This week I read an excellent article by Deepak Chopra - one of my favorite revolutionary thinkers on health and spiritual well-being. In it, he dug a little deeper into a topic we often talk about here - finding a balanced state of health.

He described the four major models of health and the human body that we humans have subscribed to over the course of our existence, starting from viewing the body as a collection of elements from nature, through the Christian view of the body as merely the temple of the soul, Eastern views of the body as expression of life force, up until today's current model of the body as a machine.

The way we approach health and healthcare depends on which model we are currently using. For example, if you view the body as a machine, then solving a health problem is as simple as "fixing the part" - which is how our current medical system deals with illness and disease (and we're seeing the results of this piecemeal approach in our declining health as a nation - not to mention our skyrocketing healthcare costs).

However, as we are coming to find today, as we start to recognize more and more the connections within and between ourselves and the universe, all of these previous models are in some way incomplete. For example, as Dr. Chopra points out, it's obvious that your body is not just a machine! For one thing, it can heal itself - which no machine can do. It is self-regulating and self-organizing, with no outside inputs. It is self-renewing - which also means that, as Chopra notes: "
Exercise makes it stronger, whereas a machine, if used more often, begins to wear out."
We are learning that, indeed, it is time for a new model - of the body, and of our health as a whole. Dr. Chopra calls this the "systems model" - in that "every cell is intelligent. The body holds together through a constant stream of information that reaches every cell. Homeostasis - a state of dynamic balance - represents health." This model recognizes the reality that "your body is a process -  not a thing."

One of the biggest shifts in building this new way of thinking about our health will be recognizing the powerful part that our brains and minds play in our physical health. Or, as Chopra puts it simply in systems terminology, "Positive input promotes well-being; negative input impairs well-being."  Obviously this is logical even in the machine model, BUT input will no longer just mean physical input like food, exercise, sleep, etc., but also include positive and negative ways of thinking.

This will mean an entirely new approach to healthcare - one that comes from YOU - not your doctor - as I've been saying for years! In the systems model, "self-care becomes primary care." Chronic disease and disorders of the bodily system are then preventable through routine maintenance of the whole, your beliefs and attitudes towards your body take on as much importance as physical inputs, and mindfulness practices such as prayer and meditation have a recognized impact on the health of your system.

As you can see, this is a pretty major shift in approach towards our health - but it's one that's long overdue. I hope that, as Dr. Chopra seems to believe, this model is well on the way to becoming a reality in the way we treat our bodies and care for our health.

Lastly, Chopra makes one more major point in relation to listening to your body - as I just talked about a couple of weeks ago: 

And lest you think that this shift will require unrealistically drastic changes in the way you live, Dr. Chopra puts it in very simple terms which should make sense to just about anyone: "In short, we need to let the body take care of us, for that is what it's actually doing. The one thing this amazingly self-sufficient system needs from you is better input."

This "better input" can come in many forms, but in general, most are summed up by habitually listening to your body's feedback, loving and caring for yourself and others - as well as the world around you, and developing your spiritual awareness.

For more tips on giving your body better input, read Dr. Chopra's full article here.

And be sure to stay tuned to this blog, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and connect with us regularly - this entire blog and website is designed to support this new "systems model" - which is what holistic living truly is all about!



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