Grow Naturally - Achieve Health, Happiness and Peace in Life

It is said that change is inevitable. Everything on this universe is changing every moment. However, if we closely observe the change, we notice that change is not random. It always moves in a particular direction. A person may be changing every movement, millions of cells of his body may be dying every second and millions of new cells may be taking birth every second, yet the changes in the body is not random. A child grows to become adult and then he become old and finally dies. All changes follow a pattern which seems to be pre-programmed. No adult or old man can ever become a child again. This ordered change is often called growth.

Every person is born as a body with a mind and a soul. While body is created using elements from this world, soul is the spark of the Supreme that gives life to the person. Mind of the person connects the body with the soul. While all living creatures seem to have all three attributes, yet the man seems to be specially gifted in the mental and spiritual faculties.

Every person passes through different phases of growth. As per the ancient Indian and western philosophy, body and mind are the physical manifestation of the soul in this world. Thus the growth of a person is actually the growth of the soul. There are limitations of the growth of physical body and mind. The growth of body is limited by the height of the person while the growth of the mind is limited by the intelligence of the person. However, the limit of growth of soul is the Spirit or God, which is infinite. The goal of all human being is to grow in his or her life so as to attain the highest level of spiritual growth and become one with the divine.

Yet man does not want to grow. He has the inherent desire to remain young and defy the laws of change. The result is obesity, boredom and pain. It is for this reason that Buddha said that life is suffering as most people suffer from these ailments due to their inability to channelize their growth in the right direction. Laurens van der Post has stated the perils of not-growing:

"Life is its own journey, presupposes its own change and movement, and one tries to arrest them at one's eternal peril."

The Direction of Growth
Growth of every living being is inevitable in this world. John Henry Newman rightly said, "Growth is the only evidence of life." As every human being consists of body, mind and soul, all three grows in life. Yet in the first phase of life, the growth of the body is most evident. A person of only a few inches grows to become a full man or woman by the time one attains the age of 15-20 years when a person attains his maximum height. Thereafter the physical growth of the person stops.

A person is best fitted to grow mentally, when the growth of his body stops. At this age, a person is at his physical peak, yet mentally he is still a child. However, once the physical growth stops, the entire growth of the person is directed in the direction of his mind. Thus at this age, what a person is able to learn in a year, he could not have learned on a decade of childhood. His memory and intelligence is at its highest growth orbit.

Though the mind of the person continues to grow, yet the rate of growth of mind declines gradually. After the person reaches to the age of maturity and middle age, the mental faculty of the person starts deteriorating. It is at this age, the spiritual growth of the person starts after peaking in physical and mental growth. Soul, that is the essence of the person, is the source of all his feelings. Hence, the spiritually growing person experiences the increase in happiness and peace. There is no limit of spiritual growth as every person has the ability to become divine.

The nature has designed the man to grow always in life yet people often stop growing and become old. A famous quote says, "You don't grow old. You become old, when you stop growing."

Obesity: Lacking the Mental and Spiritual Growth
Obesity is perhaps the biggest problem and challenge of the modern generation. These are more prevalent in the adult than the child. The reason seems to be that a child usually grows physically and mentally in his childhood years. Hence the chances of his getting overweight are quite low. Thereafter, if the person still continues to get education after his has grown fully into adult, the chances of his getting overweight are much less as he continues to grow. However, if the mental growth of the person is stopped for example by stopping his education, the growth in body is inevitable. Since the height of the person can not grow, the only way the body can grow is horizontally which make the person obese.

Scientists have found clear relationship between the obesity and intelligence and educational level. "As per one research conducted by Jytte Halkjer et al [Obesity Research 11(10): 1238-1245 (October 2003)], showed a clear inverse association between BMI above the median BMI and both intelligence test score and educational level. The highest educated group had less than half the odds of remaining obese compared with the lowest-educated group."

Thus obesity can be reduced by continue to grow mentally and spiritually. A person even after his studies can grow mentally by reading new books or taking up new course. One can also maintain his weight simply by becoming more spiritual.

Boredom and Addiction: Restricting the Growth of Body and Spirit
The growth of the body stops by late twenties yet the growth of mind continue for another 10-20 years. Therefore, man can grow mentally by learning new things either by the pursuit of new academic courses of by learning from experiences. Mind like the cells of the body too seems to create new knowledge while forgetting the old knowledge. Thus as far as the balance of the two is maintained, the person maintains his proper mental balance. However, when a man absorbs more knowledge than what his intelligence can handle, then it causes confusion in his mind. An overfed mind is same as an overfed body, which causes obesity and confusion. The capacity of the person to absorb knowledge is different in every person and favourably related to the intelligence of the person.

Therefore, a stage is reached when a person stops growing mentally and any more absorption of raw knowledge creates confusion in his mind. The stage of confusion gives rise to boredom. Mind is like a body which needs filling. Thus curiosity of mind is indication of the hunger of knowledge which can then be easily assimilated into the knowledge of the person. When this curiosity dies in man, the result is boredom.

Boredom often leads to addiction which charges the mind for sometime.

Mind like body needs constant inflow of knowledge to maintain its sanity and virility. The excess of knowledge causes confusion in the mind while the lack of knowledge stunts the mental growth of the person. Boredom is the result of the lack of desire or mental curiosity. Man, in order to remove his boredom, can either move forward or grow spiritually to get rid of boredom or he can attempt to move backward in the direction of body and enjoys physical and sensual pleasure. He can also take intoxicants to find temporary relief from the inactivity of mind.

Spiritualism: Control of Body and Mind
However, those who are wise, even before reaching on the top of their physical and mental growth, realize the importance of happiness and peace that comes not from outside but from the Self. The knowledge of Self or Soul is the beginning of spiritual evolution of man.

Many people start the journey of spiritualism much earlier by the discipline of body and the mind by following the path of meditation and yoga. As a matter of fact, any one who is able to overcome the pleasure of body and develop the ability to rein his mind, automatically grows in the direction of spirit, which is the natural direction of the soul.

Soul, being a part of the universal soul or Spirit or God, is the true source of the joy and happiness as well as pain and miserly. When a person moves in the direction of the spirit, he enjoys the feelings of happiness and peace while the movement on the reverse direction causes pain and miserly.

Thus the people as they grow old moves from the lust of body and pride of mind to the peace of soul. This is the only path of growth which brings happiness in life and eliminates pain.

Grow Rightly and Enjoy Life
Growth of a man is inevitable. However, one can plan it rightly and overcome the various problems of the modern world like obesity, addiction, boredom and pain that arises as a consequence of the attempt of the person to arrest the growth. It is only by growing in the right, direction that one can achieve health, happiness and peace. Thus every pain and suffering is an indication of the restriction of the growth, which must be avoided to lead a healthy, happy and peaceful life.