Despite the fact that most in our human population today are fatter and sicker than ever in recorded human history, many people feel that we are doing better than ever in our technological and medical advances. In many discussions centered on health and longevity it is all too common to hear arguments that our extended lifespan today is a sign of how well we are doing where health matters are concerned.
For many people in our society, a sign of healthy progress is having more drugs available to treat every possible condition and medical machines to scan, slice and probe us like some biological specimens. Many see nothing wrong with most people being on some form of medication today, just as long as they are kept alive.
However as new studies emerge, they have more researchers acknowledging the elephant in the room. In December 2012 Reuters published an article entitled A Sick World: We Live Longer, With More Pain and Illness. In it they share the following quote:
The world has made huge progress fighting killer infectious diseases, but as a result we now lead longer and sicker lives, with health problems that cause us years of pain, disability and mental distress.
And this is exactly where we stand today as a human race. We live longer, but poorer quality lives. This sobering truth makes us consider some tough facts as to the quality of the life most live with, and the numerous costs involved with living longer, but sicker lives. To address these facts, let’s examine some of the root causes of why we are where we are today, and possible solutions that can pave the way to a more harmonious and worthy of being called advanced future for all.
A Study Shines Some Dimming Light
The article from Reuters mentioned above was written to reflect the results of a 5 year study that was just concluded by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at Washington University. The study was the largest systematic effort to quantify world health levels and trends, and involved more than 480 researchers from 302 institutions and 50 countries.The findings of The Global Burden of Disease study concluded the following:
- Countries face a wave of financial and social costs from rising numbers of people living with disease and injury
- Malnutrition has dropped down the rankings as a cause of death and illness, but the effects of excessive eating are taking its place
- Smoking and alcohol use have overtaken child hunger to become the second and third leading health risks, behind high blood pressure
- The major health problems now are diseases and conditions that don’t kill, but make us ill
And how is this for a sobering fact: the study shares that over three million deaths globally were attributable in 2010 to excess body weight, more than three times as many as malnutrition.
Chronic diseases today are our number one debilitating agents and killers. According to the research, in 2010 about 12.9 million deaths were due to stroke and heart disease, conditions amplified by eating and drinking too much, smoking and getting too little exercise. An additional 8 million were from cancer, which today research is showing is 70-90% diet and lifestyle related.
More Progress, Less Health
Does the above sound like the signs of a technologically advanced society, or one that should be proud of its advances and progress? To me a thriving population is made up of people who are healthy in mind, body and spirit. Sure there can be some rare problems, but today being in perfect health is what is rare. When we look outside our doors today, we see anything but a thriving population. We see bodies that are overweight, abused and neglected. We see debilitating states of aging and disease. We see widespread depression, anxiety and mental disorders. Most cannot get through the day without consuming some external stimulants because energy levels are so poor. We have a population that cannot think straight and is literally numb to life.
The irony is that indeed we have more food, more supplements, more pharmaceuticals and medical care than ever, and yet we are sicker than ever. When we look at nature and all animals, as long as there is no human interference (which is becoming rarer today) they are thriving and not exhibiting any of our chronic, or even acute conditions. Yet for us as another animal in the Animal Kingdom, it appears we forgot how to live. We forgot what is meant by health, or happiness, and what our purpose here is. In light of this I do not see a world that is progressing for the better, but one that is scraping by and selling a worst case scenario as something positive. We can do so much better. We have such amazing potential, and yet we cannot see it, and are failing to live it.
How did we get to this point you may be wondering. When and where did things start to go so downhill? We are living on a beautiful planet, and do have some amazing technology. There is truly no reason why in this day and age, given everything we know, we should not be thriving. But as it seems, bad habits die hard, and despite the fact that we are living amidst the information age, most in our society still choose to keep their ears and eyes shut, neglecting the overwhelming amount of solid information we have to turn our ways around and thrive in a healthy state where our bodies and the planet are concerned.
Most of the problems we face today can be traced back to the 20th century. The factory and chemically driven agriculture, the inventions of processed and fast food, the heavy promotion of animal food, the numbing way of life focused on external sources of happiness, and a society that values doing, instead of being. Sure, we can point fingers, but as I will share below, that only keep us spinning our wheels in the mud and going nowhere. What is done is done. We all in one way or another bought into the conditioning of the last century that may have had the right ideas, but perhaps did not foresee how disastrously the consequences would play out. Today the consequences are undeniable, and it is time to do something about it.
Solutions for Real Longevity
So what is the solution to the dilemma we find ourselves in? Well for starters it is not waiting for, or complaining about our governments or organizations to initiate a change. This has to come from us because at the end of the day, while large governing bodies have a huge influence in how life in society plays out, we are the ones who always hold the choice of what is right for us at any given time. The organizations are not putting unhealthy food in your mouth. You are choosing to do that. They are also not putting drugs into your system. You are choosing to allow that to take place by not seeking alternative solutions (of which multitudes exist today).
