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Sometimes learning just a few simple tips for more conscious living can make the most useful and positive changes in our lives. To that end, listed below are a few yet profound tips for improving the quality of one’s health as well as assisting in that perennial task of getting an edge up on anti-aging, emotional health and weight management.
Walking after you eat. Walking is actually a very powerful digestive aid. The Eastern Indian system of self-healing called Ayurveda advocates for “the journey of a 1,000 steps” after consuming food. The walk doesn’t have to be long; it just needs to be embarked upon after mealtime. So if you have a dog, take your fur-covered friend for a once around the block. Your pet will be grateful, and it will serve as a post-digestive gift to yourself. If you can’t walk, massaging the feet relaxes the body and strengthens the digestive system. There are many reflexology points on the foot that connect with our internal organs, thus bringing immediate benefit and support.
The body likes a temperature of 98.6 degrees, because the organs in the body function best at this temperature. As a matter of fact the body can even function well hotter than that, like when we get an infection and the body turns up the heat. But it does not like to get colder. Internalizing cold food and liquids stuns the organs by forcing them to run colder than they are designed to function. Think of the stomach as a pot that sits on your stove. You want there to be a consistent flame under that pot so that everything you put into it gets cooked thoroughly.
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All Spiritual Traditions speak of the power of free will. Free will reigns on this planet. The Divine has seen fit to Bless everyone with the free will to decide for themselves what they will do with their attention. There are no programmed human robots on this planet. We are free to give our attention to the love side of the equation, which we have defined as unlimited in nature. But that action only has value if we are also free not to give our attention to love. That other choice would be fear, which we have equally defined as evil and limiting in action and consequences.
Swedenborg has a great definition of Heaven and hell. He describes Heaven as a place or state of being that is unlimited, and hell as a place or state of being that is limiting. That is why when we worry or devote our attention to other equally limiting thoughts or people, our life can feel so hellish. There is a pattern that clearly begins to emerge here: the relationship between good and evil, love and fear, and Heaven and hell, Austin Powers and Dr. Evil.
When we freely choose a love-based thought that feels good, right and liberating, our life takes on an unlimited Heavenly quality. When we freely surrender our attention to fear-based thoughts that constrict and contract our existence, our experience of life becomes hellishly limited and unhappy.
What I love about the Eastern healing sciences is how they perceive and define life. They say that every one of our sensory organs is actually a digestive intelligence. Our eyes digest light waves so we can see. Our ears digest sound waves so we can hear. Our skin digests through touch. We are in fact a collection of digestive marvels. The reason for all this digestive action is because everything we see, hear, touch, taste, experience, think, and perceive is a form of food. These energies are non-physical forms of food that strengthen, sustain and nourish us.
So how can we apply this on a practical level? Here are two easy ways. The first is to remember that nothing that happens to you, nothing that you experience or relate to, is more powerful than you are. Everything is food. Thinking that your mortgage payment or health diagnosis is senior to you would be the same as believing the bowl of cereal you have for breakfast has more power than you do. The second is that you are designed to take in and absorb only what improves your life. Let the rest go for the waste it is. This means, for example, that if there is something negative in how you perceive your body image, or if how you think about that certain job search is not enhancing your existence, it is nature’s way of telling you it is useless, and you can let it go!
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It all started when I was in my mid twenties, with a small pain in the abdomen. Little did I know how this little pain would force me to make big changes in my life. The pain seemed concentrated in three points around the right ovary. It became most acute when I would bend over. The mystery pains gradually grew until they were bothering me all the time, regardless of posture or position. I did what most people would do when seeking to address something health related: I made an appointment with my doctor. He was a better listener than most doctors and took the time to do a physical examination. While examining the pelvis, he found that merely touching that area was enough to produce pain, so we agree to proceed with non-invasive testing. That started off simple enough: leaving bodily fluid in a cup, taking a blood sample, or an ultra sound test. (For you guys, it would be the equivalent of “turn your head and cough”.) Everything we tried was inconclusive.
Over the course of a year, the pain spread down the right leg and across the lower back. I pretty much just dragged my right leg around. My abdomen slowly swelled until there was a constant state of discomforting distention. My skin turned a pasty shade of gray with tiny bumps, the greatest concentration being on my back. I looked like a cross between Quasimodo and a heroin addict. Looking back on it now, I can understand that my skin looked this way because it was the only organ still detoxifying my entire body. I lived with a hot water bottle stuffed down my pants. It was the only thing I could do to help alleviate the non-stop pain that plagued the lower body. Due to my declining condition, my doctor suggested we try exploratory surgery. The best way to know what was going on would be to look directly into the body. The way I felt, I agreed.
My doctor and I discussed best and worst possible scenarios so that I would be prepared. The worst case would be that they might have to start removing organs. We still suspected if there was a problem, (if you could have seen me, that would have been a no-brainer) it would be centered on the reproduction organs. I was perfectly fine living without some or all of my reproductive organs… I didn’t need them to live. But I only had one heart or liver, and those I did need.
I clearly remember the moment I regained consciousness in the recovery room. My doctor would not make eye contact with me, and I was thinking, “This can’t be good.” He said, “I have some good news and some bad news. I’ll start with the good news. We did not take anything out; you still have all your organs.” “Great!” I was thinking, “What could possibly be the bad news?” “The bad news is that every organ from your stomach to your colon is in crisis.” He then took a quarter out of his pocket. “Your liver and small intestine are the worst. I could flip this quarter to determine which organ will shut down first, but most likely you are going to die from either the liver or small intestine shutting down, and I do not know why.”
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