The Ecology of Health
Charles Eisenstein is a yogi, author, speaker, and spiritual intuitive. His background includes a degree in mathematics and philosophy from Yale University, six years as an English-Chinese translator, and four years on the faculty of Penn State. He is the author and speaker of the powerful audio CD, Reconnecting to the Life Force for Adrenal Fatigue and Stress, which comes with a top-recommendation by Donna Gates of Body Ecology.
He is also the author of The Yoga of Eating and the just-released The Ascent of Humanity, describing “The Age of Separation, the Age of Reunion, and the Convergence of Crises that is birthing the transition.”
If you read a lot of alternative health newsletters, you might find that you quickly become confused. So much knowledge out there, so many products, many of which are touted as essential to your well-being. How to deal with all of this information?
One way is simply to write it all off as crass marketing. However, this response conflicts with your intuition that there are answers out there. This is the intuition that has brought you to Body Ecology and the whole world of holistic health. You also know that to be healthy, you have to go beyond what our society considers “normal.” Because increasingly today, it is normal to be sick.
Look around you. Where is the alarm that 60+% of the population is overweight? Where is the alarm that 1 in 7 children have asthma? That 54% of Americans now test positive to at least one allergen (that’s double the rate of 30 years ago)? That autism now afflicts 1 in 150 children (up from 1 in 10,000 in the 1980’s)? That diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and general debility has become the normal condition of retirees?
If you are reading this Body Ecology newsletter today, it means that on some level you no longer accept this version of “normal.” That is why you are reaching outside of “normal” medicine-because you know what kind of “normal” health it brings.
Another way of putting it is that normal isn’t good enough any more. Intuitively, you know that your birthright is a state of vibrant health, and you know that no disease is truly incurable.
But how to deal with that jungle of alternative health information, encompassing hundreds of modalities and literally thousands of “must-have” supplements? You certainly can’t buy them all!
I suppose I could add my voice to the cacophonous chorus and give you yet another list-the supplements Charles Eisenstein believes in-along with yet another set of reasons, research, and testimonials. But that would not help you; it might even confuse you more.
Instead, I will offer you not a different set of supplements, but a different approach to supplements, an approach based on the holistic understanding of what health means.
Let’s start with a simple observation. On the most naïve, commonsense level, it is ridiculous to expect a profound change in your life to happen just by taking a pill. Has it ever seemed absurd to you, that the complex needs of a human being could be “encapsulated” like that?
Holistic medicine says that the state of your health is in some way a reflection of the state of your life. If that is true, it doesn’t make sense that a pill could change very much. That would be change without change. You don’t usually need to change the patterns of your life-emotional patterns, relationship patterns, eating patterns, thinking patterns-when you add a new supplement, two capsules twice a day.
There are exceptions to this observation, of course.
Sometimes a new modality or supplement can signify a dramatic shift in a person’s beliefs. For example, it can be a huge step when someone first tries something “alternative”. For someone indoctrinated in the standard biomedical model, to try something else means that they have let go of some of that rigidity and are stepping into something new. Typically, that shift in thinking will express itself as changes in many areas of life.
A Top-Recommended CD by Donna Gates, Body Ecology Founder
The “Reconnecting to the Life Force” CD by Charles Eisenstein – author of this column and renowned yogi, author and speaker — gets to the bottom of the issues that underlie today’s epidemic of adrenal fatigue and stress.
It presents a powerful and inspiring alternative to the strategy of managing and coping, plus two dynamic guided meditations that make the ideas come to life.
Where does life energy ultimately come from? How can we connect with it powerfully?
With over 65 minutes of engaging and transformative material, this CD is an amazing value that could spark a real paradigm shift in your life.
To commit to holistic medicine means to take on a different view of life, self, and the universe.
Conventional modern medicine is based on control: using drugs to dictate hormone levels, cutting out parts of the body, suppressing symptoms, killing germs. You focus on the sick part, assuming no inherent relationship between it and the whole person.
Holistic medicine says that no condition of the body happens in isolation. There is a good reason why the thyroid is under-producing-it’s not just a “bad thyroid”. There is a good reason cholesterol levels are high. There’s a good reason why strep bacteria keep infecting this person’s throat, but not that person’s.
Herbalist Matthew Wood describes how different tissue states literally invite in different kinds of parasites or bacteria. Bacteria, he says, are secondary scavengers that might be performing a necessary function. Other parasites thrive in “cold” or “damp” tissue conditions. Infections of either one are not random, accidental happenings. They are symptomatic of a person’s overall condition. They may even be the body’s attempt to restore balance.
Something similar happens in a disturbed ecosystem.
If you chop down all the trees and kill all vegetation with a broad-spectrum herbicide, the next year the ground will be “infested” with a proliferation of dandelions, mustards, thistles, and other fast-growing plants. The precise mix depends on the specific needs of the soil to heal.
An ignorant observer would say that the weed overgrowth represents an unhealthy condition. Too many dandelions. Better spray them. Actually, they are the land’s attempt to minimize damage from soil erosion and to restore balance. The imbalanced overgrowth of a single species is a response to ecosystem damage, not a cause.
The same is true within the human body.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics, like the broad-spectrum herbicides, clear the ground for opportunistic species to multiply. Actually, it is probably better to have candida overgrowth than it would be to have a gut completely devoid of any life whatsoever. If the land is left alone, then new species will come in, and in a hundred years or so it will be a healthy forest again. This would happen in the body too-candida would naturally give way to other species and resume its original minor role.
But imagine what would happen to land if every couple years you reapplied the herbicide? Imagine if you continued to damage the soil by dumping toxic waste there, and you built a big wall around it to prevent any new species from entering. The weed overgrowth would continue and morph into ever-more virulent forms as the land sought to maintain cover.
This is basically what happens in the body. The repeated application of herbicide corresponds to the repeated use of antibiotics. The chemical damage to the soil corresponds to the other pharmaceuticals and poisons we absorb through diet and environment. The wall corresponds to the removal of all living, cultured, and fermented foods from the diet. The opportunistic species take on increasingly virulent forms, and the land or the body sickens and eventually dies.