Sometimes I can’t figure out how to create a positive relationship to what is happening in and around me. A young woman I know, who has been struggling with a disease they have no cure for, lays in a coma after a brutal procedure to stabilize her neck. Cancer metastasized in another young woman fighting for more time with her young kids. It is difficult, witnessing old age turning diseased and the pain of letting go of a body that is broken and worn down. The thing that I return to over and over is that the entire of truth of our worldly experience comes down to our body. Health and well being are the ground for everything else that happens to and in you, which explains the ridiculous percentage of national income feeding our health care system.
I am not the first person to note how misguided this system is; how unhealthy so many people are in spite of the trillions of dollars spent on health care. Actually, most of that money is spent on disease care, and the vast majority is spent in the last 6 months of a person’s life. Precious little time and resources are spent on being well. Everyone knows the basic building blocks of physical health are good food, regular exercise and enough sleep. It seems an easy enough prescription, but many people don’t seem to manage it, in part because they are consumed and pre-occupied with issues surrounding their mental health.
Truth be told if we started spending some significant percentage of our disease care dollars on mental health issues we would see a real turnaround in people’s ability to make better daily choices. Mental illness, which is actually emotional illness, is the number one disease in the world in both frequency and in lack of treatment. Most of us are not particularly emotionally intelligent with the skill base to identify and express the wide range of emotions that flow through us each day. When we can’t adequately name and feel our emotional experience it gets lodged in us. Over time, our emotions become our viscera and they drive the stories of our lives that we repeat over and over again.
Learning to feel is our best hope in curing our own personal ills and even the health care crisis as a whole. Our emotions need only to be witnessed and acknowledged for what they are. They provide the most grounded information we can collect at any given moment for what is true for our bodies and our lives. Most of us live disconnected from these vital messages that our body is always at work trying to give us. We fear and mistrust our emotional interpretation and we discount the essence of who we are.
So here is the positive spin of illness, disease and even death. Cherish the body you live in, feel the pain of having a body and listen for the emotions that live inside of you. This information taken to heart is how our rational mind comes to wisdom. It is always through the body that we know where we are truly and what matters most.