What is the relation between stress, addiction and disease?
The question still is why do we cause ourselves harm and we said there are three different kinds of disease – karmic, provoked by external factors and lastly conditions caused by inner conflict.
Let us look at inner conflict then.
Life does not present us with conflict, just challenges. These need to be addressed and the result may be of personal importance, but for Life itself, it is just another experience, regardless of the outcome.
A conflict is man-made, based on interpretation and the erroneous belief of having a choice, to resist, as opposed to simply accept and getting on with it. Conflict means a clash of fabricated stories, obscuring a simple reality, presented in this moment. Conflict causes stress, which is another word for resistance.
We all feel the consequences of the stress we are causing ourselves by harbouring this inner conflict between who we really are and who we think we ought to be. It starts early in childhood, when great expectations are conveyed, more or less explicit signals by the environment, that direct our future thinking and choices, if we want to or not. Expectations are our tribal marching orders, walking into this life. On top of expectations, there is the burning wish for approval of those around us, the members of our tribe, because belonging is important for survival. And then there are the strong and constrictive emotions of anger and fear. Anger is an ardent, dynamic emotion, associated with expectations in the future, while fear is a static, frozen emotion, rooted in the experiences of the past. The ego is born out of fear and it is driven by anger. Both antagonise the flow of life by being a constrictive and antagonistic force. Fear is the primary emotion and it is an important survival mechanism, like the formidable movement of anger, as long as it is directed towards real danger and not some imaginary issues threatening the ego.
It is paramount to understand fear, because without fear it is impossible to practice the spiritual path. It is crucial to experience anger, because anger can be used to overcome fear. It is critical to experience loss, because without letting go, we cannot experience transcendence. And that is the importance of understanding emotions, which all have a positive and a negative expression in our dualistic world. They are pointing us to the Truth and they are an impeccable guiding system.
So fear is at the bottom of all conflict and it is fear that is causing resistance. Fear is the primordial emotion that sets the fight-or flight mechanism of a stress reaction in motion. It is a highly complex response mechanism, cascading throughout the sympathetic nervous system, mediated by stress hormones, changing the metabolism and energy distribution, affecting all organs and functions of the body. Under normal circumstances a stress reaction ceases when the danger is over and allows the body — and the mind — to go back to a natural, relaxed state. However, in case of an ongoing inner conflict, stress hormones are flooding the system and, over time, are causing damage to tissues, organs and their function, as well as exhausting the energy reserves. And this is how the symptoms of a disease are manifested. Later they turn into a chronic condition with all the signs and symptoms of suffering, exhaustion and depression.
Chronic diseases are born out of fear, but it is sadness, anger and sorrow, that are determining the location and expression of specific symptoms. If you look at diabetes, it is a disease born out of a deep sorrow, even resentment for what might have been. It is born out of worrying oneself sick and thinking obsessively how to control a deeply rooted fear. It affects the energy creation of the digestive system first, but without addressing the underlying emotional and energetic issues, it will generalise and soon affect the heart and circulatory system, and in consequence all other organs of the body. Or take arthritis – this is a disease originally born out of fear, but manifested by rage and a overwhelming need to control. Arthritis is a disease fuelled by blame, in terms of ‘ just look what you have done to me’. Sadness is an interesting emotion as well, it is much deeper than anger and it sits at the core of all kind of allergies and autoimmune diseases. This is just to show, that any chronic disease can be traced back to a deeply rooted emotional conflict – a fact that modern medicine may accept in terms of etiology, but not as the causation. And herein lies the issue in the current treatment approach to a chronic disease.
So what we have been looking at now, is what is found at the root of all diseases – deeply seated emotional conflicts, causing energetic disturbances and resistance, a perpetual stress response with all the metabolic and functional consequences of a fight-or fight reaction.
The question now is, what is keeping these emotional conflicts alive, to a point of causing the body serious damage, pain and misery.