Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A thought concerning balance and longevity from the ancient Chinese

As I've said on numerous occasions, the essence of Jewish Medicine is to bring oneself into balance, internally and externally, with oneself, (through diet and how one conducts oneself) and with one's surroundings. The Rambam in Hilchos Deyos teaches us that one should direct one's heart to Know Ha-Shem, and that it is impossible to know Ha-Shem if one is sick, hungry or in pain. By bringing oneself into balance, one becomes finer tuned and more sensitive to what is called in Kabbalah: "hevel halev" the breath or utterance of the heart. Ha-Shem CONSTANTLY speaks to us, but few of us know to listen and fewer of us know HOW to listen. Unfortunately, there are two problems: first is tuning into the correct frequency, and second is learning how to listen to what's important to hear and not be overwhelmed by the cacophony of noise that bombards us constantly.

It is interesting to note that what originally attracted me to Chinese Medicine, was that very similar vision of seeking balance and pursuing longevity. I happened to notice an interesting passage in the very first chapter of the classic of classics of Chinese medicine: The Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic: Simple Questions,quoted in Bob Flaws and James Lake, MD's text, "Chinese Medical Psychiatry" page 85) that I would like to share with you. Like many great works, in many cultures including Judaism, (The Kuzari, for example) learning is structured in the form of a dialogue. So, too, The Nei Jing is structured in this form, as a dialogue between Huang Di (The Yellow Emperor) and his trusted ministers and physicians, most commonly Qi Bo. The passage goes as follows:

Huang Di asked: "I've heard that in days of old everyone lived 100 years without showing the usual signs of aging. In our time, however (and this was about 2300 years ago) people age prematurely, living only 50 years. Is this due to a change in environment, or is it because people have lost the correct way of life?"

Qi Bo replied: In the past, people practiced the Dao (the correct way to live). They understood the principles of balance, of Yin and Yang, as represented by the transformation of energies of the universe. Thus they formulated practices such as Dao Yin (guiding and stretching)to promote the flow of Qi, and meditation to help maintain and harmonize themselves with the universe. The ate a balanced diet at regular times, rose and retired at regular hours, avoided over-stressing their bodies and minds, and refrained from overindulgence of all kinds. They maintained well-being of body and mind. Thus iti s not surprising that they lived to over 100 years.

These days, people have changed their way of life. They drink wine as though it were water, indulge excessively in destructive activities, drain their Jing (essence) and deplete their Qi (vital connectivity). They do not know the secret of conserving their energy and vitality. Seeking emotional excitement and momentary pleasures, people disregard the natural rhythm and order of the universe. They fail to regulate their lifestyle and diet, and sleep improperly. So it is not surprising that they look old at 50 and die soon after."

Food for thought....

1 comment:

  1. well said people have changed their way of life.hey drink wine as though it were water, indulge excessively in destructive activities, drain their Jing (essence) and deplete their Qi (vital connectivity). this main reason of this type of thing is the disputes in life between a married couple גירושין