Our understanding of how cells operate, how they communicate, how everything is coordinated in the body, how systemic responses are created and coordinated is not a given. Everyday we learn more about the how, the why, the when, and the what about all the components of the body on the macro, micro, and the nano scales.
Based on these computer generated graphics of how organelles function, how the infrastructure of cells is built, then dismantled and rebuilt to meet our changing needs, how proteins are synthesized, how energy is created and transported reveals a tiny little world operating within each cell, across hundreds of billions of cells which comprise our body.
It is these components which generate energy sustaining life, fight infections, rebuild damage, replace dying and dead cells maintaining our health, and perform many more tasks which we still do not fully comprehend at an individual level nor on the scale of the entire system.
We are never aware of this level of function in our body. Yet this is the activity which maintains our life, our function, our abilities every moment of every day and night from before we are born to the moment we die. It is only when everything isn’t working perfectly, when everything isn’t working as a whole that we come to the realization that there is another level of reality to us, that our conscious minds are not as ‘in control’ as we assume, that we are indeed alive on other levels, that it is in fact at the smallest scale within each and every cell in the our body that our a-live-ness arises.
We still do not have fully functional models to explain the abilities of Shaolin monks nor of individuals like Wim Hof who have trained themselves to achieve conscious control of functions which are typically believed to be outside of conscious control. Yet we exude an attitude as if ‘we know’.
Ask any health professional – a doctor, a chiropractor, a physio, a nurse, a dietitian, a psychologist – and they will all express hypotheses of how and why things work and happen, but no one admits that these are only working hypotheses. Truth is… we may know a lot, but how the body does what it does, and what is its potential, and what are its limits, we really have no idea. Problem is no one wants to admit it for fear of looking foolish because we are all supposedly professionals, experts, know-it-alls in our fields who have spent years and years researching, studying, experimenting, and still seem nowhere close to coming to the end of what there is to learn.
Problem with not admitting how little we know, is that we tend to fall for our beliefs, that what we do know is what is, causing us to become entrenched in our beliefs, ingrained in a false sense of security that we do in fact know something, let alone anything. The risk is that if we become rigid in our capacity to imagine, to explore, to remain open to alternatives then we will be unable to accept new concepts, unwilling to research new concepts for fear that they may violate our current comprehension of health, well-being, and healing.
If we actually knew, then we should be able to explain how Shaolin monks do what they do, and how Wim Hof does what he does. We should be able to replicate and translate those skills to a wide variety of other applications. We would be teaching those skills. We cannot, we do not, at least not at the moment. Will we ever? Who knows, but that is what is exciting: we haven’t even begun to scratch the scratch on the surface of our potential.
In the meantime, we should appreciate that we are only beginning to learn about the body, that we are nowhere close to knowing and being able to explain everything about the body. Until we do, we should remain skeptical about all research, all breakthrough technologies, medications, medical interventions, and especially about fitness programs published as if they are conclusions written in stone without room for debate. We need to remain open to new hypotheses and open to the fact that some will be right and some will be wrong, and to progress we need both and we will run into both. We need an open mind to be willing to experiment, to explore, to enjoy the process of discovering… what exactly am I capable of?