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?  

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

  1. Johanna I love what you have presented here, I pondered on the whole meaning of health and what it meant for each age bracket. And I totally resonated with 20’s and 30’s era, where I thought I was healthy, when actually I was abusive to the body and definitely in isolation to life.

    Since my stop moments, I see health from a different perspective and through the presentation of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, my new health is from the inside out, and no longer from the outside in, which was the leading cause to the path of burnout, exhaustion and this constant discontentment.

    As true health is unfolding for me, I’m loving discovering more about me and my body. It may not be perfect but who’s complaining when how I live now is a reflection for others that, abusing the body is not the way forward to true health and wellbeing.

  2. Is it also possible to consider that humanity is feeling the sensitivity of the pull of evolution? We feel this as a unrest in our bodies and to quell the unrest we eat too much and all the wrong foods and so we gain weight as some sort of barrier or protection to what we cannot stop feeling.

  3. This article should really be presented in education including at universities, we really need this information because it seems that coinciding with the compartmentalisation of health we can see the rapid rise in statistics worldwide for illness and disease.

    1. Melinda I agree, this needs to be presented in education. We have bastardised health and glamourised it with bodies that are hard, lean and mean. And we are always counteracting our bodies, eat so called healthy, then we exercise and smash our bodies – go figure.

  4. Such a valuable workshop. I attended this via webcast and can remember the photo you talk about and as you have never reflected on the health and how we were in the past to now in such a way. You would think that as the years went on we would learn and life would unfold with us having more vitality, joy and true wellbeing but as we can clearly see in the world this is not currently happening. A great moment to stop and truly discuss, reflect and ponder as to why.

  5. This is fascinating to me and I had not considered how health had changed through the years but it is clear there has been a compartmentalising of health that is now a marketable phenomenon and a very lucrative business to be in.

    1. I wonder if we all at one time lived love and expressed love with our every breath, love being a natural way to be, and then we began bastardising and compartmentalising love by allocating it as only shared with special people (instead of all equally), and expressed on special days like Valentines (instead of as an ordinary daily basis), and seen in the things we do like buying gifts, when it is actually a natural expression and way of being and living 24/7.

      1. Agreed, and the only reason I can see for why we would compartmentalise our love is from being influenced by fear. Fear is a reducer and controls in subtle ways that can go unnoticed till the consequences are big – like only expressing how much you love someone on one day of the year!

      2. It is odd how we feel that we can only really express love on Valentine’s Day instead of expressing our love every day. It has become such a commercial hype, I could not believe the sea of expensive Red Roses that flowered overnight in my local Supermarket and the next day were all marked down at half price. I wonder how many Red Roses where grown just for that one day of the year? It’s interesting how we compartmentalize our lives instead of perhaps just living each day as it comes as we did when we were young.

  6. Growing up in the ’60s there was very little talk in our house about health and everyone seemed healthy enough except for the usual childhood diseases at the time. Then in the mid 70’s I noticed my parents (now deceased) starting to do exercises and going on diets to lose weight. At one point my father was hospitalised to lose weight which by today’s standard he wasn’t as overweight as the people you see these days, but it was a requirement by the army that he lose x amount of weight. So, off he went to live on oranges until he reached their desired weight but found out he was allergic to oranges so was put on apples. During his hospital stay the only thing he ate was apples and he did lose a lot of weight but as we now know these diets do not keep the weight off, and as soon as he came home the weight came back on, and he became heavier than before the hospital stay. For us, this was the first evidence that their lifestyle choices were not healthy and health issues were on the horizon.

  7. Most foods now are processed and heavily flavoured with a variety of ‘uppers and downers’ like sugar and gluten and dairy. and especially if we smoke, take recreational drugs or drink alcohol these effects can go consciously undetected by us but unconsciously they are making a difference and sooner or later we come up against what they have done to our bodies. One day we will go deeper and consider the energetic integrity of all that we consume and begin to become more discerning from that perspective.

    1. I cannot wait for this day when as a whole we do this ‘One day we will go deeper and consider the energetic integrity of all that we consume and begin to become more discerning from that perspective.’ Also why are we accepting pretty much most food to be flavoured which sugar, salt, flavouring etc when it simply is not needed. Again what we demand will be supplied so if there is no demand for this, no one will buy therefore the supply will have to change to what is the demand.

