The relationship between mental problems and mental and physical ailments need not be dealt with in great detail here, for most people fully accept that almost all illnesses are a result of some kind of mental disturbance. We merely want to emphasize this point.
The mind, on a personal level, is in a continual state of activity at all stratas. Ideally these processes should occur spontaneously and naturally, without the slightest hindrance. In the mind of most people, however, there is psychological constipation and indigestion, caused by mental frustrations. This results in the growth of psychological tumours in the mind. If these tumours, blocks, frustrations and mental problems are sufficiently intense they can result in psychosomatic illnesses and/ or mental illnesses or breakdowns. If the mental problems are milder, but nevertheless present, they will manifest in the form of unhappiness and depression; in fact general discontent with one's relationship with life and other people.
It is widely accepted that there are many illnesses which manifest physically, but which have psychological causes. In modern language these are called psychosomatic diseases. Under this heading are included more obvious related diseases such as neuritis, but actually yoga believes that almost all diseases are caused by mental disturbances. Modern science is slowly coming around to the same conclusion by experiment. For example, the general treatment for cancer in recent times has been radioactive bombardment of the cancerous area. Yet at a symposium held at Stanford University in U.S.A. in 1972, a radiologist had a far reaching conclusion to convey to medical science. His revelation caused a stir at the meeting. He said that he had been using radiology for many years in the treatment of cancer patients. Because of the widespread occurrence of cancer, thousands of patients besieged him seeking a cure. He of course could not treat them all at the same time and so he was forced to make many of them wait for treatment, often for several weeks. Some of the people were suffering great pain. The usual method of combating this pain is administration of drugs. To reduce this dependence on drugs, the radiologist recommended that the patients relieve their pain by practising relaxation and meditational techniques. To his great surprise many of these people showed marked improvement in their state of health. His conclusion, which he presented to the members of the symposium, was obvious: the cause of cancer lies in the mind, nowhere else. We would also like to add one point: many people claim that the cause of cancer, the only cause, is cigarette smoking. Figures and statistics are presented which clearly show and prove that the incidence of cancer is greater with smokers than with non-smokers. This may be true, but they miss one important factor; namely, that people who smoke are generally those who are very tense. We are not saying that this is the reason why they smoke, but that those who smoke have a tendency to be more tension-ridden. Therefore, we feel that the cause of cancer is not the smoking, but mental tension. Smoking may have some bearing no doubt, but it is a side issue.
It is a similar case with diabetes. Many people attribute its cause to the malfunctioning of the pancreas and perhaps the pituitary gland. No doubt this is the obvious cause of the lack of insulin. But what is the reason for the malfunction in the first place? From contact with large numbers of diabetics in the ashram, we feel that the original cause definitely lies in the mind. Mental disturbance and continual stress interfere with the harmonious working of the physical organs causing them to break down. We know many cases of diabetics who have learned to relax more in life, through yoga practices, and their diabetes has completely disappeared or at least been reduced.
We could talk about numerous other illnesses, epilepsy, heart problems and ulcers, in the same way, but this is not the purpose of this discussion. We merely want to draw your attention to the importance that the mind has on health and lack of health. With removal of mental problems, incredible changes take place in the body and state of health. Many miraculous cures of all types of so-called incurable diseases can be obtained by relaxing the deeper realms of the subconscious mind, by throwing out or coming to terms with one's inner problems. This has been proved over and over again - psychosomatic diseases miraculously disappear.
Incidentally, this also applies to more general illnesses such as common colds, which seem to be caused by germs and nothing else. Well this may be true, we are not disputing this argument. But at the same time, each person has inherent powers to resist the occurrence of disease. The body under normal conditions has powerful autotherapeutic and protective powers to resist disease. Mental problems seriously interfere with this innate property of the physical body and reduce its effectiveness in fighting or preventing the occurrences of illnesses. A clean mind allows the physical body to perform its duties unimpeded. For this reason, the more you remove your problems, the less vulnerable you will be to the onset of disease. This is proved by the fact that people who have a calm and relaxed attitude to life suffer illness of any type much less frequently than other more tension-ridden people.
So emptying your mind of its negative contents will have far reaching consequences on your health. If you are now reasonably healthy, then you will become super healthy. You will start to radiate health. If you now suffer from any kind of disease, especially the more serious ones such as heart problems, cancer, etc., we strongly advise you to start cleaning your mind and learning to relax. Start to practise yoga, for this is the way to cure, in a real sense, your disease and relieve your suffering. Other methods are more than likely to be superficial.
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Do you treat your body as your soul's best champion or as a monster that plagues you? Is it a sanctuary or a grave? Your body is your avatar (the graphic that represents you) in the physical existence. It's the character you command, and you're the consciousness that commands it.