Introducing The Life Science System For Perfect Health, Part II
Lesson 4 - Introducing The Life Science System For Perfect Health, Part II
A Survey Of The Lesson
The first two lessons dealt with the Life Science outlook on health and disease. The third lesson stated the essentials of life and presented in-depth scrutiny of two of these needs, namely air and water.
This fourth lesson encompasses seventeen other essentials of life in summary form. Exhaustive treatment of any single aspect of life’s needs is not intended. Rather, it is intended to acquaint you preliminarily with each life need presented. Subsequent lessons will plumb the depths of the essentials treated in this lesson.
Assuring your body of all its needs might be likened to the care that must be lavished upon highly complex jet liners. Every item of equipment aboard the jet must be in working order and have an adequate supply of its needs in order to operate as designed. The jet may operate with many of its systems knocked out but it is crippled. Crippling of certain systems may send it to its doom. And so it is with the body.
The human body consists of approximately 125 trillion cells which live together harmoniously. Cells live both for themselves and for the welfare of the organism of which they are a part, and they are specialized into tissues and tissue organizations that perform services for every other cell and cell organization throughout the organism.
As a health professional aware of the many faculties of the body and the full needs of the organism, you’ll undertake to assess your clients’ compliances and transgressions of their needs. You’ll endeavor to guide your clients into thoroughgoing compliance with their biological needs and total rejection of their transgressions.
With this purview in mind, we proceed to consider an important essential of life: Body cleanliness.
Cleanliness Is An Essential Of Life
The Need for Cleanliness
The body operates most efficiently when it is unfettered. Filth on the outside of the body most people will not tolerate. They readily appreciate external cleanliness and most keep themselves impeccably clean. While there is much to be desired regarding the ways in which most people maintain external cleanliness, nonetheless they are imbued with the necessity of a clean body—at least on the outside.
However, more important than external cleanliness is internal purity. Internal filth damages the body in two ways:
- The mere physical presence of pollutants clogs and interferes with body processes.They hinder operations much as a crowd of people in a street hampers automotive traffic.
- All contaminants within are poisonous! The body not only objects violently to the physical presence of filth but it also objects to its chemical presence. The body tries to maintain physical and chemical integrity. Anything that alters the consistency of body elaborated fluids and compounds; anything that threatens cell well-being due to its chemical nature is anti-vital, hence poisonous. Thus we can see that for best performance the body must not be hampered physically or chemically in its operations.
A Clean Body Is Necessary to Health
The sum total of all the processes whereby the body is cleansed or kept pure is called elimination or drainage. Elimination is the sequel of feeding or alimentation. Ideally the body must eliminate the unusable debris from food ingestion, spent cells, the wastes of metabolism and extraneous substances that may be admitted in some manner. The more thoroughly elimination is effected, the purer is the body. A thoroughly clean body is necessary to realize the highest level of function—to achieve the highest level of health. Inasmuch as the basic cause of disease is body toxicity, we need to realize the importance of keeping our bodies clean internally as well as externally.
Body Elimination Must Be Equal to the Need
Obviously, to remain free of burdensome accumulations, both physical and chemical in nature, the body must have full use of its eliminative faculties. If these faculties are impaired by lack of nerve energy, if they have been disabled by toxic materials or if ingestion of toxic matters exceeds ability to cope, then elimination is likewise impaired. Accumulations further vitiate the elimination process until the body must undertake an eliminative crisis (disease) to free itself of its morbid load. We Americans are habituated toward many eating and drinking practices that fill our bodies with alien materials that must be eliminated. Alien materials always take their toll on the eliminative organs. Nonfood materials are usually inherently toxic, especially the alien substances the average American eats and drinks. A constant load of toxic materials taxes the eliminative faculties. Thus we Americans wallow in toxic materials from exogenous sources and, due to their impairing influences, from endogenous sources, too.
By waste we mean all end-products of all the metabolic activities occurring in every cell and organ of the body. Elimination must equal the processes of supply if balance and health are to be maintained. Just as we can be made sick by living in rooms with our fecal and urinary accumulations, so, too, can we be made sick internally if elimination does not occur apace.
To cope with its eliminative needs, the body must enjoy conditions favorable to elimination. As well, it should not be taxed with toxic materials from without.
The Body’s Daily Cleansing Cycle
Eliminative processes never cease. Every exhaled breath is an act of elimination of toxic gases. The skin exudes some small amount of wastes continuously. But there is one time in each day when the body heightens its eliminative processes. This time is, roughly, from three to four o’clock in the morning until from ten to twelve o’clock noon.
The body’s stepped up elimination during this time is evidenced in many ways. A particularly toxic person may have a furred tongue upon arising. Hunger will not be in evidence. But, if the body is fed just the same, the eliminative processes are depressed though the tongue may still remain somewhat furred.
The body passes through rather distinct cycles daily.
These are roughly as follows:
4:00 a.m. to Noon. — eliminative
Noon to 8:00 p.m. — alimentary
8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. — assimilative
In view that few studies of these phases of physiological activity have been made, little is known about them. The information presented here comes from studies made in Switzerland. These cycles are consistent, more or less, with the way things are with healthy humans who observe the natural norm of working days and sleeping nights. Thus we eat when hungry. This is followed by body assimilation and, upon completion, the body turns its energies to elimination of wastes.
A Brief Look at the Body’s Primary Organs of Elimination
You should strive to master physiology and anatomy to understand the body and how it operates. You will learn much about these subjects as called for in each lesson. Nonetheless, it would be wise to consult basic books on anatomy and physiology.
The organs of elimination are as follows:
- Lymphatic system (adenoids, tonsils, appendix, spleen, nodes, vessels, etc.). These break down wastes in such a manner as to render them less toxic in preparation for expulsion. The lymphatic system also plays other roles.
- Liver. The liver further detoxifies wastes. It is the largest internal organ and performs myriad nutritive and eliminative tasks.
- Kidneys. The renal system filters non-utile wastes from the blood and dispatches it to the bladder. The kidneys perform many other functions as well.
- Lungs. The lungs, like most body organs, perform a dual role as supplier and eliminator. They obtain oxygen from the air and supply it to the bloodstream In addition, they remove carbon dioxide and certain other wastes from the bloodstream.
- Bowels or colon. The bowels per form few nutritive tasks other than supplying the body with water in emergencies, and electrolytes should the body require them. On the other hand it carries out of the body digestive wastes and metabolic wastes as may be excreted into it by tubes from other organs.
- Skin.The skin is the most extensive organ of the human body. Among its many functions are protection of the body from outside influences that would disturb homeostasis, temperature maintenance, cooling and warming and elimination of certain wastes in extremely small amounts. In vicarious eliminative processes such as acne, boils, psoriasis, eczema, rashes, measles, poxes, itches, etc. the skin is used as an organ of elimination. The skin performs a nutritive role in receiving sunlight for conversion into vitamin D.
- The tongue is sometimes used by the body as an extra-ordinary organ of elimination.This is very noticeable when you have a furred tongue. The tongue is not a regular organ of elimination but incidentally one in vicarious processes of extraordinary elimination.
