A few weeks ago, during a qigong training, the teacher read out loud the above quote from the Hua Hu Jing. He wanted to remind us that aligning with our virtuous and spiritual nature takes “active, conscious self-transformation”. In other words, it takes great effort and willingness to look at the source of our own suffering, whether it’s physical, mental or emotional. I know for myself that if I want to move forward and evolve in my life, there is no other way than to look inward and take responsibility for my thoughts and actions.
You may have noticed, especially if you have come in to see me for treatment, that much of what I teach involves the mind and self-cultivation practices. I have come to understand, through my training and practice in Chinese medicine and qigong, that healing is much more than physical. Of course, there is healing on the physical level but there is much more to it than that. I would be doing an enormous disservice to all of those who come to see me as patients if I only focused on the physical aspects of healing in my clinic.
The true aim of Chinese medicine is not only to heal the physical body but also to encourage one to grow personally and become a person of great virtue: one who embodies honesty, trust, authenticity, benevolence, inner peace, and wisdom.
There is a saying that "the mind guides qi." This means that our thoughts and intentions have the power to incur great change in all aspects of our being and those around us. That said, as we consciously become aware of and take responsibility for self-serving thoughts, the mind guides qi to be more in alignment with the Tao ( to be in alignment with our virtuous and spiritual nature). This has physical, mental and emotional implications.
Here is an example from my own life: It is my tendency to be quiet and listen rather than to express my point of view, especially in a bold manner. I notice that when I keep my opinion to myself when in my heart I know that I must say something, I experience tightness in my throat and belly and can become frustrated and irritable. When I let this build up over time there are all kinds of symptoms that show up physically, mentally and emotionally. During these times when I am resisting what my life is calling me to do, I feel much less connected to the calm and spiritual nature underneath. When I do this I am acting from fear and self-serving intentions.
- Will I offend or hurt someone if I express my opinion?
- What if I "stir the pot" and make things more complicated?
- I am afraid to have this conversation because it is uncomfortable
Here is what I have found: When I express my opinion or give advice when I am feeling called to, instead of holding it in out of fear, I feel amazing. I feel lighter, more inspired, fearless, less tense and FREE. When this happened recently with a family member, there was a giant weight lifted off of both of our shoulders. A simple but difficult situation in which I expressed my own thoughts, changed both of us and the rest of our family. This was acting out of virtue and fearlessness, allowing myself not to be resistant to what life was calling me to do.
I want to remind you now that aligning with our virtuous and spiritual nature does not happen without conscious-self transformation. We must willingly show up to our challenges, and do what we are called to do if we want to evolve as an individual.
As I see so often in the clinic, many physical issues start in the mental and emotional aspects of our tendencies to resist the flow of life. For you, it may be to have more fun, to be more organized, to rest more or to take more action.
No matter what your symptoms are, physical, mental or emotional:
- What are you resisting?
- What are you afraid of?
- How does it feel in your body and mind as you resist?
- Are you acting out of fear?
- What can you, right now, take responsibility for that you haven't addressed?