Most of us frantically try to avoid negative feelings in life. This leads us to overlook meaningful lessons that we ought to learn and understand. We'd do well to listen to the gentle, mild-mannered call of our soul, especially in times of difficulty from which no one is exempt

All value systems based on science are the epitome of optimised knowledge.

Of information that is fundamental to our life – and, also to deriving, organising, synthesising or moulding it through other avenues of knowledge, viz., biology, physics, chemistry, maths, medicine, psychology, philosophy or economics, among other allied subjects.

Such disciplines are not representative of any skewed dogma as certain adherents would believe.

As philosopher Plato said, "Knowledge becomes evil if the aim be not virtuous."

Knowledge tells us more about us and the world than any other rationalisation that may have existed before, or is being exemplified today. Yet, it is imperative to state that every system founded, in times past, was first classified as science.

Take for example, Freudian psychology, originally expounded as a transformed off-shoot of applied philosophy of the mind: a roseate form of emerging thought. Agreed, that, Sigmund Freud's refined ideas were regarded by most thinkers of the era as science. With the emergence of modern medicine, it was, however, labelled as something beneath science, or far from the perimeter of science and scientific thought.

This was nothing short of a catch-22 for proponents– a nascent field of possibility for scientific minds – to plumb the human psyche from its vast depths and expound its mind-body connect.

This bids fair to the most exciting scientific research of our time; one that has ushered in a whole, new discipline called psychoneuroimmunology.

The speciality resides in the precincts, or expanse, where our mind and body interact. Its discoveries are exhilarating.

It elucidates that our body is composed of two distinct physical defence systems – the first is controlled by the most primeval portion of the brain that provides us with the 'alarm bell' in the presence of physical danger, or what is referred to as the 'fight-or-flight' response, characterised by elevated levels of epinephrine and other stress chemicals like cortisol.

The second physical aspect is our immune system, the 'firewall' that protects us from invading Trojans, viz., pathogens (detrimental viruses, or bacteria, and other microorganisms), in addition to certain fugitive, damaging cells that trigger cancer.

The landmark upshot is simple, also profound – the physical duo is linked from the inside out.

When the fight-or-flight response is prompted, the immune mechanism is repressed.

This is reciprocal. It only means that our corporeal body may not be able to fight a battle, on two fronts, at the same time.

It waits for one hostile pattern to abate, in order to combat the other with good effect, and vice versa.

You'd think of a brace of common examples in the context.

A typical achievement-oriented behaviour, or Type-A personality, is a fabled invite to a sustained fight-or-flight reality – the outcome is often a trigger for illness. However, the whole purport is not without paradox. If you thought that passive, submissive or timid personalities (Type-C) were safe, or exempt, from such subtle upheavals, you'd be wrong.

The docile personas are just as prone to ill-health.

The best thing to do is promote, or hone, the Type-B behaviour pattern – in the Zen middle path – with a sense of deliberate focus to attaining harmony and good, optimal health in the long-term, while keeping illness at bay.

This is easier said than done – yet, trying to be a part of such a personality type is worth its weight in gold, more so when you inculcate good tenets, viz., a balanced diet, with a good mix of nutrients, a regular exercise regimen, yoga, meditation, with augmented restraint on alcohol and nicotine and moderate, judicious use of coffee and tea.

There is also a philosophical connect between our personality and our soul. When we rebuff our emotions habitually, we also upset our self-esteem, our personality'sinsignia.

Likewise, when we stifle our emotions, we also lose our touch with our inner self, including the ability to 'reflect' with our soul. It is, after all, our soul that makes us human.

You and I become humane only when we find a deep link, or empathy, with our soul. If we don't connect, for whatever reason, we lose our accord with who we are, or what we are.

We will continue to mechanically exist through reflex action, not live a vibrant, conscious life with our mind, body and soul.

The soul is not a fixated entity. It represents a quality, a dimension of living a full life and accepting ourselves.

It expresses our values, beliefs and the 'hub' of being.

When we care and respond to the call of our soul, we express oneself.

We will also connect with it. What's more, we will consciously experience life and watch, or monitor, our reactions that take place in the deep recesses of our inner being. We glow with harmony.

Life is a process. It may be viewed as either positive, or negative, depending upon how you look at, or sense, the essence of living; not mere existence.

Most of us frantically try to avoid negative feelings in life. This leads us to overlook meaningful lessons that we ought to learn and understand. We'd do well to listen to the gentle, mild-mannered call of our soul, especially in times of difficulty from which no one is exempt.

Most of us dread about troubles – of what we must do to free ourselves from trepidation, pain and grief.

The best thing we'd do is fully recognise and 'bond' with them – the pangs of our soul. This will bring awareness. It will eventually help our whole personality to shape solutions to our problems. It will 'revup' our inner strength – something we can carry forward with a purpose.

When we learn to regard the soul with an open mind, we will be able to find what has gone wrong.

In so doing, we can turn around failures, disappointments, illnesses and other equally agonising feelings, including despair, misery and anxiety.

Nidamboor is a wellness physician, independent researcher and author

A version of this article appears in the print on September 20 2021, of The Himalayan Times.