Stress: The Unwanted Invited Guest

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In my practice I find stress to be the number one cause of chronic pain and one of the most poorly treated diseases in Western medicine. I call stress a disease because it not only can literally kill you, but by creating hormonal imbalances it can alter your entire body chemistry. This can cause other diseases, possibly resulting in the use of other drugs, which may create even more stress.

Doctors should never forget that stress is a symptom. As I have said before, treating only a symptom is like treating a thorn in one’s foot. If you give drugs for the pain of the thorn, as modern medicine often does, and forget to remove the thorn from the foot, which is the cause of the pain, stress will return in the form of poor health, anxiety, depression, and a variety of other diseases. It is the clear responsibility of the professional treating the disease of stress to either address the underlying cause, or to refer the patient to someone qualified to do so.

One of the reasons that Western medicine and Western pharmaceutical science have failed in treating this disease is that they have departed from historical methods of treatment and ignored the importance of spirituality in the equation. Our ego is the cause of almost all stress. In addition, to achieve spiritual health, the ego must die! This is not just my opinion, but also the opinion of most spiritual leaders for thousands of years. Ego is a little brat that we create when we are children that causes us to defend ourselves and judge others rather than love them. It also makes us try to achieve unreasonable goals, based on what the ego decides is important.

With the guidance of Matthieu Ricard, the author of the book, Happiness, I have been attempting to destroy my ego for years, which requires continual effort. Matthieu exposes what he calls the veils of ego, whereby that little brat attempts to make us see through its veil and see only its way. This keeps us from appreciating all the wonderful beauty that is out there, including the beauty of people that one’s ego doesn’t like.
Shedding the control that my ego used to have over me was a big part of finding the true joy of life. A fabulous addition to this freedom came when I found a 2,500 year old prayer that I live by and also display in my office. It is entitled “Be Thankful.” The last verses of the prayer concludes:

“A LIFE OF RICH FULFILLMENT COMES TO THOSE WHO
ARE ALSO THANKFUL FOR THE SETBACKS.
GRATITUDE CAN TURN A NEGATIVE TO A POSITIVE.
FIND A WAY TO BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR TROUBLES AND THEY
BECOME YOUR BLESSINGS.”

When your health practitioner can get off the proverbial “Ivory Tower” and become a friend, sharing his/her spirit, not a prescription, true healing can occur.

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