The Physical Manifestation of an Imbalance
by Dr Patrick Quanten MD
Disease arises as the result of an imbalance within our own system due to an accumulation of aggravating factors, both from within and from without. These influences are all at work all of the time and are not isolated links. Smoking does not cause lung cancer; alcohol does not cause liver failure; stress does not cause a stomach or duodenal ulcer; and a cold virus does not cause a cold. All outside influences come together with all inside influences at any given moment in time to produce a final balance. It is our individual ability of coping with the whole sum total of these factors at that particular moment in time, positive and negative ones, that will determine whether or not we become ill.
What kind of influences do we know off?
We can divide these roughly into influencing factors that arise from within ourselves and those arising from the outer world. There will be overlaps, such as diet, which contains the environment factor in as much that food can be contaminated and the inner factor in that the digestion of food or certain types of food may be disturbed. However, in order to try and simplify matters we will work around the division between ourselves and the outer world.
1. The Environment
It is a common belief that we get attacked by creatures from our environment such as bacteria, viruses, yeast and parasites, and that it is these "bugs" that make us ill. The truth of course is that we life in harmony with these creatures all the time and that, without them we can not survive. There is a symbiotic relationship between ourselves and what we perceive as the outside world. In other words, we live together in peace, benefiting from each other and surviving because of the contribution the other makes to our life. Without bacteria our digestion would be impossible; certain viruses protect us against more harmful strains. There is not one part of our body which is "sterile". It is only when the balance between all these living creatures is disturbed that illness, acute infections as well as degenerative diseases, occur. The "bugs" can overgrow into parts they are not suppose to occupy or "alien" invaders are allowed in when the system's balance of health has been disturbed. Rectifying this imbalance within our system is a must in order to return to a healthy state. "Killing off the bugs" still leaves the field wide open for a new attack and we can never be so specific as to destroy exactly the ones we don't want in the place we don't want them in, without harming any of the others; we remain vulnerable until we restore nature's balance.
The other thing we find in the environment that we now recognise as detrimental to our health is toxic products. In general terms we talk about pollution of water, earth and atmosphere. By dumping large amounts of products and chemicals alien to nature into our environment we have overloaded it's capacity to dissolve and suspend these particles within nature's own cleaning service. Water, earth and air have become loaded with poisons which enter our system in a continuous stream. Our bodies, just as nature itself, is trying to do its best to cope with this onslaught. Massive detoxification goes on continuously resulting in a never abating strain on the organs responsible for dealing with toxins, such as liver/bowels, kidneys, lungs and skin. Not only are these organs directly under constant attack by the high level of toxins that they are presented with, but other places in our body also suffer because of depletion of reserves (glands such as the pancreas, thyroid) or because they become dumping grounds for toxins that can't be dealt with at the required rate (such as joints).
We have changed the balance of nature by "improving" our food. We have added lots of chemicals to it which disturb the natural balance within our system, allowing invaders to take over, accumulating toxic levels inside the cells of our body, depleting the system's defence mechanism and causing mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Because the system then can no longer work normally, we see allergies and food sensitivities occur.
The same thing we have done to our water supply, whereby we have "cleaned" it up totally, killing everything within the water and the water itself too, and we have added things that nature had failed to provide us with but that were essential - so we thought. So, we added fluoride and chlorine, because we know better than nature. The water itself is dead and now contains substances which accumulate to toxic levels inside our cells. Because we found springs with "natural healing" waters, we started sterilising the water and bottling it. Clean but dead once again.
The air that we breath is loaded with alien material, waste products from our society (burned fuel, chemicals, nuclear outfall, etc.) which are breaking down our body functions because of the continuing overstretched cleanup operation that goes on inside our body, but also because of the direct effects this pollution has on the earth's atmosphere. The balance is disturbed, thereby changing the way the atmosphere works. It no longer adequately can protect us from harmful rays reaching us from space. The sun, which is an essential source of heat and energy for life on earth, is now becoming a danger due to the hazardous influence of its rays. The sun hasn't changed that much; we changed the natural filter and protection that was there, the earth's atmosphere.
