This head so gently aches; its bloodshot blur is the morning vision. “Higher” consciousness always takes its toll. Well, I did yoga twice yesterday and only had five scoops of Bob’s Homemade last night. Am I healthy because I didn’t get the flu last week? It seems my bic pen scribbles laboriously; oh God, let one more cup of coffee get me through. My hemorrhoids will forgive me for too much sitting if my meditation can convince me of my health.

In this focus, health must be understood as more than a vague, relative term with meaning only for the individual. Our concept of well being, which is health, is the paradigm through which we examine our own condition; the look towards self is colored by perspectives of mankind. This “health” is shaped by religious assumptions of our culture, so-called “medicine” of modern laboratories, and each rationalization for debauched behavior. Whether it be in overcrowded hospitals, American junk diets, or the drugstore’s pill array, each day we confront the dis-ease in our way of looking at health. As with all paradigms, a new age demands reexamination and reevaluation of well being.

In lives of constant change we view ourselves through a moving frame of reference and by the direction in which we move. We see less in our isolated moment, more in the continuum of Now. A snap-shot of temporary condition is insufficient in observing the process of health as one reading of the barometer is to the dynamics of the weather. Our senses speak in cycles of biorhythm and breath. Emotions wax and wane; a need of rest is the balance to activity.

Too often consideration of well being is limited to body. In western medical practice the gap between mental and physical is glaring. Doctors wonder at the psychosomatic dimension of disease; their treatments seem geared toward the relief of symptoms rather than the resolution of stress. In reexamination of health we must understand our being as an integrated whole, as a system that coordinates our range of aspects from flesh to spirit. Only when the interaction of these aspects is understood do we see in the body a clear reflection of health.

One of the blessings of our age is the increasing relations among the peoples of earth. Through frameworks of understanding and styles of expression, each culture shares and broadens its own perspective of well being. The process of exchange takes time but, in our view, systems of health long ignored by western medical associations demand recognition. We must complement the modern revelations of anatomy, the awesome technical skills and the penetrating insight of psychoanalysis with the understanding of acupuncture, herbs, massage, macrobiotics, homeopathy, chiropractics and direct, spiritual modes of healing.

At the present, these systems lie as scattered pieces and our confusion is apparent. The path to well being sometimes seems as cheap as the ten easy steps of the nearest grocery store paperback, but health is not to be found in any one system. The new paradigm depends on a wholistic approach; the task of our age is to reintegrate this puzzle of well being.

In this task we cannot fail to recognize that well being intimately involves community. There is no peace if our relations are inharmonious. The joy or misery of one person is shared by us all. Often the conflicts of daily life create the fundamental stress of disease; the malice or fear felt towards another putrefies inside. Let us come to know well being as being in love.