At the most fundamental level, our schools are supposed to teach us two things: how to maintain health and how to make money. They don’t do either but this a topic for another time.
Generally speaking, modern human is less equipped to take care of themselves then ever before. The previous generations used to pass knowledge of how to prepare foods, maintain shelter and take self care better than we do now and there is a real and urgent need that we start taking more personal responsibility for our long term health.
Chinese medicine theory and knowledge can fill this need very well. Both are based on hundreds of years of observation and rooted in common sense. The conclusion Chinese medicine offers is pretty simple: “in the body, there is either ease or dis-ease”. Ease is created and maintained by living a balanced lifestyle based on a healthy routine. This lifestyle provides low stress, good (8 hours of) daily sleep, healthy nutrition, daily exercise and a purpose in life that goes beyond of just having a family or satisfying one’s instincts.
All of this sounds so simple and that is why we underestimate it’s power. But if you look one by one at the items above you’ll notice that several may be missing from your owh life. Often none of them are fully exercised… most people break their routine for weekends and then they don’t get proper rest, they change the sleep hours or put their exercise on hold until some other day.
Or you may have a good, steady routine, good sleep, great diet but missing the purpose, focusing always on yourself instead of serving a purpose, caring for your community, “making your circle bigger”. That lifestyle has profound consequences on one’s health as parts of our “reasons for being here” are missing. As Chinese observe, everything in nature serves something else. Once it stops serving, the thing starts dying…
As mentioned before, health means “health on physical, intelectual, emotional, spiritual and sexual plane”. This means that we exercise all of these layers, not just the physical one. The intellect dulls when neglected and so does our emotional self. Our health requires that we practice empathy, engage compassion or else they will wither just like your biceps will atrophy when not used. And empathy and compassion are as important in making us “human” as are toned muscles and a sharp mind.
The “use it or loose it” applies to spiritual health as well. When a person picks up their semiautomatic weapon and becomes a mass-shooter they are not emotionally unwell – their dis-ease is of spiritual kind. They have no connection to fellow humans, no understanding that their victims are part of the community of humans, fathers, mothers, children of others. Seeing other people as just numbers is not an emotional defect. It is a spiritual one.
So how do we energize our bodies and maintain our health? We need to change our choices in life. We need to start matching our behavior to our design.