If you knew the single most important action you could take for Optimal Health, would you do it?
By Henry Maitland
Over the last ten years of my training in health, fitness and healing I have been educated to look for the etiology of a problem, for the primary cause of pain rather than potentially just addressing the symptoms. I have to say that this has been, still is, and most likely always will be a tough learning curve however it promises the greatest results.
The importance of finding the primary cause of pain can be demonstrated easily with regards to our physical health in issues that I see on a regular basis. Knee injuries are a simple and, I feel, clear example of how not looking for the primary cause of an issue can lead to ongoing problems and incomplete rehabilitation long term. Although this is a very specific example it does lead to a broader and extremely important concept for health so stay with me!
When a person has a serious knee injury it will be assessed. Let’s say the injury was a serious tear of the cartilage and it would need surgery to mend it. The diagnosis of the condition of the knee is absolutely correct and indeed the patient may well need surgery to mend the cartilage. After surgery the knee settles and the pain is reduced if not gone completely after a period of recovery and so the surgery is deemed a success, and indeed in isolation this is true and accurate. This person may then be advised to have physiotherapy to strengthen the knee and make sure the joint is strong.
The problem of course is that the cause has not been addressed, so is the knee still vulnerable to injury… yes…is there a good chance it will happen again given the same level of activity… yes… and as its been injured before is the knee more vulnerable considering the casual factors are the same? .. Yes.
So to mend the person, to resolve the issue, we need to widen the context to look at the environment that the knee exists in. So we look first at the feet and the hips/pelvis. We can then usually see that the environment the knee exists in is dysfunctional and unstable. So the resolution was integreous and accurate to the degree that it was understood but the rehabilitation ineffective in the wider picture.
So why is this so critical to understand for overall health, why does this lead to an understanding of profound and life changing importance? If we keep following the chain of cause where do we get to? And if we can find it then surly this has to be the single most important thing to work on as it’s foundational to every other aspect of health?
If we follow the chain through the physical dysfunction we come to the environment that effects the physical (of which there are many external influences however to simplify this discussion we will look only at the internal) which is the mind or habitual thought. This has a very powerful influence over our physical body. Now before you say it, I am not suggesting that your mind ‘caused’ you to have a knee injury (although it could) I simply used it as an example to reference the vital necessity to look at the wider context that an issue exists in.
So from the mind where do we go, from thought? What is the context that allows thought to be? Well this is where we step boldly in to the unknowable, into the world of the formless form, that can’t be understood but can be experienced and so known. The experience of consciousness is where we find the fabric of health, the connective tissue that ties it all together and makes sense of all that is. If you really want to be healthy, well and vibrant you don’t need to do much more than spend some time figuring out how to be peaceful, to be still for 20 minutes per day.
Finding a practice that allows you to find internal peace is one that works on every other element of health. If you practice stillness then everything else gets better, and that’s a fact. The question then is why we are so resistant to doing it?
In health and happiness