If we wish to heal our planet, we must begin by healing ourselves. The best way to inspire change in others is by changing ourselves, writes Sant Rajinder Singh
Our world is in need of healing, and there are many who have dedicated their lives to this cause. There is a way for each one of us to contribute to a better future, and it all begins in silence.
If we wish to heal our planet, we must begin by healing ourselves. We may not be able to change another person over the course of weeks, years, or even a lifetime, but we can change ourselves immediately. If each person worked on healing themselves, the effect would be monumental. If each person healed themselves, the benefits they experience may inspire others to do the same. Like a wave, the effect would spread, bathing the whole world in healing waters. So let us begin with looking at ways in which we can heal ourselves.
When we speak about healing ourselves, we are not talking medically. The word “healing” involves making us whole in all aspects of our life. We are referring to healing our body, mind, and soul. Healing involves eliminating disease. What is disease but “dis-ease,” not being at ease. We may find that we are not at ease physically because of different medical conditions. We may find that we are not at ease mentally due to problems we face at our job, in our homes, in our community, or at the emotional and psychological level.
We may find that we are not at ease spiritually because there are questions relating to our soul and the Creator, and our purpose in life, that we have not yet found answers to that cause restlessness in our soul. Thus, to heal ourselves, we need to employ techniques to remove the “dis-ease,” and put us at ease at every level.
Healing Our Body
Advances in science and medicine have taught us a great deal about how to keep our bodies healthy and to ensure optimum performance of the body that we have been given. We know or have access to information about nutrition and personal health and hygiene. We know what precautions to take to prevent certain diseases. If we are to heal our body, we should lead healthy lifestyles: keep physically fit, strike a healthy balance between work, rest, and exercise, eat foods that are nutritionally good for us, eliminate habits and substances that are harmful to us, such as smoking, drinking and taking drugs, and safeguard against conditions that spread disease. The key is to observe these laws of nature so that we do not inadvertently and carelessly injure our body.
Stress and Disease
Doctors and medical researchers have discovered that stress has a role to play in our health. They have learned that stress can cause a breakdown of our immune system and be a cause of ailments. Stress interferes with the healthy functioning of some of our bodily systems required to resist disease. It activates the “fight or flight” response causing certain biochemical reactions in our body. When we are in a state of stress, our heart beats faster. Certain hormones are released to get us ready to protect ourselves. Once released, they cannot be recalled.
A ready-alert system that was originally intended to help us escape physical harm becomes activated even in the presence of day-to-day situations that do not pose any threat to our life. Thus, we carry within us a state of stress, or a state in which our body is responding to fear and threat even in situations that are only problems for our mind. Because we are not fighting or fleeing, our body has no way to dissipate the bottled up stress and we carry it around with us throughout the day. Ultimately, it begins to cause problems for us internally, and different organs begin reacting to that stress. Thus, stress that is unchecked and not dissipated can affect our heart, our lungs, our circulatory system, our digestive system, our skin, and our nervous system. We may suffer from stress-related headaches, stomachaches, breathing problems, and nervousness.
Check Stress to Heal the Body
We may not be able to control the contraction of certain diseases which are genetic or which spread through the air, but we can control over our personal stress. There are ways to reduce and even eliminate stress in our lives. When we talk of eliminating stress, we do not mean eliminating problems. Problems will always be there. But we can eliminate our unhealthy physical response to the problems.
By learning the art of meditation, we will have a defense system against stress. The key is to have another kind of response to problems that will not stimulate these physical reactions in the body. If we can learn to meditate, then we can confront problems in a way that does not upset our physiological systems. Meditation provides a way for us to learn to control our reactions.
Healing the Mind
When we talk about healing our mind, we are referring to its reaction to problems we face that affect our thinking and our emotions. Each day we are bombarded by sensory stimuli from all directions. Each message coming in through our five senses is conveyed to the brain. Some messages require a physical response, but many of them require intellectual or mental responses. We have to think through problems, make decisions, plan, analyse, synthesise, create, and then communicate our thoughts to others.
Oftentimes, the mental stimuli can bring about reactions of fear, anxiety, tension, confusion, indecision, and a host of emotional responses. Mental tension and emotional pain take their toll on our body and physical health. It also affects our ability to be productive and effective in the world.
Meditation for a Healthy Mind
We can avoid much of the stress, anxiety, and tension by meditation. Meditation is a way to relieve stress at the mental level and help us to have a healthy mind. A healthy mind means that we can deal with the challenges of life in a calm, composed way without it causing us to feel upset, depressed, anxious, fearful, or threatened.
A healthy mind means we deal with life’s problems without it affecting our emotional make-up. We take things as they come, deal with them effectively, try to find the best solution, and move on. We do not need to be overwhelmed, overpowered, and upset over the daily situations we face. By sitting in meditation, we develop the calmness to approach problems and situations. The more we sit in meditation, the more we are able to return to that state of peace and harmony at any time during the day.
The writer is a spiritual leader