Radiant Health is Your Birthright
by Mark J Kaylor
“When the body and mind are attuned, they say that even if one is a hundred years old, the hair does not turn white, the teeth remain firm, the eyesight is clearer than ever before, and the skin acquires luster.” – Zen Master Hakuin
When one thinks of the word radiant, what descriptions come to mind? Shinning? Happiness? Glowing? Beaming? Are these words you normally associate with your health? With the hope that this doesn’t sound too much like a cheesy commercial, are you filled with vitality, joy, energy, mental vigor, or exuberant physical strength? Do you have that “joie de vivre” that some people seem to carry with them? Radiant Health is an energy that drives your whole existence, not just something that concerns your physical self. What I am proposing here is that we set our sights towards health, and not just any health, but Radiant Health (RH). This is, I believe, your birthright.
Where in all of today’s discussion on healthcare are the conversations about maximizing our health and vitality rather than just tending to our symptoms? The reality is that we really don’t have a healthcare system. What we do have is a disease management one. Maybe the solution lies in getting back to the roots of what authentic healing truly is. ‘Heal’, ‘whole’ and ‘holy’ are all derived from the same root word, evidence that our ancestors recognized these important connections and relationships. In ancient China the physician was actually rewarded if the patient was healthy, but not so, if they became sick.
Can you imagine the impact this would have on our current medical system? Can you imagine the impact this would have on your health? The RH way is not to cede ones health and healing, one’s power, to any medical “authority” but to assume primary responsibility for one’s own well being. Interestingly, studies done on people who have experienced so-called spontaneous remissions from terminal disease have found they have the common attributes of being less trusting of the medical structure and more autonomous.
“The aim of medicine is to prevent disease and prolong life, the ideal of medicine is to eliminate the need of a physician.” – William J. Mayo, M.D.
Radiant Health is “natural medicine,” in the truest sense, for balance is our natural state; imbalance and disease is not. On the Radiant Health path healing is focused on maximizing, optimizing and balancing the body, allowing it to be the healer, rather than the drug or physician, supporting the amazing body to do what it is designed to do. When disease or imbalance does appear the RH approach sees this as an opportunity, to heal, to correct imbalances, to learn, and to make the necessary changes in one’s life.
Our bodies have the incredible abilities to self-balance and self-heal themselves if given the tools they need: feed your body nutritiously, give it regular exercise, use your brain frequently, relax, play, and find what gives you joy and your life meaning. It is essential to treat and nourish the whole, when one thing is off balance it can send a chain-reaction to other areas of the body/mind/spirit, and, like a domino effect, create a cascading reaction throughout, usually breaking at a weak point.
Nothing runs at its optimal level without the proper fuel, and our body is no different (even though we keep pretending otherwise). When it comes to what to eat, simplicity is key and this one sentence sums it up: Eat a whole, natural, unprocessed nutrient-dense plant-based diet with lots of variety in the proper amounts. There, see how easy it can be, not lots of elaborate rules or complications. Remember, just because we can put it in our mouths, doesn’t mean we should. Radiant Health recognizes the amazing healing power of nature.
We sometimes do not realize how interconnected our physical form is. We are not a mass of unrelated systems, in fact, just the opposite. Our human body is much more complicated and does not operate as cleanly as the medical texts would have us believe. We are not like a car, which comes with an owner’s manual that goes with each make and model. We are all unique and though we have the same internal organs, tissues and fluids, we all react to life and stresses differently.
While you can talk about RH in generalities, the big catch is that your path is unique to you, dependent upon many variables, including genetics, personal history, constitution, past and current health, outlook to name but a few. At its roots, Radiant Health entails assuming responsibility for the discovery and putting into practice what brings you balance, harmony and vitality – radiance. This will require listening, examining and understanding your body. Like most everything it takes practice, trial and error, effort and persistence.
“A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illness.” – Hippocrates
We Have Allies
Nature has made available to us several powerful botanical tonics that can assist us in our pursuit of Radiant Health. Two mushrooms long-used in traditional Chinese Medicine with special RH wisdom are Reishi and Cordyceps. I call Reishi the “tonic for the 21st century” but with it’s long and storied history it may be more appropriate to call it the “tonic for the last 2 millennium.” Reishi nourishes and balances the brain, nerves, lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, Shen (heart/mind) and immune system. Now tell me, who among us, couldn’t use some of this? Once reserved for Imperial use only, Cordyceps is a revitalizing tonic, particularly strengthening to the kidneys (the ‘root of life” in Chinese Medicine), lungs and heart. Originally discovered by Yak farmers high in the Himalayas, Cordyceps quickly, and rightfully, developed a reputation as a longevity promoter.
From India come two Ayurvedic (‘science of life’) RH allies, Ashwagandha and an herbal blend called Chyawanprash that is prepared in a honey or sugar base. As with virtually all tonics, Ashwagandha defies the linear Western perspective by being a relaxing energizer. Used traditionally to strengthen the nerves and brain, helping mental clarity, prolonging life and enhancing vigor, Chyawanprash has stood the test of time and science. It creates harmonious synergy within the body, improves metabolism, strengthens digestion, absorption and assimilation and encourages youthfulness and vigor.
And not to be forgotten, the best known tonic, Korean or Chinese Ginseng, also called Panax, for panacea. The transliteration of the Chinese name for Ginseng is ‘the essence of the earth in the form of a man.’ The most energizing of the tonics, Ginseng is thought to prolong life, calm, strengthen and enlighten the mind, open the heart, build Qi (lifeforce) and help with recovery and rebuilding making it an RH herb supreme.
One tip to ease your steps on your path to Radiant Health is patience. Your joints didn’t stiffen in a day, your arteries didn’t clog in a day, or even a week or a month, it all took time and effort on your part, so give it time and effort to correct. Focus on the positive efforts/steps you are taking, embracing the positive. Focusing on the negatives is the wrong energy in the wrong direction and will make the process seem like a chore. You are much more likely to stick with it if your gaze is towards the positive.
We are often under the misguided understanding that ‘we get sick’ when in reality 99 times out of 100; it is more ‘we are getting sick.’ We don’t just come down with a disease, we weaken and imbalance and malnourish the body over years and years, to a point where it can no longer function properly. Radiant Health is about moving beyond, not just about what supplements, herbs, diets or lifestyle changes are needed. It is about a path, a process of attaining health and radiance at its highest levels. It is about avoidance of disease while also going beyond prevention to a place where you realize and maximize your health and vitality.
If disorder and imbalance reign anywhere in your body’s systems, organs, or cells, in your mind or spirit, then you – your health, is heading in that same direction. Please don’t wait for things to start breaking down, now is the time to lay your foundation for your own Radiant Health. And it goes much deeper. Stephen Levine wrote: “When we remember that we are the path and that we must tread it ourselves – lightly, mercifully, and consciously – then the healing that goes beyond “healing” becomes our birthright, and we truly discover ourselves.”
The bottom line is that the choice is yours, you can ignore or mistreat your body, taking your health for granted, or you can decide that you deserve better. My hope is that this article may start or encourage you on your path to attaining Radiant Health. You deserve it.