Health and Life Today and through the Ages

By Johanna Smith B.Ed, Cert Early Childhood, Teacher, Rockingham, Perth WA.

I recently attended a Universal Medicine event day, where a photo from the 1960’s/70’s was presented alongside a discussion forum around health. This photo was of a group of young people who looked at ease with each other, had genuine smiles on their faces, were of a healthy weight range and their bodies reflected an openness and naturalness. The photo was really pleasant to see and reminded me of the feeling of being free in my body that I had when I was very young – something that could not be faked.

As a whole, we looked at the photo and shared what we saw before us. There was pretty much a consensus that this photo was sharing something that was not commonly seen in today’s society. It was not only showing how the individuals were, but it also revealed how they were with each other, how they felt and more importantly what they were reflecting about life back then. A way of life that, from this photo, seemed to support bodies to look and feel vital, engaged, open and ‘healthy.

Serge Benhayon then presented and facilitated us through a valuable workshop around the word ‘Health’. Much was discussed that was clear and made complete sense, yet some of it I had not really considered before.

The presentation and conversations in the workshop made me realise that the words ‘health’ and ‘being healthy’ relate to something we have now come to perceive as something that we ‘do’ in life – as one part of life. We have, over time, created this meaning to be what it is today and put ‘health’ into its own compartment, somehow separate from the whole of life. Therefore we are now living by a false – a bastardised – definition of ‘true health.’

We started by talking and sharing what ‘health’ means today and this created lots of discussion. Serge asked the group to split up and sit into age groups of 80 year olds, 70 year olds, etc., all the way down to under 20 year olds. Each group discussed and shared life, health and what it meant and looked like for them as they were growing up. After this we all came back together to share what we had discussed in our age groups with the whole group.

In order for us to get the true picture of ‘health through the ages,’ Serge asked us to share about health and life from our age groups, starting with the oldest group all the way down to the youngest group. This is where the whole group was able to see and feel ‘health through the ages’ – basically how we as a society have moved from what was depicted and evident in the photo shown, to what we see and feel in people’s bodies, behaviours and attitudes in and around health today.

Generally it was shared that the people who were in their 80’s, 70’s and 60’s did not really have a clear definition of the word ‘health’ back when they were growing up, except that the absence of sickness generally meant you were healthy. These groups shared things like serious illnesses – such as cancers, diabetes, mental illness – were rare and hardly spoken about; that life and health was one and the same and it did not carry its own activities or definition. Life’s activities back then were what kept you healthy and people didn’t make time to ‘be healthy’ or ‘do health.’ This point alone was very interesting to hear. Health back then was without definition but the way of life was what supported healthy bodies. So at this point there was no compartmentalisation of ‘health’ in life.

Then, as those in their 50’s and 40’s shared, we could start to see that some health fads were coming in; being healthy was getting promoted, but life in general still had more play and activity than it does today. This group shared that people did do sport and for that they exercised and kept healthy, people did have an awareness about eating habits, yet there still was not a complete division between life and health, even though it was starting to creep in. This group also shared that more awareness of some illnesses were creeping in and it was heart disease that was spoken about the most at this point.

As those in their 30’s and 20’s shared, the absolute shift and compartmentalisation of health was obvious along with the great deterioration in the way of life, relationships, behaviours and activities, and the dramatic increase of serious illnesses and diseases within it. This group shared that being healthy meant you went to the gym, went for a run, did aerobics, ate certain fad foods, were a particular image and fitted in, and so on. Yet health here all took place in isolation to life, was a part in life but not a natural part of a way of living.

This means that activities and behaviours that go completely against ‘true health’ – ones that in fact abuse the body such as drinking, excessive exercise, smoking, starving oneself, overeating, eating sugary and fatty foods, spending excessive time on technology devices, getting little sleep, working in drive and so on, can play out while the body that is doing them still considers itself ‘healthy’ because it spends some time at the gym or ‘doing health’ now and then. And so the lie of health today is revealed.

