Published in German on 20th November 2022
In the broad field of health there is a great variety of nutritional models, yoga courses, well-being facilities, videos and general advice offered for a positive and affirmative lifestyle. In general sport, many forms of movement, swimming, the use of cold water, and of course, at the right time, relaxation are suggested in the media. But what can individuals do if they realise that their next of kin has become ill? From a neutral, external point of view, we could criticize the shortcomings in others and hastily persuade them to adopt a better lifestyle. If need be, should we pay for a yoga course for someone who is ill or send them on holiday to a spa? Or should we at least pressurise them to go to the doctor, and make them an appointment as soon as possible? Or, if we are opposed to the medical system, we could say, as the late anthroposophical author and doctor Otto Wolf provocatively suggested: “If you get ill, beware of hospitals and doctors and embark on the path of self-analysis.” The action and measures that apply for our own personal health must not necessarily be right for others. The advice is usually counter-productive and can generate antipathy in the patient.
In any case, there are endless tips, books, videos and information for dealing practically with matters of health, and, someone who is ill – this is a situation that is not uncommon – could potentially pass on mountains of advice, without even being a doctor. Yet most people today are helpless in the face of a health issue and, when concrete, well-founded and clear measures are needed, they are neither easy to find nor easy to follow.
To form an understanding of health, both for ourselves and for others, and to approach it constructively, the very commonly used word “holistic” must be considered more closely. A holistic approach does not necessarily mean complementary medicine, and it is certainly not a quick assessment of the human being in three components, namely body, soul and spirit. The word “holistic” means that individuals can address the question of “self”, of their social position in relation to others and ultimately in relation to a comprehensive picture of real, greater health. Health and development on a soul, spiritual and physical level belong closely together. But what does real spiritual development mean? Does it happen through positive thinking and avoiding pessimism? No, it is certainly not just a form of positivity about life. Progress in the sense of actual, well-chosen spiritual development, as far as this term can be used without a precise definition, always has a beneficial effect on physical health. For example, when a person gets rid of a malevolent quality in himself and replaces it through a more conscious, progressive virtue or courageous moral action, or even through appropriate wisdom, then spiritually he develops further. In contrast to this, regression, which occurs in a soul and spiritual respect and which shows up mainly in moral deficits, discouragement and all kinds of moral weakness, deprives people of their life forces and hampers their position in an intact and joyful relationship. In any case, soul and spiritual development and physical health belong together in the closest of connections.
Wrong meditation and careless esoteric practice can damage health
My many years of work in naturopathy and giving guidance on health issues, psychotherapeutic interventions and support for people going through critical physical and spiritual development processes, give rise to some clear indications of how on the one hand great successes in healing can occur and on the other hand with faulty interpretations health is impaired:
The biggest mistake that is made today in respect of the sick, on the part of yoga, or also by people meditating, is that their consideration does not contain an adequate relationship in a concrete form, either to the circumstances of being ill or to the circumstances of the necessary development. If we want to act in a way that promotes health, we need to have a good mental picture of healthy development and unhealthy, disease-causing behaviours. Many people meditating think that the sick person will soon be able to get up, will feel better and be able to happily go about their daily activities, or they express the wish that good angelic forces should come for the sick person, which will carry them through the difficult days and bring them a nice life again that is not only healthy but also happy. Still others pray to God and create a peculiar, subjectively biased form of unreality. In any case, the illusions that tend to prevail in the field of meditation, prayer and positively chosen affirmations are very diverse and neglect to deal in a concrete way either with the illness or with the patient’s situation.1) A typical affirmation is found in autogenic training, for example, when the trainee speaks the words or mentally imagines: “I feel better and better every day. I am flooded with life forces”. Above all, what lacks is a conscious and to some extent logical exploration of the pending question of development.
So that practical activity can take place to support other people who are ill, the first measure must therefore be to eliminate all illusionary concepts of God, all passive supplications, which are always made without having looked properly, and all intellectual or emotional affirmations. For example, people who are ill come and say that they have already been to a medium and that the medium has explained the karmic causes of the illness, but the karma seems to be so great – so these people who are caught up in these esoteric appropriations sometimes assure me – that any rescue cannot yet be envisaged. In any case, mediums do not see the person and their real background that is present in a concrete way, because they live in the illusions of their own subjective reality.2) Although qualitatively there are very different mediumistic messages, mediums usually receive messages from a mostly very bound astral sphere in the form of voices or transmissions, which they then convey to the client. Mediums have not worked out the content themselves, but merely receive it in order to then pass it on. Therefore mediums do not have a well-founded competence in the subject matter. There is no relationship, no concrete research into the circumstances, no developed consciousness of the subject-matter and thus no principle of creating a self. How should real, objective and valid views of health and illness arise from a medium? Without conscious and clear-seeing perception, the horizon of health is never touched. For this reason, any health advice that has been transmitted through channelling ought to be eliminated. It creates illusions and hopeless cycles in which no healthy standpoint for thinking, feeling and wanting can develop. The individual who is ill needs a healthy, logical and thus concrete orientation of consciousness.
