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
JUST LIKE EATING A MEAL
Living the rest of your life is just like eating a meal, especially you are advanced in years.
Before your start your meal, say your grace. (Just like being grateful and thankful that you just don’t die and that you can still have this meal.)
Before you pick up your food, take a minute or two to still your mind. There is no need to hurry; you’ve all the time in the world to finish this meal. (Just like being conscious of living in the now.)
There is no right or wrong about eating the food in front of you -- eating is just a process, a way of living and surviving, just like breathing in and out. (Just like knowing that now you don't need to eat to socialize, to relieve stress, to satisfy your food cravings, or to make yourself feel better -- you eat simply because you just don’t die.)
Look at the food in front of you. Notice the color, the smell, and the texture of the food. (Just like being conscious of the people and the happenings around you.)
Now, begin eating. No matter how small the bite of food you have, take at least two bites. Take your first bite. Chew it very slowly but thoroughly, noticing and enjoying your actual sensory experience of chewing and tasting. Chew every morsel of food to explore the differences in their taste, texture, and smell. (Just like enjoying whatever that is still available to you that you still find enjoyable.)
Continue to eat in silence without any distraction. (Just like you continue to live without being distracted by what might happen tomorrow.)
Am I wiser?
Am I enlightened?
Enlightenment is an endless process of knowing and understanding anything and everything that is simply there and is available to all since the beginning of time. It is like knowing that at sunrise you will see sunlight as long as you open your eyes; its presence is permanent-but you just have to open your eyes to see its presence, and even the blind can just feel the presence of the sunlight.
Li Ching-Yuan, a Chinese herbalist, martial artist, and tactical advisor, known for his extreme longevity of well over 200 years -- which far exceeded the longest confirmed lifespan of 122 years of a French woman -- gave his profound wisdom on enlightenment:
“Before I had studied Zen for thirty years,
I saw mountains as mountains,
and waters as waters.
When I arrived with a more intimate knowledge,
I saw that mountains are not mountains,
and waters are not waters.
But now that I have got its very substance,
I am at rest.
For it is just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.”
Enlightenment is effortless and spontaneous. So, if you strive to know and understand anything and everything, the enlightenment may never come. But that does not matter because you may already have the wisdom to see that “mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters.” The truth of the matter is that your mental capability to see “mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters”-which is the enlightenment itself -- may or may not come to you now or even for the rest of your life.
Enlightenment may still be important to you, but not that important now. After all, many of us may all pass through life with some wisdom but without really attaining our self-enlightenment. Having said that, it is important that at least you see “mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters”-which is already profound human wisdom.
Yes, illusion and delusion may go on indefinitely, but enlightenment may take only a moment. It is the very moment of consciousness without being self-conscious.
YOU JUST DON'T DIE!
THE TAO OF LIVING FOR LIFE
THE TAO OF LIVING LONGER
Copyright© by Stephen Lau