by Pablo Das
Years ago I heard a Buddhist teacher talking about the principle of conditionality. He explained it by saying that nothing exists independent of it's causes. Which is to say that everything you can perceive with your senses, exists because of a set of conditions which brought it into being. This is easy to understand in the physical world. Trees, for example, exist because of a set of causes which have come together. Among these causes are sun, soil, water and an acorn. No acorn...no tree! No sun... no tree! This is also true of our non-physical experiences. We might feel loneliness as a result of isolation or joy when we behold natural beauty. Whatever we are experiencing, it has a set of causes which preceded it and conditioned it's existence.
The experience of wellbeing is no different. It arises due to it's causes. If one is interested in experiencing a higher level of wellbeing in this lifetime, then that work necessarily involves identifying the variables in our lives which have an impact on how we feel. Furthermore, we have to engage those variables in an appropriate and effective way to get the outcomes we seek. The best way I can explain the work I do is to say that I help my clients identify and engage the causes of human wellbeing. This may necessitate addressing whatever barriers there may be as well. Dealing with what gets in the way is as necessary as doing what is required of us to be well. The work of creating and maintaining wellbeing always entails some set of renunciations as well as disciplines.
The experience of wellbeing is not mysterious, and we don't have to get too cerebral about it. We know it when we feel it. What we do have to do is get present. Mindful presence enables the entire process. This is why the practice of mindfulness is at the heart of all of my work .
The work also requires that we trust ourselves as the authority on our own wellbeing. The path to a higher level of wellbeing is different for everyone. I witnessed this very clearly in my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where we were trained in all of the dominant nutritional systems. During our training we were encouraged to try each system out for ourselves. It was amazing to watch each different person's experience with different dietary systems. I remember that when we tried the vegan raw foods diet, I personally felt terrible while another person in my group was literally running marathons on a raw foods diet. The motto of the training program was "one person's food is another person's poison". Turns out it's the same with exercise, trauma resolution. spiritual practice and just about everything else. There is no one right way that works for all people and there is no unassailable external authority. In some ways my job is to help people let go of dogmatic beliefs imposed by gurus, healers and the people who write the diet or spiritual books and encourage them realize the authority is actually oneself. That authority is established in the laboratory of your own body, heart and mind. When you attune deeply with yourself, are mindfully present and appropriately responsive and engage the variables that support wellbeing and let go of those which inhibit it, you will heal and and flourish. You just need the right maps and the right support. As one of my teachers used to say; "give your body and mind half a chance and you'll heal". Thats what bodies, hearts and minds do.
For more information on Pablo Das' coaching practice, Please visit Causes of Wellbeing.