A second concrete step that the individual can develop in regard to health is to examine the illness, and to do this not in a fearful but in a direct and descriptive way. Thus it is detrimental if people have a cold and conclude that something has got up their nose. Rather, we must become aware that with flu or colds, for example, there are inflammatory reactions that have corresponding causes, and attack the body. How do the symptoms appear? When and in what form do they occur? Just by looking at their relative with a clear idea and clear perception, observers develop an ordered picture of the reactions that occur in the person lying there and becomes aware of whether they are dealing with conditions that are more serious or less serious. Before practising meditation and prayer, they enter into an orderly and deep relationship with their sick counterpart. If people had carried out this concrete observation more during the corona period, and if they had not instantly let themselves be carried away by all the fears, they would have been able to strengthen others in a more positive way. Those who look in this concrete and conceivable way at the situation of being ill, and also at the potential for development, will discover over time that, for example, a cold does not occur through getting too cold, but that in human relationships disharmony, disorder and perhaps harmful influences prevail. Or they will be more likely to notice in the case of obesity that relationship problems and not just the food are the cause of the condition. Basically, this exploration of the picture of the disease, its appearance and its specific symptoms leads to a better perception of the person. A first relationship develops that gives some clues as to the real circumstances.
Those who train themselves in this way to form concrete mental pictures of illnesses and choose increasingly to familiarise themselves in the best possible way with the question of development, radiate strength to their fellow human beings. In the esoteric field, people often speak of so-called “good energies” and many people send around their energies. Do they really perceive their fellow human beings? Do they feel and touch the situation of their loved one’s illness? No good energies can be sent out without a concrete and conscious examination of the individual situation of the other person. These illusions, which are so common today in esoteric or alternative circles, should not be indulged in for too long. With esoteric fantasies, we waste our time and even lose the potential relationship to our fellow human beings.
Another observation when looking at an illness situation is the milieu of the person concerned. Sometimes an outsider can see that when a person in the area is particularly full of exaggerated vitality, another person in the immediate vicinity must become ill. For example, a group of people are on a mountain, caught up in emotion celebrating their unique freedom from the illusions of everyday life. An outsider, unable to cope with these group feelings, suddenly collapses in exhaustion and has an epileptic fit. For someone who comes into this kind of mountain group, it is easy to see how harmful structures affect a third party. The group that was celebrating didn’t even miss their sick companion hours later. Illness is usually not just a purely personal, individual matter.
There are also symbioses in circles of friends or between adults and children, which contribute significantly to a displacement of health. While some people lose strength, others, through wrong attachment, gain a particular vitality, which, however, is not good but brings imbalance. For example, two sisters run a hotel. One of the two gets certain days off as sick leave. However, she is not really ill, she in only profiting from the illness. The other sister has to run the entire hotel on her own and falls into a desperate state of exhaustion, which eventually plunges her into serious illness. The personal auras are also striking. The sister who is on sick leave, who is not really ill, seems very withdrawn and is looking for pleasure but not really for contact, while the one responsible for the hotel demonstrates astonishing empathy despite strong adverse influences.
For this reason, people who are ill are often much more responsive and natural, empathetic and relate better, while others, who set in place strong attachments, are strangely self-preoccupied with growing antipathy or unpleasant emotionality.
Finally, consideration should be given to the necessary questions of development. Many people affected by illness lack any vision for further, future prospects. Depending on the degree of the illness, there may on the one hand be long-term deficits, deficits that are reflected in certain weaknesses, dependencies or unsound behaviours, or there may on the other hand only be temporary disturbances, as is often the case with infections and the coronavirus. The question of development, however, is a very difficult one because it requires careful consideration. Someone who wants to judge it must carry our good studies of spiritual science, of philosophy, and make wise observations. Development cannot lie solely in suggesting a change of career. For example, if someone were to only change their external professional field because they did not feel satisfied with their job, the question would still remain as to how an inner, further development of the soul could occur. But the question of the inner life is profound and requires wise research.
In a spiritual training, the value is not placed on external changes. Rather, to a growing degree, new thought perspectives arise through the study of spiritual content, through the exploration of various exercises for the soul, and through carefully selected philosophical study of the human being. Regardless of whether someone feels ill or healthy, they can slowly acquire a concept for soul-spiritual development. Is it not an outstandingly advanced achievement when, through spiritual study, someone learns the precise difference between attachment and real relationship, and then masterfully directs their life according to that insightful knowledge? However, exploration of the questions of development does not happen through merely turning to religion, but through concrete engagement with the content of spiritual texts, of exercises and above all of questions about the meaning of being human. It would be too easy if someone were to say, “I met the wrong person and this ruined my life”. Where is the development if we declare others to be bad and stylize ourselves as the good victim? Behaving like a victim can be very damaging and can stop development. What steps lie before us? Why are various traumas sometimes repeated? The question of development actually deals with the need to shape the future, to avoid blind ways of acting, to establish ordered and objective mental pictures and to gradually ascertain the spiritual questions of meaning. If the question of development is answered positively as part of the question of life, this radiates onto the body in the best way.
Learning to perceive and promote the health of fellow human beings will become a very important task for the general public in the future.3) Photo: Protarion Wikimediecommons
|⇑1||A typical affirmation is found in autogenic training, for example, when the trainee speaks the words or mentally imagines: “I feel better and better every day. I am flooded with life forces”.|
|⇑2||Although qualitatively there are very different mediumistic messages, mediums usually receive messages from a mostly very bound astral sphere in the form of voices or transmissions, which they then convey to the client. Mediums have not worked out the content themselves, but merely receive it in order to then pass it on. Therefore mediums do not have a well-founded competence in the subject matter. There is no relationship, no concrete research into the circumstances, no developed consciousness of the subject-matter and thus no principle of creating a self.|
|⇑3||Photo: Protarion Wikimediecommons|