If you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with cancer or an autoimmune disease, such as myasthenia gravis, it must have been a devastating experience, especially if the doctor has said that the treatment involves many procedures and medications to control and manage the many debilitating disease symptoms and adverse side effects.
A traumatic experience may have a prolonged effect on the human mind: having overwhelming negative emotions; feeling numb and unable to experience pleasure or even pain over a long period of time. The ultimate impact is that it may affect how you think, feel, act, and react in every aspect of your daily life and living.
Healing begins with the mind first. To heal yourself of any illness, you must be both knowledgeable and wise.
THE KNOWLEDGE AND THE WISDOM
Knowledge comes from how your mind perceives and processes any information available. Wisdom, on the other hand, is how you apply the knowledge acquired to cope with any disease and disorder you may have, as well as your everyday life and living. The important implication: being knowledgeable may not necessarily make you wise or wiser.
The bottom line: you need both knowledge and wisdom to heal yourself of any disease.
Given that both knowledge and wisdom come from the thinking mind, your brain is, therefore, first and foremost, the most important of all your body organs. With its billions of brain cells, your brain is not only most complicated but also the major source of all your health issues and problems related.
So, it is important to keep your brain healthy as much as possible in order to be capable of acquiring the knowledge and attaining the wisdom to begin your healing journey.
This is how you may keep your brain healthy:
Keep yourself hydrated because 80 percent of your brain is water. Drink at least 7-8 cups of water per day.
Keep healthy gums, and floss your teeth regularly to prevent any gum disease.
Enhance and improve blood flow to your brain with your 30-minute exercise at least several times a week.
Eat a healthy diet: high-quality lean protein; low-glycemic and high-fiber carbohydrates; natural and not processed foods.
Avoid inflammation and the formation of free radicals in your body.
Avoid sugar and sugary drinks, including all sodas and diet sodas.
Quit smoking, and limit your alcohol consumption to no more than 5 glasses per week.
Manage your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Maintain healthy levels of nutrients, e.g. vitamin D and omega-3s.
Maintain healthy hormones of the thyroid and the testosterone.
Promote good mental health, and avoid anxiety and depression.
De-stress yourself with correct breathing and daily meditation.
Get quality sleep of at least 7-8 hours a night without the help of medication.
Develop meaning and purpose in your life.
In addition to having a healthy brain, you must learn how to empower your thinking mind to seek and acquire the knowledge to heal your disease.
THE QUESTIONS AND THE ANSWERS
Asking many relevant questions and seeking the answers from those questions asked is the way to empower your thinking mind.
There is an old proverb that says: “He who cannot ask cannot live.” Life is all about asking questions and seeking answers from the questions asked-and that is empowering the human mind for knowledge and information.
After a devastating diagnosis of a disease , it is not uncommon for the patient to ask the question: “Why?” Asking this pivotal question can have either a negative or a positive impact on the patient. The question “Why me?” often leads to negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, frustration, hopelessness, and even unfairness; while the question “Why do I have this disease?” may result in the intent to do something positive about the causes of the disease and disorder, leading to healing.
In the Bible, Jesus said: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7) In real life, we must always ask ourselves many thought-provoking questions at all times. Asking questions is self-introspection, which is a positive process of self-intuition and self-reflection, without which there is no self-awareness and hence no personal growth and development. Therefore, asking questions is self-empowering the thinking mind to get the knowledge, which is a tool necessary for any healing process.
Remember, the kind of questions you ask determines the kind of life you are going to live. Your questions often trigger a set of mental answers, which may lead to actions or inactions, based on the choices you are going to make from the answers you have obtained. Your life is always the sum of all the choices you have made in the process. No matter what, life is a journey of self-discovery, a continual process of asking questions and seeking self-awakening answers from all the questions asked. The more questions you ask, the more powerful your thinking mind will become, and the more ready you will be to receive the self-intuitive answers.
