Why Do We Get Sick?
I was a sickly child. I suffered from bronchitis at least two times a year, complete with coughs from hell. I also got pneumonia at just eight years old and was not allowed to leave the house for a whole month because of my vulnerable condition. The doctor who diagnosed me was an old friend of my dad and knew first hand my medical history from infancy. He was puzzled by my illness, as usual. He knew my mother well, and he knew she took good care of me.
My mother really did take good care of us. She was always attentive to my needs, so I could grow stronger. According to the doctor, the child of such a devoted mother becoming sick was very unreasonable.
I didn’t understand the situation at the time, and I believed my mother was discriminating between my siblings and me, but I now understand she really took good care of each of us. She read about children, combined every bit of information she could get, and seriously tried to enable us to grow as healthily as possible. Unfortunately, saying that all her efforts failed would not be an exaggeration.
We’re three sisters. My mom nearly lost my eldest sister when she was just eight months old because she, like many new mothers, was obsessed with providing her baby with the most sterile environment possible. Then, when my sister caught a common cold, she suddenly developed an unexpected complication. Her immune system couldn’t handle this simple ailment because it hadn’t experienced many common bacteria yet, so the infection progressed to meningitis. She barely survived.
My mother gave us a little more freedom after learning her lesson the hard way. We had the privilege of growing up having fun on the streets. We played hopscotch, jumped over ropes, dug around in the dirt, and so on. Then my sister inhaled a piece of cat or dog hair one day while playing in our garden. The hair got stuck in her lungs and caused a vesicle to develop. Half of her left lung needed to be removed when she was just four and a half years old. Now, my medical history is obvious enough, I guess.
My mom never gave up struggling to raise us as healthily as she could. I now begin to understand why she suddenly lost eight kilos in just a month. She reacted strongly to what happened after her decision to change her child-rearing method and tried to cope with a huge deal of worry, regret, and guilt.
Seeing that my immune system was weak, she was particularly careful with my nutrition. She would always chase me around with a spoon in her hand, trying to feed me. It was a time when royal jelly and its benefits were relatively unknown, yet she used to order honey with royal jelly all the way from Marmaris. A typical breakfast for me would include freshly laid eggs, desalted farm cheese, at least two varieties of homemade jam, fish roe, tomatoes, and a seasonal citrus fruit. Processed food such as sausage and salami were strictly left out. I would be fed a vegetable soup with meat or chicken broth, grilled meat, pasta or rice, and fruits at lunches. Our dinners weren’t so different from lunchtimes. I was always allowed to eat chocolate, candies, baklava, and other things in between meals, unlike many children. Lastly, before I went to bed, I would drink two glasses of fresh cow’s milk. Lord knows how hard I tried to downsize my overgrown stomach later on.
There were also drugs prescribed by the doctor, a lot of them. I would trick my mother all the time by pretending to swallow them before going straight to the toilet and spitting them out. The mixture of royal jelly I drank before breakfast was also given under medical advice, hence the fate it shared with the drugs. My mother and father would watch me drink the mixture at first, but as I grew up and started to tire of it, I started to pretend to drink it and send it down the toilet to join the drugs. (Since that time, I wonder if I was doing a good deed by feeding the sewer rats.)
My mother soon realized the truth and immediately contacted my doctor to ask if he could prescribe injections instead. That way she could be sure the drugs were in my system and sleep with some piece of mind. My hips were bruised for months. First came a drug called Durabolin, which they thought would boost the speed of my metabolism and help me gain weight. This particular drug was normally injected once a month, but I was injected once every 15 days. Of course, there would also be additional antibiotic injections when my fits of coughing struck as well. Despite all this, my condition still didn’t improve. My hemoglobin level was still low and the sedimentation was high in my blood count. My dear mom was seriously troubled because she didn’t know what more she could do for me to grow stronger.
Terms such as sedimentation, leukocytes, blood platelets, and so on were in my vocabulary from a very early age. I could use them at the right time and in the right context. People even started to treat me like a child prodigy. I wasn’t even six when I started using it as a way to get attention, and I treated being smart as a stunt.
