The way this culture thinks about health is changing. And it’s just in time too. We, Humans, have been made overwhelmingly aware of our lack of health. The recent pandemic is making that clear. We are beginning to see that health includes so much more than six pack abs and calorie counting. What we are seeing played out in front of us, is a complete lack of understanding about what makes us ill and what keeps us healthy. More confusing than that, we don’t even have a solid definition for what health IS.
Or do we? A simple definition states “a lack of disease”. Right. We know there is so much more than just a lack of some malady or illness. Shouldn’t it be more like “thriving and adaptable”? Shouldn’t it be more like “joyful and exuberant”? Shouldn’t we be striving toward evolution and growth? Shouldn’t it be more like “purpose, meaning, commitment”?
We are beginning to understand that many of the health problems we experience are actually symptoms of underlying causes. We are beginning to understand there is no simple solution, and medications with numerous side effects are not the answer. We are beginning to see the connection between diseases that result from lifestyle factors and a society of people who don’t know how to take care of themselves.
The social problems we face are systemic.The health problems we face at the individual level are systemic. That means if there is going to be any kind of change, the system must change. This statement holds true when applied on a grand scale, like the government and culture of the United States, but it also applies on the much smaller scale of the individual. For change to manifest, it will take each individual person making the choice to live a better life and work to improve the world around them. It will take each individual person looking inside themselves and committing to create a better version of themselves. It will take each of us choosing to think deeper, act with intention, imbue our existence with meaning. It will take each of us opening our minds, broadening our perspectives, working hard to undo the negative narrative we’ve learned and taking action to replace it with something positive and productive.
Here is where our work needs to start. There are four components that can contribute to health. These aspects of humanity, when applied in concert, provide ample opportunity to live a fulfilling, productive life. They are broad areas, but each has multitudes that can be honed through awareness, effort and purpose. The four components are: your physical body, your mental mind, your emotional feelings, and your spiritual center. They can be grouped as a hierarchy, but none is more or less important than the rest. They can be focused on individually, but work on any one of these also produces improvement in the others. The first two are INTRAPERSONAL, meaning the work you do is focused internally; you working with yourself. The last two are INTERPERSONAL, meaning the work you do is focused externally; you work with other people.
I’m sure you can grasp how the state of the world would improve if we ALL spent more time focusing on improving ourselves in each of these aspects of humanity. I’m sure you can understand how seeking improvement is a natural byproduct of increased awareness. Increased awareness comes from a desire to understand reality and pursue truth, even if it requires significant, uncomfortable change.
I’m sure you believe, like I do, that change is possible and necessary, and once you have this understanding, you are compelled to say something to someone, to do something, to take action. But where to start?
First, find people who are working toward similar goals. Find people who are seeking to understand, and yearning to grow. Find people who speak about a better way of doing things, and then live that way too. Then, begin doing the work. The context may vary, but in all things, action creates experience. Experience provides the opportunity to learn and adapt; necessary processes that produce effective change. That’s it. A simple formula. To create improvement, find people who will help you grow and get to work!
Your health is a valuable resource that provides you innumerable possibilities for fantastic experiences. This is what it means to live a fulfilling life. The work begins with you, and you have within you all the strength and courage you need to pursue the necessary change.
Thank you for reading these words. Until next time…