The most important thing in questions-and-answers is to experience everything, not just to pursue the knowledge. As a matter of fact, knowledge can help, but it can also hinder. When you only follow what you know, and forget how and what you feel, you can easily be led down the wrong path. Extensive knowledge and even logical reasoning may not necessarily compound true human wisdom.
The bottom line: live every question you are going to ask yourself, and live in its full presence; be patient toward all those questions that you cannot find the answers right away. But true enlightenment may dawn on you one day when you find yourself asking fewer or even no more questions because by then you may already have got all the answers -- that is the ultimate self-awakening.
Therefore, continue the process of self-reflecting all the questions you are going to ask yourself; without this self-reflection, you may continue to exist in the trauma of your disease diagnosis. Now, start asking questions to put yourself on the right path to intuiting the TAO of healing.
Asking all the questions why you have been sick is your positive stepping backward into the past to fathom the ultimate truths of why you might have developed the devastating disease in the first place, thereby instrumental in moving you forward to healing the disease.
It is also important that you willingly accept your fate of getting the disease or disorder as the first step in your healing journey. It is futile to ask the question “Why me?”-which is no more than a prolonged and negative stepping backward into the past with regret and remorse.
Embracing whatever that comes along in your life, no matter what, is life-transformation, which is one of the essentials of healing.
Acceptance and recognition of your current health conditions is your first positive step toward healing. Denial and despair, on the other hand, would only put more roadblocks on your healing journey.
THE TAO OF HEALING
Healing begins with the mind, and not with the body. But the mind can either heal or harm. Therefore, wisdom plays a critical role in the healing process -- more specifically, the TAO wisdom of Lao Tzu.
What exactly is the TAO?
The TAO is the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the ancient sage from China. who was born with grey hair (a sign of wisdom related to old age and experience). He was well known for his profound wisdom, despite the fact that he did not have any disciples or followers, like many ancient sages did.
According to legend, Lao Tzu was just about to leave China for Tibet, because at that time China was a war zone with many warlords fighting one another. At the city gate, riding backward on an ox, he was detained and was told that he could not leave the country unless he had put down in writing all his brilliant ideas on human wisdom. Reluctantly and defiantly, he put down his profound wisdom in only 5,000 words. That was how Tao Te Ching came into existence.
The TAO Essentials
Despite its apparent mysticism and paradoxical nature, the TAO is not difficult to understand.
An empty mind with reverse thinking
All you need is an empty mindset with reverse thinking, which is very different from the conventional way of pre-conditioned thinking.
There was the well-known story of a professor visiting a Zen master and seeking information about Zen (an ancient Asian philosophy evolved from the TAO). The Zen master kept pouring tea into the already filled-up teacup in the professor’s hand, while the professor continued his own non-stop talking. The moral of the story: you must keep an empty mind before you can be open and receptive to any new idea; having a pre-conditioned mindset is a common characteristic of the contemporary human mind.
Living in the present
Live in the now. The past is gone; the future is yet to come. Only the present is real. The past provides you with regrets, while the future gives you unreal expectations.
No expectation and no over-doing
Expectation is a projection of the human mind into the future as "reality to be fulfilled" that requires over-doing, which is doing more than what is necessary. According to the TAO, less is for more, and
more is for less.
Spontaneity and impermanence
Everything follows a natural cycle, such as what goes up must also come down; nothing lasts.
No picking and no choosing
Given that everything is impermanent, including the good and the bad, embrace everything in life and learn from it.
Humility and simplicity
If the Tao can be summarized in one word, that word will be "humility"; with humility, there is no ego-self, and only simplicity in living.
According to Lao Tzu, the essentials of TAO cannot be expressed in words. TAO is not a concept. TAO is something that existed before there were words, before there was human speech, before there was even thought. TAO is something that must be lived and experienced in ordnder to fully appreciate what it is. As a matter of fact, words in themselves are not important because they are not the truths. They do not teach; they only point to the truths, which have to be self-intuited. There is a saying: “The teacher and the taught together create the teaching.” That is to say, teaching is the embodiment of awareness, assimilation, and application of understanding, without which there is no learning or teaching, not to mention true wisdom. In other words, the TAO is all about your own understanding of the self, of others, and of all the things around the self. But nobody can make you understand-not even words-and only your own thinking mind can.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
RECOVERY AND REJUVENATION OF THE BODY
What is recovery?
