Friday, October 28, 2011

As You Grow Older, You Can Grow Wiser and Healthier.

Modern Western medicine is beginning to accept the benefits of ancient Chinese experience. We, though the help of Eastern and Western science, can benefit from both.

I have taken the following suggestions from Kenneth S. Cohen’s excellent book, “The Way of Qigong and the Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing”. According to this concept, the goal of each human is to become a wise and healthy “Sage”.

1. The sage is true to his or her nature, neither compulsively following nor rebelling against rules of conduct. The sage is capable of expressing emotions, including anger, as necessary and appropriate to the situation. He or she practices self-acceptance and is thus more accepting and understanding of others. The first step in self-acceptance is giving oneself permission to feel what one is feeling, especially if it is anger; then inner resistance and friction is lessened and much of one’s anger is already gone.

2. The epidemic of heart disease in the West may be symptomatic of our society’s preoccupation with “enjoyment or excitement”. Excitement places sudden demands on the heart. The heart is over-stimulated by our quick pace of life: by listening to and watching frightening new reports, TV violence, and having an over-infatuation with sex and romance. The most extreme form of excitement and thus the most damaging emotion for the heart is emotional shock, whether from a negative event such as the death of a loved one or from a positive event, like winning the sweepstakes. The heart likes peace and quiet. It needs a feeling of security in order to keep an even pace as it pumps energy through the body. To enhance the feeling of security, calm down, take long walks, turn off the TV and cut down on the news.

3. The spleen is damaged by pensiveness. Your inner energy becomes knotted and stuck. Pensiveness means excess concentration, and obsessive preoccupation with a concept or subject. Excess empathy also harms the spleen. Empathy is similar to compassion. The American Heritage Dictionary defines compassion as “Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.” Empathy means that we also identify with that person’s suffering. Empathy is considered excessive and damaging to the spleen when we lose a clear recognition of boundaries, when we feel distraught and upset by someone else’s problems. Pensiveness and excess empathy, the two qualities that harm the spleen and our health, are related. When we are pensive we are preoccupied with ourselves; we are overly empathic when we are preoccupied with others.

4. Each of the major internal organs can be damaged by emotional excess. However, there are also positive emotions that can help heal the organs. The lungs are healed by “righteousness”, the sense of living with integrity and dignity, which gives your self and others a kind of psychological “elbow room”, room to live and breathe. The kidneys are healed by wisdom, by a clear perception and self-understanding, a sure antidote for irrational fears. The anger of the liver is mended with kindness. The excitability of the heart is balanced by peace, calm, and orderliness. The spleen is healed by trust, faith, honesty, confidence, and a deep belief in oneself. Trust is openness and acceptance, a feeling that emerges when one finds a common ground with another.

5. And my final advice: Lose your mind and come to your senses! Spend more time in nature, seeing nature as a positive model of health and balance. The earth supports all kinds of life, impartially and without attachment. Let your mind become quiet and your senses open to the environment. Such a cure may seem too simple, non-technical, perhaps even naïve. However, it works!

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