Looking back, I now understand what actually happened. My mom and the doctors thought I was sick and believed the drugs would make me recover. They didn’t once consider that I might be reluctant to heal.
How fast I healed when I truly wanted it…
I think the word disease today describes instances where some of our organs have their normal functions temporarily “interrupted” because of our “physical or mental” activities. I will now dare to simplify the well-known and thus well-accepted description of the state of “illness.” I don’t mean to hurt, bash, or criticize anyone. I’m just trying to relay what I understand to others in a language they can understand as well.
This is my humble opinion.
What brought medical science to the “humans get sick” perception today was Hippocrates’s theory, which is based on the practice of examining and diagnosing lymph, blood, and gall flows separately.
After Louis Pasteur’s studies of the 1800s, which showed that many diseases were caused by bacteria, the belief that disease was a process that starts from the outside grew stronger.
Later on, statistics showed diseases were caused by not only bacteria but also hereditary factors.
All these studies gave way to a scientific field that makes no concessions on its principles, rather than following a course that first diagnoses then treats. Let’s call it “western medicine” for now. (For me, medicine should consider the human as a whole, with the soul, the mind, and the physical body. So I prefer to call this type of practice, which tries to determine what’s wrong by way of blood/urine/feces tests, western medicine. If you want more information about it, you can easily consult a specialist. I will not dwell on this subject any more to prevent any possible misinformation on my part.)
There is a fact no one can deny. The scientific development in the western world over the last 30–40 years has naturally reflected on the science of medicine. The specialists are now able to break the human body into parts right down to its atoms. Anatomy, physiology, and pathology have reached a previously unimaginable level today. The “divide and conquer” principle of the western world has surely reflected itself in medicine as well.
Meanwhile, the five-thousand-year-old Chinese tradition of acupuncture recently started to gain ground in the western world. The scholars didn’t hesitate to gaze to the eastern horizon after they realized the “divide and conquer” (or “drug and silence”) wasn’t enough anymore. They started researching this eastern approach that had proved effective for thousands of years. The theory of acupuncture seemingly has a more holistic approach to humans.
This theory speaks of an energy flux. According to the eastern tradition, “The motion creates an energy flux and the movement requires energy. This is the natural course and shouldn’t be interrupted.”
The energy stemming from movement eventually reaches the source and creates a synergy called Chi. The universe is considered to be a whole consisting of the Chi of all things combined.
Eastern tradition speaks about the microcosm and the macrocosm. The concept of the macrocosm gives way to the microcosm concept when reduced to the human level. In other words, a human is a miniature model of the universe.
The blood flow, the lymph drainage, and the movement of the skeletal and muscular systems create Chi. We could call this “the Chi of movement.” The motion of the atoms in our cells creates another type of Chi, which we’ll call “the cellular Chi” for now. All kinds of brain activity, especially our thoughts, create a special kind of Chi that cannot be stored, “the Chi of thought.” Another Chi emerges that can be stored in the cells or between the organs and their membranes while they do their work. Five organs can create this energy, which is named after the organ in question. They are respectively called the Liver Chi, the Heart Chi, the Spleen/Pancreas Chi, the Lung Chi, and the Kidney Chi. (You can learn more about this in my book Five Elements.)
Eastern medical specialists claim everything in existence creates a unique Chi energy. They believe this energy has a profound impact on our health, whether created within the body or in an external source.
Medical students in China learn both western and eastern medical practices. Consequently, we hear many different approaches to common conceptions about health, but there are points on which they cannot agree. My aim is to analyze these particular points.
A specialist from the western tradition takes it for granted that external and internal microbiological factors are present all the time. When you ask them, “If they are always there, why don’t they always make us ill?” they will tell you these factors only cause harm when the “immune system” is weakened.
When you proceed to ask them under which conditions this “immune system” is weakened, they start speaking about nutritional habits, sleep patterns, physical activities, minerals, vitamins, smoking, alcohol, drugs, and so on to try and rationalize it. To put it in a nutshell, they prioritize the strength of the physical body. If you persist with your inquiries, they may touch upon “secondary mental factors,” such as sadness, hopelessness, low spirits, and so forth.