Meeting the criteria of the current compartmentalised perception of health today such as going to the gym, exercising and eating certain foods, does not mean that one is truly healthy. One could say that this mentality allows us in society to continue in our ill ways and deteriorate, without choosing to be aware of unhealthy patterns and behaviours, let alone look at the root cause of why we choose them. The lack of self-responsibility is then taking place because we collectively now ‘box’ what ‘health’ is. How can we ever consider that true health is about the ‘all of us’ – our mental health, our physical health, our way of relating to people, our confidence, feeling settled and supporting our body and ourselves in all areas so that we can be all that we are designed to be in life – if health today is a tick box exercise?

The thing is, we all have values and every human being on earth knows these deep down. True Health means we consider how we work, how we relate, speak with family and friends, the depth and quality of all our relationships and interactions, maintaining a consistency, respect, sensitivity and much more. It means we consider absolutely everything about us; how we are and most of all the fact that others are always on some level affected by what we think, say, do and express in life, just as much as we are. We may think whatever we like, but our bodies reveal the truth of our choices and the quality of the relationship we have with them, ourselves and life is the foundation for living in a way that is either harming or truly healthy.


Read more:

  1. Have you ever considered what is true health and wellbeing?
  2. Is the answer to our health right under our nose?  

283 thoughts on “Health and Life Today and through the Ages

  1. One of the biggest changes is that we have learned very well how to deal with the symptoms of heart disease. This allowed people to live longer and opened up many more incidences of illness and disease.

  2. This really exposes how life is lived in pieces and how as long as we have a piece called ‘health’ in some part of it, we can then ignore how we live in those other parts. So we go to the gym and then we then we can stuff our faces as we’ve done a workout so used up calories … the lack of a whole life and whole body approach is obvious with this, yet this is how we are encouraged to live as parts and we see the results all around us, in a humanity that is less healthy overall and with more long term degenerative conditions. So it’s really great to consider what we now mean by health for our way back to true health is based on clearing speaking what it means and that it’s all life and not just some parts.

  3. It is amazing that we have more health professionals than ever before, more funding for research to find “cures” for the diseases that are rampant throughout society and more drugs than ever before causing high death rates, what is happening, when with all the research and drugs that we have, we as a humanity are getting sicker and sicker. ?

  4. There is a kind of tick box compartmentalisation about healthy living today, I agree – rather than an awareness of the 24/7 accumulation of choices that catches up with us, as either being supportive or not in most cases.

  5. We talk about our environment, our workplace circumstances, stress, pollution, and at times about our consumption as the cause of our health problems. And we seek solutions. But never do we go as far as questioning why we have the world we have today, what made us lose the plot to this extent, and even more important, why are we not bringing in substantial change to all of our lives. In fact we attack those who bring forth a new way of living that is focussed on love, health, wellbeing, playfulness, brotherhood and a one unified truth and purpose.

  6. “Compartimentalising our health’ this is very well observed as it has become something to do, like a hobby but really one we do not like that much, or on the other side of the spectrum, get absorbed by. The thing that should stick out like a sore thumb here though is the fact that being healthy, joyful and vital simply is NOT NORMAL anymore. How far have we gone down the rabbit hole to not make this the single most important subject in the world today?

  7. It is obvious to me that health is determined by how we live our lives, on a physical, mental, emotional and energetic level. We get the body we have lived.

  8. Because health like everything in life cannot be compartmentalised, going to the gym and only focusing on that, sweating it out and pushing ourselves to feel really smashed the next day cannot be called health, but it is the normal defined way of being healthy today.

  9. Health is how we live in each moment and the quality we live in. But that is certainly not what I have grown up with. It has become a lifestyle add on – something we do when we’re not working or relaxing, Health has an on and off switch and this is something we don’t stop and question.