Recovery is regaining your healthy body systems that might have degenerated and deteriorated along the long journey
The Central Nervous System
The central nervous system -- which is from the base of your back to your brain -- is the most important of all your body organs. Given that it receives information and instructions from both the inside and the outside of your body, it transmits your body’s actions and reactions to your brain.
The spinal column, which is composed of vertebrae and the spinal cord, may shrink as aging continues, causing stooping posture that may indirectly result in heart, lungs, and even vision problems. It is therefore important to keep the spinal column erect for greater vitality and better blood circulation to the brain.
Pay more attention to your breathing, giving it spontaneity to create the internal balance and harmony essential to your health and healing.
In addition, enhance your posture with Chinese health-and-mind exercises, such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong, that focus much on spontaneity and not on extremity, and thus providing the internal life energy that promotes better circulation of blood and oxygen.
The Digestive System
A healthy digestive system is always a sign of living longer. It plays a pivotal role in calorie usage, nutrient absorption, food digestion, and excretion of wastes.
A dysfunctional digestive system, on the other hand, may lead to cramps, constipation, indigestion, gastric ulcers and even stomach cancer.
Eat the right foods and the right amounts. Eat only when you are hungry, and not just because it is time to eat.
Eat a balanced diet to balance your body chemistry.
Fast occasionally for internal cleansing.
In contemporary living, digestive disorders are all too common; many people accept abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn -- all too common everyday digestive disorders -- as a way of life. They simply take antacid tablets, elixirs, and all types of indigestion-relieving drugs and pills as if they were vitamin supplements before and after their meals. That is not the right mindset for healthy digestion.
First of all, taking any dangerous drug hinders the self-healing process because the chemical ingredients in pharmaceutical drugs promote drug-dependence. In addition, the innate self-healing power within the body is considerably compromised due to lack of use. Think twice before you pop in a pill to get rid of your stomach discomfort or indigestion.
The Respiratory System
Breathing is controlled and directed by the mind. Conscious deep breathing is life-giving. Children breathe with their abdomens, but adults breathe with their lungs.
Practice deep breathing through the abdomen and pushing the air into the lungs. Avoid shallow breathing as aging continues.
The Circulatory System
The circulatory system is made up the red blood cells and the white blood cells. The former nourish and clean the tissues of your body; the latter carry antibodies to destroy bacteria and repair damaged tissues. They are like the Yin and the Yang, the two polar forces that must be balanced and in harmony.
The circulatory system is directly connected to the respiration: if breathing stops, the blood circulation also stops; if the breathing is shallow or not deep enough, the blood circulation may reach only certain parts of the body.
To enhance the circulatory system, exercise regularly in addition to breathing right.
The Endocrine System
This system is made up of glands that produce hormones that are responsible for growth, sex, reproduction, and living longer.
For example, the pituitary gland and the pineal control sexual health and the aging process; the adrenal glands (in the kidney) maintain the blood sugar level, and relax respiratory muscles; the thyroid gland (in the neck) is responsible for oxidation and sugar metabolism, affecting the physical growth of the body, including bones and teeth.
To lubricate your thyroid gland, place and move your tongue against your palate before you get out of bed to stimulate the production of saliva, which is known as “the divine water.” Also, massage your neck to stimulate your thyroid.
The process of rejuvenation is the perfect integration between the physical and spiritual aspects of human life -- becoming like a newborn baby again.
A way of restoring harmony and preventing deterioration:
Concentrate on breathing.
Keep the mind peaceful to avoid distractions and pressures from social life, and to create inner harmony.
