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Are you sick?

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In western cultures, sickness has traditionally been defined as physical, medical or
mental. While western psychology and psychiatry have progressed quite a bit over the
years, there's still a long held impression in the medical community regarding the mindbody
Unfortunately, given what's going on and the trends in general society both in the
developed and developing world, traditional definitions of sickness are short sided and
all too limited. It doesn't do any good to define sickness in very narrow biochemical
As western medicine dug deeper and deeper into a biochemical germ based or pathogencentric
definition of medicine, a lot is lost in translation. While it has made big strides in
bridging the effect of psychology and overall stress on physical health, there's still a lot
to be desired.
The bottom line is that we can learn quite a bit from Hindu traditions or eastern
traditions that deal with the concept of sickness. In those traditions, sickness is defined
holistically. They're more likely to put a lot of stock on the concept of spiritual pollution,
emotional stress, interpersonal sickness and other factors that have a strong impact on
the human psyche and overall sense of well being.
These factors then manifest themselves in actual physical illness or substandard physical
performance. You may be perfectly “healthy” in biochemical terms. All your tests may
come out clean. But your doctor will still be stumped as to why you feel lousy all the
There are a lot of people who have all sorts of symptoms similar to lupus or auto
immune diseases. But when the blood chemistry tests come in, they should be getting a
clean health. Physically speaking, there's nothing wrong with them. But there they are,
suffering. Feeling like they are at their ropes end.
Ask yourself, “Am I sick?” There's nothing wrong with asking this question. There's no
shame involving this. Remember, the worst thing that you can do is to pretend that you
don't have a problem. How can you find the answer when you're fooling yourself into
thinking that there's no problem?