  10. The lifestyle that many live today includes staying indoors being sedentary while watching TV or operating computers. So very different to the regular lifestyle several decades ago. No wonder people are overweight, unhealthy and ill. We have lost our natural way of moving, enjoying the outdoors, and have forgotten how to play. Our free time used to be community based, whereas now it is mostly solitary while sitting in front of a screen. A very sad state of affairs that does nothing for our health and wellbeing.

  11. Obviously our awareness of what health, illness and disease mean is in constant change, probably it is not better or worse as such but mainly different, but it is of main interest to reflect on what true health really means and what is needed today to answer the urgent demand caused by raising stats of illness and disease. Universal Medicine does exactly that and contributes valuable answers that complement western medicine.

  12. ‘Health back then was without definition but the way of life was what supported healthy bodies.” Just as the way of life was the key factor back then, it is now only our way of life has changes such that it is now what is making us unhealthy. The wisdom lies in the simplicity of life back then and yet to find our way out of the mess we are in today we keep making life more complex and fragmented.

  13. Really it is not healthy to compartmentalise any aspect of our life. It is all one life and everything affects everything and everyone.

  14. ‘True Health means we consider how we work, how we relate, speak with family and friends, the depth and quality of all our relationships and interactions, maintaining a consistency, respect, sensitivity and much more.’ This is so good to understand that every aspect of how we live affects our health, it’s not just diet and exercise.

  15. What an amazing opportunity Serge Benhayon presented to show our health and livingness throughout the ages and how it separated with time and the deterioration of our health and the separation of this from our lives and daily beingness. Very disclosing and the highlighting of how we can change and the importance of this as the key to bringing us back as humanity to true health and wellness.A beautiful read and understanding of how life used to be and the importance of listening to our bodies and what we feel.

  16. The biggest shift for me was in learning how to create consistency in my life, which when applied to everything restores true health. This began with creating a consistent connection within me and with my body, so I could then consistently gauge the effects of my life style choices based on how I felt. The ensuing choices have been amazing, achieving a way of life previously felt to be unattainable, living proof that the answers lie within us, not in our techni coloured world outside.

  17. When I was young I did some sport but never really carried it over into my adult life. As for habits that started when I was becoming less interested in sports and exercise. For quite some time that continued until I started to be honest by what I had already knew and felt that was not supporting me. Thanks to Serge Benhayon and his presentation I started to see and it all made sense that my habits such as drinking, smoking and recreational drugs were all based on hurts that I had not dealt with. What a turn around from healing those and now wanting to exercise and look after my body.

  18. The number of people that thought they were living a healthy lifestyle that cripples themselves in the pursuit of this nirvana is increasing. Where is true health in these actions, at any age?

  19. I used to think that looking back over the generations was ‘better’ then it is today, bit it is most likely the same issues it’s just that the volume is turned up.

  20. When we look at the changes in our relationship with health over the years a big question comes up about our notion advancement of humanity. We seem to be proud of ourselves because of the increased complexity of technology and the management of illness and disease. But how come we are not putting in this equation the fact that illness and disease has been increasing in the first place – and also keeps increasing despite of the medical advances?

  21. As someone in my mid 40’s, I can remember how when I was a teenager there began to be more fad diets and exercise regimes that became popular (vegan, vegetarian, ‘Weight Watchers’, diet pills, Nautilus weight lifting machines, muscle building protein mixes, etc.) But what I can feel now is how all those techniques and fads were just ways to avoid the simplicity of living life as medicine itself, bringing gentleness, understanding, and love into all our movements, instead of separating life into segments of healthy activities and normal everyday living, which is why 99% of the time none of these fads ever worked for people.

  22. It makes sense that years ago health wasn’t something you practiced or ‘did’, but was something that was lived and a normal part of life. To break it down like this into the decades, I find fascinating and it shows us much about our choices and the way we choose to live today.

  23. We may be living longer but we are certainly not healthier in this longer life that we see as an achievement. The evident pressure on our health systems, excessive waiting times for a back log of surgeries and research for new drugs to treat ever increasing diseases speak for themselves with our current ways of approaching with health.

