Health and wellness are often taken for granted, on the one hand, and pursued desperately, on the other. Often there is little middle ground, as health problems just seem to strike suddenly or with great intensity. In such situations, we seem to be victims of fate, helpless to control the same bodies we easily used and enjoyed in the past.

But this doesn’t have to be the case. There is one tool that is the cornerstone of all health, one tool that everyone possesses and anyone can use to make, at the very least, the beginnings of health and balance.

This tool is the most overlooked yet the most powerful aspect in your personal defense against disease.

It’s hard to row a boat on a lake if you’re blindfolded, even harder if you can’t hear the water or feel the oars in your hands. It’s hard to play the piano if you can’t hear the music. It’s difficult even to stand on one foot with your eyes closed.

That’s right, it’s your attention. The ability to perceive is the cornerstone of equilibrium in your body, heart, and mind.

But why is it so powerful?

If you ever have any medical problem, the first priority on the doctor’s mind is to make a diagnosis, even in split-second emergency cases—severe bleeding or heart attack are, themselves, diagnoses.

And how does one arrive at a diagnosis? The very first step is to gather information. And the process of gathering information requires paying attention to signs and symptoms.

Now, of course you’re thinking, “What does that have to do with me? After all, doctors use X-rays and MRIs.” True, technology can often give you information unavailable to your five senses.

But I contend that in the majority of the cases, health deteriorates to that point because of lack of appropriate attention.

Think about it. How many times have you had some problem and just ignored it, hoping it would go away, wishing it would just stop existing? Or maybe you worried about it but didn’t have the money.

But small things add up over a long period of time. Little tensions become deep tensions, and this becomes chronic pain. Little headaches become big ones. A little bloating becomes acid reflux.

A self-healing approach to chronic illness begins with the application of consciousness and intention. This is the seed, the beginning of effective resolution of your health problem, no matter whether you’re using acupuncture, yoga, or pharmaceuticals to get well.

Of course it is not the entire answer. But the more you perceive in your own body, the more information you have to work with, and the more information you can provide to your health care practitioner, which only benefits you.

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