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Healing Bodies….Empowering Lives

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The Cause of All Disease Part II – The “Mama Bear” Incident

The “Mama Bear” Incident

One day I was in the forest.  I walked along enjoying the beauty of nature around me.  Lost in the serenity of the moment, I haphazardly walked into a small opening in the woods where a mama bear was frolicking with her three cubs.   She saw me.  She was not happy to see me.  She reared up on her hind legs, flashed her sharp fangs and pointy claws in my direction, and roared  She began to run towards me.

This is a wonderful example of STRESS – a sudden change in my outer environment (an angry bear running towards me) that, if I don’t do something, will create a major change in my inner environment  (I would quickly become food for mama bear and her cubs).  In order to ensure my survival, my body and mind must express the seven attributes, or Response Abilities, of health, so that I may respond appropriately to this stress.

Step One: I just perceived a sudden change in my external environment – I see and hear the bear.  I passed the first test.

Step Two: I must adapt to this change.  There are certain conscious and unconscious changes that must occur in order for me to retain my current level of health. On an unconscious level, several things happen:  My adrenal glands start pumping adrenaline into my bloodstream giving me a sudden burst of energy.  My heartbeat begins to race and my blood pressure skyrockets increasing the supply of oxygen and other nutrients to my muscles and vital organs.  My digestive system turns off (possibly emptying in the process), for digestion takes a tremendous amount of energy, and at that moment I require the energy for other needs.  The pupils of my eyes dilate, or get bigger, so I can see more and see farther.  I start sweating and my mind starts to race and that’s where the one conscious decision comes in: Fight or Run Away!?.

I choose to run away.  The bear takes chase.  I climb quickly up a tree.  The bear shakes the tree with her mighty paws, her teeth glaring in the sunlight.  Unable to shake me loose, the mama bear soon loses interest and she and her cubs prance off into the sunset, leaving me trembling in the tree. I passed test two.  My body and mind adapted to the stress I perceived, and I survived, retaining my current state of health.

For the purpose of demonstration, let us pretend that I did not pass the next step – I do not Recover from the adaptation to the stress once the bear goes away.  Let us jump ahead twenty years into the future.  Picture me sitting at home, forty pounds overweight, sitting on the couch eating nachos and drinking a cold beer.  I am channel surfing with my eyes fixed on the television, my feet propped up on a table.  Can you picture it?  Sound familiar?  Sound like someone you know?

My adrenals are still releasing tremendous amounts of adrenaline (anxiety), for which I “treat” with valium at night and a cup of coffee in the morning.  My heart rate tends to be high, and my blood pressure is through the roof (hypertension), for which my doctor prescribed a medication to keep under control.  I wear glasses to correct my vision because since the “mama bear incident,” as it is now called, I still tend to be farsighted (myopic).  I have trouble eating heavy meals, because my digestion system has difficulty producing enough acid and enzymes to break it down (indigestion, irritable bowel, Crohn’s disease).  What happened here?  What happened was my body perceived a stress to which it appropriately adapted, but never recovered.

At this point, my body is still responding to a stress that happened twenty years ago!  My body and mind are still being chased by a bear, even though the incident is twenty years in my past. This is the cause of most disease.  (The remainder of which correspond to the loss of one or more of the other six attributes of health.)   My body lost its adequate Response Ability, therefore each stressful experience adds to my dis-ease and reduces my ability to respond appropriately to stress.  Whatever illness, disease, or condition you may “have”, if you look back at your life with honesty and open-mindedness, you will find some past physical, emotional, or chemical stress, or an accumulation of such stresses, that you have experienced, and either didn’t effectively adapt to, or you adapted to and never fully recovered from.
We will continue to explore the Cause of all Disease, the Seven Response Abilities and the “Mama Bear” incident in the next entry.

Adapted from an excerpt from the book, A Clear Path to Healing, by Dr. Barry S. Weinberg

With Love and Appreciation,

Dr Barry



The Cause of All Disease Part I

Thou sendest to man Thy messenger, the disease, which announces the approach of danger and bids him prepare to overcome them.”

– Maimonedes


When I ask the question, “What is the Cause of All Disease?”, I usually receive one of two answers: either “GERMS!” or “S T R E S S ! ! !”  When we look at our hectic American society, and all of its stress-related illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis, it is not difficult to understand why people would rationalize that stress was the causeand answer in this way.  When we witness the association between bacteria, viruses, and other germs, and disease and illness, it comes to reason that they are the cause…and answer in this way.

Everyday our newspapers and latest medical research studies report that stress and germs are the cause of most diseases in our world.  On a daily basis, we see countless advertisements on TV and in the paper about medications to fight germs and relieve stress.

With all this “evidence” before us, and all the research that documents it, it would appear that stress and germs are, in fact, the cause of all disease.  Yet, as we learned in chapters two and three, this is an illusion.  In truth, stress and germs are not the cause of all disease, but instead, the cause of all HealthIt is not the germ or stress that causes disease, but our body or mind’s inability to respond appropriately to it.

