People in modern society have become insensitive to their own bodies. Their awareness is constantly outside of themselves. We place our minds in the computer, in the television, in our income taxes, in our next paycheck, in our wardrobe, in our car, in our retirement plan, etc. We tend to think about the future or the past rather than the present. Many of us spend the majority of our time living preparing for a comfortable death. Some of these things are adaptive necessities in our modern society, some of them are not, but they all have negative consequences.

Minor deficits in our breathing, heart rate, posture, and even thinking can permeate through many aspects of our lives without our conscious awareness. We learn to think that this is just how it feels to be alive. Life has good times and bad times and this is just how it feels.

When these minor deficits accumulate into minor problems, we don’t recognize them, because they are just vague discomforts that seem to be a natural part of life. Disease is how our body, which we have learned to ignore, slaps us to get our attention. And make no mistake; if you follow your body’s lead the full course, the reward is greater than any big house, retirement plan, flat screen plasma television, or island resort vacation could offer. Your body is not the enemy.

Because illness can permeate through such a large part of our lives, it requires not only proper treatment, but an adjustment in lifestyle. That doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you are doing, it just means you start doing the things that you already do better. At first this requires constant vigilance and awareness, but as we are creatures of habit it can become automatic, and the rewards are immeasurable.

Evaluating what it means to be normal

Even those not addicted to drugs that take them do so to feel normal. People who are high or drunk do not feel better, and are not more brilliant than those who have achieved natural peace of mind. If you are more comfortable, more creative, or more relaxed on drugs then you are only feeling more normal. These same states of mind, enlightening, indescribable, and mind-boggling as they may seem can be achieved naturally and with greater clarity and control.

When you are fully healthy, breathing correctly, carrying yourself correctly, and thinking correctly you will feel deeply contented and blissful. And you will have bountiful energy to complete the tasks at hand. This is our normal, natural state. It’s easy. When we don’t feel like this we are actually doing more than we need to be, breathing harder than we need to be, thinking harder than we need to be, trying harder than we need to be. Pain is the body’s way of bringing this to our attention.

We take recreational drugs to alter our senses, change our thinking, and feel good (I know some of you can come up with other reasons but please just follow my logic). But when our bodies and minds function correctly we realize we have everything we could want, and drugs no longer seem necessary or attractive.

Typical people operate at a normal level of suboptimal. That is, the degree to which they feel subpar is on par with the people around them, so it appears normal. Here normal is based on an average. If the average American feels moderately uneasy, and I am an average American, and average Americans are normal, then my moderately disturbed feelings are normal and nothing to concern myself with. This can be seen while waiting in traffic. Chances are you will be somewhat upset and if you look around others will exhibit a similar look of mild indignation.

This is an extreme example but it illustrates the same point: It may someday get to the point where AIDS is the norm in Africa rather than the exception. So if you are an African with AIDS, and all your friend’s have AIDS as well, are you normal? ‘Normal’ is only a relative concept, not absolute, and so should not be used to judge health of body or health of mind.

Your illness is not a pointless attempt by your body to interrupt your day. If you are willing, you can learn to listen to subtle messages your body sends to prevent small aches and pains and even large illnesses before they happen. With diligence and correct practice every experience of your life can be happier and more enjoyable, even sitting in traffic or standing in an endless line. For the illnesses that still seam beyond your control, and to learn to prevent them before they start, come see me at Roots of Eastern Medicine Acupuncture Clinic. Your smile will not be from blissful ignorance, but from knowing something that people around you have forgotten.