Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Ecosystem of YOU!

Too many people today still believe that there is a separation of the spirit/mind/emotions – all those invisible parts of you – and your physical body.

Many are familiar with this as Cartesian philosophy, the interpretation of the separation of mind and body, and the mechanistic interpretation of physical nature.

Rene Descartes in 1641 published his Meditations on First Philosophy in which he says: "And finally we should conclude from all this, that those things which we conceive clearly and distinctly as being diverse substances, as we regard mind and body to be, are really substances essentially distinct one from the other; and this is the conclusion of the Sixth Meditation. This is further confirmed in this same Meditation by the fact that we cannot conceive of body excepting in so far as it is divisible, while the mind cannot be conceived of excepting as indivisible. For we are not able to conceive of the half of a mind as we can do of the smallest of all bodies; so that we see that not only are their natures different but even in some respects contrary to one another."

From the Sixth Meditation, "proof" of the separation of mind and body: "For, as a matter of fact, when I consider the mind, that is to say, myself inasmuch as I am only a thinking thing, I cannot distinguish in myself any parts, but apprehend myself to be clearly one and entire; and although the whole mind seems to be united to the whole body, yet if a foot, or an arm, or some other part, is separated from my body, I am aware that nothing has been taken away from my mind. And the faculties of willing, feeling, conceiving, etc. cannot be properly speaking said to be its parts, for it is one and the same mind which employs itself in willing and in feeling and understanding. But it is quite otherwise with corporeal or extended objects, for there is not one of these imaginable by me which my mind cannot easily divide into parts, and which consequently I do not recognise as being divisible; this would be sufficient to teach me that the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body, if I had not already learned it from other sources.

Furthermore, "I notice, also, that the nature of body is such that none of its parts can be moved by another part a little way off which cannot also be moved in the same way by each one of the parts which are between the two, although this more remote part does not act at all. As, for example, in the cord ABCD [which is in tension] if we pull the last part D, the first part A will not be moved in any way differently from what would be the case if one of the intervening parts B or C were pulled, and the last part D were to remain unmoved."

(Personally, I think Descartes was seriously misunderstood. If you read his entire Philosophy carefully, he writes more about the illusory nature of the physical world. His discussion is very Buddhist in nature, and he seems very interested in the power of the mind to perceive reality beyond the physical senses. )

Of course, we now know that everything in the universe is connected by vibration, every vibration is like a pebble dropped into a pond that reaches out in all directions to affect everything else, and that even though we can't see or feel the liver vibrating when the heart beats, we know that it does.

It is well past time to put Descartes and his Philosophy back on the bookshelf and embrace (or re-embrace) our holistic nature.

I propose the
Ecosystem of YOU

Very simply, an ecosystem is "a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment." Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.I like this definition, too: "an ecological community together with its environment, functioning as a unit." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Even the staunchest of Cartesian supporters must admit that a person's insomnia (usually a mental dis-ease caused by stress) can adversely affect not only memory, concentration, and reasoning functions, but muscular function, diet which in turn affects digestion, and cause anxiety and depression. The medications given for that insomnia may cause lightheadedness, low blood pressure, nausea, even cause damage to liver, kidneys, or respiratory system. (Not to mention, many sleep-aid drugs are very addictive.)

Does that not sound like an "interaction of a community of organisms" to you?

If, as Descartes proposed, we are merely machines, how is it that we ever become addicted to anything? How is it that chronic, excessive worry causes ulcers? How is it that organ transplant recipients must take medications for the rest of their lives so their bodies won't reject the donated organs? Why can't we just pop in a new liver, kidney, or lung and have done with it just like we replace a filter, water pump, or catalytic converter in an automobile?

Because people are not machines.

You are a living, breathing, every-part-of-you-affects-every-other-part Ecosystem!

If you worry, your digestive system can rebel; if you are feeling grief or loneliness, lung function can be impaired; chronic anger and resentment damages the liver. Likewise, illness in one of your organs can cause mental and emotional upset, worry about the future, anxiety over bills and the cost of medications.

A long time ago, I read about a small study done among heart-attach patients. Each person was asked why they had a heart attack. Do you think the answers ranged from "lack of exercise" to "poor diet" to "high cholesterol" to "blocked arteries"?

No. Every single person responded with a mental or emotional reason for his or her heart attack: I was lonely; my wife/husband died; there was too much stress in my life; I was worried about……

Get the picture?

The Ecosystem of YOU needs your support: Every time you eat nutritious, healthy food free from chemicals, you are doing something good for your personal ecosystem. Every time you go for a ten-minute walk, you are doing something good for your personal ecosystem. Every time you meditate, sleep well, drink clean water, feel gratitude for what you have, smile at a stranger, love your neighbor, love yourself… are doing something good for your personal ecosystem.

One of the best things you can do support your ecosystem is to eliminate stress using holistic methods. Stress, both mental and emotional, has become the most physically damaging disease in the U. S. To counteract stress, the use of prescription drugs that cause damaging side effects is growing by leaps and bounds, causing even more stress, more illness, and more costly medical treatments.

Every time you use a non-holistic method, you are damaging the Ecosystem that is YOU. There are times when pharmaceuticals must be used, but whenever possible, drugs should be a last resort after giving human-friendly holistic methods a fair trial and time to become fully effective. In the long run, holistic treatments are safer, and bring long lasting (often permanent) relief from your spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical illnesses.

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