love. soul. contentment  
line decor
line decor

The dictionary definition for health is, being free from illness or injury. We might say that we are healthy when we are free of pain, however, the origin of the word health is to be whole. Interestingly the word whole comes from the German word heil and heil came from the English word hail which was the old English greeting for wishing good health to another.

So we might be able to come up with a better current definition for health than simply not being ill. We could for example use various medical indicators to decide if we are in good health. Blood pressure, blood analysis, pulse, pH readings, bowel movements, colour of urine, body mass index, reaction times, resistance to infectious illness and skin condition.

We might choose to take the fitness approach by seeing how far we can run, to what extent we can stretch our bodies, how long it takes our pulse to return to its resting state after exercise, our energy levels and muscle tone. We could include something about our memory, clarity of thought, concentration, emotional well being, friendships and ability to function in society if we want to be more holistic.

In a much bigger sense we could add a spiritual dimension and consider how we support ourselves in terms of self belief, trust and feeling of love.

For me health is more part of a process and less a static measurement. My experience so far has taught me that health comes through the continuous engagement in self reflection and embracing change. My needs change and I need to evolve and develop to meet those changing needs. In this way health stems from my awareness of myself and my current needs. The more aware I am the better I can remain healthy. For practice I like to describe in detail how I am feeling physically, emotionally and mentally. I like to be aware of how easily I can meditate and connect to my soul. This is different from judging or measuring, it is simply describing without analysing, excusing or justifying. Out of this I naturally feel I know what I need. My intuition, sub concious, soul or inner being seems to be able to guide me to a new way of caring for myself.

I notice that, if along the way I become attached to a certain diet, practice or ideology, that in itself can hold me back in my evolution and skewer my ability to be aware of myself. I think we are so surrounded by cures, remedies, medication, magic pills, diets and answers that we can keep grabbing for different elixirs without really listening to our self first. Perhaps health is really about our ability to listen to our body, mind and heart every day and allow this self awareness to lead into the daily creation of our health whether through breathing, drinking, eating, thinking, expressing ourselves, creating, exercising, meditating, loving, singing, stretching, work, prayer and our own feelings.

I would suggest that health comes from connecting with our whole self and using this connection to guide us.

Copyright Simon Brown, London, 2009