There are occasions when the body will undertake massive eliminative measures. The respiratory system and mouth may be utilized in vomiting; the bowels in diarrhea; the mucous membranes as outlets from the circulatory systems (lymph and blood); the kidneys are used for diuresis; and the skin is sometimes used for diaphoresis and eruptions.
Supplementary Organs of Elimination
We have cited the regular organs of elimination. Those non-regular organs through which the body eliminates in crises are called vicarious organs of elimination. As mentioned, the tongue, skin, respiratory system and mucous membranes (internal skin) are pressed into eliminative tasks in emergencies. The body can cause ulcers or lesions for the purpose of elimination, or it may utilize ulcers caused by tissue destruction as an extraordinary outlet. In emergencies the body may press any tissue system or organ into service as a vicarious organ of elimination. These may be the eyes, sinuses, bronchioles, lungs and so on.
The Liver as an Organ of Detoxification
The liver detoxifies internal wastes and also attempts to detoxify exogenous poisons. It passes these detoxified materials either through tubes to the small intestine for passing on to the colon or back to the bloodstream for forwarding to the kidneys where they will be excreted in the urine.
An example of liver detoxification may be seen in the case of alcohol ingestion or its formation within the body by bacteria due to indigestion. The stomach and intestines do not digest alcohol. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream as alcohol and circulates until eliminated. The liver detoxifies the alcohol to a great extent and passes it on to the kidneys for excretion. The liver, the body’s foremost chemical factory, varies its chemicals to the need in neutralizing or detoxifying poisons in the blood which pass through it.
Cleanliness at the Cellular Level
A book we heartily recommend you acquire is Dr. Lewis Thomas’ The Lives of a Cell. Though the cell is generally regarded as the basic unit of life it may not be, for it contains bacteria-like components that act as living entities.
So varied and multitudinous are the functions within a cell that one can spend a lifetime of fascinating study of them. It is said that their operations are more complicated than the most marvelous computer systems—more varied and complicated than the activities in a major city like New York City.
The cells take on supplies and they defecate. It is the lymphatic system, not the bloodstream, that constantly bathes the cells in a liquid medium. From the lymph fluids the cells derive their nutrients by diffusion, pinocytosis and phagocytosis. The cells pass their wastes back into the lymph. Cell wastes are partially detoxified by the lymph organs in preparation for passing them into the bloodstream. The bloodstream, in turn, transports the wastes to the lungs, liver and kidneys for excretion.
Cells are self-cleansing of their metabolic debris. They expel it to the lymph fluids through carriers that, our physiology books tell us, are not yet clearly understood.
Illnesses as a Cleansing Process
The body keeps itself clean by thousands of different techniques employed by an army of faculties. A hundred trillion cells represents quite a population to be served. It is an unimaginably large aggregation of living units cooperating as an entitative organism for the good of each and every cell and for the organism as a whole.
Due to unnatural practices or influences, humans frequently accumulate toxic substances in their bodies beyond normal capacity for elimination. When the accumulation becomes intolerable within the context of residual vitality, the body will preempt its nerve energy and redirect it to the task of extraordinary elimination or cleansing. When the body does this, disease exists. Acute disease is a body process. The energies normally available for muscular or nervous (brain) activities, digestion, etc. are preempted and redirected. Hence, the sick person has little or no energy for normal pursuits.
When a person is ill, fasting is indicated as a remedial measure. People should also fast periodically even when not ill to help the body effect extraordinary cleansing and healing.
How the Body Becomes Befouled
There are more ways to accumulate filth in the body than we can chart. Basically, all unwholesome influences and practices debilitate body eliminative faculties and especially lower the body’s supply of nerve energy. The key to keeping the body clean is a way of life that neither distresses nor pollutes it.
Normal Activities of Life Essential to Internal Cleanliness
The eliminative capacity of the body is truly immense. The body has over-capacity in almost all its faculties. We can live well with one lung, one kidney, etc. The organism thus has safety margins to insure survival.
Most of the world’s people manage to exceed their generous capacity for elimination. Therefore, the necessity for illness or healing crises in order to remove excesses that accumulate. If we live within our capacities as developed in nature, our system will never become befouled in the first place; hence, there is never the necessity for a healing or eliminative crisis—disease.
The living practices that are attuned to our adaptations will not fetter the organism; rather, they will enable us to thrive optimally. Those acts and indulgences which are contrary to human adaptations are bound to interfere with normal functions in many ways, the result of which is to burden the organism with un-eliminated toxic materials.
Health depends on internal purity, and this, in turn, depends on practices that promote health rather than practices that result in the retention of morbid matters.
Fasting as an Extraordinary “Housecleaning” Measure
Whether the organism is befouled or not, fasting is a constructive condition! During the disease process, fasting is imperative to efficiently restore high-level function. In health, fasting rests the faculties, rejuvenates the cells and heightens functions.
Since all diseases have the same underlying cause; that is, body intoxication, there is a nigh universal remedy for the condition. Fasting affords the body the rest it needs so that it may redirect its energies to the task of “housecleaning.” Under the condition of the fast the body will expel retained wastes and impurities. A thoroughgoing rest is, thusly, an almost 100% effective remedial measure.
The Need for Temperature Maintenance
The human body has been developed in nature over eons of time to maintain homeostasis, chemical and mechanical consistency and a consistent temperature. The body operates best at a temperature range between 97° and 99°F. Various parts of the body vary in temperature.
Warm-blooded animals have many mechanisms that maintain temperature. Skin, hair and wool act as insulators to help maintain body temperature. Overheating is guarded against by perspiration and respiration. The body, in an intoxicated condition, may institute accelerated function to free itself of unwelcome toxicity. In this case it may also increase the metabolic rate, hence increase temperature. Heightened temperature is called fever.
The body maintains temperature through a basal metabolism controlled by many sensors throughout the body that act as thermostats.
Normal Temperature Is the Best Functioning Temperature
While bodies have been drastically reduced in temperature and overheated greatly and survived, the prevailing view is that serious deviation from normal temperature will cause the body to fail in some way to supply cells with needed oxygen and nutrients, thus impairing them. Notably is this true of brain cells which, if destroyed for any reason, are not regenerated. They are lost forever. It is generally accepted that a brain temperature exceeding 108-110°F destroys brain cells. While cases of overheating beyond this range have been recorded without damage, overheating is to be avoided. Cooling is far less harmful than overheating. At a temperature of 118°F enzymes begin to be destroyed and other body fluids become labile.
Frequenters of Turkish baths and saunas sometimes experience surface temperatures of 140 degrees without apparent damage, but it is doubtful if the skin temperature actually ever reaches more than 110-115°F due to the body’s capacity to cool itself. Needless to say, all overheating is unhealthful. Those who live in climates that reach 110-120°F during the day are not in danger, for the body can easily maintain its temperature by its refrigerating faculties, especially in view that humidity is usually low in most areas where such high temperatures are likely to occur. High humidity inhibits evaporation which is necessary to body cooling.
Questions as to What Constitutes Normalcy of Temperature
The generally accepted normal body temperature is 98.6°F. We do not have a uniform temperature at all times. At or near the end of a night’s rest, with lowered metabolism the pulse is considerably lower than when active and the body temperature may be somewhat lower.
