Health & Wellness; Yoga & Psychotherapy: An Old School Ressurrection…
This is from a facebook note I did almost a full year ago, original titled “Yoga & Psychotherapy: Straight Off Bryan’s Bookshelf.” This was the first article I ever wrote that showed me how much of an impact I can have with a single post. (You can check out the original response on facebook here…)
Here’s an excerpt from the book Yoga & Psychotherapy: The Evolution of Consciousness, collectively written by Swami Rama, Swami Ajaya, and Rudolph Ballentine. I read this early on in the morning and shared it with my boss first thing at work. Now I’m doing the same with y’all…
Trust me and read through this: you’ll be glad you did. I’ve edited the excerpt a little bit so that you can just skim through the bold, italicized and underlined parts and still catch the science. The section is called:
MODELS OF DISEASE: INTERNAL ECOLOGY VERSUS THE INVASION BY GERMS
(…first it builds on how the body is really an ecological system, and then it delves into a discussion of germ theory and its negative implications. Dig this…)
———— “The Germ Theory” ———–
In modern medicine, less importance is placed on the internal ecology, cleansing and development of internal experiences and more attention is given to external appearances. For example, if a patient has acne or a skin rash, emphasis is on suppressing the external manifestation rather than healing the underlying disturbance in the organism. However, physicians are now noticing that such suppressed symptoms may reappear in other forms. For example, in some cases where eczema is suppressed it reappears as asthma.
Our ignorance of the inside of our bodies is related to our attitude towards disease. It seems to have played a major role in the rise of a theory of disease peculiar to our culture. The conviction grew that most diseases were “caused” by invaders from the outside: micro-organisms or “germs.” (Therefore,) the ways in which poor management of one’s internal environment could contribute to illness was largely ignored.
The emphasis on germs was only one of a number of perspectives in modern medicine until it gained great impetus during the 30′s and 40′s as a result of the discovery of antibiotics. “Miracle drugs” seized the public’s imagination. It was quickly assumed that every disorder of the body would eventually be discovered to have its cause in the malicious attack of some invasive micro-organism. There was a great sense of relief, for it seemed that medical science would also eventually discover an effective drug to annihilate each (and every one) of these invaders . Though a micro-organismic culprit did not materialize for every known disease, the concept of “miracle drugs” (still) prevailed. This search for new drugs to reverse illness continues today.
Thinking of ourselves in terms of the surface of the body while NOT developing an awareness of the interior leads to going about in the world to find the cause of discomfort whenever we feel vaguely that things are not right. From this perspective it is natural to assume that the remedy will also be something external – a (magical) “pill” or drug which can be put inside ourselves to make everything all right again.
This approach is also seen in the current attitude towards drugs which influence the mind and emotions. Feelings of unhappiness are glibly (or, superficially) blamed on “pressures.” “difficulties at work,” or other external influences. An “upper” is taken for a lift, a “downer” to relax, or whatever is handy to feel different.
The term “disease,” of course means dis-ease , or a” lack of ease.” But attention has turned away from a focus on this internal experience to the external world where the causal agent and remedy are both thought to be found. We have now (mistakenly) come to the point where “disease” means something that comes from the outside.
So there’s the problem right there : when most of us get sick, instead of analyzing our lifestyle (what it is that we eat and how it is that we behave) or our inner-selves (what it is that we think or how it is that we are spiritually), we jump right up and attack the external symptom. Instead of analyzing the cause, we jump right up and attack the effect.
We fail to realize that there’s an internal ecology: that sickness itself is part of a healing process and that illness is a form of communication to let us know we’re not doing the right thing.
This is why most people have the same illnesses repetitively coming back stronger each time. Either that or they stay ill consistently…as soon as they fix one thing, “here comes another.”
By ignoring their biological feedback – which is an intelligent system – they never eliminate the root cause, so the feedback has to get stronger and more diverse every time…otherwise they would never wake up to it.
You even see the same thing in so-called “alternative healing” practices, where people run to different herbs to try and eliminate different symptoms, instead of going the route of introspection and internal change. It’s really just surface-level thinking.
It’s all about taking responsibility, which is a principle that goes beyond this aspect of healing and applies to all areas of life.
(I talk about this in depth on “The Responsible Frame,” track 11 on the bonus disk to Fundamentals for Mind-Elevation . I actually read this whole section on last week’s teleseminar class. Download the full, free mp3 recording by right-clicking and choosing “save as” here: http://www.dotheknowledge.com/fundamentals/class3.mp3)
But the book Yoga & Psychotherapy is even deeper, because when it talks about internal understanding, it doesn’t just mean lifestyle choices, it means mastery over one’s internal energy dynamics.
In yogic philosophy, human consciousness has what’s called The 5 Sheaths: (1) the physical body, (2) the breath and energy, (3) the mind, (4) higher, alternate states of consciousness beyond mind, and then (5) pure bliss. According to the book, “each sheath covers and obscures the more subtle awareness that is interior to it,” and “the continuum they form makes up a sort of step-wise ladder that is the basis of all growth and evolution.”
- The Interaction Between Tension in the Body & Tension in the Mind
- The Body in Modern Psychotherapy
- The Body in Yoga Therapy
- Techniques for Relaxation in Yoga & Modern Therapy
- The Body as a Model for the Mind
- Models of Disease (the part you just read).
- and The Psychosomatic Model (which I’m about to delve into next…)
Reading this makes me want to go back and add more to the section “Mechanics, Movements and Motion” in Fundamentals, where I break down the importance of building vitality and maintaining the physical shell…but I think it’s fire enough how it is already.
In that section, I actually read from another book I have called Martial Arts: The Spiritual Dimension by Peter Payne. Let me know if you’d like a note on that too ;)