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. By healing ourselves, we are contributing to the healing of the world.
When we speak about healing ourselves, we are not talking only about 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 a physical, mental, and spiritual 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
There is another dimension to personal health that has been coming to light in the last few years. 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 open the door to a variety 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.
Controlling Stress to Heal the Body
We may not be able to control the contraction of certain diseases which are genetic or which are spread from the air, but we can have a measure of control over our own 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.
There is a technique we can try in our lives that I have personally found to be helpful in dealing with stress. That technique is meditation. 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, analyze, synthesize, create, and then communicate our thoughts back 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 that faces us at the mental level by learning the technique of 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.
Healing Our Soul
Our soul lives in a state of truth, bliss, and love. It is naturally whole and healthy. What is unhealthy is that we have forgotten our soul. What is causing us “dis-ease” is being oblivious to who we are as soul. Instead we identify with our mind, body, and the world to such a great degree that we have lost sight of an essential part of who we are, our spiritual side.
Being unconnected with our inner core or soul causes pain. The pain may manifest as a continual restlessness for something of which we are not aware. We rush around trying to find happiness in outer pursuits and are confused when the happiness we thought we would gain eludes us. We know there is something missing, yet we know not what it is. What we are searching for is already within us. That which can bring us happiness is our soul. For some, the inner restlessness is a desire to understand the mysteries of life.
Spiritual Awareness through Meditation
There is a simple solution to help us recognize ourselves as soul and thus function as a whole human being. That technique to connect with our soul is through meditation. One of meditation’s greatest benefits is that it can put us in touch with our essential core, our soul. In the stillness of the meditation practice, we withdraw our attention from thoughts of the world, our body, and our mind.
When we sit in the quiet, we experience our soul. As we identify with the soul, we then begin to perceive through our spiritual awareness. We gain awareness of the answers to those questions that have been perplexing us throughout our life. We begin to understand that we are more than the body and mind; we are soul, filled with spiritual gifts far more valuable than any we can attain in this world. We experience love, peace, and eternal happiness. A whole new world opens up to us.
Healing the World
The world is in need of healing. We need to heal the ecology of the planet so that we have clean air, clean water, and protection for all forms of life. We need to make wise use of our resources so there is enough for everyone. We need to heal people who are starving, or are without shelter, medicine, education, and basic human rights. There are many groups actively working in different parts of the world to help heal the planet. It is a mammoth task to change the hearts and minds of people.
Be the Light
I place before you a solution that will bring definite results: let us each heal ourselves. If we can heal our body, mind, and soul through meditation we have added one more whole human being to the world population. If each one of us does it, we will find faster results. We cannot control what others do; we can only control what we do. If we become a person who is healthy in body, mind, and soul, others will notice us. The people we meet at our jobs, in our community, or in our own family will be impressed by the transformation we have undergone. They will witness our peace, harmony, and joyousness, and they too will want what we have gained. They will want to find out how we gained such treasures. In this way, by our own light, we can illuminate others. We cannot illuminate others by empty words. But they will be inspired to light their own lamps when they see the brightness by which we shine.
Benjamin Franklin, when he invented the electric streetlight could not find anyone to try it in front of their own homes. Rather than trying to convince others of its practicality and usefulness, he merely put an electric streetlight in front of his own home. Within a short period of time, everyone in his neighborhood installed one, too. Now, look throughout the world at how many street lamps warm the doorway to each home.
Through meditation, we are lighting our own street lamp. We then can radiate our light to others, and it will help speed up the process by which the whole world can be illumined. By healing ourselves, it will help speed up the rate at which the world can be healed. Let us discover the peace and bliss within so that our pains and wounds can be healed, and we can contribute to the healing of the world.