When the body has been vigorously active for an extended period, as in sprinting or running, the internal body temperature may rise to 105°F. This is not dangerous, for the body quickly normalizes this temperature when a state of relative rest is resumed. The body creates fevers that have been known to go as high as 108°F. The body will not create conditions that will injure itself.
Keeping the Body at a Comfortable Temperature
It has been observed that, when they are crippled, humans will devise crutches. The use of crutches further cripples the organism. This may be readily observed in individuals who use a crutch because one leg has been disabled. The disabled and unused leg will atrophy while the extraordinarily used leg will overdevelop.
Humans have become dependent on artificial means of temperature maintenance. In nature humans can live at extremes of temperature comfortably in their naked condition.
Indians survive temperatures in the freezing range with vigor in many areas of South America.
But, because most of us are not physically able to cope with extreme cold, we must employ clothing to help maintain warmth. Warmth must be maintained lest we suffer functional disturbances due to reduced temperatures.
A comfortable temperature must always be maintained. Deliberate cooling or heating of the body is exhausting of nerve energy and lowers the body’s functional abilities.
Some Problems of Temperature Maintenance
There are conditions under which temperature maintenance is difficult. One such condition is the fast. A person who is fasting must be kept warm. While fasting, a person can easily become chilled. The body’s lowered metabolic rate will not produce sufficient heat to maintain warmth under all conditions. It is, therefore, important that fasters have sufficient clothing and bedding to maintain warmth.
Types of Clothing to Use for Warmth
Clothing should be loose fitting, as a rule. Being bound by tight-fitting clothing is unhealthful. Clothes should be equal to the warming task required. If you live in Alaska, heavy wool clothing may be required, whereas in Texas light cottons do for most of the year.
Cotton, linen and wool are to be preferred over other type of materials though silk and other natural fibers are also very good.
Clothing that is white or light-colored is preferred over dark colors because they admit more light. Natural light on the body (and eyes) is healthful.
Pathological Effects of Clothing
Clothing that is binding, tight fitting or otherwise constricting is unhealthful. Belts, girdles, garters, etc. should be avoided.
Synthetics sometimes cause poisonous reactions in the body. Synthetic clothing and plastics should not come into contact with the skin.
Porous clothing made of natural fibers are always to be used when possible for both wear and bedding.
Temperature as a Factor in Toxin Retention
When the body becomes chilled the skin pores close and other body reactions take place to protect against chilling as much as possible. In these instances, energies being redirected to temperature maintenance may result in temporary neglect of regular chores of elimination. The skin normally respires and the closing of pores throws an additional burden of elimination onto the respiratory system. If the body is already toxic, the added toxin retention may reach a level that will trigger a body cleansing crisis, such as a cold or flu.
Sleep Is An Essential Of Life—The Role Of Sleep In Life
Inasmuch as there are other lessons devoted specifically to the subject of sleep and its great significance, we’ll touch upon sleep only briefly here.
Sleep is the condition under which the brain generates nerve energy with which to conduct body activities. The deeper the stage of sleep into which the body enters, the more efficiently can nerve energy be generated. There are five stages of sleep if we include the R.E.M stage, popularly called the dream stage, when there are rapid eye movements. Other stages are named after the brain wave frequency. The threshold stage of sleep is the alpha stage and the deepest stage is delta wave sleep.
As nerve energy is the spark of vitality for vigorous activity and high level function generally, adequate sleep is very essential to well-being.
Food Is An Essential Of Life—The Role Of Food In Health
Several later lessons are devoted to the subject of food. We will not, therefore, treat it extensively here.
In no other area of life practices are our transgressions against ourselves so great as in the food we ingest. Consequently, most diseases of humanity arise largely because of eating wrong foods.
Food supplies us with essential nutrients other than the three inorganic ones we need. Even water, an inorganic food, can normally be obtained in quantities needed from a proper diet.
Correct diet consists of mostly fruits. Constitutionally humans are frugivores or fruitarians. Wholesome ripe fruits contain all the food factors necessary to sustain human life at the highest level.
All our food should be eaten raw as nature delivers it to us. All heating of foods destroys vital nutrients. Suffice it to say that nature did not equip humans or any other animals with stoves.
The essential categories of nutrients we require are as follows: (NOTE! These percentages are relative to total food intake by DRY WEIGHT!!!! Further, they are approximations.)
- 85% to 90% simple carbohydrates for fuel. Simple carbohydrates and monosaccharides such as glucose, fructose (levulose), galactose, etc. If complex carbohydrates are taken, the body must break them down into monosaccharides before absorption.
- 1% to 5% fats, which supply fuel and other needs, especially essential fatty acids(EFA).
- 4% to 8% protein.
- 3% to 5% mineral matter in organic form.
- 1% in vitamins, auxones(abnormal growth substances) and other catalytic nutrients. Like water, fibers in food are a neutral factor. Cellulose, of which fiber is composed, is indigestible and is passed on through the body. Contrary to popular impressions, we do not have to have a high fiber diet in order to have bowel movements. We are not defecating machines—neither are we hay balers. Wastes will be expelled as they accumulate sufficiently to require voiding. Condiments, seasonings, free oils—in short, anything and everything except whole ripe fruits with some vegetables, nuts and seeds, all in the raw state, should never pass the lips.
Exercise And Activity Are Essential To Well-Being
Humans live to function and functioning is the very essence of life. That which is not used is abused. Human faculties were developed for use. Disuse results in atrophy and loss of function. Without exercise, well-being ceases. Abilities, intelligence and every aspect of well-being are greatly enhanced by exercise. Almost every account of exercise speaks of its marvelous benefits to the body. Activities should be daily indulged that bring all the body’s some 700 muscles into play.
The subject of exercise is exhaustively treated in a later lesson.
Rest And Relaxation Are Essential To Health
In present-day society there are many tensions and stress-producing situations. Relaxation, which also involves rest, should be indulged two to four times daily for periods of from 15 to 30 minutes. The body recoups under rest and relaxation.
If eyes are bleary or the eyelids heavy, relaxation for a few minutes with the eyes closed will accomplish wonders. A nap is even better, for little revitalizes the body as well as sleep.
Sleep should be obtained daily to the extent that sleepiness dictates, whether this be as little as six hours or as much as ten hours. The healthier an individual, the less sleep required (to a point). As a concomitant to sleep the body obtains rest. Rest enables the body to catch up on its eliminative activities and to resupply its stores of body starch (glycogen) for the following day’s energy needs.
While sleep regenerates a fund of nerve energy, rest enables the body to restock physical stores as well as to “clean house.” Relaxation relieves tension buildup. A period of vigorous exercise followed by relaxation will perform even more dramatic results.
Sunshine Is An Essential Of Health
While it is known that vitamin D is created through the agency of sunshine and ergosterol in the cutaneous tissues, little else is known of the benefits of sunlight. Of late it has been discovered that natural light from the sun is of immense benefit in vision compared to vision debility under unnatural light.
Another lesson will present the subject of sunshine in depth.
Recreation And Play Are Health Essentials
Just as the body is rejuvenated by rest, sleep, relaxation, fasting and other healthful measures, it is also kept young by constructive games, hobbies and participation sports.