“Can we breathe as easily as innocent babies?” (10)
“If we are in harmony with the Creator,
we are like newborn babies,
in natural harmony with all.
Our bones are soft, and our muscles are weak,
but our grip is strong and powerful.
Not knowing about sex,
we manifest sexual arousal.
Crying all day long,
we lose not our voice.
With constancy and harmony,
we accomplish all daily tasks
without growing tired.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 55)
“We are all desirous of making the right choices,
fearful of making the wrong ones.
We all pursue what others say is good,
avoiding what they say is bad.
We all follow the popular wisdom of judgment and preference,
instead of the wisdom of the Creator,
requiring us to be undesirous and unperturbed, just like a newborn.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 20)
“Our greatest suffering comes from
not knowing who we are, or to whom we belong.
Our greatest unhappiness comes from
wanting more than what the Creator provides.
Our greatest satisfaction of contentment
is the lasting satisfaction.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 46)
“At birth, we are soft and supple.
At death, we are stiff and hard.
Young plants are tender and pliant.
Dead plants are brittle and dry.
Stiff and inflexible, we are like death.
Soft and yielding, we are like life.
Following the Way,
we become soft and supple.
That is why we always prevail,
because tenderness and flexibility
give us strength and power from the Creator.“
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 76)
The Secrets of Longevity
The secrets are simple to follow:
Freedom from ambitions and desires
Soft and yielding, accepting and embracing whatever situation that may come to pass
Practicng Tai-Chi exercise to clear the mind and strengthen the brain
Promoting good digestion and healthy kidneys with foods
Maintaining and softening blood pressure with diet and exercise to regulate the circulation of blood.
The Inner Smile
Sit comfortably, either on a straight-backed chair, or on the floor. The important thing is for your spine to be in an upright position, and your head arranged to allow the muscles of your neck and throat to feel relaxed.
Take a couple of deep, slow breaths, noticing how your abdomen rises with each inhalation, then relaxes back toward your spine with each exhalation. Let go of thoughts of past or future.
Rest the tip of your tongue gently on the roof of your mouth, somewhere behind, and close to, your upper front teeth. You will find the spot that feels perfect.
Smile gently, allowing your lips to feel full and smooth as they spread to the side and lift just slightly. This smile should be kind of like that of the Mona Lisa smile, or how we might smile -- mostly to ourselves -- if we had just gotten a joke that someone told us several days ago: nothing too extreme, just the kind of thing that relaxes our entire face and head, and makes us start to feel good inside.
Now bring your attention to the space between your eyebrows (the "Third Eye" center). As you rest your attention there, energy will begin to gather. Imagine that place to be like a pool of warm water, and as energy pools there, let your attention drift deeper into that pool - back and toward the center of your head.
Let your attention rest now right in the center of your brain -- the space equidistant between the tips of your ears. This is a place referred to in Taoism as the Crystal Palace -- home to the pineal, pituitary, thalamus and hypothalamus glands. Feel the energy gathering in this powerful place.
Allow this energy gathering in the Crystal Palace to flow forward into your eyes. Feel your eyes becoming "smiling eyes." To enhance this, you can imagine that you are gazing into the eyes of the person who you love the most, and they are gazing back at you ... infusing your eyes with this quality of loving-kindness and delight.
Now, direct the energy of your smiling eyes back and down into some place in your body that would like some of this healing energy. It might be a place where you have recently had an injury or illness. It might be a place that just feels a little numb or "sleepy," or simply some place you have not recently explored. In any case, smile down into that place within your body, and feel that place opening to receive your smile-energy.
Continue to smile into that place within your body, for as long as you would like ... letting it soak up smile-energy like a sponge soaks up water.
When this feels complete, direct your inner gaze, with its smile-energy, into your navel center, feeling warmth and brightness gathering now in your lower belly.
Release the tip of your tongue from the roof of your mouth, and release the smile (or keep it if it now feels natural).
Copyright© by Stephen Lau