  8. It’s actually incredible how much has changed about our attitudes towards our health and lifestyle in such a short space of time. And it seems to continue to change at an ever increasing speed. There must surely come a time when people will wake up and see that all these ‘lifestyle changes’ are but a drop in the ocean when compared to living a daily life of truth, integrity, responsibility and love.

  9. I have often wondered when sugar became such a big thing in our lives because in the 60’s and 70’s it didn’t seem as prevalent but if memory serves me correctly it was there in the form of sugared sandwiches, tablespoons of sugar heaped on the breakfast cereal or mixed with condensed milk. The introduction of chocolate bars and cola, cream cakes was also a popular thing to partake of but we didn’t have so much in the way of hidden sugars as in the processed foods they get now. It’s disturbing these days the amount of sugar is in processed food and the different varieties.

  10. It has taken me well into my 60’s to really understand the meaning of what true health is. Whereas in the past, as long as I was not sick, I considered myself to be healthy, these days I know that the true state of my health encompasses the condition of my body, my emotional and mental state, my vitality and so much more. And I also know that by taking all aspects of my life into consideration I begin to build a very solid and steady foundation that holds me no matter what I am doing, how I am feeling and what challenges come my way.

    1. Yes, this foundation is built away from acute episodes, it is built as a foundation upon which our body can stand when it is challenged physically and emotionally by aspects of life.

    2. Ingrid I agree with you that our health encompasses all of who we are, like you the most important aspect I feel is having a steadiness within me that holds no matter what challenges come my way.

  11. Regardless of what era we live in, true health comes from our connection with our Soul and allowing this love and this light to permeate through to every aspect of our lives, whereas ill health invariably comes from our resistance to this and thus the stubborn adherence we often adopt to the human etheric spirit and its wanton ways.

  12. ‘our bodies reveal the truth of our choices’ Yes there is no getting away from this so isn’t it sensible then to enquire of our bodies what works best for us and when? I have found going to bed earlier by a couple of hours very supportive and also remembering that it is quality rest that we need however many hours we sleep.

  13. Oh wow, health has now become something for us to do – never thought of it like that, but that’s so true. There are many ways to plaster up a picture of ‘health’ but which are actually being self- abusive.

  14. Compartmentalising health and only doing it at the gym is really the same as a doctor telling a patient with lung cancer to stop smoking yet they are chain smoking out the back door when nobody is around because they are so stressed out. How can anyone be inspired by that because they are not living what they propose, just as we have to live health in all areas of our life to be truly healthy.

  15. So much now is about how we look, appearance, both on a personal, domestic, and corporate level. At any cost keep up appearances, because if we look on the inside of any of these things a whole different world is revealed

    1. The key is to establish a way of living that nurtures our innermost so that what is seen on our outermost is a reflection of that which is lived, cherished and nourished within.

    2. Cjames2012 I agree with you we have made everything about face value and appearances, while underneath the veneer we are rotting away.

  16. I have heard Serge Benhayon present on the subject of health and how it is becoming more and more common for ‘good health’ to actually be considered as ‘a lack of serious or critical illness or disease’. Which means that what was once considered ill health has now become normal, and we only regard what is actually very extreme as ill. This sliding scale does not make it easy or simple for the professionals who are given the task of treating an ever increasingly extreme-illness population, and also it does not make it easy or nurturing for the younger generations to understand themselves and the potential they each hold for bringing through what a true and harmonious society can actually be like.

    1. Yes, it simply reduces what we value and then makes it harder to place value in the simple loving ways of how we live as a major contributor to our health and well-being.

  17. A real exposing of the situation of the world health today and the normality of illness and disease and where we are heading that is kept hidden for fear of seeing what is really going on for us all and our rapidly declining quality of life in a time when we pride ourselves on our advancing technology achievements.

