And a brave new world
Western allopathic medicine is a new phenomenon when we consider the timespan of human history. No one is quite sure how long human beings have lived on this planet as past knowledge has mostly been lost and what people believe is largely theoretical.
Throughout history, lifespan and health have been dependent on good fortune like food supply and amenable living conditions. As the population grew factors such as human kindness, tolerance or aggression became significant factors.
You throughout history people have wondered why they became unwell, they have wondered why became sick and had such a varied lifespan. They observed that some foods made them strong and some foods made them weak, and overtime various herbs and minerals were employed medicinally.
This is what we call folklore, the knowledge that was passed down to the generations about what was good for certain things and as civilisation developed came to be referred to as natural medicine. With the arrival of rigid belief systems in Europe much of this folklore was lost because many of the healers were burned as witches. But by this time in the East are much more scientific approach was well developed.
This science of medicine with a history going back about 6000 years is known as Ayurveda. This is a system of medicine that although it has temporary solutions for the unpleasant symptoms of disease, it is primarily treats the cause of disease which in turn helps to strengthen not only the organism but the very genetic structure of our human physiology.
The quotation “ignorance is the cause of suffering” is attributed to the Buddha and it is very true. If you don’t know that some food is bad for you and you eat it, you get sick and sickness is a form of suffering. Similarly if you are eager and of a car coming toward you as you step onto the street, you may suffer terribly.
Therefore we can say that all suffering including our sickness is caused by the ignorance of what caused the sickness or suffering. If we develop an addiction for sweets, the suffering may be obesity and diabetes. If we don’t know how to use our body when dealing with physicality, we may injure our back.
Therefore we must ask as in this age of information we know that sugar is bad for us and yet we continue to consume it. We know that smoking cigarettes is detrimental to health, yet so many people continue to smoke. So why is it that at a certain level we have gained some knowledge which dispels ignorance and yet we continue to make the same mistakes?
There are many possible reasons, but the primary reason is that we live in an abstract world of the mind which is governed by principles that are not grounded in any reality. In other words our lives are guided by beliefs and social pressures that have little to do with reality and in fact it is the human mind that is running peoples lives.
If we think of body and mind as being like a computer, this is like having one piece of software dictating how the machine should operate. Your computer may be using Windows or Macintosh which gives the computer certain operating parameters and the programs are designed to do specific things, but if one program or piece of software takes over the operation of the machine, you as the user have limited access and ability.
So it is with the mind because what we call as our mind is simply software that we have implanted or allowed to be implanted within our being. As foods which are not good for us will make us sick, ideas implanted into our minds can also make us sick.
If we implanted the idea that I am more important than anyone else, then I am going to try and dominate everyone else which leads to a social sickness. If you implanted the idea that you love sweet food, then you will consume an excess of sweet food and suffer the unpleasant consequences of disease and a shorter life.
This paradigm has outlived its usefulness, it is moving civilisation and life on earth towards extinction. It has led to an overburdened and conflicted medical system that cannot cope, and a time for change is overdue. But what this new paradigm is unknown and for people who are disconnected from life and nature will experience some apprehension because it is in the future, it is unknown. But it is not unpredictable and it has a long track record of success.
The new paradigm
The way ahead involves casting aside beliefs because believes bind us to knowledge that could well be false. The way ahead is about recognising that we don’t know everything. In terms of medicine, modern allopathic medicine is very good and surgeries and bone setting, but it doesn’t have a clue about the function of mind.
Yet the Hindu tradition that gave rise to Ayurveda also has a much deeper understanding of the human mind. This is why and what we call as Hinduism there is no need for belief because those people who are often referred to as Hindus are seekers and not believers.
This is a process of coming to know one’s self and in particular one’s own inner nature. We must remember that when we look at the world, when we perceive the world around us we only perceive because our senses convey information to our brain and it is our brain or our mind that determines what we are seeing. Therefore the only place that we experience life is within our own minds, due to the way we are created it is not possible for us to have any external experience. The universe really does exist inside of us.
Therefore for the most part, all our suffering is our own creation. The great yogis, the limited men and women who have come to know themselves in totality have observed that 75% of all illness is self-created and the rest is from external phenomena like viruses and bacteria. Therefore there will be no throwing out of modern medicines because they will still be needed for what may well be referred to as a biochemical warfare within the human body.
The process of self-study, self observation and a grounding in reality will mean that addictions will become a thing of the past and we will have the willpower and the freedom to avoid what harms us.
The primary cause of illness today is not so much ignorance, rather it’s our compulsive behaviour and by getting to know ourselves with more deeply, we can develop the determination to become less compulsive and healthier. This is completely natural approach will we become responsible for our own health and well-being, yet the modern hospital will continue to exist to help stave off infections and treat injuries. The technology here will continue to improve meaning shorter hospital stays and more importantly, making hospitals places of healing instead of places of dis-ease.