What Sickness Means & Why It’s Important To Understand It

28 Aug, 2013

happy woman

The human body is one of the most, if not the most, incredible and highly orchestrated system known to mankind. It is made of up several general organ systems, tissues, bones, vascular pathways, hormonal pathways and so many other processes and mechanisms that allow it to function, firing at speeds so fast and all happening at once, it would blow our minds if we truly comprehended it all.

In combination with all these intricate systems that define the human body, we also have a central processing system that controls and manages every other function. This is our nervous system, which comprises the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. This super highway of neural networks makes sure everything works smoothly and efficiently. The brain itself is made up of three distinct parts and is sometimes called the triune brain. We have the brainstem or reptilian brain, which controls all automatic function in the body, our fight/flight response and our unconscious brain. We also have the mammalian brain or limbic brain, which controls both short and long term memory, perceptions of reality, handles emotions, regulates hormones, controls our subconscious and more. Last but not least, we have the neocortex or that squiggly looking thing we’ve seen in pictures, movies and reference books. This part of the brain controls logic, critical thinking, creativity, handles things like politics and it is our conscious brain – the one that has some awareness of our waking state.


All these parts of the brain are involved in how, why and when we have illness or dis-ease in our bodies. It is important to know, that despite popular and mass belief, the human body is a self regulating and highly oiled machine. Apart from us feeding it with good nutrition and eliminating waste from it, it literally runs itself. You could switch off your conscious brain completely and your body would still function. You’d be unconscious and still sensing reality but have no way of interpreting it. You could even then switch off your subconscious or limbic brain and still manage to survive. You’d be completely unconscious in this state but your brain stem and spinal cord would still keep you alive.

When we get sick, have an illness or a dis-ease in the body, this is the unconscious and subconscious central processing system of the brain sending alert signals and warning signs to the conscious brain, telling it that something needs to be assessed and dealt with. In other words, illness and sickness are unconscious feedback mechanisms designed to get us to pay attention to something that’s going on inside of us, around us and in our subconscious mind, that we are consciously unaware of. Pretty amazing stuff!

While it may take some mental adjustments to accept, we rarely get sick without having a deeper subconscious and unconscious reason, intention or motive. Remember, the body is designed to self-regulate and manage itself so it uses this feedback to help you figure out which way to go. Sickness, illness and dis-ease are like your personal GPS and navigation system for life. Without it, we wouldn’t realise that we took a ‘wrong’ turn or made a decision against our own values or require something that we’re depriving ourselves of (like rest, or nurturing, or vitamins!) or need to speed up when we’re going too slow in the process of journeying towards our destination in life.

Conventional medicine, despite all its uses, tools and amazing ability to help humanity, wants to and often chooses to remove the feedback or GPS that’s warning us of the various different things that we need to pay more attention to or look at in our lives. The problem with this solution is that it takes away personal responsibility and accountability. Getting sick or having the flu doesn’t necessarily mean you are threatening your values or life journey! It can simply mean you’re depriving yourself of some good down-time, needed for your body to rebalance itself and boost its own immune. Getting sick or having the flu also doesn’t mean you automatically need to take a pill or some drug to ease the pain or discomfort. It’s important for us to take the time to let the body give us what we need; like having rest, time, more energy, self reflection, self analysis or sometimes even attention, affection and nurturing from others. If we unconsciously perceive that we are lacking certain things in our lives, we will create illness sometimes to get it. How many of you know of people who have learnt to be continually sick because it gains them attention or sympathy from others?
The human body cannot be without illness, sickness or dis-ease. It is a necessity when we’re off track and not on purpose. Ignoring the signs and signals our body provides for us as well as medicating ourselves, more often than not will stop us from learning how to succeed in life and how to truly live. Look for how your sickness, illness or dis-ease is serving you, adding to your life or even helping you connect more to your values. What are you getting out of it? What are you realizing you need more of? What priorities have changed for you?


Healing and change is so much more than pills, or reduced symptoms. It’s being gentle with ourselves and our bodies, listening to the cues our bodies give us, and adjusting our lives to live a more harmonious life.