Americans are more likely to dissipate themselves during leisure hours than participate in body and character building activities. The pursuit of sex in an overstimulated society is of a debilitating nature. Watching TV for the most part amounts to adult babysitting.
There are many Americans who swim, run, play ball, enjoy hobbies, participate in drama, attend cultural events, hike, participate in sports, garden, master musical instruments, compete in games that require strength and so on. Unfortunately they are a minority. Most Americans are inclined to spectator rather than participant activities. Even many of the participant activities such as drinking, carousing, etc. are destructive of human faculties.
Recreation and play can further the development of humans. In the fresh air and sunshine we can participate in numerous games of play, sports and exercise that are truly healthful and that promote well-being. Unfortunately, most of our people seek out sensuosity for its sake and suffer as a result.
They bring suffering and inconvenience upon those who make better use of themselves too, for, in society, acknowledge it or not, we are our brother’s keeper more than we realize.
In reviewing your clients’ habits, it is always wise to have a look into their leisure time pursuits. Many may be dissipating and debilitating.
Emotional And Mental Well-Being Are Necessary To Health
While emotional and mental well-being are born of the physical conditions of the body already cited, they are also vitally dependent upon other influences. While emotional
and mental well-being are dependent on physical well-being, physical well-being is also dependent upon emotional and mental well-being.
Our division of humans into a multitude of entities (physical, mental, emotional, etc.) is erroneous. Rather, we are a unitary organism with many aspects to our being. Nonetheless, we use these categorizations for the sake of convenience in communication.
“Feeling like a million” is an emotional and mental condition which is the exhibition and expression of the well-being of our tout ensemble or our faculties in toto. Just as nutrition is dependent upon the condition of all body faculties, so, too, are all body faculties dependent upon nutritive repleteness. The emotional and mental aspects of our lives will be treated in depth in a later lesson.
Assurance Of Life And Its Means Is Necessary To Health
Humans are creatures of providence almost the whole world over. Equatorial peoples have no need of providing for the future as have northern peoples but are, nevertheless, provident in many ways. On the other hand, northern peoples are often overly provident. They provide against needs, both real and imagined. This has made many northern peoples acquisitive at the expense of humaneness. Of course acquisitiveness in itself is not the sole evil but is a contributing factor to valuing possessions over fellow beings.
Our basic needs are food and shelter and the productive facilities for making them. We have yet other needs which we strive to satisfy plus many pursuits that engender yet other wants.
Ours is a society of abundance. Within the capabilities of our means of production is a surplus of goods and services beyond our capacity to use and consume them. Our distribution system is not compatible with our productive capacities, hence there are gross inequities in the amount of the goods and necessities various of the world’s peoples receive. Some are almost totally deprived by circumstances attendant upon these inequities while others are privileged beyond any possible need.
These inequities give rise to anxieties, worries and concerns that seriously impair health. Even many in what would be considered good circumstances are assailed by fears that they will not be able to maintain their circumstances. Qualms, fears and concerns about loss of the requisites of life are a drain upon the mental and emotional wellbeing of a majority of people. Worry is a disease of our society.
In tropical climes we see tribes and groups of people living “hand-to-mouth” among plenitude. They always have the needs of life at hand. They are carefree, happy and playful. They do not work much, for their style of life does not require much.
The farther north we travel, the more humans become provident and acquisitive until we reach such a harsh environment that almost all endeavors are directed at providing the basic needs of life and little more.
In conducting your professional practice, you may find it wise to delve into your clients’ economic and social concerns as sources of tension, stress and enervation. This will be explored further in subsequent lessons.
Pleasant Environment Is Necessary To Well-Being
Humans fare better in environments in which the needs of life are abundant. However, these needs are so varied within the context of our culture as to be difficult to express in this lesson.
Environment means the total context of our setting. It includes not only our homes, grounds, climate, geography, etc. but also our family, neighbors, associates, acquaintances and, indeed, everything and everyone that makes up the social and economic atmosphere in which we live.
Humans are naturally aesthetic and love beauty in everything. Beauty in environment is essential, not only in the physical surroundings, but also in the persons who people it. Happy people beget happiness in the lives of those whom they touch.
Our social environment is far more important than our physical environment. Humans always dream of better physical environments but achieve happiness primarily within the context of their social circle regardless of climate and geography. Inasmuch as human industry creates special environments for living that are pleasing, we can live rather happily while insulated from the harshness and sparseness of climate and geography.
Thus it can be seen that the environment of most concern relates to the social circle in which we situate ourselves.
Creative Useful Work And Its Role In Life
Naturally and normally humans have within them certain qualities that we regard as virtues. All are naturally imbued to perform those labors that are productive of their needs. This is readily seen in tribal societies. Within complex societies where we lose sight of the products of our productive efforts-where we have been instilled with ambitions to consume without corresponding opportunities to produce, we tend to parasitism upon the productive efforts of others.
Unfortunately, our society legalizes parasitism upon the economic body. That is one of the characteristics of our society that begets inequities that breed crime, ugliness, poverty and other life-sapping features.
Work which we can directly relate to fulfilling a need is most deeply satisfying. If it calls upon our innermost resources and abilities, it is even more satisfying and fulfilling. People most happy and contented are those who have created lovely homes with gardens, orchards and beautiful flowerbeds and grounds.
When our creative urges are elicited, we humans can create wonders, not only for our enjoyment and welfare, but also for the pleasure of those with whom we are associated.
In your relationships with your clients you’ll find that some absorbing pursuit may be suggested that will greatly benefit their health and well-being. In this society creativity is lacking in too many lives. Encourage some creative and productive hobby or pursuit in the lives of those whom you serve.
Self-Mastery Is Necessary To Best Well-Being
Self-mastery means self-control. It means keeping passional influences within the bounds of propriety. Intelligently guided responses to situations and yearnings that may arise within our spoiled society—a society with inhumane and unhealthful values—is essential to our welfare. Unbridled pursuits in any direction, especially those that have been commercially tied to our appetencies for food, sex and sensualism are usually exhausting of our precious resources, further pervert and spoil us and beget conditions of disease and suffering.
The joys of self-mastery are unknown to most. Most of our people are apt to act unthinkingly in response to impulse and an aroused appetency for some sensual delight. You might well explore the qualities of self-mastery your clients exert in their lives. Wisdom dictates that you encourage in them self-discipline for their better well-being.
Gregariousness Is An Element Of Health
Humans are social creatures. To achieve our highest level of happiness and well-being, we must belong to a group or circle. We must be in association with others in some manner. Sheer aloneness or being forsaken is deadly to well-being. Even the mental giants amongst us suffer. There are very few Robinson Crusoe's.
Our requirement is for associates with whom we can identify. In this day of specialization we tend to restrict ourselves to circles that run along cultural, occupational or special interests. In rural areas neighbors are the basis for associations even though occupations may be different. In large cities cultural pursuits and special interests may be the basis for associations and, more so, occupational lines.
While people can survive rather well alone if they develop some consuming hobby or pursuit, most people are not capable of this within today’s society.
