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?  

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. “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!

  6. 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.

  7. The world we live in today is a direct outcome of how we lived in the past, so the idealised ‘good health’ of the past has given us the ill-health we live with. We have been raised to choose what is not health and to remain unaware of of how we make our world what it is.

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. “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.

  11. 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.

  12. I have met many people in their 80’s and 90’s and their words when they are sick with chronic long term illnesses are… ‘you just have to get on with it, it is just one of those things, it could be much worse or I am better off than someone who has a more serious illness’ and in this there is an acceptance that you are ill and that they have to accept it as part of growing old. Thank God for Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon who shows us that it is about the way we live that affects our health and that we don’t have to accept ill health as a normal passage to growing old and that we have a responsibility to change how we are living no matter what age we are.

  13. Thank you for sharing Johanna it is interesting to see how health has become more compartmentalised and less a way of life.

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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’.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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?

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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

  24. My mum was saying the other day that when she was a child she would come home from school and go straight to the large veggie garden they had and work, weeding and harvesting food for the evening meal and when I was a child I used to come home from school and go out after a bit of tv and help at the cow shed feeding calves and cleaning the milking shed it was all just part of life growing up but now days for kids it is all gaming and social media no wonder we have obese kids and super unhealthy teenagers.

    1. Well said – the connection with Nature is gold Kevin, and such an opportunity to be present and allow oneself to be.

    2. As a child, I am now in my 60’s, I walked everywhere, to school and back each day, to do the shopping, running messages, to church and back on Sunday, and often played out in the street with all the neighbourhood kids, and although I grew up in the suburbs, and not on a farm like yourself Kev, we were just naturally moving throughout the day; and I have a hard time remembering any children who were overweight, let alone obese.

  25. True Health means we consider absolutely everything about us, without acknowledging every aspect of how we live, we do complete disservice to everything we are.

  26. ‘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.’ I agree, health is not just staying physically well, our whole way of living is important for our wellbeing.

    1. Before I came across Universal Medicine I would have said I was healthy as I was devoid of any serious ailments however I was living with the constant tension that I didn’t feel good enough. It was only after I had started to address this that I realised how unhealthy in fact this was.

  27. It’s interesting that in the 60’s/70’s that there was no real concern about our health until someone got cancer, polio and measles, and yet in comparison to today it seems that everyone has a health issue or knows of someone close to them that has a serious health issue.

  28. There is a common perception that Elite athletes are seen as being the pinnacle role models of health and well being in our society. After all they have a team of health professionals watching their every move, supporting them with how they eat, checking their vitals etc. But I question if they really represent that pinnacle of health, because if this truly was the case, then why do they get cancers, anxiety, depression etc? Something from the equation is missing…And if we make an elite athlete our top standard and role model for health, does this mean that a person in a wheel chair for example, can never be healthy?

  29. People have different versions or different standards of health – there is the standard that says ‘if I don’t have cancer or another illness or disease then I am healthy’; and then there is the next standard that says ‘if I don’t have a cold of a flu this year than I am healthy’; and then there are the ones who say ‘if I do not smoke or drink then I am healthy’; and then there is again those who see health as exercising a lot, running and doing yoga etc etc. But very few if any talk about true vitality and joy and having mojo and purpose in their lives. It seems that this level of health and well being has been forgotten and even abandoned. Perhaps it is time we revived the original meaning of health by living it to the best of our ability.

  30. Quite strange if you think about the fact that we can consider ourselves healthy in today’s world because we go to the gym and do a work out, regardless of the fact that we might go out and drink alcohol and do drugs and party late on a weekend. And we excuse that behaviour saying we do not do it every night and that most of the time we make healthy choices. But what is it that makes us believe that we are in fact then healthy? Could it be that we have settled for a compromised definition of the word healthy?

  31. In medieval times herbs were greatly used and in modern times chemicals are the basis for medicines. For me herbs work with the body and feel more gentle. Pharmaceuticals have their uses but they also have their side effects. They also have the added burden of the energy under which they are manufactured and sold, clearly with profit in mind.

  32. There are so many versions of healthy. I used to think I was a healthy eater but still would experience symptoms that I knew were not 100% healthy, like runny/blocked nose, disrupted sleep, bit of a lower back pain sometimes, all things that maybe most people would consider acceptable because they didn’t impact life particularly. But my ‘healthy’ eating or my ‘healthy’ yoga didn’t really shift the symptoms. It was only when I came to understand the body with its energetic aspects, thank you Serge Benhayon, that I begin to make the changes needed in my diet and my approach to life, where no longer did my body need to communicate with those particular set of symptoms, yet, there is a constant communication from my body that I can be responsive to. That to me is true health – not that we are symptom free, but that we are responsive to the underlying messages from the body and choose to make changes that address the energetic/behavioural aspect of the symptoms aslong side the physical.