However, when you mention the weakening of the immune system to acupuncture specialists, they will tell you how it is a natural consequence of an interruption in the energy flux caused by various mental factors. They take the physical symptoms as a warning of this interruption.
According to this particular approach (in a similar way to the western approach), microbiological factors and physical traumas can also cause interruptions in the flux, but they don’t ignore the influence of mental and emotional processes on the body. Actually, many consider these influences to be the primary source of discomfort in the body. All diseases, incidents, injuries resulting from arguments, burns, cuts, and every kind of discomfort come from an internal weakening of the energy flow.
We can see how both approaches consider a “weakening” of our system as the primary factor in discomfort. The junction where they separate from each other is the priority given to the physical and spiritual conditions.
To summarize it all: While the western medical tradition claims the process of a disease follows a course from outside to inside, the eastern tradition claims the opposite.
Could It Be Fate?
The theories I mention above show the difference between eastern and western approaches. They surely have a lot in common, and the most important of these common points is undoubtedly that they both claim a disease develops within the current lifetime.
The western world has recently started to take notice of our inherited disorders. The eastern disciplines have similarly started to recognize the stored energy we inherit from previous generations, more so when compared to the past.
The western world established a brand-new area of medical science to investigate our genetic codes and our DNA. Meanwhile, the eastern world acquired an entirely different viewpoint about healing with the help of herbal essences and aromatherapy.
The west goes on and on about gene mapping, and the “divide and conquer” approach shows itself once more. Scientists predict they can remove a gene that causes a disease when they finish the mapping. They truly believe they can prevent potential diseases.
Meanwhile in the east, acupuncture specialists realized they could turn the activated genetic information that causes a disease back to its dormant state with the help of aromatic oils. They believe they can prevent people from getting sick by anaesthetizing the genes.
In conclusion, both of these disciplines acknowledge the part our gene pool plays in our diseases. In other words, they both accept that outside factors also cause illness. They also both claim that the chances of getting ill are coincidental. They both claim that an illness is registered in our gene pool, and it can be activated with some coincidental trigger, just like that.
While the west cannot make sense out of this situation, the east steps forward a little. Acupuncture specialists claim our mental and emotional state invites the trigger to our lives.
This is a highly fatalist approach for the strictly evidence-driven westerners, but if you ask me, I would say both of them are only partially correct.
We Do Not Get Sick—We Are Born Sick
Lise Barbeau speaks of something she calls “the inner GOD” in her book Evolving Souls, Healing Wounds. I have never had difficulty understanding this concept. For me, the core of our consciousness (the soul) is none other than our divine essence, so the idea of “having another me within me,” as Yunus Emre put it, is not an alien concept to me.
Barbeau makes it clear that she believes in reincarnation by talking about “past lives.” I respect her approach, although I have to say my own thoughts on this subject are still unclear.
It surprises people when I don’t give a straight “yes” to their question about whether I believe in reincarnation. I think reincarnation, which means to evolve by continuously incarnating, may be a more complex way of describing the gene pool that passes down the generations. Or maybe the incorporation of less evolved beings into more evolved ones supports evolution, as some belief systems suggest. (For example, a wheat kernel becomes a part of a more evolved being when eaten by a cow. This may count as reincarnation. When the cow is later eaten by a human, both the wheat kernel and the cow become part of a higher consciousness, and this may be counted as evolving through reincarnation.)
However, whether it’s reincarnation from lifetime to lifetime or the evolution of the consciousness through transmission of the gene pool (or some other way), I wholeheartedly believe our divine essence is aware of the conditions our consciousness will face during our lifetimes.
I realized the genetic registries are not entirely coincidental, just as Barbeau suggested when I was researching the study known as familial composition. I must admit I sincerely accepted the idea that when a soul incarnates into a body, it knows about the consequences of the chosen body’s genetic pattern and the potential diseases from its ancestors, even though it’s nonsensical and questionable for many.