Placing germs within the broader concept of stress, let us define this thing called STRESS.  According to Webster, stress is a “physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental change.”     In other words, stress is any change in our outside environment that causes a change in our internal environment, whether this change be of a physical, emotional, or chemical nature.

For example,  imagine you are walking down the street.  As you step off the curb, your foot slips on a wet tile and your foot twists under your leg.  Because of how you turn your leg, and the current level of flexibility (or adaptability) of your leg, you strain a tendon in your ankle.  This is an example of a physical stress.  Now, did the stress cause the injury?  The answer is no.  Your inability to adapt appropriately to that specific movement caused the injury.  If your tendon was more flexible (or adaptable) and you were able to move more appropriately, the same slip would not have caused an injury.

Other examples of physical stress might be something traumatic like a football injury, an automobile collision, or a ski accident.  It may be something subtle like carrying your purse on the same shoulder every day or sitting in front of a computer for hours on end.

Now you may notice that all of these examples are of a somewhat “negative” nature, whereas the definition of stress makes no distinction of positive or negative.  A stress is any change in our outside environment that creates a change in our inside environment.  Therefore, other forms of physical stress might be a tickle or a hug.  It could be taking a warm bath or receiving a soothing massage.  These are also changes in the outside environment that can create profound changes on the inside.  These are all stresses.

Stresses are not always of a physical nature.  There are also chemical and emotional stresses.  Examples of chemical stress are food, water, smoke, toxins, vitamins, herbs, alcohol, sugar, medications, recreational drugs, germs, etc.  Many of these may be considered negative stresses, others as positive stresses.

Examples of emotional stress are divorce, hysterical comedy, bankruptcy, receiving a reward, family death, and getting married.  Again some may appear negative, some positive.

All these things, and anything else we may experience, are changes in the outside environment that create a change on the inside environment.  They are all stresses. There are no positive or negative stresses.  The effect these stresses have on our body and mind are not determined by the stress itself, but by our response toit.

Understanding this, do stresses and germs cause disease?  Of course not.  The cause of ALL disease is not stress, but our body and minds’ inability to perceive, adapt, or recover appropriately in response to the stress.  This is the cause of ALL disease.  Does the streptococcus bacteria cause strep throat?  No.  Our immune system’s inability to respond appropriately to the bacteria is the cause of strep throat.  If I took a strep culture of 100 individuals’ throats, all would have a positive finding of strep, yet most of them, if not all, would not have the disease.  Does smoking cause lung cancer?  No.  Our body’s inability to respond appropriately to the smoke causes lung cancer, or else all smokers would contract lung cancer.  Does stepping off a curb wrong cause a twisted ankle? No.  The body’s inability to respond appropriately to the situation is the cause of the twisted ankle.

So, what is the cause of all disease?  Not stress, but our body’s inability to respond appropriately to the stress.  In other words, a loss of our body or mind’s Response Ability.  As you may have realized, this entire book is based on this principle.  All health is the result of our body and mind’s remarkable abilities – Response Abilities – to experience the outside environment and respond to it through our personal expression.  The more efficient and effective we are at this, the healthier we are.

In the next entry, I’d like to tell a story that illustrates all seven Response Abilities, how they may be compromised, how their loss causes disease and illness and how they heal.  This story will demonstrate the presence of and the loss of the body and mind’s Response Ability.


An excerpt from the book, A Clear Path to Healing, by Dr. Barry S. Weinberg

With Love and Appreciation,

Dr Barry



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Response Ability #4: Evolution

Often when the winds of change blow, they can change the landscape of our environment.  Sand and soil may be pushed into hills, and over time, mountains.  Rivers may be redirected, and lakes may, over time, form.  Whereas the wind has stopped blowing, its effects may create a lasting impression.  In these cases, we have two choices: we may grow or we may decay.  Living, healthy things, such as trees, animals, and people, grow and evolve.  Inert, non-living things, such as stones and sticks, decay.  Wash running water over a seed and watch what happens…it grows.  Wash running water over a stone and what happens?  It erodes.

Growth and Evolution is a continual process of change by which a seemingly lower and simpler state or condition is transformed into a higher, more complex state.  A healthy body or any other organization always allows for change to cause growth and evolution.  On the other hand, an unhealthy body decays and eventually ceases to exist.

Evolution and growth is nothing more than a long-term adaptive response.  An example of this would be the experience of muscle building as a result of weight training.  The act of lifting heavy weights over and over is actually perceived by the body as a danger or crisis.  These heavy weights place stress on the muscles, bones, ligaments, and joints.  In order to protect itself, the body builds more muscle tissue in order to prepare itself for future experiences of such stress.  If we continue to work out regularly, frequently increasing the weight as we get stronger, this process will continue indefinitely.