You’ll do well to probe the social life of your clients. Lack of social life in any form can be a detriment to welfare. Likewise, people of dour dispositions can adversely affect those with whom they associate. It may be a case of “not what’s wrong with you but who’s wrong with you.”
Encourage your clients to participate in social activities in conjunction with friends or acquaintances.
Motivation: Having Purposes Or Causes To Serve
Few humans are content with feelings that the world will not be a better place for their having been in it. Most of us are imbued with urges to improve and excel. Most humans strive to better both themselves and their environment. Failure to cultivate goals leaves an individual indifferent and most likely a useless drone in life and society, neither good for self or society. People without ambition and objectives are usually dullards and dissipators.
In observing others whom we serve, it is wise to assess their drives and ambitions. If they lack these, the will to live may also be lacking. People who consult others in health matters have a will to live but may not be sufficiently endowed with aims in life to make living a challenge.
Needless to say, the healthiest and happiest people amongst us are those who are striving to fulfill ambitions and meet life’s challenges.
Just as you may be motivated by an urge to help others and receive reward and recognition for it, others are motivated by any of a multitude of objectives. A great artist may thrive on recognition and appreciation while a ditch digger may have pride not only in his service but in some hobby or other constructive activity.
Without purpose in life there is little drive to live it. We Life Scientists hold that life is sacred and should be imbued with meaningfulness.
Expression Of Natural Instincts Relative To Health
This is rather broad territory. While we have instincts to survive and thrive which have had prior considerations in this and the previous lesson, there is also the instinct to procreate. This instinct must be given voice if we are to realize the utmost wellbeing. While self-discipline can normally control the mating instinct so that it does not exceed its need, it must, nevertheless, have adequate expression. Few there are amongst us who can sublimate an excessive primal urge to more constructive pursuits.
Next to our transgressions in food indulgence stands our collective dissipation in pursuit of sexuality. Most of this amounts, not to satiation of actual need for sexual expression, but satiety of a sexual appetite aroused and stimulated in a society gone awry. Our society regards sexual sensuousness and indulgence as an end in itself and it is stimulated to overindulgence because of dietary and other factors that represent life-threatening factors. The body responds to these life-threatening factors by bringing to the fore and emphasizing survival mechanisms, the act of reproduction being one of the foremost.
Basically, the instinct to reproduction is for one purpose only—the perpetuation of the species. In animals the sexual act occurs only during that time when the female ova are ripe for impregnation. Only in humans has the instinct been perverted and then only within the context of certain societies, ours being among them.
You, as a health professional, need to recognize the heavy role sexuality plays in well-being. There are many among us who feel inadequate because they cannot enjoy mating as often as they would like. The urge may be for excessive indulgence or it may spring from inadequacy. In any event, the role of unsatisfactory sexual relationships in disease and poor health must be recognized. A return to health always restores sexuality but, in the face of overindulgence, it is not possible to restore health. Reorientation of the client must be made so that limitations in this area are recognized and respected.
Why should a fruit-laden orchard of aromatic fragrance be so lovely and beautiful? Why should a dry barren rocky gulch present such an inhospitable and ugly facade?
Anything that promotes life and its values is appreciated, treasured and deemed beautiful. Anything that is untenable and harmful to life is looked upon as ugly with but few exceptions.
In keeping with this, it would seem that all creatures have standards of beauty. But the greatest capacity for appreciation of beauty is inherent in those creatures that have the greatest capacity for life. We proclaim ourselves undisputed aesthetes among all in the animal kingdom. This is not necessarily true. Almost everything in nature has great beauty. Dolphins (porpoises), whales and other creatures have a very high order of intelligence and likewise appreciate beauty.
That which is fit for food is beautiful to us as it is available to us in nature. That which is poisonous and unfit for food usually has no aesthetic appeal. For purposes of food we do not ascribe beauty to a squirrel. Yet the squirrel fascinates as a lovable and beautiful creature. A peacock is a beautiful and lovely bird. We admire it for its great beauty. Yet it is difficult for us to visualize ourselves breaking its neck, stripping it of feathers and eating it as natural as meat-eaters do—skin, bone, flesh and guts, all raw and uncooked. We can’t do that. The picture is an ugly one. It is in discord with our welfare.
The human sense of beauty is, as far as we know, unparalleled. The visual and sonic arts have been highly cultivated. The development of art has been constructive, healthful and ennobling for humankind.
In assessing your clients’ practices, it is wise to survey their cultural dispositions. Everyone has an aesthetic sense —everyone has a sense of beauty. This is a saving grace, for it is an inroad to inspiring and motivating people. Almost everyone appreciates beauty in themselves most of all! Life Science as a way of life will restore health. Simultaneous with rejuvenation, much beauty is restored.
About This Survey Of Life’s Essentials
The list of the essentials of life presented here is not complete. These are some of the salient ones. Also, some aspects of life’s essentials presented may be somewhat redundant, for some imply others presented.
But, as you will have noted, the needs of life are simple! Nothing is complicated about it. It seems self-evident that these are the essential means for a happy and healthy life. We can see that the science of health does not come from so-called scientific laboratories but, instead, proceeds from the lap of nature.
As Life Scientists or Hygienists we maintain that these requisites were developed in our sojourn in nature and that, just because we have exceeded natures’s provisions with our own industry, we have not exempted ourselves from need of these basic essentials.
In yourself and your clients you can pursue no wiser course than invest these factors and influences in your life and theirs.
Questions & Answers
With the catalog of things you’ve listed I feel uptight even considering using a bar of soap around the house. Isn’t there anything we can use that is non-polluting with which to clean house, floors, clothes, dishes and our bodies?
Yes, there are products that are relatively non-polluting and which yield excellent results. For cleaning clothes you should consider Basic-L from Shaklee products. For cleaning floors, dishes and even cars a solution of Shaklee’s Basic-H will do wonders. Amway and other companies also produce similar non-polluting biodegradable products.
For your body you need no soap or cleanser. A good fiber brush or washcloth is all you need while under a shower or in a bathtub. If you want to use a cleaner on your body, Shaklee’s Basic-H is fine.
Can’t we use any cosmetics at all?
Of course you can use cosmetics, but keep in mind that not one is healthful. Moreover they are unneeded by a healthy person. They detract rather than add to beauty. And they only compound skin problems for an unhealthy person. Beauty is natural. When in health your eyes and skin radiate their condition, just as they look sallow, pallid and in poor tone when unhealthy. We advise against the use of cosmetics under all conditions. Also, skin creams and oils of all sorts, including suntan oils and lotions only complicate the problem they are used for and cripple the body’s oil producing ability.
I have a friend who smokes a pack and a half of cigarettes daily, drinks beer and eats junky foods. He appears to be in excellent health and is quite active. By all that you’ve said he should be a corpse. How can you explain something like this?
How old is your friend?
Your friend is still, obviously, only a babe relative to potential and is still living on youthful capital. He might continue this pattern for another five, ten or even twenty years, but the penalty for not meeting life’s needs correctly must sooner or later be suffered.
When you read the disease statistics and see the human wreckage resulting from the tobacco, alcohol and junk food habits, you’ll know that most humans exhaust their endowments rather quickly, even in their thirties, and succumb to cardiovascular problems, chronic cough, cancer or other degenerative diseases.
