The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. -W.B. Yeats
Although I think the adrenal system tends to be overshadowed in the wake of heart disease and cancer, I have given explicit focus to it. With half the population suffering from some condition needing the adrenal cortex, I think that makes it just as important because it’s chances of effecting you are greater. Just look at all of the conditions that cortisone are used for: poison ivy, asthma, eczema, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, severe allergic reactions and even in some cancer therapies. Doesn’t it then seem logical that part of the underlying problem could be a result of a problem with the adrenal system? How about a refresher in those little glands resting on top of your kidneys? First you have the adrenal medulla shuttling out adrenaline and it’s derivatives. Next you have the adrenal cortex with cortisone and it’s derivatives:
- glucocorticoids (sugar metabolism and sugar)
- mineralocorticoids (salt balance)
- precursors to sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone)
Striving to balance the medulla (fight-or flight sympathetic nervous system) and the cortex (parasympathetic nervous system) are then a key to adrenal health (although I seem to notice that balance in general is key to not only health but life). And there is no magic pill to solve this problem. Want to know the side-effects of the cortisone and it’s relatives that you have to keep taking? Well I’ll tell you anyways: diabetes, osteoporosis, edema, mood swings, stomach ulcers, and adrenal suppression. The adrenal glands aren’t the only ones that suffer, diseases of adrenal cortex insufficiency can effect:
- thyroid gland
We therefore should work to treat the entire group, rather than independently. What does Cowan recommend doing for the Fourfold Path:
- Nutrition: pay special attention to nutrients imperative to adrenal function like cholesterol (all of the adrenal cortex’s key players are derived from cholesterol and this conversion requires the fat-soluble vitamins), vitamin B6 (glucocorticoid regulation- raw/fermented meats and dairy), vitamin C complex (unheated fresh, organic fruits/veggies, sprouted seeds or fermented foods), sodium (those with depleted adrenal function need liberal quantities of salt) and fat-soluble vitamins (conversion cholesterol and assimilation minerals needed for the entire endocrine system). Because stress is a key component, note that overeating (no matter the quality) can be a source of stress as well.
- Therapeutics: check The Fourfold Path to Healing
- Movement: With adrenal problems the system is usually revved up, so practicing movements that ground the body are a wise idea, as well as practicing breathing (deeper breaths). This could include some of my favorite activities like walking uphill or hiking up mountains.
- Meditation: Since anxiety and fear tend to be problematic here, practice thoughts that lengthen perspective. Look to make choices that satisfy/are useful for the long-term rather than a short-term want.
Closing bit from Cowan that I love because my spiritual training so often focuses on finding my true-self and not to cave to conditioned thinking.
Follow your inner guide-not your parents, not the church, not our culture, not government nor anyone or anything else. Don’t live life how it ‘should’ be, but how your inner guide says.