The familial composition method assumes we undertake some of the emotional wounds from our elders. According to this theory, the soul is fully aware of these wounds, and its purpose is to recognize and accept them with the mind. This is then a catalyst for both itself and others to heal, breaking free all at the same time.
Barbeau summarizes this situation in her book by saying, “We incarnate until we learn to accept, and by way of this acceptance, we learn how to love ourselves and discover our potential.”
Of course, the physical body and the mind are not usually aware of this process, but when the mind encounters difficulties, it starts to ask questions and tries to attribute a meaning to them. We get a chance to fulfill our purpose when we are patient and openhearted enough.
When things plant themselves in front of us in a way that shows us the darker corners of our souls and the lessons we need to learn, they only become objective to the extent our emotions allow. They are as successful as they are objective, but when our emotions interfere, the objectiveness weakens and the dark corners disappear from sight.
Let’s look at the real disturbance that overshadows objectiveness, which we call “emotions.” “Emotion is the result of thoughts that emerge from preconditioned facts that we accept.” When considered from this point of view, emotions are not spontaneous but rather a result of our thoughts.
Let me try to explain this complicated statement further.
There are preconditioned and generally accepted ideas that we learn, and our thinking pattern is generally based on these ideas. We tend to reason out the reaction we will show against an impact, which means we interpret and judge the impacts in a manner consistent with our thought patterns.
If we deem an impact to be good according to our thought patterns, our physical chemistry reacts in a positive way and convenient hormones are activated. For example, take the serotonin hormone, which is activated when we think we’re happy. This change in our physical chemistry influences the body’s electricity as well. The soul reacts to this electricity, and we call this reaction “happiness.”
If the impact is something we deem to be bad, the process then follows an opposite course and creates what we call “misery.” When considered this way, you can see how happiness and misery, fear and sympathy, are merely results of our thought processes and not spontaneous in any way, shape, or form.
The soul has the ability to record things like a memory card in our earthly minds. What is recorded on it is in energy form. The soul records every frequency that affected it, positively or negatively. While the mind keeps a record of actual things and vibrations it has created, the soul records the energies and emotions that same thing created. Because the mind is part of the physical brain, it ceases to exist when physical death occurs. I think this might also be the case with the information stored in the soul…
Yet genetic studies show the same genetic information being passed down from generation to generation, and people learn knowledge and reactions from their parents starting from the moment they are born.
The information registered in our genealogical tree can cause us to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiac diseases, and cancer.
Moreover, the belief that characteristics such as anger, violence, addiction, sentimentality, and touchiness could also be hereditary is growing stronger.
Western specialists attribute the weakening of our immune system to factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and microbiological life, while easterners identify it with negative emotions like anger, jealousy, and hate.
The new age teachings blend them together and argue the eye gets sick from the things we refuse to see, the ear from the things we refuse to hear, the lungs from sadness, the liver from anger, and the heart from being unable to love. So I suppose it’s not really effective to continue our quest with questions like “Why are we angry? What upset us?” and so on.
The cause of both anger and sadness is our mind and the thought and information patterns within it, so it wouldn’t actually be wrong to say, “We are born sick and live to heal.”
As you see, whether a disease is hereditary or acute, it doesn’t come into existence within the course of our lives; we are simply born with it. We encounter them over time because of our mental processes. In other words, what’s already planted within us surfaces when an external trigger is activated at the right time.
Western specialists recently started arguing that it would be more efficient to keep potential cases under control, even when there’s no apparent problem. Acupuncture specialists make the same argument about keeping potential diseases under control by preserving the electrical balance of the body and using herbal oils when needed.
If you ask me, neither of these is sufficient. Nothing can ensure a constant state of well-being, whether it be altering the genetic code or maintaining our energy balance. It doesn’t serve a purpose even if it tries to ensure it. If our real purpose is to accept and transform the information and emotions in our genetic codes, cutting them away or bypassing them makes things even worse by hiding our darker corners even more.
I think people who were born sick should ask themselves, “Seeing I am born this way, how can I face my illness? What can I do to heal myself?” They may find an answer from within.
The better we can face our “sick parts,” the healthier will be the genes we pass on to the next generation.
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