I spent my Christmas holiday in hospital with a bad infection of my left hand, which forced me to stay still and patient and hope for the best. I used this unavoidable break and tried to make the best from it – I even tried to enjoy it, as that was my plan for the holidays – to relax and enjoy myself. So here I was, dedicated to helping my hand heal and to being happy. To get me in the right mood, I read a few philosophical books. One of them I find particularly interesting – it is called “thinking heals” (available in German only, by Albert Kitzler) and it refers to the old philosophers and sages from Europe, India and China; identifying the main tracks of human mental suffering and the way it was seen 2000 years ago, the reasons for the conditionings to suffer and offers for improvement.

First of all – and that might comfort a bit – suffering wasn´t much different 2000 years ago. People in the old Athens or Rome were stressed out and things were going haywire for them too. So there was a need for the philosophers to advise the people how to stay or get mentally healthy (again).

What we see today with the huge offer of self-help books was then taken care of by the greatest thinkers of all times and was seen as important as physical healing! They call it therapeutic philosophy – and everyone knows the saying “Mens Sana In Corpore Sano”, which also benefits from some re-thinking – I found a great quote from “Dune”, by Frank Herbert, which I would like to share with you:

“I was taught that “mens sana in corpore sano” translates from Latin as “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. 

The intended meaning here is that only a healthy body can support a healthy mind, so we should strive to keep our bodies in top condition. This made sense to me, but it seemed nothing extraordinarily special; just another Latin saying.

Prior to writing this article I briefly researched the subject; it turns out that “mens sana in corpore sano” is taken out of context, and the whole sentence is “Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.”

Now, this is something completely different. It translates as “You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.” A balanced meaning would be “You should strive for both a healthy mind and a healthy body”, but it could also mean “It’s no use to have a healthy body if your mind is not healthy.”*

Well, this is the bottom line for me – why keep your body in shape, if you don’t want to do the same for your mind and soul? It seems we have lost half of our wisdom on the way (and with it – half of our common sense as well..)

One of the main common denominators for solutions for healing all mental pain and confusion is to scrutinize your own values – what values have you assembled and built up, what makes you run like crazy, work too much, neglect your inner self and your real true needs? Think.

Do you really need other people to find you cool? To take huge efforts to present yourself in a special way? Wouldn’t it be better to be just the way you truly are (= truly authentic!) and take efforts to work on the health of your mind and soul? Think.

Stop running. Take breaks. Enjoy nature and the simple things in life – they are the best! Feel what and who is you and where your true needs are.

So for the new year, I wish you to find enough time to think! It is worth it! Happy new year!

An interesting article about Frank Herbert and “Dune” for more reading: http://bit.ly/1XfiaxD

Johanna Fischer