  24. What really stood out for me in this article is that we have lived times of absolute wholeness to life, meaning that everything was part of our lives. No compartments. As we can see and is described above, in quite a short time we have gone diversional, away from a naturalness. I am in my 20’s and I can relate to the difference felt for example of how my mom has lived, she is in her 50’s, only knowing that this is a 30 year difference in a world where we have lived thousands of years. Now, this is a great point to ponder. What has been occurring ?

  25. Keep Fit can become just another addiction, as we get hooked on the endorphins that are released with excessive exercise. Ironic how we can have such an unhealthy relationship with attempting to stay healthy.

  26. When I grew up, many people died at relatively young ages (40s and 50s) from heart disease. This has been greatly reduced and we have many more old people now but what is surprising is how many more unhealthy young people there are today.

  27. We pride our selves on our modern day gadgets and quality of life but fail to see the tide of ill health before us arising from the way we use our gadgets and technology, evidence that striving to improve the material aspects of life alone is not the real answer. Bringing our awareness to our inner qualities, integrity and respect can bring enormous changes in our life style habits with astounding results on our health. Its low cost, very ecofriendly and widely accessible, the best modern day resolution to a multitude of ills.

  28. First step: Getting aware that we are compartmentalizing life
    Second step: Considering that compartmentalizing might not be the only or even best way
    Third step: Open and honest assessment of what might be a really loving, caring and healthy approach to life

    1. Yes, and then making that change to each compartment until there are no more compartments as any need for them dissolves.

  29. The changes in the health of the population today are stark compared to decades past, and yet we carry on as a society in the same train we have been that got us here. If for just a moment we stopped to look at the consequences of our fast food, high sugar, low exercise lifestyles, we would see our pathway forward is not looking postiive.

  30. It’s that very “compartmentalisation of health” that means our physicians look for solutions to ill-health in its parts – rather than looking to life itself as a whole and understanding that we have many aspects beyond the physical body’s breakdown.

  31. Nowadays there is more research into, and also more funding available for, the treatment of the symptoms of our disease, but according to statistics we are sicker than in previous decades. Would it not make more sense then, to channel more resources and funding into the harmful effects that our life style nowadays has, both on the state of our health and wellbeing.

    1. Yes Elizabeth, absolutely agree. Billions have been spent on research, and on new technologies, new pharmaceuticals, yet, as a world we are getting sicker… doesn’t make sense does it?

  32. It becomes obvious that health is not something we do now and then but that every minute of life is either contributing or adverse to our health, thus it is the way we live that makes our state of health what it is. We cannot escape that responsibility as it is with us every second.

  33. Being in the sixties group of this discussion, it was interesting to recall the changes over the decades. We ate organically because our parents grew the vegetables and there wasn’t the mass production of food that there is today. I don’t remember any gyms around, we went out on our bikes on the road. We were more active with no social media, no mobiles and no day time TV. But there are no rose coloured spectacles here: life span was shorter, opportunities for medical treatments were limited, we had fewer choices. The world has changed so much, now we have so much more opportunities to choose, we simply have to discern more what we are choosing.

    1. That said Gill; there was a simplicity to life back then. It’s as if today the intensity of everything from school, work, families and everything in between is more dramatic and larger than life.

  34. Let us not forget what actually went on in the 50’s, 60’s 70’s and 80’s, decades where smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol was the norm. These addictions existed and were never questioned until as I remember the 80’s, the decade I stopped smoking. Living amongst elders, those of the WW1 and WWII generations, I am struck by the number of people I hear of who died of cancer, and some of them of lung cancer. In my youth, cancer was a taboo subject, and the silent killer no one spoke about.

  35. It is crazy that we are actually living longer these days when our lives are often so much more unhealthy than the past and that illness and disease is so rife with every one of us knowing someone with some sort of cancer. We are living longer but what is our quality of life?

