Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Are you healthy?
Transcription of a satsang talk at the Yoga Farm dec.3, 2006 by Swami Sitaramananda
In Yoga we say that we are comprised of body, mind and spirit, therefore, if you want to be healthy, you have to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. Health is not only physical. Actually, if you are healthy in spirit you will be healthy in mind and body, not the reverse. Sometimes we think that the body is not healthy therefore I am depressed, but you have to think reverse: the mind is not healthy, that’s why my body is healthy that’s why I become depressed. If you ask your self, am I healthy in body mind and spirit? That’s the right way to think.
So what constitutes physical health? Swami Sivananda our SatGuru, was a medical doctor. His definition of physical health was: all organs of the body functioning in an optimum manner, under the intelligent governance of the mind. That means, we are equipped with all the organs of the body and they have to function perfectly, optimally, but under the intelligent control of you, of your mind. The organs have to function, but by your lifestyle, what you eat, what you do, you make sure that your organs function well. So if you ask yourself, “Am I healthy physically?” you have to consider the mind working with the body, and think: “what do I do to regulate it, what do I do to make it better?” Change your diet, change your lifestyle, change your exercise, take supplements, do whatever you need to make sure it is working. Yoga, is the best thing to make it work, because yoga asanas work on all the body systems together.
If you ask yourself “Am I healthy mentally? ” then you have to consider a few things. If you are healthy mentally, the mind has to be strong, the mind has to be calm, and the mind has to be without negative thoughts or emotions. If you are addicted and craving all the time then you are not healthy mentally. If you are angry, upset, grieving, depressed all the time, them you are not healthy mentally. If your mind is so distracted, that you cannot focus, then know that you are not healthy mentally. You are using energy. Because when we talk about the mind we also talk about your level of energy, in yoga energy is not physical, yoga energy is subtle, it is absolutely connected to the mind. So your level of energy is very important. That means you have to have energy, so all the time you have to check in and find out: do I have energy? My energy is up? my energy is down? And you have to know that negative thoughts and feelings bring your energy down while positive thoughts give you energy. When you are stressed out, you are not healthy, mentally your energy is squeezed. You don’t have enough energy to handle difficulties in life. The difficulty of the whole set up of the body and mind is incapable of responding to demands, what ever the demands may be. External or internal. The thought is too big, the emotion is too big. You don’t have a solution for it, so you get stressed. When you have stress, you lose more energy. So you try to deal with the stress by taking external things that give you support; drugs or alcohol, or anything to deal with the stress. That stresses you more because it weakens the system. It makes the system too weak to deal with it. If you do that a lot then you have a crutch. The system constantly has to be propped up. But if you stay healthy; that means health is your natural state, then you have all the resources to be healthy. You have all the inner resources to deal with your problems.
Sometimes you think, “But my problem is bigger than yours, so it’s nice for you to sit there and say - but you are not in my situation. My problem is bigger that’s why I am stressed, that’s normal.” Not true. The truth is everyone has their stress. The truth is every life is difficult, the truth is the amount of stress, of difficulty, is always tailor cut to who we are, and what we are capable of. The way we cope with our stress will determine who we are.
Energy is unlimited in the universe. That means you can channel that energy in. That means your potential is unlimited. That means you have the whole universe to back you up. . You just have to know how to use the support that you have. And not shut it off. Sometimes we need help, and at the same time we close the door. Educate yourself on how to deal with energy, educate yourself on how to control your mind, so your own thoughts aren’t blocking you, is the practice of yoga. Yoga is more than asanas, more than exercise. Exercise, relaxation is excellent for physical and mental health, but the deeper aspects of yoga teach you how to balance your energy, charge your energy, control your mind and how to tune into the infinite source of energy and power. I encourage you to study yoga, not just in the superficial aspects, but really study deeply.
So, are you healthy mentally? Then you have to have energy. You have to be positive. You have to be on top of your life, on top of yourself not dragging behind, not thinking life is passing you by, not thinking that you are not in the life you deserve, not thinking that you are a victim of circumstances, not thinking that someone is better than you, not thinking that the life you lead is not good. Anything negative that you think makes you unhealthy. So when you are healthy mentally you are centered, balanced, in harmony with everything, in harmony with your life. The life you have is the life you always wanted, the life you have is the life God has given you, that is a healthy state of mind. Focused. You have to be focused. Not distracted, not restless, not desirous, not running around, confused. This is mental health.
Spiritual health. That is more difficult to figure out. Spiritual health is when you feel in complete harmony and life and with God. God is the perfection you feel within you. When you are spiritually healthy, you have the idea that you and God are very close, you and God are one. That means that perfection, or that infinite power of God is with you. Most of us are not like that, right? We struggle and struggle against life, we question, we drag ourselves, we don’t know why we are living, we suffer, have misery, questioning all the time - with glimpses of happiness, followed by stretches of misery. Spiritual health means you are always happy. Can you imagine that state of mind, all the time joyful and all the time happy? All the time? You experience it from time to time. That’s when you are healthy.
So you see, health is a big topic. Yoga teaches you this. It is necessary to study Yoga philosophy to understand who you are in reality. If you think you are something you are not, you are not healthy. That’s why your concept of who you are is capital to your health. If your concept is unhealthy then your actions and thoughts constantly confirm you are not the person you think you are. If you understand who you are everything is fine. You start to act healthy, think healthy, behave healthy. You can take any amount of supplements or herbs, get a massage, or anything, but if you don’t have a healthy concept of yourself, you just miss the point. Health is in your hands. No doctor or anyone can help you, really. All the doctors can forgive me. Doctors can be helpful when something goes wrong, because they know the different systems of the body. More or less, they can help regulate it. We are body mind spirit all connected, but the body is subservient to the mind and the mind is subservient to the spirit. Spirit is supreme. This is basic, you have to turn it around. If you think of the body first, then you miss out, because the body is only what you see externally. What you don’t see is the energy and the mind. What makes the energy in the mind the way it is, is your spirit, called your sense of self, or your inner connection with your spiritual self, or your connection to the divine, your connection to God. It’s all connected.
So if you have that connection to God, then the mind will not be out of control, you will understand your challenges in life, and you will not create new confusion; you will be content, happy and in harmony. Not self-creating problems or self-sabotage. We do those things because we cannot connect with the intelligence of the spirit within us. The body will be healthy because the body is connected to the energy. It’s incredible. You have seen spiritual healers- they heal. Doctors check things out, and say they cannot help you, and then a you have a miracle healing, the healer will switch something and all of a sudden everything becomes aligned, and things that are not perfect disappear, because you have the trust and faith that spirit is powerful and it heals you.
In summary, when you talk about health, talk about physical, mental, and spiritual health. Spiritual health is most important, because it governs the body and mind. Know that your life is perfect, no matter how it is, know that challenge is normal, because it makes you stronger and that’s how you become healthy. So know that there are things that you can do in order to be stronger, and positive, know that infinite energy is there for you, but you have to learn how to access it, know that most of your problems are self-created. Not most - all of your problems. All. Not your husband, not your boss, not your neighbor. It is self-created. That means, if something negative happens, you have the tendency to blame others. If you can change something - do it, if you cannot change something, accept it, because everything is always perfect. It’s you who needs the training. The situations are there for you to be trained. But everything is perfect. So you want to find that perfection and that perfect health? You need to work on yourself. You need to have the right idea. You cannot think the world is at your feet and you can do whatever you like and you’ll be healthy. That’s the bottom line.