What differs in this situation from the previously mentioned adaptive response, is that now the body is stronger, more effective, and more efficient, even after the stress is gone.  Recognizing this, theoretically, the body says, “I am stronger, more effective, and more efficient as a result of this adaptation…this one’s a keeper.”

Another example of this would be that of sun-tanning.  The darkening of the skin as a result of laying in the sun is a healthy response of the body producing more melanin in the skin.  Melanin is a pigmented protein that protects the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation.  The tanning of the skin is caused not by the sun’s rays, but by an adaptation produced by the body in response to the exposure of ultraviolet light.  If the exposure to sunlight is continuous and frequent, like muscle building, this adaptation will become permanent.

Whereas the Response Ability of Adaptation is necessary to protect us from sudden changes that may be damaging or even deadly, the Response Ability of Evolution, whereas not as urgent, is necessary for the long-term survival of our species, and life in general, on our planet.  Through this ability we can learn from our experiences and become stronger, wiser, and more effective as a species.  This process is perpetual and is responsible for our human family moving from the primitive existence as an ape to the spiritual and intellectual wonder we are today.  In this infinite arena we call our universe, we are yet at the beginning of our evolutionary experience.  The sky’s the limit, and what we are capable of becoming is but a tiny glimmer in our imaginations and wonder.

We will explore the next Response Ability, Expression, in the next entry.

An excerpt from the book, A Clear Path to Healing, by Dr. Barry S. Weinberg

With Love and Appreciation,

Dr Barry



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Response Ability #3: Recovery

The wind blows.  The reed bends into the wind.  Yet, what happens when the wind stops blowing?  The reed returns to its original position, standing strong, pointing up towards the sun.  It recovers.  If the wind was stronger than the reed’s ability to adapt and recover appropriately, the reed may break and remain in its bent position.  In order for the reed to maintain its health, it must be able to recover from the adaptation once the wind stops blowing.

So too must we recover from any adaptation we experience due to change, once the conditions return to normal.  Many of our adaptations are temporary changes to best survive the “passing storm.”  Using the fight or flight response as an example, once the danger passes, the blood pressure, pulse rate, and adrenaline levels must return to a resting state.  The digestive system must proceed with its vital activity and our dilated pupils must once again return to normal size.  In other words, the body must recover from the event.

Other factors of the body, such as temperature, pressure, and a multitude of chemical reactions, are in a continuous, never-ending balancing act.  For example, insulin is the hormone that controls the glucose, or blood sugar, level in our blood.  Ultimately, it is glucose that provides fuel for the body, especially the brain.  When we eat something that contains sugar or starch, insulin is released by the pancreas into the blood stream to remove any excess sugar from the blood and store it for later use.   Once the sugar level is within optimum levels, the insulin level in the blood is reduced.  If there is not enough sugar in the blood, a counter-hormone called glucagon is released that draws sugar from reserves and releases it into the blood stream to provide energy for the body.  This see-saw effect of insulin and glucagon is just one example of millions of such balancing acts that occur in the body.

What would happen, however, if once the blood sugar level reached its optimum level, the pancreas continued to release insulin.   By this lack of recovery, more sugar would be removed from the blood than was necessary producing a “condition” called hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. What if after an intense physical or emotional crisis, the necessary increase in blood pressure and adrenaline never returned to states of rest?  This lack of recovery would result in anxiety and hypertension or high blood pressure.   What if during a state of repair, the mechanism that holds the normal rate of cell division and reproduction in check, failed to do its job?  This lack of recovery would result in cancer.  As you can see, many of our long-term chronic illnesses are nothing more than a normal response to change, or adaptation, that never recovered once the change had passed.

When looking at the diseases, conditions, and illness that have been diagnosed by mankind, you will find that ALL of them are caused by either a failure to perceive change in the inner or outer environment, a failure to effectively adapt to the change, or a failure to recover once the change had passed.  This may be an overnight process or it can take many years, decades or even an entire lifetime.  All the circumstances, experiences and events that effect the body, mind and nervous system, may contribute to increased dysfunction and disease, if we do not respond appropriately to the experience.  This Cause of ALL Disease will be discussed at length in the next chapter.

When looking at any disease process, rarely is it caused by one thing.  There are often many physical, emotional, and mental factors that influence the body and contribute to our health and our disease.  On this Clear Path to Healing, we address health on all levels, to assist the body and mind to regain, improve, and develop its ability to perceive, adapt, and recover to change – its Response Ability.

This process of recovery is an effective mechanism to return the body back to its previous state before the adaptation took place, once a given change is no longer present in the environment.  What happens, however, if the environmental conditions do not return to normal and the change does not go away?  What if the wind continues to blow?  What if a new environment is created in which the adaptation must become permanent in order to survive?  In that case, recovery is not necessary, but evolution is.  We will explore this response ability in the next entry.

An excerpt from the book, A Clear Path to Healing, by Dr. Barry S. Weinberg

With Love and Appreciation,

Dr Barry