Illuminating the Dao 悟道

Illness and Wellness:

There Are Two Sides To Every Story

By Michelle Wood

I’m sure I’m not telling you something you don’t already know by pointing out that, like yin and yang, illness and wellness are two endings to the same story.

When my son was young, we bought him books in which he was able to choose the progress of the story. As he read along, if he made one choice, he was directed to a particular page and read on, and if he made another choice, he was to go to a different particular page and read on. He was able to follow a seemingly infinite number of different stories within the same book. If he didn’t like the ending, he went back, made a different choice, and read to a different ending.

It was similar to the workings of the universe in that there were stories within stories that depended upon choices and went in opposite directions that reflected each other like a pair of mirrors on opposite walls, those arrangements that seem to lead your gaze into infinity.

One mirror could be labeled Wellness. Look into this mirror and see what your body reflects when your mind is calm and your beliefs are in harmony with your thoughts and feelings. The other mirror could be labeled Illness, and in this mirror you can see in your body the reflection of stress, worry, and the physical result of conflicts in thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

In view of the changing nature of the universe, including the mini-universe housed within the human body, it is impossible to maintain one particular level of wellness, or even illness. Wellness gets worse and illness gets better, one hopes, but if you live “in the middle,” you may avoid many of the extremes of bad health.

Consider this “living in the middle” advice from the writing “Pair” from Everyday Tao by Deng Ming-Dao:

“Dui. Pair, opposites, parallel sentences or couplets on scrolls hung opposite one another, to face on another, to correspond with, to suit, to match, to agree. Opposites are really pairs. We cannot have one side without the other.”

“The ancients believed that all things are divided into opposites, and that it is the interrelationships of these opposites that cause all phenomena in the world.

“We have a male side and a female side. We have a left and a right. There is up and down. Without opposites, we literally would not exist.

“The trouble comes when we are unable to view things with moderation. We all want to be rich, but we don’t want to be poor. We all want happiness, but we shun disappointment.

“That is why the word dui is so important. It reminds us that opposites are not mutually exclusive but are actually pairs. If we have sadness, then happiness will come, too. If we have love, we will also have to deal with conflict. For all our learning, we will have days where our philosophical outlook with be tried to its breaking point. For all the peace of meditation, we will still have to face work, illness, and stress. There is no path in life that only stands on one side of a pair and never and never ventures into the other. The sooner we accept – and work with that – the better off we will be.

“That is why the way of Tao is the middle way. We cannot have one side without the other in life: it is wisdom to strike a balance between them both.”

Applied to wellness, the aim then is to know how to negotiate the extremes you will encounter as a matter of daily life. Encourage wellness while accepting illness, is an integral part of being in the Dao.

One of the ways to change illness into wellness is to rewrite your story. In the world of energy and consciousness practices, this is called “writing your own script.” Everyday we are being scientifically shown that our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are the building blocks behind every physical manifestation that appears in our body. You have the power to create illness out of the natural order that is health, or to create health out of the manifestation of disorder that is disease.

And, by the way, you cannot use genetic risk as an excuse. You are in complete control over whether those “at risk” genetic traits manifest – or not! Illness is your body’s way of sending you a message. The more chronic and severe your illness, the greater urgency of the message you need to hear about how to take care of yourself!

You may have a genetic marker for, say, heart disease. If you live a stressed out life, you don’t take care of yourself mentally and emotionally and spiritually, you don’t pay enough attention to your nutrition to avoid junk foods and chemical additives, you neglect to participate in healthy exercise, you will probably manifest heart disease at some time during your life.

However, if you have the same genetic marker that puts you at risk for heart disease, but you live a relaxed and happy life doing work that nourishes your soul as well as your wallet, you remain mentally active in pursuits that you enjoy, you read labels and care enough to eat organic foods, and practice qigong or some other fun and healthy mind-body-spirit exercise, you will not experience heart disease.

It is that simple. It really is.

The problem is that we have not believed this nor been educated in it for very long. Most of us grew to adulthood following the old paradigm that taught the separation of mind from body, and we are now looking in that mirror and seeing the result of our beliefs and practices: premature aging and chronic health problems.

However, it’s not too late. It is never too late to turn it around. It can be as simple as ceasing to do destructive practices. Without the challenges of unhealthy interference from stress, poor nutrition, and lack of positive thoughts and attention, the body will naturally heal itself and develop wellness.

You can get there sooner if you become proactive. Listen to your body, pay attention to the messages it’s sending. Once you receive these messages, rewrite your script, taking positive steps mentally, emotionally, and physically, unifying yourself into one positive Whole to actually create health and wellness.

Today I quote from John C. H. Wu’s translation of the Daodejing, verse 27 to show how you can use the teachings of the Dao to create wellness. I especially liked this translation of this verse because it makes mention of Inner Light. This is the title of The Beatles musical rendition of Daodejing verse 47 in which they sing about “knowing without knowing” and “doing without doing.”