We now also talk about sound-pollution. We are very much affected by what our senses pick up. It is impossible to relax whilst listening to rave music; it is impossible to concentrate with radios and televisions blearing out at you. Why is it that the sound of a dentist drill sends shivers up your spine? Sound affects our moods. Just as colours do. Blue has a calming, cooling effect on us; green soothes the emotions; red on the other hand "heats" us up, stimulates our nervous system and can therefore aggravate anger (ask the bull!). Other senses influence the way we feel. A touch, loving and caring, calms our emotions; a kiss from mummy makes the pain go away in a child's injured knee; being touched by someone we are very angry with, can make us loose control, even if the touch itself was not threatening. Also what we see or taste helps to soothe us or can evoke strong feelings. Think about how a tasty meal, cooked with love and tenderness, aids to get a message of love and care across to the other person ("the way to a man's heart is through his stomach"). And we all know the enormous influence images have on us. The media exploit this aspect constantly to drum up support for whatever cause they see fit, either by appealing to our soft nature or by making us angry or guilty.
The way our senses experience the outer-world affects our inner-world and the workings of it. This affects how our body manages the processes of digestion, absorption, distribution and so on. In our modern society we find that the sensorial input is heavily polluted by media, advertisements, entertainment (fact and fiction have become indistinguishable), politics and personal gain. This pollution adds to the confusion of our system because on a subconscious level messages have been linked, been misinterpreted and misrepresented (buying a new car does not come with a female super model; it is best to counteract violence with violence; it is best for you not to trust, not to be honest, not to care).
There is an other influence from our environment on our inner-world that is getting increasingly more attention and that is radiation. We have now been warned about the dangers of radiation within our immediate surroundings as well as radiation from nuclear plants. Our modern society has created a nightmare scenario whereby we are exposed all the time to electromagnetic fields that disturb the balance of our natural field. These have been measured surrounding all our common household electrical equipment, such as hairdryers, shavers, microwave ovens, hoovers, electrical blankets, etc. We now also know that the emissions from computer screens are harmful; mobile telephones are dangerous. The longer one is exposed to these electromagnetic fields the more harmful the effect, but we need to take into account the accumulative factor. In other words, a short exposure to dry your hair is not going to have a long lasting effect on your metabolism and is not going to create an overload of toxic products, but put together with a daily continuing exposure to a variety of fields, all detrimental to our health, is going to ensure that our body can not cope with the amount of toxins produced. How close do you come to this : working at a computer desk all day long, having meals microwaved, using a mobile phone for at least one hour a day, sleeping on an electric blanket? Our houses have become a network of negative influences through radiation energy. You can't see it, you can't feel it, but it is real and killing you slowly. The old horror movies are now coming true.
The electromagnetic field surrounding electricity power-cables causes serious health problems. These have been proven to be linked to an increased risk of various cancers and blood disorders. There are also natural radiation sources that influence our life and that might have a negative effect on some people. We now know that underground running water creates an electromagnetic field above the surface that changes the environment. Certain minerals and rock formations have a similar influence. It is generally believed that the difference in these fields are partly responsible for the variation in health problems within certain cultures, regions and countries. Careful examination of ancient monuments and holy shrines has revealed that the sites on which these were erected are indeed of a balancing rather than a disturbing nature regarding the earth's magnetic field. These places bring peace and harmony to people because of the balancing electromagnetic field of the ground they were build upon. One must assume that the choice was made purely on instinct, which leaves us to believe that people in those days were much more in touch with nature and their true self than we can ever hope to become.
2. The Inner World
Our inner-world can be divided simply in physical matter and non-physical, such as thoughts and emotions. Both structures need a healthy balance to function to it's optimum capacity and disturbing this balance leads to the accumulation of toxins which will lodge into tissues, causing illness, weight problems and ageing. By overdoing it, having too much of whatever, we are depleting body stores and production lines (enzymes, hormones, neuropeptides, etc.) which will lead to an under active system, as in type II diabetes and hypothyroidism. By doing too little we are allowing the system to disintegrate because of lack of use, as in colon cancer and skeletal problems due to sedentary lifestyle.
