February 21, 2006

The Integral Way of Healing

Health has evolved over the centuries as a concept from individual concern to world wide social goal and encompasses the whole life. The concept of health will be keep on evolving so long as man's quest for better life continues. A human being is an integrated whole where the different parts of his being i.e. the physical, vital, mental and spiritual work in a harmonious equilibrium. Health is the outer expression of this deep Harmony between them.
Therefore any single dimension of health cannot be considered in isolation, as the human organism works, as an integrated whole always, whether performing its normal functions or defending itself from morbific stimuli. As life situations keep changing one has to adjust constantly to maintain this equilibrium. Therefore to be healthy is a dynamic phenomenon, and not a state to be attained once and for all, but ever to be renewed. Illness The integrity and equilibrium of the "body, life, mind and soul" can break at any time and reduce the normal resistance of the body manifesting in the form of illness or abnormal behaviours, crimes, riots, ethnic conflict and meaninglessness in life. The Mother says,
"An illness of the body is always the outer expression and translation of a disorder, a disharmony in the inner being."
The nature and severity of the illness corresponds to the nature of the disharmony and is expressed by symptoms. Symptoms through their symbolism reveal the patient's current problems. Therefore symptoms are not enemies to be fought, resented and destroyed by any means, fair or foul. Instead the symptoms are a partner, capable of helping one to discover what is lacking in our consciousness, in our inner being. Therefore illness gives us a chance to progress. Cure Just as the concept of health is changing so also the concept of disease, its cause, cure, role of medicines and role of physicians is changing based on a new thought.
To become healthy once again one has to move from the plane of chaos and disharmony to a higher plane of harmony. And this necessitates a growth in consciousness. This movement might meet with resistance resulting in the chronicity of illness and frequent relapses or exacerbations. Therefore it is left to the individual whether he wants to grow in his consciousness and bring back the harmony or prefer to suffer and ultimately succumb to illness by disability and death. The physician can 'use' the hour of crisis as a means and spring board for the patient to launch higher and deeper within himself.
The purpose of healing is not just to return a body or mind back to what society considers normal. Rather, the goal is to become better, more enlightened, or stronger than before in some way. The ideal condition would be a remarkable union of body, mind and spirit. As The Mother exactly puts it,

"An illness of the body is always the outer expression and translation of a disorder, a disharmony in the inner being; unless this inner disorder is healed, the outer cure cannot be total and permanent."

An integral approach assumes great importance as it focuses on the very aim and goal of life itself. It is neither a mere mixing of various approaches, nor is it a new system or a special technique. It is called 'integral' because here the human being is considered in totality along with the universe of which he is a subunit. It is a multidimensional approach encompassing all levels of consciousness i.e. physical, vital, mental and spiritual including all types of forces acting upon the various levels, dealing with both the internal self and external self. Healing means to rediscover and restore communication with our inner self. Sri Aurobindo International Institute for Integral Health and Research (SAIIIHR)

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