In the information age I am often confronted by a lack of information and awareness in the general public about certain issues – particularly when it comes to health. For most people our quest in life is similar, though our paths are different. The pursuit of happiness – is that not what we all want?
What we are as human beings is a question for philosophers across the ages in history. What is clear is that we have a physical body, we have a mind, and we feel. We may develop complex hypotheses and theories on the interplay of these three core aspects of being (I won’t say “human being” here as we share these to greater and lesser extents with other animals) and the question of soul, and we may agree or disagree. The mistake I think we make is when we conceptualise these as components of being rather than as one and complete.
The reason I make this point is that in the pursuit of happiness – the quest we are all embarking on – we must begin with that which nourishes us as one and complete. We have to start with our health. I can’t imagine any type of lifestyle – from the excessively wealthy partier to a remote Tibetan monk – that can be truly happy and truly fulfilled without good health.
Health is the ground work, the soil for everything. How can one think healthy thoughts without having the foundations and presence of the right molecules – hormones, neurotransmitters, and nutrients to sustain those healthy thoughts? How can you have the ability to feel happy and feel wealthy if you do not have the physical ability to manufacture the right molecules and enzymes needed to create and sustain those emotions?
Working yourself to exhaustion in a well-paying unsatisfying job will not bring you happiness. How can it? Money gets you stuff. That’s it. Sure, life is easier with it, and there are people in the world who do need more of it, but happiness is more than stuff.
So often too our quests for health are misguided. We think we’ll be happier or healthier with a slimmer, or tighter, or firmer body. But the outward appearance of our bodies isn’t health. Nor is conforming to societal standards or what is the “right” way to look or be. If the goal is your outward appearance, it won’t bring you happiness.
The question we need to ask ourselves more is: what will make me healthier? This is the knowledge we need to seek, this is the information we need to acquire on our paths to happiness.