Purity of mind at root of all health
In ancient China in 3500 B.C. monks living in monasteries practiced Buddhism, a religion that originated in India.
These monks lived austere, regimented lives — waking, eating, praying, meditating and sleeping at specific times each day — under the watchful eye of an abbot who would provide a quick whack with his staff for the slightest misdemeanor. The monks’ main duty was to work toward purifying their minds every minute of every day. They were required to not only suppress but eliminate human passions such as ignorance, jealousy, envy, anger; hate all mental opposites such as hot and cold, love and hate.
Buddhist monks considered desires, meanwhile, to be poisons of the mind because they inhibited clear thinking and blocked the path to nibbana, the state of mind free from craving, anger and other negative thoughts and emotions. The three poisons are concupiscence of the wrong desires, hate and resentment, and stupidity and ignorance.
By living a life of discipline and purifying the mind the monks hoped to gain enlightenment and liberation from suffering. This state of total peace is thought by Buddhists to be the intended nature of the mind, one free from corruption and toxicity of the mind and soul caused by the impurities and poisons in this world.
Interestingly, Paul writes in the Bible, “Know ye not you are the temple of God? And that the spirit of God dwelleth in you.” In Colossians Chapter 3 Paul admonishes the church saying, “Mortify your member — fornication, uncleanliness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence and covetousness, the wrath of God cometh. For now put off all these — anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and filthy communication out of your mouth. Put on bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind and meekness, long suffering for bearing one another. Put on charity.”
What these examples illustrate is that the great religions of the world are all premised on selfdiscipline and purging the mind and soul of impurities to attaining. Thousands of years ago the founders of these religions recognized the condition of the mind played a big part in a person’s mental, spiritual and physical well-being.
Today, scientists are finally accepting that the power of the health of the mind is directly related to the health of the body. They know sickness can be caused or exacerbated by a mind made vulnerable by stress, disease, anger, anxiety and lack of sleep. The power of the mind and health of the soul can literally make or break you.
For good health and long life one must control the mind, eat properly, get regular physical exercise and properly eliminate wastes. Include a little wine in your meals for it has many benefits. If all this fails, well, at least you tried.
Anthony Scarano is not a doctor. He is an 88-year-old Evergreen Park resident, winemaker and certified naturopath. Suggestions in this space are solely the opinions of Mr. Scarano based on years of independent study and personal experience, and may not be beneficial to health. Wine should be consumed in moderation, as overindulgence may be harmful to health.