Advice from the Skillful Doctor

Question:  My doctor says my cholesterol is high, but I’m afraid to go down the path of taking a statin medication, and I’m very stressed about this whole situation. What do you think I should do?

Answer:  Without knowing your situation in more detail, I can’t necessarily second guess your doctor.  However, what I can say is it’s important for you to put your question in the right perspective.

One who cultivates mindfulness and adopts this holistic view would not, for example, simply exercise to look good, get their heart rate up or lower their blood sugar levels. Taken alone, these are reasonable goals, but they are also narrow, prescriptive and calculated measurements of health. Perhaps, it is more skillful to move, lose weight or lower your LDL cholesterol because they bring you closer to a flow state and support health in a richer, more “holistic” sense.  Living in a flow state means that you are using many more aspects of your mind-body-spirit complex than you would by intellect alone and, as a result, you will achieve a more complete and balanced state of existence. For me, that’s the point and the essential goal.

Therefore, it is important to broaden your perspective when you contemplate your situation. Do not set up your day with exercise, adequate rest and a proper diet because they stave off disease, or make you look and feel better. Similarly, taking a medication or following any other “prescription” should be placed in the same context and one must go beyond the simple “solutions” of medications to achieve the desired results. It is best that whatever your decide that you incorporate these elements into your day because they help put you in a rhythm, the cycle of which is supported by nature. This is skillful living and it generally feels better and is a lot more fun.

How have you taken a holistic view of your health?

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