Eating too much refined food, such as plain sugars and white flour products, first of all leaves too little roughage in the bowels, resulting in lack of stimulation. This weakens the bowel muscles and does not encourage a normal secretion by the cells. This abnormal function shows itself in functional problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diverticulitis and growths such as polyps and cancers. Furthermore, the excess amount of sugar needs to be dealt with by the pancreas which in due course will struggle to meet the demand, leaving the blood levels of sugar too high (diabetes). High blood sugar levels are linked to higher levels of circulating fat, resulting in blocked arteries (angina, stroke, kidney failure, general circulation problems), and to under active thyroid. Putting the roughage into the bowels separately only aggravates the problem because we now are asking a weak and irritated system to cope with a dry mass of bulk without any nutritional value; in other words, an impossible task for the weakened muscular structure but for the cellular secretions there is no stimulus for digestion and absorption. Nature is not prepared for this.
An over-consumption of fat will contribute to weight problems but more importantly will result in a high blood cholesterol and fat level in the blood. This in turn will clog up arteries with devastating results to our health. Animal products, which contribute a large proportion to the culture's fat consumption, are very difficult to digest, causing a major imbalance in the system. According to common adage, "we are what we eat". What we eat affects our emotions and can contribute to problems, both physical and psychological. Just as wrong emotions can upset our digestion, so wrong digestion can upset our emotions. For this reason, meat, however nourishing, is not a good food. It has the energy of death and brings the forces of violence and decay, the negative emotions of fear and hatred along with it.
Over consumption of stimulants like coffee deplete the energy system. Caffeine gives us a false sense of energy by stimulating the adrenal glands. In effect it runs the system down and soon we are finding ourselves tired and lethargic. This physical surge has an emotional component in that it drives us on, makes us more aggressive and intolerant.
Food depleted of it's life force by overcooking, radiation, tinning or freezing is not only not capable of supplying the required vitamins and enzymes, but is also not helping with it's own digestion. Life foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables, contain active enzymes which aid the digestion from within. When food is depleted of this, it results in the accumulation of a mass of undigested food within the system. Not only is this very difficult to get rid off, it also rots just like any other food left over.
The musculo-skeletal system of the body needs regular balanced stimulation just as all other structures. Not only will the muscles weaken if they are not used properly and regularly, but it will also weakens the bones. It is this chronic lack of exercise stimulation which greatly contributes to degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis. Every part of our body depends on regular physical activity. When a specific part of the body is put into action, the body responds by sending more blood, nutrients, and energy to that area. This responds leads to an overall improvement in the health and vitality of the particular part involved. If exercise is neglected, the body will become weak and all its physical powers will be diminished, but with regular exercise the entire system will be strengthened and invigorated.
Every phenomenon has both form and content, consists both of parts and of a whole which is more than the sum of those parts. Every phenomenon is determined by the past and the future. Illness is no exception. Behind every symptom there lies a purpose, a content, which merely uses whatever possibilities are available at the time for translating itself into tangible form.
If we look closely into a symptom's meaning, the answer reveals to us some particular aspect of our own make-up. It is not outer circumstances that make us ill: instead, it is we ourselves who take every opportunity to place these circumstances in the service of our illness. As patients, we are perpetrator and victim rolled into one, constantly suffering from nothing more than our own unconsciousness.
Anybody who has learnt to listen in to the psychosomatic ambivalence of language will soon be astonished to discover that those who are ill generally speaking spill the beans about what the real problems are every time they mention their physical symptoms. Here, for example, is somebody whose eyes are so bad that he can't make it all out; somebody else has a cold and it gets up her nose; another can't bend over because he is so rigid; a fourth can't swallow it all any longer; a fifth with diarrhoea can't hang in there any more; a sixth keeps turning a deaf ear; and a seventh itches because she is breaking out in a rash. In all these cases it is the body that has to live out for real what the sufferers concerned will never trust themselves to admit. Thus it is the accumulation of toxins in the body that correspond to repressed conflicts within the psyche. This does not mean that conflict produces toxins, or that toxins produce conflicts. The psyche no more causes bodily symptoms than bodily processes cause psychological changes. It is our own rejection and resistance that turns mere symptoms into disease-symptoms.
