Self-consciousness (Fear suppression)

Category: Mental Health | December 23, 2019
By Pasin Intarawong, writer and motivational speaker who specializes in Buddhist teachings
We should take care of our health with awareness as best we can. However, ones should come to terms with the truth that illnesses can happen any time. For example, even you take good care of yourself, that doesn’t mean you can’t get cancer, because life is unpredictable.

In human’s nature, when you love and cherish anything, you will take good care of it. As a result, your mind becomes attached to it and when that thing deteriorates, consequently you will suffer more than usual.

Therefore, even if we take good care of ourselves, when we become sick we shouldn’t ask what we did wrong, and instead accept the fact that life is full of uncertainty.
Just like in business, you can only do your best, though there is no guarantee of success or failure.

In this world, there are people who take care of their health and live longer, and people who already take good care of themselves but get sick and live shorter lives, as well as those who do not take care of their health at all and have short lifespans. We shouldn’t cling to the thought that we must always have strong bodies, as it may make the mind suffer. Health care is definitely a good thing, but it should be based on the fact that anything can happen and we should be prepared for everything.      

With health care, you should not be neglectful and careless, like in the Buddhist doctrine of non-negligence. The most important thing is the understanding of non-attachment, to not be obsessed with certain things. For example, a woman in her 40s was once a beautiful young lady who always took care of her skin, and there were people who often admired her beauty, therefore she becomes emotionally attached to that beauty which eventually leads to suffering.

As for carelessness, we should not dwell in negligence, but rather practice non-attachment while not neglecting our physical health. By understanding that the nature of mind is irrational and emotional, therefore even if we already take good care of our health or beauty, remember not to cling to them. However, it is very difficult when people put focus into something and to then not become attached to it. Because the basic human drive is that of expectation, in the end we will inevitably cling to things. For example, children – it is no surprise that all parents are so attached to their children. The deeper connection we have, the more we become attached to them. 

In health care, knowing alone is not enough. When we eat something, we should remind ourselves that nothing is certain. Every time we look at ourselves and think that we are now healthy, try to also see ourselves from a different angle and realize that life is full of uncertainty. Therefore, we should not be too attached to things, as those attachments will create unhappiness and suffering in our life.

Upon discussing ‘Death,’ Lord Buddha once asked Ananda Bhikkhu, “How often do you contemplate death?”, to which Ananda replied: “7 times a day, Lord.” Lord Buddha told him: “That’s too few!”, which means that we are not really aware of death, and must keep reminding ourselves about it all the time. 
How can we come to the understanding that illness can strike us at any time? According to the basis of primary health care, there are 2 ways. First, excessive caring and becoming attached, and secondly, carelessness and non-attachment. 

Therefore, we see health lovers being unable to come to terms with illnesses, because most people follow either one of the two approaches mentioned above.

Compiled by: Winna Rakkarn
Photo credit: Unsplash