The Purpose of Suffering, Depression and Disease

By Blake D. Bauer //

The body’s suffering is a mask the mind holds up to hide what really suffers.  — A Course in Miracles

As a culture and as individuals we need to swing the pendulum of attention towards transforming our dysfunctional mental and emotional life if we want our body and outer world to reflect a healthy internal environment. But before we can take these steps we have to find the humility to open our mind, especially if our current approach is not getting us the results we want. We have to admit that we didn’t know better and acknowledge that maybe our views have been limiting or not very healthy for us. This is not about making ourselves wrong, thinking we are flawed or blaming ourselves. Rather it’s about recognizing the fact that we inherited some very self- destructive habits and beliefs from people who were doing their best, with what they knew, at the time. And now, our body, life and world is screaming out for us to finally heal our heart and mind.

For me, traditional Chinese medicine offers one of the most practical and logical insights into how our thoughts and emotions can lead either to health and happiness or to depression and disease. From this worldview the causes of physical and mental illness directly correlate to the flow of energy and blood in the body. In simple terms, when energy and blood are free-flowing daily we experience health, happiness and freedom from pain. But when they stagnate we will eventually encounter tiredness, depression, physical pain, weakened immunity and the toxic build-ups that cause serious disease.

This perspective asserts that blood in the body follows the flow of life-force energy. The best example of this is the energetic beat or pulse of the heart that causes blood to flow within our veins and carries our immune cells, hormones, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to all corners of the body. What is often overlooked in Western conventional medicine is the link between internalized thoughts and emotions that, coupled with fear and the resulting inaction, lead to a decrease first in the healthy flow of energy and blood, and then logically to the impaired function of the various systems throughout the body, such as the nervous, circulatory and digestive systems.

Consider for a moment that a 40-year-old person, who has on average been awake for 16 hours every day and thus slept for 8 hours each night, has been alive and awake for 840,960,000 moments or seconds. That’s 14,016,000 minutes of life experience in which this person has been feeling and thinking something directly connected to their deeper wounds, needs and desires. Objectively, much of this inner process is made up of unresolved emotions and confused thoughts, which constantly circle the mind and body and are rarely expressed or addressed in a way we’re at peace with. This unhealthy internal environment typically leads to unhealthy lifestyle choices or addictions, which only cause more health problems, weakened immunity and life challenges.

Both thought and emotion are subtle forms of atomic energy, which when repressed constantly over time cause internal stress, limited oxygen intake and imbalances in molecular and cellular processes. Such repression also causes the flow of life-force energy and blood to slow down and become severely blocked. Due primarily to the various manifestations of fear, insecurity and people-pleasing habits, most people don’t act based on instinct, intuition, self-care and what their heart truly communicates, which creates further disruptions to the healthy flow of energy and blood in the organs and circulatory system. Symptoms like anxiety, shallow breathing, chronic fatigue, lethargy, digestive disorders, depression, bipolar disorder and insomnia set in, and we, and often our doctors, are not quite sure what the underlying cause is.

Eventually, over days, weeks, months and years of this process guiding both our life and our behaviour, the blood and fluid in our bodies begin to coagulate to such a degree that nodules, masses, growths and tumours start to form. This then leads to toxins building up in the bloodstream, fat tissue, muscles and organs, resulting in chronic pain and disease. In simple terms, our body becomes at war with itself on a cellular level because we are at war with ourselves mentally and emotionally. The miraculous intelligence of the body produces physical symptoms to alert us to the tear between what we really feel, want and need, and the fears that stop us from taking good care of ourselves, speaking honestly and following our heart. Although we’re not aware of it, living a lie and constantly rejecting our true self is exhausting and eventually breaks us down physically and mentally.

From this viewpoint it’s easy to see how living a stressful life compounded by work that is unfulfilling, or staying in relationships where we are not true to our deeper emotions, can create significant internal pressure on our major organs and central nervous system. If we are constantly fighting ourselves in this way, and do not listen to the messages from our body, the inevitable result is our self-destruction. This does not account for excessive consumption of alcohol, food or drugs, whether recreational or prescription, which are habits motivated by a desire to numb deeper mental and emotional pain. Often this is a misguided quest for short- term relief that only makes our health concerns worse in the long run. These crutches for our broken heart mask our feelings of not being worthy of love and the burden of living in perpetual fear.

