It is not just one thing that creates disease. And it is not one thing that can heal us.  It takes a holistic approach. Nature has tremendous regenerative and restorative energy. Many of you may know that if a lizard loses its tail, another tail will grow. If it loses its limb, another limb will grow. Likewise, many, many species have the capacity to rebuild. And we human beings are not in any way deficient in that. We too have that capacity. But in order to do that we have to do several things.

The first thing is to find out what caused the deficiency. We need to know what we did that took away our immunity and then stop doing those things. And the second thing we have to do is to remember the power of the mind in the healing process. Having a strong will to live and keeping hope alive are great remedies that you can’t get from any doctor. You have to develop a belief in the healing process and the inner conviction to never give up.

Let’s first take a look at some of the ways in which we lose our vitality. It can be something as simple as overeating, that can drain our vital energy. For example, look at the war years when food was scarce. During World War II in Italy, there was not much to eat. Everybody was healthy and almost all the hospital beds were empty. What does that mean? Even just by overeating we overstrain our system. Anything in excess takes away our strength.

So, first of all ask yourself, “What did I do to lose my energy and immunity?” Get back to a natural way of life. Everything we take into our system—from our food to our thoughts—should be clean, natural, and healthy. Immunity is easily lost through our wrong thinking. The major philosophy of homeopathy is based on this principle. Dr. Hahnemann who developed the homeopathy system said that this is the primary cause for all disease. When a person starts thinking negative thoughts, disturbing thoughts, he or she starts poisoning their system. Those poisons destroy our immunity and then give room for various problems to arise.

We find a very similar philosophy in Eastern thought. The Ayurvedic system teaches that you are what you eat and what you think. We are constantly stimulated by the outside environment, but how often do we check if something will disturb our system before we allow it in? I always speak about this in terms of “immigration control.” Every country has entry points with border controls and immigration officers. When you arrive into a foreign country you are required to pass through customs and immigration. You have to show the passport, visa, declare any items for customs, and tell the officers the reason for your visit.

What is the purpose behind border control? The government doesn’t want any undesirable elements to be brought into the country. Don’t we also have a border patrol at the gateways to our own country—our body and mind? The Hindu scriptures identify nine gateways of the human body. These include the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and so on. Let’s look at a few of these gateways and their border patrols. Suppose that you are walking through a fruit orchard and you feel hungry. You see an apple that has fallen on the ground and you pick it up to take a bite. But before doing so, won’t you first inspect it to see if there are any insects or rotten parts. So, the first inspectors are the eyes. If the apple passes that inspection, it comes closer to the mouth border. But first, it must pass through another check-point: the nose. You may smell the apple to see how it seems. If a foul smell is there the nose patrol may say, “No, no good. Throw it away. Apple, back to your own country.” But imagine that the apple passes that inspection. Where will it go next?  To the mouth patrol where there are several borders, including the lips and teeth. You take a small bite and taste and then the officers decide whether you should spit it out or swallow.

Still, we humans think we are very clever. We think we can cheat all the immigration people by artificially injecting our fruits, spraying them, waxing them, etc., so they look all beautiful. We try and cheat these inspectors but still the final authority is the one who takes it—the stomach. Even if things pass the inspection, it still can get deported at the stomach. So even if illegal immigrants go in, they may get thrown out.  But if we are very careful about what we put into our system we can avoid a lot of problems.

That is the reason why I say the most important thing you can do for your health is to maintain your immunity. Make your body strong. What are all the ways we lose our immunity? We lose it through our wrong habits: eating the wrong food, eating the wrong quantity, stress in the body, stress in the mind, and so on. This all weakens the system. A stressful condition in the body and mind weakens the system. And these cells are waiting for that weakness.  And when they see it coming they say, “This is the opportunity. We can go and devour.” The only way to fight back is to build up that immunity.

~ Sri Swami Satchidananda