Global or Universal Wellness
Global wellness does not refer to providing health care for everyone on the planet but to taken care of the whole health of the individual – mind, body, and spirit. The ancients knew this. A person’s health was never considered just in terms of his physical well being but also to their emotional condition, mental acuity, and interpersonal relations.
The featured idea for this post is Koyaanisqatsi, a Hopi Indian word meaning “life out of balance”. The picture I found on this person’s blog (please check out her excellent work). I saw the movie ages ago when I was pretending to be a lot more like a hippie. The message is simple and powerful – it consists of images of life on Earth in startling imbalance and incongruity (the film Baraka presents a similar theme).
Whole health, balanced living or however one terms it, the concept is that all aspects of one’s life need to be in harmony. For me, this means paying attention to my body, not just in terms of sickness or health but also by exercising, quitting smoking and drinking and sleeping well. Feeling physically healthy carries over into sound mental health, both mental as in intellectual as well as psychological. All together my overall health promotes good decision making, more stable finances, and less drama. Being free of spiritually exhausting petty personal squabbles and resentments likewise promote good sleep habits, a balanced diet, and healthy lifestyle choices.
The point I’m trying to make is that everything is connected and nothing happens in a vacuum. A bad decision or deficiency in one area of my life will resound across every aspect of my being. Therefore, it is vital that I maintain a balanced life of study, exercise, diet and social interaction.
Bodily Humours of Greek Physiology
As the precursor to Western notions of health and wellness, the Greek interpretation should be examined closely. I am just going to point out that they perceived all emotional and spiritual aspects of a person as arising from a physical condition, with its corollary substance.
- Blood – (air) promotes a feeling of joy, mirth, optimism, enthusiasm, affection, and well-being.
- Phlegm – (fire) induces passivity, lethargy, subjectivity, devotion, emotionalism, sensitivity, and sentimentality.
- Yellow bile – (water) provokes, excites and emboldens the passions. Being inflammatory, irritating and caustic, it provokes anger, irritability, boldness, ambition, envy, jealousy, and courage.
- Black bile – (earth) makes one pensive, melancholy and withdrawn. It encourages prudence, caution, realism, pragmatism, and pessimism.
Eucrasia (dyscrasia) – harmony (disharmony) of the bodily fluids
Chinese Vital Substances
The eastern understanding of wellness is deeper than the Greeks. It goes beyond physical to incorporate the essence and spirit of living things into their concept of global health.
Qi (pronounced as “Tschi”), flows not only through human beings but also through animals, plants, and even dead matter.
The Chinese character of “Qi” compiles of two words: damp and uncooked rice.
Qi is energy (damp) and matter (uncooked rice) at the same time.
Qi warms, nourishes, stimulates and protects.
Qi balances spirit and body, organs and fluids – in human beings and in nature.
As long as it flows independently, we are healthy.
The Chinese word “Jin” means light and clear fluids,
“Ye” in contrary heavy and thick fluids.
Jin-Ye stands for all body fluids as sweat, saliva, urine or stomach acid.
Blood is excluded.
The body fluids develop from intake of food and liquids.
The duty of Yin-Je consists in moistening organs and tissues.
Western Medicine teaches us that blood nourishes the organs and at the same time cleanse the body from toxins.
Chinese Medicine assigns further functions.
Blood is linked to the senses. Blood is the basis for a quiet spirit.
As Yin and Yang, Qi and Blood are dependent on each other.
Qi is the commander of Blood, Blood is the mother of Qi.
The essence “Jing” is inherited.
Comparable with the genes, Jing defines
the personality of a human being.
Jing is charged by food.
From food, in turn, it becomes again life energy Qi, which, directed by the kidneys, supplies the whole body, activates and moves.
Essence defines our growth, reproduction, development, and aging.
The spirit Shen resides in the heart and supplies mind and soul. With the first breath, Shen enters our body and leaves it with the last one.
Shen determines our thoughts, feelings, and phantasy.
Awake and during sleep.
Wellness, imbalance, and alcohol. Which one of these things doesn’t belong? The answer is wellness because any remotely healthy and sane person can tell you that alcohol leads to an imbalance which is anathema to wellness.
Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks-drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.
-The Doctors Opinion
With summer coming to an end I have to remain active in maintaining balance in my life. I can feel when things are out of sync. My summer classes end this week (I expect to get all A’s), the softball league is finished for the season, my big race is in ten days. With so many facets of my daily life coming to their ends how will I keep my life balanced? How can I keep this fragile hold on my wellness?
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New classes begin in September, I will be leading meditation at the recovery center every other week and my roommate wants me to help him prepare for the GED test. The running club will continue, it is not seasonal, but, I have to be aware of my many states and recognize imbalance (in the form of dissatisfaction, sleeplessness, and disproportion) before it leads to irrevocable decisions which will surely kill me.
Some sources about Wellness
- “Chinese Medicine Theory & Foundations.” Sacred Lotus. Web. 03 Aug. 2017.
- “Fluids – Jin-Ye.” Fluids – Jin-Ye – Flow of Life – TCM – Clinic for Traditional Chinese Medicine – Oerlikon Zürich. Web. 03 Aug. 2017.
- Cristi.firstname.lastname@example.org. “The Four Humors.” Greek Medicine: THE FOUR HUMORS. Web. 03 Aug. 2017.
- The Text of Alcoholics Anonymous. Web. 06 Aug. 2017.
- Lowe, Rachel. “Rachel Lowe.” Rachel Lowe. 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 06 Aug. 2017.