Most smokers know the dangers of their habits but feel themselves to be exempt from them—it’s something that always happens to the other person. All sins against our bodies must be paid. There is no dispensation in nature.
You’ve condemned deodorants. Are they very harmful? What is a person to do to control body odor?
Deodorants are poisonous. Their toxic effects cause the skin pores at points of application to close up so as to exclude their chemicals from the inner sanctum. This prevents body perspiration and exudation. They are properly called anti-perspirants for this reason. A person who has body odor should strive to go to the source of the problem. Body odor is not natural. Healthy persons do not have body odors. Foul smells are produced by a foul system. Clean up the body and it ceases to exude unpleasant smells.
Do you mean that people who have body odors, bad breath and so on are really sick inside?
That is the case. Healthy cells, tissues, fluids and organs do not smell rotten or foul. Obnoxious odors come from decomposing materials.
Just the other day I read that distilled water, because it’s heated in the distillation process, causes leukocytosis just as cooked food does. As you advocate distilled water, what do you say to this?
This is untrue. Leukocytosis, the proliferation of white blood corpuscles, results from poisons entering the bloodstream. The inorganic debris resulting from cooked foods will cause this malady, but distilled water causes no decomposition or poisonous substances. The distilled water was water before, during and after the process of distilling. It was not changed except that impurities it held before distilling have been left behind. The truth is that mineralized water causes leukocytosis. The inorganic minerals of water are toxic and cause a toxic reaction by the body. Leukocytosis is but one of the body’s defensive mechanisms against toxic materials. Those who employ this argument are trying to defend the use of mineralized waters, but there is no defense for using impure waters.
I’ve heard it said that distilled water will cause heart attacks. In fact, this claim was made as a result of a scientific study in England. Do you deny this?
Yes, investigators of the report found that, in a certain English city whose people drank hard (heavily-mineralized) water, the death rate from heart attack per 100,000 was 436 per year. The death rate in a nearby city that had soft water (water with fewer minerals) was 448 per year, just 12 deaths more. This implies that perhaps soft water causes heart attacks and minerals in solution prevents them. But these investigators found the following significant omissions from the report: The soft water drinkers had a lead pipe system throughout the city whereas the hard water drinkers had a copper pipe system for the most part. Lead is much more toxic than copper.
Does fluoridation really make teeth stronger and healthier?
Absolutely not! Fluorides in an inorganic form are toxic. Ingested fluorides have an affinity for calcium. Insofar as they unite with calcium they destroy bone and teeth. The body defends against fluorides by, at first, hardening the bones and teeth. Then they become brittle and break down under ordinary eating. St. David’s, Arizona, has natural fluorides to the extent of about eight parts per million of its drinking water. Perhaps there is no worse example of poor teeth in America than there. About 50% of America’s drinking water has been fluoridated for some 30 years. For all that, America’s collective mouth is still the biggest disaster area of the body! Nearly 99% of Americans have bad teeth. One in every seven have no teeth at all. Inasmuch as almost all of these are adults, that means one in every five adults have no natural teeth.
Article #1: The Importance Of Body Temperature by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
Warmth is one of the necessities of life. Vital activities are possible only between certain narrowly defined limits of temperature. Cold inhibits and excessive heat suspends them. Body heat is energy. It is employed not just in resisting cold, but also in accelerating cellular activities. Temperature, within certain narrow limits, is so absolutely essential to life that all functions are excited by any attempt at its variation. Animals are roughly divided into two major classes: warm-blooded and cold-blooded. This is according to whether they have means of producing and maintaining their own temperature or are dependent upon the surrounding medium (water or air) to provide it.
The invertebrates, although they breathe oxygen and circulate fluids throughout their bodies, have no red blood corpuscles and are cold-blooded animals. Fishes and reptiles, vertebrates with red blood cells, are also called cold-blooded animals, although they are able to maintain an internal temperature above that of the surrounding water or air. Invertebrates have no heat of their own, but receive their temperature from the surrounding media and adapt to it. Except for fishes and reptiles, whose heat-producing and heat regulating powers are very limited, we may say that all vertebrates are warm-blooded, having red corpuscles, while the reverse is true of the invertebrates which have no red corpuscles.
It may be suggested that since animals can live without red corpuscles and exist without internal heat, the primary office of respiration is more universal than to provide for the production of animal heat. Using a popular phrase in biology, heat production is only a “secondary adaptation.”
If we look at a large number of lower animals, we find them to be small and living in water. This medium directly and powerfully reduces them to its own temperature, and they are surrounded and permeated with water. In the radiata(lower animal), water actually mingles in large quantities with their digested food, so that they must of necessity remain at or very near water temperature. Even if they possessed sources of heat within themselves, it becomes evident that heat production cannot be the great end of respiration in these animals. Its primary function must be something very different from this.
If we take a second look at these animals, we discover that large numbers of them, especially those that live in fresh water, vary in temperature with the medium in which they live. Often they vary to a great extent, being sometimes near the freezing point and at other times fifty to one hundred degrees above it. Although a particular temperature may be best for each of them, still, many of them can live an active life in temperatures seventy, sixty, fifty and even forty degrees less. It is obvious that the small extent they could raise the temperature of their bodies above that of the water, when it is forty or fifty degrees, would be of no great importance. In their case at least, there must be some more important end for respiration than production of heat.
Heat supplies a necessary condition of vital activity. The activities of cold-blooded animals rise and fall as the temperature goes up or down. The higher the temperature, providing it does not go so high so as to destroy life, the greater the activity. If it becomes very cold, they suspend activity. It is not in inorganic chemistry alone that heat promotes the energy and intensity of action. In “vital chemistry,” that is, in living functions, the same phenomenon is observed. An elevation of temperature accelerates all vital functions, both in the cold-blooded and in the warm-blooded animals. A similar thing is seen in plants.
Acceleration of activity increases with the rise in temperature until the temperature reaches a certain variable optimum, after which any added increase in temperature reduces activity. The rate of activity for some of the lower forms may become so great as the temperature rises that they “live too fast” and wear themselves out.
When temperature is lowered, vital activities are lowered. In the cold-blooded animals, some of which may be frozen for long periods and then revived, all activity ceases
after the temperature is reduced below a certain variable minimum. Most of the warmblooded animals die when frozen, their vital activities ceasing before they reach the state of freezing.
Higher animals are not so dependent upon the surrounding temperature. They are not only equipped with internal sources of heat and mechanisms to control its production and radiation, but they also in most instances have outer coats of hair, feathers or wool to protect them from the cold. They possess means of lowering heat production and increasing heat radiation if the external temperature or their own internal heat due to activity is increased. (By the operation of the same internal heat-regulating mechanism they produce fever when needed.)
Thus, while the very form and habits of the lower orders of life are determined by external surroundings, the forms and habits of life of the higher animals are very largely determined by powers within them. These often prevail over powerful antagonistic forces without.
The lower animals are more or less slaves to the external world; the higher animals make the external world serve them. It should be noted that this independence of the higher animals, this internal energy, is in great measure due to a capacity for maintaining their normal temperatures amid the changes in that of the surrounding water and air.
