We all are in a state of becoming; our future health is determined by present state of mind and balance of inner/outer medicine. Our internal environment must coordinate with the world around us, and, what we put in from outside must not impede our innate healing ability. But, how can we DO that? How do we do health? In this article I will suggest we interfere with our health as little as possible.
Science knows that our bodies stay balanced through homeostasis where all our vital functions are performed involuntarily. We breathe, digest, pump blood, receive nutrients and expel waste normally and naturally and mostly involuntarily. This is great because this leaves our conscious mind to plan, create, investigate, what the world of experience has to offer. We are more than flesh and bone, are we not? There is an authentic self that experiences this body.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes that this unconscious healing energy is within us and only needs to be allowed to work. The nucleated opposites of Yin/Yang are within our substance ( cells ) and function ( what cells do ). Both active and passive natural cycles are within us ; to be a Human Being is a Natural phenomenon. Because we are natural, to want to live forever is a waste of time ; we have to live and die everyday.
In TCM and Chinese Cosmology, the Yin/Yang energies come from WuJi ( Without limit / Void ) – so, something ( Yin/Yang polarity )comes from nothing ( WuJi Non-polar). Our mind is like this; we have no thoughts and then one mysteriously enters our Mind, and then another, and another. WuJi is pure potential and formlessness - the nourishing parental energy of all things in the Universe. It is where all of us come from. Interestingly, the healing capability of human beings is in no-thing and rarely in something specific.
I believe we can empirically understand, like medical science has to a large degree, the underpinnings of biology, physiology of humans, but, rarely does a medicine heal Human Beings. Medicine we take externally mostly allows us to feel better so we can heal ourselves – like a band aid that keeps a wound covered and clean; it was not the band aid that closed the wound, it was nature ( and we didn't even have to try! )
Where premature disease comes in, is with not living authentically. (Please see previous article for more on cognitive dissonance and the feedback loop). Many of the contemplative spiritual traditions have taught Meditation/Mindfullness is THE means by which we can achieve health and access higher forms of consciousness and connection to the void. Emptying the mind can allow the natural cycles to dominate, instead of, the inauthentic conditioned mind. In the conditioned mind ones biological processes becomes altered by the unnecessary interference.; how can healing take place in a stress environment with no way to balance it? It is our right as human beings to do nothing!! We have to rest in order to develop. Something comes from nothing; Yin/Yang can alternate in a healthy current and amplitude.
We can try an experiment: Breathe in – then breathe all that air out until nothing is left .....
breathe in again....
Did you notice the quality of your breath when you breathed in again? When the lungs are empty then they fill naturally and fully.
From no air to air. How do we get that relaxed that our health just takes care of itself? Where we have no mind, so that, a radiant human mind can shine?
Do anything mindfully and nothing mindfully. Be and breathe natural. Over time relaxing gets easier and nothing becomes something faster.
Massage, Yoga, Tai Chi can also encourage the mindful relaxation that promotes health. Along with meditation, they are highly effective means to connect with the void – to help empty our vessel so that it can be filled with natures healing breath. Nothing is hard to achieve, but, Is worthwhile, free, and always available.
by Rina Thibault
I like using stories to begin exploring concepts and ideas. In this month's article, this story may be familiar for some of you. It is the story of the mustard seed. At the time of Buddha Siddharta Gautama, people were getting into vipassana meditation and people all over India searched long and travelled far to meet him. He was known as the greatest healer of the Mind. Rumors had it that he could “heal” you and one's own mind. There was a woman in a village who was struck with sadness and had a hard time grieving over her baby son who had died a few days earlier. She was going around the village cradling him asking for help. “Please help my baby, he is very sick!” she would cry. “Your baby is dead! You must give him a funeral!” answered the village.
But she refused to believe. Then, someone suggested that maybe the Buddha could help her. So, she went out and traveled far and wide to find him.
She eventually arrived at a town where he was giving a discourse on meditation. After the discourse, she went up to Buddha in tears, “Please sir, I have heard great things about you and your miracles. Please can you help cure my baby!” Buddha replied, “Yes, I can help you.” The woman was ecstatic. “Oh Thank you sir, what do I need to do?!”
“You must bring me a mustard seed from a house where no one has died.” he replied. With that, she ran off house to house, trying to get a mustard seed from a house where no one has died.
“Please you must help me, Buddha said he can cure my baby with a mustard seed!” she cried to a man.
“Sure I have a mustard seed I can give you.” replied the man.
“Oh, but sir, but it must come from where no one has died.” she said.
“Well, my father just passed away a few months ago. I am sorry I can't help you.” he said. House after house, it was the same reply, mustard seed available but someone has died; cousin, uncle, sister, mother. It seemed everyone she has met has come into contact with death. After a few hours, the woman realized the unshakable truth- the impermanence of one's own life.
She began planning her son's proper burial. After her son's fire burial, she went back to see Buddha and told him of her realization. And she began her training in Vipassana meditation.
This story beautifully demonstrates are natural tendency to want to grasp on to old experiences. As well as, our dependency on others to help us deal with changes in our lives. But how does one deal with change by themselves? Because it is a very difficult task and can seem an unfruitful and hard journey. But One doesn't have to look too far. It begins with using an ancient technique, called breath awareness. You may have already come into contact with this technique either through meditation classes, yoga, tai chi, etc. It is a very simple and effective tool. But how exactly does this work?
Bringing our attention to our breathing helps focus our mind to the present moment and when we have a regular practice of breath awareness or meditation we can begin to develop the strength, courage and determination to calm our minds with the control of the breath. With regular practice, our moving thoughts become quieter and start to move to the backgrounds of our awareness, giving us a state of peace and contentment. Nothing else matters but the the present state. Change comes and goes, just like the breath, it is impermanent, it comes and goes. With every exhale there is an inhale, and with every inhale, there is an exhale.
Next month we will begin to offer every Sunday morning meditation from 8:45 AM -9:45 AM. This is a great time to try it out and practice! Hope to see you there!