or drop dead from a heart attack and people wonder, why? It's not a mystery. It's usually because they have been out of balance on the deepest layers of health.

So, which activities should you engage in, in order to stay healthy?

On a spiritual level of health, activities such as meditation, prayer and humility help one to understand one's true purpose in life as well as to generally get more in touch with deeper aspects of the self.

Following practices of ahimsa (non violence), also enhance a person's spiritual health. Taking a caring, rather than a judgmental, attitude toward all living entities will also enhance a person's spiritual health.

Another aspect of spiritual health is service. It is the nature of the human being to serve someone other than him/herself, putting spiritual service, of some sort, as a major component in health.

What about the mental and emotional levels of health? For that you have to wait for Part 2.

Aloha!

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