The uniform temperatures maintained by higher animals promote and secure a constancy, precision and energy in the nutrition of their tissues, and in the vital functions that supply the animal with resources to carry on active life in the face of opposing influences in the world.
A brief glance at the method of maintaining body temperature may be helpful. In the chapter on respiration we learned of the office of oxidation in the production of heat. It is necessary that we understand that the body is capable of both increasing and decreasing its rate of heat production as the external temperature falls or rises. These processes are rigidly controlled by the nervous system and fail only in greatly enervated and diseased organisms.
But the body also increases and decreases the radiation of heat from the body as need arises. While oxidation warms the body, evaporation (as in sweating) cools it. These physiological processes are carried on in relation to vital wants. The human body, to narrow our considerations at this point, is based upon a system of self-regulation and equipoise, and its temperature relations are beautifully provided for. In a cool atmosphere less heat is lost by evaporation and more produced within the body, while a reverse process is seen in a warm temperature.
In all changes of temperature outside the body, some compensatory effort is required. But if our other relations are correct, the internal heat-regulating capacity of the body will be efficient. The maintenance of the heat-making mechanism of the body is an indispensable condition of health. Feeble and sick individuals who find it difficult or impossible to maintain normal temperature in a cold climate need to be kept warm. Chilling inhibits all functions of life and reduces their already greatly reduced stock of energy. The escape to a warm climate is no mere luxury for such persons. Warmth of some degree is certainly a normal requisite of life. But experience and experiment have shown that when the temperature of the surroundings is out of all proportion to the needs of the body and to its capacity to adjust itself, the body must and does suffer. There is not only discomfort, which normally causes us to seek relief from extremes of heat or cold, but there is some expenditure of energy in resisting extreme temperature.
In lands where fogs, frost and darkness cramp the energies of man, as well as in regions where excessive and long-continued heat depresses his vital activities, life is handicapped. By means of clothing, housing and artificial heating arrangements, we are able to live in cold climates. By means of cooling systems and a reduction of clothing, we live more comfortably in hot regions and seasons. But none of these arrangements are ideal. A warm climate serves man best; first-class habits of living enable him to live better in whatever climate he resides.
Article #2: Are You Suited For Health by Mike Benton
Do you dress for success? Are you a fashion follower or a “clothes horse?” Is your clothing bought for style and status or comfort and durability?
Like food, shelter and the other necessities of life, clothing can be as natural or unnatural as we choose. Just as the businessman who orders steak at a luncheon to impress others with his financial success, there are people who wear the latest styles in clothing and name brands to make impressions.
However, from the body’s standpoint, clothing serves two functions only: 1) To protect us from climatic variations, and 2) To protect the skin from injuries. Clothing is not a necessity if we live in an agreeable climate and a non-threatening environment. If we need to cover the body, clothing should be chosen for only these reasons:
- Environmental harmony;
- Aesthetic pleasure.
Clothing is comfortable if it allows unrestricted natural movement. High-heel shoes are not comfortable. They throw the body out of alignment and place undue strain on the feet and calves. They make a woman’s natural gait into a wiggling, mincing movement which prevents full strides. Neckties are not comfortable. They serve no protective function. Instead, they may restrict circulation about the neck and create tension and headaches.
All tight clothing, be it jeans or pantyhose, prevent natural air circulation over the body. Vaginitis and yeast infections have increased as rapidly as the popularity of the smothering pantyhose. All underwear, especially, should be of light natural fibers that allow the skin to breathe.
Most shoes are made from leather and are tightly-laced or high-topped. Again fresh air is shut off from the skin and fungus and odors result. Belts bind the waist. Bras constrict the chest. In fact, fainting was very widespread in the nineteenth century not because of the gentility of the women, but because the corsets they wore were so tight they could not take a deep breath.
The human metabolism depends upon the free flow of air over the exposed skin. Tight, constrictive clothing blocks air and sunshine. We become trapped in an envelope of toxic gases emitted from the skin during its process of elimination.
If we desire harmony with our environment, we must wear clothes made from natural fibers. Synthetic materials do not allow the skin to “breathe” and are responsible for many of the heat rashes experienced in the summer. The plastic diapers used on babies are the culprits behind diaper rash. Our skin is repelled by the synthetic clothes that prevent natural body moisture from evaporating.
Synthetic fibers are also made from non-renewable resources and harm the environment. Such “natural” materials as leather and furs require the slaughter of animals, either directly or indirectly. Wearing leather and furs while espousing a meatless diet makes the ethical vegetarian an unconscious hypocrite.
This leaves us with cotton, linen, straw, and wool as optimum materials for clothing. These are from renewable resources (wool does not involve the killing of the sheep), and they allow the skin to breathe. They require no undue exploitation of the environment or animals. Aesthetic pleasure is also a valid reason for choosing our clothes. We humans have a deep love of beauty and this love should be expressed in our living surroundings and personal effects. Clothing should be pleasant to the eye, colorful, and pretty without being merely ornamental. Beautiful clothes, of course, cannot hide the ugliness of a diseased body or unhappy mind, nor should beauty be confused with fickle style.
The most aesthetically pleasing clothes are those that are simple and have stood the test of time. Sexual attributes should not be emphasized by clothing, nor should they be hidden, unduly. No piece of clothing in the world is as beautiful as the healthy body. Neither artifice nor deception can improve upon nature’s work.
So, are you suited for health?
You are if you wear clothing made from natural fibers which are comfortable, pleasing to the eye, and simple. Give your body as much freedom from clothes as possible. Nudity, when weather and personal feelings permit, can be an important factor in regaining health. Overdressing is much like overeating—it weakens the body’s natural vitality.
A warm smile, sparkling eyes, healthy hair and a radiant complexion are the best attributes in your wardrobe. The rest is only window dressing.
Article #3: Mental And Emotional Poise by Lee Bauer
You may eat the finest food, get daily exercise, sunshine, fresh air, pure water, proper rest and sleep, live in a near-perfect climate, and yet be miserable and unhappy. Why? Because life is more than bread alone, more than creature comforts, more than well-disciplined physical health procedures. Total health and well-being depends upon so many factors—each important and necessary. Each demands a share of our time and energy. But, unless we watch our mind and emotions at work, our psychological responses, our inner urges and demands, a complete state of health and happiness will surely elude us. This is to say that the physical and mental are tied together as one. They are not separate. But, much of the time we treat them as if they were. Actually, we can only separate them for the purpose of discussion. Since, as Dr. Shelton has remarked, “The human being is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual unit, and not a mere bundle of separate and more or less antagonistic elements. Health is a matter of vital, nutritive and physical hygiene.”
So let’s examine that part of us which is not too often talked about at our conventions, or written about in Hygienic literature. Perhaps this may be because of the complexity, the vastness, and the difficulty usually experienced in trying to explain it satisfactorily. By no means do I consider myself an expert in this field. I am merely a bystander, noticing what is going on with myself, wondering about it, and asking questions which have led me to some rather satisfying answers over the years. I would like to share them with you.