Every disease-process has been translated into the psychological conflict which causes the bodily symptoms to manifest themselves when we are unresponsive to our psychological side. Here follow a few examples of how repressed aspects of the psyche can lead to physical symptoms.
Allergies : A high level of defence structures always signifies a high level of aggression. Those who are allergic have problems with their aggression, which they do not recognise and consequently for the most part do not live out. By looking closely at the preferred allergens in any given case we can generally find out quite readily which areas of life it is that are striking so much fear into the allergy sufferer, and which he or she consequently finds it necessary to fight symbolically with such ardour.
Asthma : Asthmatics are trying to take too much; but when it comes to having to give it all back they clam up. They unconsciously treat even the most harmless substances as life threatening and immediately shut themselves off from them. Again we see the general theme of fear and resistance. Asthmatics use the symptoms of their illness to exert power over the world around them, taking it as far as life-threatening attacks and even death. Asthmatics are people who are longing for love; yet can not give love to others.
Gastritis : People with stomach ailments lack the capacity to cope consciously with what is annoying them or with their own aggressive urges. Such people do not express their aggression at all or they show exaggerated aggression; neither extreme is of much help.
Diabetes : Behind the desire of diabetics to enjoy sweet things, and their simultaneous inability to assimilate sugar and absorb it into their own body-cells, stands an unsatisfied desire for love, along with an inability to accept love and absorb it unreservedly. Diabetics are typically obliged to live on "substitute foods". Diabetics want love, yet do not trust themselves to actively pursue it. And so they long for it all the more, yet are unable to get it because they have never learned to love themselves.
Migraine : A migraine attack is in some ways like an orgasm in the head. Just as sexual excitement causes the blood to flow to the genital region and the tension reverts to relaxation at the climax, so it is with migraine : blood flows to the head, there is a feeling of pressure, the tension increases and then changes back due to the dilatation of the blood-vessels. We find in migraine sufferers a conflict between instinct and thought, which lead to an attempt to use the head as a work-out-area for trying to solve problems which can in fact only be expressed and resolved on other levels entirely (body, sex, aggression).
Skin Rashes : Rashes always indicate that something which has been held back is trying to break through. A rash allows something that was previously invisible to show itself. Eczema is often used by mothers to justify their inner aversion to their children. The mothers concerned are for the most part particularly "aesthetic" people who themselves attach great importance to keeping the skin clean. In psoriasis the process by which the skin naturally forms a horny outer layer is exaggerated out of all proportion. The sufferers in question are shutting themselves off in both directions. Behind every form of defence there lies a fear of getting hurt. The armour shields us from being wounded or hurt; yet at the same time it also shields us from everything else too, including love and devotion.
The Joints : When a joint stiffens up, this is a sign that the person has "taken a rigid stance" in respect of something or other. The character of the polyarthritis person shows a compulsive tendency towards perfectionism, as well as a depressive tendency with a strong need for self-sacrifice and exaggerated helpfulness. These people are, in spite of a history of excessive activity and mobility, very rigid and stubborn, very inflexible and immobile of soul. They are far too scared to subject their altruism, their servility and unselfishness, their moral standards and general complaisance to honest investigation. And so their egotism, their immobility, their inability to adapt, their urge to dominate and their aggression all remain hidden in the shadows, from where they subsequently go on to somatise themselves in the body as a stiffness and immobility.
Every illness or dysfunction a person develops is an indication of a specific type of emotional, psychological or spiritual stress. Understanding the stresses that underlie the creation of illness is a complex process. Symbolic analysis is not that simple and not that obvious. People are complicated and their personal histories and emotional patterns are highly individual and complex. An oversimplification of the significance of a disease can cause someone to feel that the interpretation of illness is nonsense because it is difficult to appreciate the connection between complex disorders and simplistic explanations.
