Everybody wants to be healthy. At the same time, we must understand that once we assume a body, illness, old age, and death are natural processes of life. Taking good care of the body is definitely our business, but once we have a physical body, we know that illness may happen at any moment. However, if we are paranoid about ill health or death, we will not take good care of the body. The very anxiety of what may happen will destroy the body. If we become excessively concerned about illness or health, that itself becomes an illness. An illness is something that restricts our life. That is why we don’t like it. But just the fear of illness also restricts our life.
There are so many people whose fear of illness becomes very strong once they cross forty or forty-five years of age. When they were young, they didn’t have this fear because they thought they were immortal! It is only as we grow older that the fact that we are mortal comes to us. Our fear is not of illness, our fear is of dying. Illness is the passage — the first step towards death. We are still not addressing death directly, but we are addressing illness because we know that if illness comes, the other one will follow.
Generally, in social situations, people have been going about convincing us that fear of death is natural. Unfortunately, people think that whatever the majority is doing is natural. If most people were smoking cigarettes, people would say smoking is a natural thing. They were saying that a few years ago. Certain groups of people still say, “What’s wrong with smoking? It is only natural.” A human being is not made to smoke. We are not automobiles! Similarly, the fear of death has been made natural by social situations, but it is not so.
If life happens, death is a natural process. Being afraid of a natural process is unnatural. This fear has come because of a certain sense of ignorance and unawareness. We are not in touch with reality and we have gotten deeply identified with this body. This has happened because we have not explored other dimensions. If we had explored and established ourselves in other dimensions of experience, the body would not be such a big issue. But now our whole experience of life is limited to this body. No matter what kind of teachings other people give us, whether somebody tells us that we are Atma, Paramatma or whatever else, our experience is limited to the physical body. So, the fear of losing it is natural. But if we establish ourselves in other dimensions of experience, the body becomes an easy thing to handle. Life or death won’t make such a big difference.
Through regular meditation we realise that we are not the body, we are the soul and in time our health itself becomes a non-issue as soul consciousness takes over and body consciousness is left far behind.