My view is that both genetic and acquired immune system problems all stem from this dynamic. If we are destructive in our thoughts, emotional life, behaviour and lifestyle habits, over time the decrease in blood and energy flow, as well as the build-up of toxins, lead to a weakened capacity to fight off infections from bacteria, parasites and viruses. Similarly, a toxic or parasitic mental and emotional life leads us to allow toxic and parasitic people to remain in our lives, which directly correlates to an increased susceptibility to all forms of pathogens and environmental toxins that will further eat away at our health, happiness and peace when we allow it.

Most people understand that eating natural whole foods and adopting a healthy lifestyle will support wellbeing and prevent illness. What most don’t know, though, is that complete honesty, vulnerability and love for oneself in every situation is just as vital to our long-term mental and physical health. We are so used to hiding our true feelings in order to survive, keep the peace and protect ourselves from judgement, criticism, aggression and rejection that we remain unaware we’re relating to ourselves in such a harmful way, or allowing others to take advantage of us, until of course we are forced to figure out why we’ve become so depressed or ill.

Deep down we all know there has to be more to life than suffering. But no one can save, heal or free us besides ourselves. This is precisely why the purpose of mental, emotional and physical symptoms is to show us where and how we’re not caring for ourselves well enough to thrive and flourish fully before we die. Once we understand the simple but profound truth that all suffering is the result of a constant rejection of the true self – a self that we never learned how to love, accept, value and care for properly – we can begin transforming whatever struggles we’re faced with and find deeper peace and health immediately.

Depression and disease is our body’s practical and logical way of alerting us to the life-or-death importance of giving ourselves permission to be fully who we are now. I have witnessed countless people stop being victims to their fearful and insecure thoughts, which empowered them to transform their suffering into a better quality of life. Once they wholeheartedly committed to speaking and acting in a way that valued their deeper feelings, needs and life purpose in every situation as the priority, even when scared, they were able to heal and forgive their past, and finally stop hurting and betraying themselves in the present.

The key, then, to the breakthrough is to stop running from yourself. Most of us today are moving through life so fast that we’re lost in a momentum of distraction, going from one person or place to the next, without ever slowing down. But if you can choose to create some space to be alone and stay open to yourself you can finally welcome your inner truths and feel deeply again. Then you can get clear about what you actually want in life, what feels good to you, and what makes you feel alive and well. I’ve found that when we focus primarily on these things daily, even when criticized for doing so, we support the healthy flow of energy, blood and emotion in the body and we naturally move away from any person, situation or habit that is no longer healthy for us.

Until we open our mind to our inherent capacity to heal ourselves and thus take our life, health and happiness back into our own hands, there will always remain aspects of ourselves that are closed and thus will not heal. It doesn’t matter how many doctors we visit or how great a practitioner might be. The walls of the ego and the small separate self must come down, which can only happen through bringing our own loving attention and acceptance to all the parts of us we’ve rejected and hidden over the years. Regardless of how hard life has been to date, I’ve found that it’s only through taking one hundred per cent responsibility for the depression, disease and worldly struggles we’re experiencing that we can finally see the purpose this suffering has served in bringing us home to our true self and to the source of strength and peace within. Blaming anyone or anything external only wastes the time and energy we need to heal and free ourselves now. If we choose pride or stubbornness over honest vulnerability, our denial will only keep us trapped.

Except from international bestselling book You Were Not Born To Suffer

About the Author

Blake D. Bauer is the author of the international bestselling book You Were Not Born To Suffer. He is a sought after wisdom teacher with an extensive background in psychology, alternative medicine, nutrition, traditional healing, mindfulness meditation, and qi gong. Based on both his personal experience overcoming deep suffering, addiction, and adversity, as well as his professional success with over 100,000 people worldwide, his pioneering work integrates what he’s found to be the most effective approaches to optimal mental, emotional and physical health.

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