3. The Wider Environment
There are even more influences that we don't think about and are not consciously aware off. The movement of the earth for one. The movement around it's own axis, causing the day and night difference, which certainly affects us all. Sometimes we even say that somebody is a totally different person by night compared with the day time. The movement around the sun, causing the seasons. This again affects the whole of life on earth. It not only is a cycle of life and death in nature, it also has an extensive influence on our inner beings. The medical world has now accepted this influence and has even given it it's own space in the textbooks with it's own name, Seasonal Affected Disorders (SAD). But it has been common knowledge in humans that death and disease is more likely to strike during certain periods of the year. Every culture on this planet has and has had it's rules and recommendations to do or not do certain things at certain times. All of which relates to the influence of the earth's movement through space and the influence of space movement on the earth.
Astrology has always played a central role in peoples life, and was crucial to any decision making. In our Western world it has lost it's place because science, as described by a few new thinkers to carve out a future for themselves, claimed that the way forward towards discovering all the answers to life's secrets, was to cut it up in ever decreasing smaller pieces; what could not be found in there did not exist. We now know that there are things we can not see, feel, touch, smell or hear. The influence of the Universe on the earth's magnetic field comes from the relative position of the masses within that Universe. This forms the basis for the accuracy with which Astrology describes the person that you are in a birth-chart, but also accurately predicts your possible ups and downs as times where your personal balance is already slightly disturbed before you even have done anything, before you even got there. This does not mean that you will become ill, it merely states that you are likely to unless you counteract the effects that are already there and therefore help to re-balance your life.
Just as the Universe changes constantly, so does your life and therefore the balance of health. You will need to readjust all the time if you want to remain healthy, and this requires an understanding of the forces and influences that are at work. It also shows that we are not totally in control and never can be, but that we seriously influence our destiny by our actions and thoughts.
How can we maintain health?
What is necessary is that we each establish for ourselves our own appropriate life-regime according to our unique self. It is a matter of discovering, through sensitivity to ourselves and to life, what is the natural movement of our own being. It is "Yoga", a co-ordinating and harnessing of our resources for their maximum energetic effect.
It is necessary that we establish the right rhythm in our lives. This maintains a certain harmony and consistency but remains flexible and responds to the challenges of the moment. The rhythm of our right action in life creates a certain momentum that gives power to our lives and gradually improves all of our faculties.
What is significant is creative living. Creativity is not chaotic. It establishes an order, an absolute order, but one that gives freedom. This is the order of intelligence that gives "each thing its right place".
These regimes keep us in harmony with the universe and the cosmic life force. They are the rhythms of creative living, as natural as the breath. They require an effort in the beginning, to counter the inertia created by our life out of balance, but they soon create a self-sustaining and expanding force of their own.
What we do every day makes for who we are. Our actions determine the content of our consciousness as well as the energy level of our physical body. An occasional visit to a healer, no matter how famous or expensive, cannot substitute for our own regime or substantially alter its effects. The healing methods we put into practice are of the greatest importance, not what someone does for us. The latter are palliative; the former only can be curative, as they alone indicate a change of nature within us.
All human beings should follow a pure lifestyle, one that gives peace and clarity of mind.
Physical purity includes pure diet, with raw or freshly cooked vegetarian food, pure air and water, proper exercise of a calming nature, as well as physical cleanliness.
Purity of mind includes truthfulness, honesty, humility, equanimity, non-violence, friendliness and compassion to all beings. Emotional impurities like anger, hatred, pride, lust and fear are given up; gossip and worry are to be set aside. These are the main bad mental habits which destroy the natural clarity and equipoise of mind.
Purity of lifestyle includes right livelihood (an occupation that does not bring harm to others), pleasant speech, harmonious or pleasant environment, and avoidance of distraction, noise and all violent or degrading forms of entertainment.
This lifestyle includes devotion to the Divine or to truth, compassion, service to humanity, study of spiritual teachings, reverence for spiritual teachers, and the practice of Yoga and meditation.
Purity itself, however, should not become a fault through self-righteousness, hypersensitivity or fanaticism. Good humour and moderation should always be maintained. Natural harmony and adaptability are what is necessary, not the imposition of an artificial standard.
Dr Patrick Quanten MD