  33. I love listening to our elders and seeing these narrative snapshots – we can glean a lot of understanding of how the world was a couple of generations ago, and then understand the trajectory we are on from that perspective. But we can also know that same trajectory by looking around us and clocking what does not match what we know in our bodies to be a true way of living. The more truth /love I allow myself to know in my body, the more I see and understand around me.

  34. We are totally lost whilst we think we are living “true health” whilst we are overriding the Divine messages of our body.

    1. Ah, I love that Joshua, the addition of the word Divine – of course they are Divine messages and not just ‘messages’ when our bodies are made of the same matter as the universe!

  35. There is little that we see in our current world that is promoting true health from within. Everything is offered from the outside and interestingly enough, sold to us as a quick fix when what resides within is calling us to release the true vitality that we are all craving for.

  36. Health is unique to us, hence why a one-size fits all ‘health program’ will never work – each person at their own stage needs different bits to support them.

  37. Health has become a multi million dollar industry, everything is based on diet and exercise, yet we all miss the most important ingredient which is what we can do for ourselves by way of our everyday choices.

  38. What should be clear to us is we are moving further and further away from the truth and the trajectory we are plotting as a race can only lead to higher rates of illness, corruption and disease. Time to change our direction.

  39. We are always wanting to find a way that is better, in all aspects of life from fashion to technology to cars etc. With out trying to hold on to the ‘old ways’ and always open to evolving and expanding we could stop and reflect back like this blog offers how there is a vast difference as to how much simpler life used to be and this offering space to be where we were at and not seeking the next new and advanced things. It is so clear from generation to generation how it has become less and less the simplicity and being and more about a life of seeking and complication.

  40. We certainly live a very different way to how we used to, and this is very evident in our health and vitality. However it is possible to choose not to follow the norm and live a far more simple and healthy life that honours our natural way. We do not have to be a statistic.

    1. What you share here Rebecca is immensely powerful as it lets us consider that the way we live is our choice, we can change at any moment how we live and can choose to live in anyway we wish. What if we chose love as the basis of how we live?

  41. The reality of the past that health was part of the way we lived and not something separate that needs to be done is very revealing of the intensity we have created life to be now and the enormous rise in illness and disease, so common it has become normalised more and more each day. Serge Benhayon and the Way of the livingness is offering the world a way to come back to who we are with a joy, vitality and true health as part of our lives in every moment and the settlement this allows us from inside.

    1. Spot on Tricia – joy, vitality and true health are inter-related and you cannot have one without the other, and when you bring them all together, it is accessible to all, regardless if you are in a wheel chair or living with cancer. I know of some beautiful people that are vibrant and radiant and joyful and living with cancer, whilst others who have no illness or disease feel far less healthy in their body – this is an eye opener to what health truly means!

  42. We have raised the bar of intensity on this planet so high, on this I think we can all agree. And it seems that we still have further to go before we really take on board the horror that we have created, and just how far we are away from living the simplicity of who we truly and naturally are. Thank you Serge Benhayon for reflecting the Way of the Livingness in your every word and movement and in this showing us our true nature within.

  43. I think in some ways we are heading towards defining health by the absence of cancer or something immediately life-threatening, rather than having a connection with a true sense of joy, love and vitality in ourselves. When we drop our standards it’s like we’re normalising being less than who we truly are.

  44. We have to stop and consider what is nowadays considered health. When we do not have the joy, love, openness, vitality, sensitivity and acute observation of a young child, we are not well. If we think we are healthy, we are lying to ourself.

    1. Exactly I wonder what my daughter will understand health to be if she just observed the world around her? Very different from what I would have done when I was young and yet now we get to re-set the standard of health to be something far greater than just not having a terminal or serious illness.

  45. It is so important to have markers for where we have got to. The slide into ill health has become so normal that we have forgotten what a truly vital society looks and feels like.

  46. It’s fascinating how with each generation our understanding of well-being and health has changed. Personally I would have thought that ‘well-being’ was ‘well-being’ and that its meaning would be constant, but to discover its re-interpretation is a surprise. It makes sense that in every way we have changed the meaning of words and life over time to be something it originally was not.

  47. Health has been made into a commodity… You can buy health through vitamins, gym memberships and diet fads, but is it truly health if when those purchases do not actually contribute to settlement in the body?

    1. I’d say that’s an example of how we can think of doing health in a compartmentalised way rather than appreciating it is intrinsically linked with how we are in every aspect of our life…

      1. And how much do we have not only a deep settlement in our bodies but live with true vitality in all aspects our life?

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