If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.
Years ago, I spent a month in a Sivananda Yoga Ashram in the Catskill mountains in Upstate New York. It was a time when I was looking for answers to the big questions in life.
At the time I didn’t find any great insights other than:
– I would never eat another piece of seitan (fake vegetarian meat made with gluten) if I could help it
– I would most likely never be able to stretch my body into a pretzel shape, which most of my co-yogis seemed to be doing so gracefully
– Getting up at 5am daily doesn’t agree with me
However, one lesson I learnt while hanging out with hardcore yogis was that bumper sticker quotes can shake you to the very core and resonate with your own deepest purpose.
I happened to misquote Gandhi (“be the change you want to be in the world”) and one of the resident yogis picked me up on this rookie mistake and put me right. The correct quote, which I reproduce above, had a profound effect on me. It has inspired me immensely through the years and continues to fuel my desire to help people be the best possible version of themselves they can be.
Let me explain.
The Western world is currently experiencing an epidemic of mental, digestive and metabolic health issues in both children and adults, not to mention the rise of autoimmunity, cancer and heart disease. The cost of running Medicare in Australia is forecast to double to $38 billion a year within the decade due to the escalating costs of an ageing and sick population.
In the last seven years in my clinic in Melbourne I have seen a profound worsening of chronic presentations, complex cases and severe behavioural issues in younger and younger children.
It is no coincidence that at the same time that the collective human health is deteriorating at an alarming speed suicide rates, mass shootings and aberrant behaviour in young people are at an all time high. We must take urgent action to prevent further tragedies.
I believe the answer lies in our body’s and mind’s unique ability to regain optimal health once the gut microbiome, epigenome (everything that isn’t you and has the potential to interact with your genes) and physical biochemistry have been rebalanced to interact in a mutually enhancing manner.
When we are healthy we are happier, kinder, smarter and braver. When we optimise our physical biochemistry, depression and anxiety lift and we become more confident, more optimistic and project a more positive attitude to the world. Once the internal suffering ceases we are then free to turn our attention to our true calling in life, whatever that may be.
I believe we’re all here to create, contribute, evolve and love.
Sure, physical suffering can always be overcome in those who are mentally resilient. After all, many people with severe disabilities or challenging diseases have achieved just that and made huge contributions to the world.
However both my personal and professional experience have shown me that a mental health imbalance is a much harder challenge to overcome in order to turn our attention to a loftier purpose.
When this happens, I feel there is such a waste of potential in that person’s life. What would that person be able to accomplish were they not in the throes of debilitating anxiety, depression and chronic mental exhaustion? And what could we achieve collectively as a species if everyone had clarity of thought, vigour of body and mental stamina?
I have seen so many of these imbalances resolve once that person’s biochemistry is rebalanced. When that happens a shift usually occurs. That person becomes restless and dissatisfied with the status quo and starts looking around for change. And that’s when growth happens.
I’m on a mission to spread this message to as many people as possible and to get the people in charge to understand that we don’t need bigger budgets to build more prisons and subsidized medications.
We need policies to educate the new generations as to what constitutes the foundation of health. We need more clever people who’ve already worked out that great benefits come from optimising one’s health spread the message to family, friends and neighbours.
We need to make healthy happen, so our thoughts and actions can become healthy; for a healthy community and a healthy planet.