    1. Yes, ‘living longer but in poorer health’ is often quoted in journals and research studies nowadays… and the pressure it puts on social care and health care when we have 10 or more long term medical conditions (or even 2 or 3 long term medical conditions) is enormous. Whilst Im not saying days gone by were the ‘good old days’ necessarily, we really do need to take an honest look at the way we are living today.

    2. Exactly we live longer but with a very poor quality in life, no doubt in the near future we will come around to looking at how we extend quality of life not just quantity of life.

  36. What came up reading this blog is that it clearly shows that in the past life was more lived in a way. Less zombies. People worked, took part of the community, took responsibility.
    Now adays we see more people not working or talking all their lives about the time they will retire. They get lazy with there body and do fitness to compensate their lack of commitment to the work and life they have.

  37. Statistics on rising ill health are truly alarming. I find it interesting how society can label itself as advancing or healthier or more evolved when the evidence is far to the contrary!

      1. When we say life or the world is advancing, what are we really referring to? We cannot advance in just one area such as technology and meanwhile leave the rest behind (health)

  38. That there was no compartmentalising between ‘life’ and ‘health’ (in the 80’s, 70’s and 60’s age groups) shows how a humungous industry, with all its arms and aspects, has sprung up over the last 60 years, and how we have made health something outside of us, that can be sought, bought and brought to ourselves – rather than something that is simply lived.

  39. As a young person, it is rare for me to find someone who feels really at ease with themselves or their life – most have some level of anxiety, stress, depression or lack of self worth playing out in one way or another. We can’t ignore the steadily decreasing level of health and wellbeing from a younger and younger age

  40. The difference between the age groups when it comes to health is very revealing; it is as though we have separated health from daily life, made it something we ‘do’ so that we have an excuse for our otherwise unhealthy lifestyle choices.

    1. We support and justify our unhealthy lifestyles by balancing it with a bit of fitness. How many times during the Christmas overconsumption of everything season, do we hear people express that they will have to go to the gym to work it off?

  41. You raise a great point about the compartmentalisation of health in life, which reflects the compartmentalisation of all of life in the way we currently live on this planet – when in truth we are all connected, not just to each other, but to everything – everything is connected – so to compartmentalise is very disruptive and complicated.

    1. Absolutely Jane – and in compartmentalising life we seek to remove the effects of actions in one area from others, despite the fact that this is simply not possible. An example being that we may exercise and eat certain food to try to be ‘healthy’ and yet also believe that we should have a ‘healthy’ social life which includes going out late and drinking alcohol – the two simply do not go together but by having different criteria for different areas of life in their own compartments we somehow try to rationalise this.

    1. We may know causes and we may know how to treat symptoms and we know what the patient needs to do – sometimes in detail, sometimes in outline. What we don’t know is how to have everyone, especially the patient, perform at their best in removing causes and co-operating with treatments.

  42. I agree that medicine today is often based on solutions that try to fix or manage the problems of ill health rather than looking at the way of life or lifestyle that may have caused the problems in the first place.

    1. If 80% of our illnesses and diseases are lifestyle related, then it makes sense to take stock and relook at how we are making ourselves ill in the first place. As they say, ‘prevention is better than cure’!

      1. The way that we use the word ‘cure’ is totally false and completely misleading. We tend to say that someone is cured when they are symptom free but without knowing if the energy that set the illness in motion is simply lying dormant, has migrated to another place or morphed into another illness. And as the energy that sets all illness and disease into motion is first set in motion by our choices then this really calls into question the whole meaning of the word ‘cure’.

      2. Agree Alexis – and when we talk about ‘cure’ we bring in hope – and we make it that cure is the only way or the ‘right way’ when our body getting sick is the healing in itself.

  43. Our medical advances seem to keep pace with the rise in ill health, developing more and more amazing medicine to deal with our ills. But somewhere along the line we need to stop and seriously take heed of the true ‘why’ behind our diseases, the lifestyle choices, quality of inner connection and level of personal responsibility. Our ill health is quite literally costing us the Earth, but it doesn’t have to.

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