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