Let’s begin at the beginning. What is it that most of us are seeking? What are we after? Why is it that we often go from one religion to another? Why are we engaged in trying different disciplines, gurus, masters and mystics? Could it be that most of us are searching for a permanent state of peace, happiness, satisfaction, security, or the ultimate: God? Whatever it is, it is described by many names. But, since the name is not the thing, it really doesn’t matter what we call it. Maybe we could simply refer to it as permanent happiness. Before we get involved in the search, as to whether there is such a thing, should we not want to understand the person that seeks this happiness?
In order to know the seeker, I must first know myself. I must want to see how my mind works: why I think as I do, react as I do, and so on. No book, no person, regardless of how intelligent, gifted or famous can help me. It’s a do-it-yourself process. I must
see it for myself, first hand. No other method that I know of has been found that works unless I step in the direction of knowing myself. If I can see that my mind works as it does, because of my conditioning, I have taken a giant step towards freedom and eventual transformation. Conditioning is the cause of my beliefs, my patriotism, my politics, my attitude towards others, and towards the world. In fact, I am the world! Getting in touch with this knowledge of myself reveals why I think in the particular way that I do. It exposes to me the background of all my thoughts. It enables me to perceive the reasons for my hurts, bitterness, jealousy, and disappointments. It reveals the source of my conditioning, which lies behind all my relationships.
Tracing Our Conditioning
We come into the world, as a baby, equipped to start life as a human being. Within us are all the human characteristics and attributes which have been in existence for over two million years. Along with these, we also inherit the tendencies and instincts of the animal. They go back and back, into the timeless past, perhaps to the origin of life on earth. And, before that, to life in the sea, where it is possible that all life began.
Our subconscious or unconscious mind contains the images and memories that lead to self-preservation, fear and violence. These are gleaned from the lives of our ancestors who have preceded us. From the moment of birth, or even before birth, we begin to gather knowledge through our senses. We learn by observation, imitation and instruction. The conscious mind now makes its appearance. It becomes evident that both subconscious and conscious are one.
History and further study reveals that in spite of some two million years of human life, and 2,000 years of religious training, the animal instinct of even the cream of society is still the driving factor. In the course of time we are cautioned to resist these animal emotions as they come up, and to subdue them or control them. To get this message across to us, we are instructed in various ways. In religion, for example, we absorb the instruction through pictures, sayings, books and in places of worship. Depending on where we grow up, in what part of the world, we learn about Jesus, Allah, Buddha and so on. So that, at an early age the Christian child has no doubts about Christ being the true God. In turn, the Muslim boy or girl will think of Allah as being the only God. And, as a member of a Buddhist family, the youngsters grow up regarding Buddha as the Most Compassionate One. Children of other religions are also brought up in a similar way. Thus, each child is indoctrinated with the faith and beliefs given to him by his parents and teachers. As they grow and mature, most of them stand ready to lay down their life for these beliefs. Conditioning is now well underway. It goes on in every area of our lives, from birth to the grave. It colors our thinking and actions. It touches our lives in so many subtle and obvious ways. It motivates our feelings, our political leanings, our way of speaking, walking, eating, going to the bathroom, and even our dreams.
I Really Don’t Know
As we grow up we begin to take a stand on issues. We gather a few facts and figures and then come to a decision. It’s either right or wrong, so help me God. Our decisions become more solid as we grow older. With some of us, we write them in granite. We become fixed as the stones on which they are inscribed. We defend and justify them, sometimes even to the end. Examples in any field could be used, but since we moved into our conditioning through religion, mentioned before, let’s pursue the matter further.
For instance, some say emphatically that there is a God. Others, just as strongly point out that there is no God. Both cannot be right. If one is true, the other is false. To see the truth, we are not in a position to accept or deny. If we do either, that ends the investigation. To find out for sure, I must admit that I do not know. I really don’t! True research begins from there.
Now, how do we go about our search for the truth? Much depends on how we investigate, but even more important is—how do we listen? Say we go to a lecture or talk. The speaker says something. Immediately we tend to agree or disagree. Or, we compare him with someone else, and what he is saying, with something we may have read or heard. Accordingly, we nod and shake our heads. Throughout the talk our mind continues to talk also. Have you noticed how the mind is continually yakking with us? This constant chatter of the mind causes our attention to be divided between what the speaker says and what our mind is saying. If our listening is to put us in touch with the facts, we must give our entire attention to what is being said. In this way, and this way only, do we come to understand the speaker and what he is really saying.
We find ourselves agreeing or disagreeing according to our conditioning. Listening, that is proper listening, demands that we be aware of what is being said without the bias of our conditioning. In other words, being aware, without choice is necessary to get the full impact. I must neither agree nor disagree, as I listen. I must not judge or evaluate to any degree. I must listen, pay attention, be aware, with my whole heart, mind, body, nerves, senses, everything!
If I am able to do this, I see that eventually my mind and its chatter slows down. I listen and watch my thoughts as they pass through my mind, as I would watch a movie. I greet each thought as a friend. Welcome it to my mind. Investigate it. Challenge it. Question it. Pursue it to the very end, without hurry or anxiety. See it for what it is, and then let it move on, pass away, drop dead, to return no more. If I am successful in following each thought from rise to fall, I soon begin to take notice a slowing of the thinking process. This entirely normal way of handling thought is within the ability of everyone. After a period of time, perhaps several weeks, a month or so, depending on your interest and attention, the mind becomes silent. Thinking comes to an end. There is no further chatter to disturb our listening and observing. If, perchance, a thought does enter the mind, see it for what it is, treat it hospitably, and let it die away. These moments of non-thinking will gradually lengthen. The ease of doing this extends itself. This could be called a state of pure listening, pure observing. Pure because there are no thoughts to contaminate the mind while it is listening and attending to the speaker, or the situation at hand.
So far as I know, this is the only way to be in direct touch with a speaker. It works effectively when used in any situation or relationship. You don’t have to use any effort to do this. It happens by itself. There is no method or system to bring it about. One merely listens, watches, observes, becomes aware, gives his complete attention to the thought at hand, to the feeling experienced, and notices its passing. Understanding our thoughts leads to further understanding of ourselves. And, by understanding ourselves, we can better understand the other fellow. Eventually, this culminates in a radical change or transformation within, which radiates outward, and extends to every facet of our life. So that the things we are unhappy about, clear up in the process of daily living. We don’t have to use willpower, control or any tricky stuff. Pure listening and observing without the distraction of thought, puts us in touch, moment by moment, with exactly what is taking place.
There’s More I Must Learn
There’s a lot more to experiencing mental and emotional poise. I must find out who I really am. I must discover that the ego, the self, the “I” is not an entity, but merely my memory. That thinking is great when applied to everyday use, for solving problems, technical engineering, finding my way home, recognizing friends and family...but it gets in the way when we want to observe, be aware and sensitive to life that is going on all around us.
Poise means balance, equilibrium, stability, ease of mind and body. Mental and emotional poise is a normal state of being, in which we experience harmony and ease within ourselves. It does not mean we have no challenges or problems. We are faced with these even in the vigorously healthy state of being at peace. It means we need not be hurt or disturbed in any way by them. It means also that life is a joy, and each moment offers us another opportunity to learn, to love, and to understand.