As long as we put blame outside of ourselves, we remain weak and powerless victims. But we are so much more than that. We just don’t realize (yet) how powerful we really are. At the end of the day it all comes down to you. This isn’t meant to be frightening, but empowering for you to finally take action that matters. One thing that I encourage people to do is have their “enough moment”. Sometimes it takes undesirable circumstances to make us fed up, and sometimes we just awaken to walk out of the fog and say “enough”. Until we have our personal moment of enough we usually are not motivated in today’s loud and lucrative world to change. Just look at how many people we hear about who are going in for heart surgery and having a fast food meal on their way to the hospital. So each of us will have our own unique time at which comes our moment of enough, and when it comes it brings with it powerful transformation.
In those moments all excuses that made so much sense up to this time seem to vanish and fade, and our eyes begin to see clearly for the first time. We begin to connect the dots between our choices and the consequences we are creating. We come into awareness that our life is created by us truly, and instantly begin to make different decisions.
Our solutions are not on television, or in any book, or teacher. Sure there is some great material out there, and great people who can inspire us, but ultimately everything we need to choose a new path is within. Again if we just look at nature, we see the clarity with which each animal lives. There is no confusion, no “not knowing”. No one should have to tell you that you are working too hard for material stuff that holds no inherent value, or because you are trying so hard to fit in with the status quo. No one needs to tell you that you are eating unhealthy. You know, and more importantly you know what you need to feed yourself with—real, whole food. No one needs to tell you that you should be making your own food. You know when you are lazy and unmotivated because other societal distractions are luring you in their direction.
No matter who you are and how you look at things, it all comes down to you. Every moment that you choose to ignore the bigger issues that are lurking around in your mind, you create your own suffering. It may seem tough to face these things, but trust me that it is much tougher in the long run not to. We need to stop pushing away and suppressing what is begging for our attention with mind numbing entertainment, toxic drinks and nutrient deficient foods. The quality of the food and water you consume is directly related to the quality of your physical body. Don’t like what you see? Change your ways. You will see your body start to reflect your new choices almost immediately. In the same way we must take the quality of our mental and emotional well-being seriously. You cannot watch mind numbing, violence and drama depicting programming and expect to be a happy person who has a calm, sharp, and focused mind. It just doesn’t work that way. The quality of your relationships, level of inner peace and joy all reflect the state of your mind. Don’t like what you see? Change your ways. We have more than enough resources to support each and every one of us on our journey today to make better choices for the state of our overall health and happiness. But you have to take action, not just think about it, and ponder what could or should be. The Universe will always support you when you move towards love and positive evolution, but it is you who always has to take the first step.
A Path to Optimal Longevity
So in the end, we must understand that our choice does not come down to choosing between a short, healthy lifespan, or a long, unhealthy lifespan. The choice is also not between accepting or rejecting the modern medical system. There are many better choices in between that we have to choose from. One of the most obvious is choosing to have a long life span in excellent physical, mental and emotional health. For many people this idea is not yet conceivable, but for many more it is becoming not only a theory, but a living reality, and how life was meant to be.
As we awaken and grow in conscious awareness, we are starting to realize that we are fully responsible for the state of our health at any given time. It is not something given or taken away on some passing whim. But we need to come to that awareness ourselves. No one can force it upon you. To get there, yes we will have to ask ourselves some tough questions, consider those things which we conveniently keep pushing away, and above all—STOP MAKING EXCUSES and blaming external forces.
Each one of us must take bold and conscious steps to re-assess our life, most importantly our lifestyles. For example, if you don’t have time to eat properly and feel like you must rely on fast or processed food, the solution is not to have the companies make healthier options, but to have you re-prioritize your life. As a society it is time to start maturing and finally grow up. We are not children anymore. We have had enough practice on this planet as a human race. It is time to make optimal nourishment of the body, as well as the mind and spirit a priority. It is time to value states of stillness, silence and being, rather than mindless running around, noise and doing. You have all the time in the world. The fact that many choose to spend it on things that hold no value where our health and happiness are concerned is a whole other story.
So step up to the plate, and choose to say yes to YOU, say yes to LIFE. Release what was, and whatever choices you made in the past. Forgive. Today you get to start fresh and start creating a life that is based on optimal health and longevity through all of your choices. It will be a unique and at times complex journey for each person, but a journey worth taking so that as your lifetime progresses, you are not looking at a future based on countless pharmaceuticals, medical procedures and disability. Rather, you are looking at a fit body, sharp mind and joyful spirit that enjoys all of its days of physical life, right up to the very last moment. The choice is always yours.