We are gathered here to find ways and means to be healthy, holistically healthy. We don’t need to do anything to be healthy. By nature we are healthy. We were born healthy. We don’t need to be doing anything to bring in positive vibrations. Instead, we should know how to stay healthy.

The term for ill health is disease, whether it is physical, mental, social, or national disease. We were at ease, we did something to disturb the ease, and so we are diseased. We don’t need to do anything to be at ease but we should take care not to do anything to disturb that ease. Prevention is the most important thing to be noted here. So, probably it’s time for us to think of all the ways we disturb our ease of the body and ease of the mind, ease of the society, ease of everything. The first and foremost thing to be remembered is that we have forgotten that we are at ease.

That is the basic mistake; what Patanjali refers to as avidya or ignorance. We simply have forgotten that we are at ease and we look for ease from outside. We have forgotten that we are peaceful, we are easeful, we are happy, we are healthy by nature. When you forget that you have a lot of money in your own drawer, then you go out looking for a job to earn a few dollars. But the minute you know that you have plenty of money at home, you don’t run out for that sake. So, to know that we are healthy, then we are happy, that is what is meant by, “know thyself.” The scriptures proclaim that we are all the image of that Cosmic Essence.

God made everything in God’s own image. If that is so, what is the image of God? To be diseased? To be disturbed? No, it is by nature healthy, happy, all loving, peaceful, easeful. If we are of that image, if we are the product of that beautiful, positive image, how could we be otherwise? We could not be. But when we forget that we look for our peace and joy outside. Everybody thinks that, “Ahh, by getting this I can be happy. By acquiring that I can be happy. By getting into the limelight I can be happy.”

Are people happy by doing things and by having things? No. The more they do and have, the more they want. There’s no end. So, they keep on doing more, adding more, and then keep on adding more disturbance and suffering. Well, if we are by nature healthy and happy, how are we to realize it?

Theoretically we can read it but we still haven’t realized it. We have to see ourselves as healthy and happy. Seeing is believing. How to see ourselves as healthy and happy? How to see our true nature? To see ourselves means we should have some facility, something to reflect our true nature.

To see our face we need a mirror. We all have faces but have you ever seen your own face? How do you know that you have a face? You look into the mirror. What you see in the mirror is not your face. Instead, it is the reflection of your face. You are the seer and what you see in the mirror is the seen. The seer is always different from that is what is seen.

In the case of the physical face, you don’t get into these doubts about having a face or not. By seeing the reflection in the mirror you know that you have a face. In the same way, to know that you are healthy and happy by nature, produced by that Cosmic Force, Cosmic Consciousness, God, you should have some sort of reflector which would reflect your true nature.

Luckily, we all have been given that reflector. The Cosmic Consciousness or  Creator knew that sometimes you may have a little doubt about yourself so you should check yourself now and then. So He has given you a mirror to carry around, a pocket mirror. Now getting back to the analogy of the face and the physical mirror. How should the mirror be so that you can see your face in its true nature, in its true condition? It should not be covered with any dust. Can it be a little concave, convex, or a little wavy or crooked? No, if it is a little crooked, how would you see your face? Horrible!

Imagine as you are looking at your face in front of the mirror, something happens to the mirror and the mirror gets into a wave. You see a distorted face but do you run to the doctor? Luckily you know that something went wrong with the mirror and not with your face, so immediately you try to correct the mirror or change the mirror. But, it’s the mind that is the mirror of your true nature. How should that mind be, to make you see yourself clearly? It should be calm, clean, pure, uncovered, and uncolored. Then, you always see yourself beautifully. That means that you don’t need to do anything to make yourself healthy but you have to do a lot to see yourself healthy and happy. Here you see you are different from the mind. You are the soul.

If we keep this analogy in mind, most of our problem will be washed away. Keep the mind clean and your are cleaning the body. Disturb the mind, you have disturbed your body. What makes the mind disturbed? Thought has its own color. An angry thought would splash blood red color to your mind. A gloomy thought will splash a dark blue/black color. Every thought has its color and has its say over parts of the body, because the body is the outcome of the mind.

As you think, so you become. When people see your face, they see whether you are happy or not, whether you are frightened or not. That means the face is the mirror of the mind, while the mind is the mirror of the soul. So, by changing the mind, we can change the body. Invite only beautiful thoughts. The first commandment that God gave the very first man is a simple one. God created Adam and told him, “Adam, I just want you to be happy and healthy always, like me. And you can be. Only if you are careful and if you don’t run after the fruit.”

What is the significance of the fruit? God didn’t mean an apple or an orange. What God meant was: “You are like me. You are by nature healthy, happy, free from thirst, hunger, all emotions, ailments. You don’t need to eat the fruit to satisfy your hunger. Remember your true nature, and then you don’t need to go after something to experience the joy. Don’t run after the fruit.”

Another point is that the minute you go after the fruit, you are going to disturb your mind. What is the fruit here? The fruit of your very life, the fruit of your actions. Everything that we do brings a fruit, a result. And we constantly run after that. Even before we begin to work, we think of the fruit, is it not so? We constantly run after the fruit for ourselves, “I must get that, otherwise I won’t do it.” That’s what you call selfish action.

Our life is filled with selfishness. In every relationship we seem to have this selfishness. But what is cosmic love, love of God? It is one-way traffic. You know only to give, only to love. You don’t expect anything in return. And that is what is called dedication, sacrifice, renunciation of the fruit of your action. Look at the entire nature, how it is giving, only giving, not expecting any thanks from us. So, think only of giving and loving.

Let our first and foremost duty be to find that health within every one of us. That means to stay away from anything that would disturb your health. The simplest and the best remedy is this: develop the mind always with right thoughts, loving and selfless thoughts. Thank you and I wish you all perfect health, peace and joy.

~Sri Swami Satchidananda, from a talk given at the East/West Center for Holistic Health, New York City, June 5, 1977.