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,