Chronic illness is a normal reaction to an abnormal world

Meditating outdoors is a good health practice

If I had to capture one of my key principles in my practice in a single sentence, it would be this: chronic illness is a normal reaction to an abnormal world or situation. This applies to all conditions, both physical and psychological, as well as psychosomatic chronic complaints. That division is a distinction made by our Western medicine anyway. Personally, I don’t subscribe to it. I see human beings as a whole, not as separate bodies or minds. So, when I talk about ‘your body’, I mean the whole of you that carries you through life. Now that we’ve made that clear, we can move on to the important stuff.

Every chronic complaint is a logical consequence of events or situations in your life that are or were abnormal, prompting your body to activate a survival mechanism. Viewed in this way, chronic illness shows that your body is actually your greatest ally. Its primary task is to protect you, and it goes to great lengths to do so.

Illness as a battle with the body as the enemy

When I talk to people with chronic conditions in everyday life, I often hear them speak about their condition as if it’s something that was inflicted upon them. They use language that describes victimhood and conflict. They do battle against an illness and feel abandoned by their bodies. The illness itself seems separate from everything else in their lives. They feel like pawns in a medical game that involves luck rather than skill. Above all, they believe there’s nothing they can do about it.

This is not surprising. In our conventional Western medicine, this attitude is encouraged. However, this perspective does not reflect the truth and is not conducive to solving the problem. We have already established that, in that same world of conventional medicine, solving the problem of chronic illness is rarely seen as an achievable goal. Symptom management is often promoted as the highest possible aim. But that view is incorrect. More is possible. And it all starts with looking at the situation differently.

A healthy view of chronic illness

If you manage to look at our world from a distance, while realising that we started out as hunters and gatherers – usually a bit of both – living in small groups with strong social cohesion, and then see how we live now, something is likely to stir inside of you. Perhaps it’s a feeling of discomfort, wonder, amazement, or even astonishment. We have become so far removed from what we truly are – animals living in connection with the earth around us – that it can’t help but cause friction. This affects our sense of security and, consequently, our health. And that’s me not even mentioning the impact that personal traumas can have on our health.

Reading this, you might wonder how it’s possible that there are still healthy people in our Western world. Well, first of all, there are fewer and fewer. But they do exist. I am one of them, and I am fortunate to know many others. What these people generally have in common is that they realise that they, or their bodies, aren’t the ones that are aberrant, but the world is. Additionally, they are proactive in taking care of themselves. They do not see themselves as victims and do not fight against their bodies or, rather, themselves. They treat their bodies as important allies and take their signals seriously. Furthermore, they do not see their health as something separate from how they live their lives or what the world throws at them. In short, they are fully aware that their body is in the right and do not buy into the glamour that our society puts on us, insisting our way of living is normal.