  18. It really is very interesting to consider that when I was a young person, I am now into my 60’s, that I don’t recall there being gyms, or that people went walking for exercise and there were definitely no personal trainers. Children were not overweight or obese, I know because there was one girl in my school, I even remember her name because to be overweight was so unusual, and because she was overweight she stood out amongst her peers. Cancer and major illnesses were hardly heard of and people were shocked when they did hear of someone they knew who was seriously unwell. In one generation this way of being has been completely turned on its head and beggars the question; how has such a dramatic change occured in such a relatively short span of time.

  19. We cannot see health as a tick box exercise. We are so much more than boxes and to see us as boxes is to limit us severely.

  20. “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.” – The body is our marker of truth!

  21. True health is something the majority of people would have no concept of, as it encompasses every aspect of our living way and cannot be relegated to just exercise and diet.

    1. It calls on the responsibility to allow the body to read what is needed rather than over ride with the comforts that keep us on the ride of highs and lows.

  22. From reading this article, I can see how important it is to look back at the lives of our elders, and to learn from them, perhaps maybe not always directly, but certainly in reflection for the choices that they made.

  23. If this trend carries on with health be ‘you don’t have cancer or a terminal or crippling condition’? Will be be like tattoos or watching TV that you’ll be considered weird if you aren’t ill?

  24. “The thing is, we all have values and every human being on earth knows these deep down” So true Johanna. We do know when we are losing the plot with regard to looking after ourselves in a healthy way.

  25. If we approach health as a tick box exercise we miss the point that we are way more than function and it is about all aspects of our being.

  26. The children of today are no different from the children of yesterday when they are met and looked into their eyes. They respond just the same, towards love, if it is shown like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

  27. Our perceptions can change on anything and everything, it is only the truth of the body that remains consistent.

  28. What I have also noticed that comes with how health is currently perceived in this modern era, is how the criteria for what ‘healthy’ activities are, are often used to judge one another. So, even though you may have gorgeous relationships and a deep love for oneself, if you do not ‘go to the gym’ or drink smoothies or engage in some kind of spiritual practise, you can be judged as being ‘unhealthy’.

  29. I was working in inner-city London yesterday, I had some time to sit and observe people walking or driving past as I waited for a truck to turn up. I have to admit I don’t usually just sit and observe like this so I was blown away by the pace, aggression and lack of care so many people had for each other and It made me wonder how long the city had been like this, what was it like 5o years ago, were we so stressed and highly strung?

    1. I recall when I moved to London fifty years ago the pace of life was so much faster than I had been used to. People walked so fast, even then, but the stress feels more intense these days.

  30. We cannot say we are healthy because we go to the gym, run a mile and eat fad food, health is not what we do, health is not a doing, it is our quality of being which comes through in every aspect of our lives.

    1. Spot on Jill. True health is something that oozes out of every pore when consistantly lived, and is so much more than what we eat and drink and how much exercise we do.

  31. Thanks to Serge Benhayon I now know the true meaning of health and the vibration that I feel in my body when I am choosing to connect and live with this in my life.

  32. Rules and regulations and guidelines for all areas, be that health and well being or at work or in schools (around behaviour etc) are all things that are increasing in our society – and yet when we go back to the roots of who we are, to our essence, we never need any rules and regulations and guidelines. We all know deep inside how to be with ourselves and with another inside out, but have chosen to forget and neglect this, leading a life that then requires guidelines and rules to tell us how to behave, how to be, how to take care of oursleves, how to be healthy, how to behave around people etc. How crazy is this?

  33. Health and vitality have become a fad in our current era, rather than being a true lived experience.

    1. So true – and then people wonder why they get such and such an illness because they are so ‘healthy’. The meaning of health has become bastardised to a tick box exercise.

  34. What gets in the way of living the natural healthy way of living that our bodies know so well and respond to, when given half a chance? We put so many ideas and pictures in the way of living that simplicity.. when we start letting go of what we think we need to do, how we need to be or to live to meet our own or others’ expectations, life starts to change and there is an ease and flow to it. Life is only as complicated as we make it.

    1. “Life is only as complicated as we make it.” How very true Bryony. By keeping simplicity in our lives, we naturally pull in a flow that supports us, is constant and allows room for growth on so many levels.

  35. Growing up in the 1950s and 60s there was no mention of ‘eating your 5-a-day’ as that was part of everyday living.

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