The Inner Light – George Harrison

Verse 27:

善行无辙迹,善言无瑕谪;善数不用筹策;善闭无关楗而不可开,善结无绳约而不可解。是以圣人常善救人,故无弃人;常善救物,故无弃物。是谓袭明。故善人者,不善人之师;不善人者,善人之资。不贵其师,不爱其资,虽智大迷,是谓要妙。

GOOD walking leaves no track behind it;
Good speech leaves no mark to be picked at;
Good calculation makes no use of counting-slips;
Good shutting makes no use of bolt and bar,
And yet nobody can undo it;
Good tying makes no use of rope and knot,
And yet nobody can untie it.

Hence, the Sage is always good at saving men,
And therefore nobody is abandoned;
Always good at saving things,
And therefore nothing is wasted.

This is called “following the guidance of the Inner Light.”

Hence, good men are teachers of bad men,
While bad men are the charge of good men.
Not to revere one’s teacher,
Not to cherish one’s charge,
Is to be on the wrong road, however intelligent one may be.

This is an essential tenet of the Tao.

Here’s one way to put this into practice:

GOOD walking leaves no track behind it;

Do not interfere with nor disrupt the workings of Nature. If you are walking through the forest and leave some sort of footprint or trace of your passing, chances are there is something broken – a branch or twig, scuffled ground cover, or some other disruption in nature to show that you were there. In terms of wellness, if you “walk well,” you will make choices that include positive habits and practices to initiate healing and wellness.

Good speech leaves no mark to be picked at;

Good speech is your outward expression. It’s when you find fault with your body, harbor conflicting beliefs, think negative thoughts or have negative expectations, that you manifest illness. If you diligently and consistently monitor your actions and expressions, finding only positive outlets and activities, you can only generate wellness.

Good calculation makes no use of counting-slips;

Good calculation means the use of your innate Wisdom and Intuition. Certainly you don’t need counting slips or other devices to know that negative feelings beget disease and positive feelings create wellness. Calculate by listening to your early symptoms and taking right actions so they do not manifest into chronic disease. Carefully guard your thoughts and ideas, and resolve conflicts in beliefs so that you will create only wellness.

Good shutting makes no use of bolt and bar,
And yet nobody can undo it;

Good tying makes no use of rope and knot,
And yet nobody can untie it.

Closure of the mind is by far the strongest closure there is. If you are bound to negative belief, emotion, and disregard for your physical being, then that is what you have locked and tied yourself into and there is nothing that anyone can say or do to change that. Only you have the power to open your mind; open the door and untie the knot, open your mind and let yourself experience the amazing and nearly endless possibilities offered by mind-body-spirit practices to bring balance and wellness back into your life.

Hence, the Sage is always good at saving men,
And therefore nobody is abandoned;

Always good at saving things,
And therefore nothing is wasted.

In the realm of wellness, I believe this means that there is always hope. Many people have been told by a healthcare professional that their disease is untreatable, that they should make preparations to depart from this physical existence, but they secure such personal power and belief that they can and will get well again that they defy all odds and explanations. Then, they rewrite their script, they just do it! I believe that many “miracle cures” and “spontaneous healings” are simply the result of a powerful surge of personal energy backed by unwavering belief that “I can do it! I can be well again!”

You can do it, too.

This is called “following the guidance of the Inner Light.”

Inner Wisdom, Intuition, Belief, Consciousness, Energy, call it whatever you like, but it is your source of connection to the Universe, and the source of your knowing what you need to do to bring about your health and wellness. Follow it!

Hence, good men are teachers of bad men,
While bad men are the charge of good men.

Let’s consider “good men” the power of your beliefs to create change and “bad men” as the physical illness that may have manifested. With out those “bad men” (ill bodies) that need to be taught, the “good men” don’t have the opportunity to discover and exercise their skills at teaching the body how to be well again.

Not to revere one’s teacher,
Not to cherish one’s charge,
Is to be on the wrong road, however intelligent one may be.

To continue with the “good teacher” and “bad student” analogy; without an illness that needs to be overcome (the bad student), your intention and intelligence (the good teacher) does not get exercised in such a way that you are able to appreciate the mind-body-spirit creative powers you possess to manifest a health body. Hidden in every disease is a pearl of wellness that can be discovered and polished by the use of mindful intention.

It is a waste of the journey of Life if you do not appreciate your illness and are grateful for the opportunity to use your creative powers to reverse the disease and manifest wellness. Rewrite your story; you get to make it an “I lived happily ever after” ending.

This is an essential tenet of the Tao.

Being in the Dao is being in harmony with change, and that certainly includes the ups and downs of health and wellness. Don’t let a transition to disease be your only change; take the opportunity to explore the power you possess with the unity of mind, body, and spirit practices to manifest the changes to wellness that you want to see.

[Michelle Wood holds a degree in Holistic Relaxation Therapy from Natural Health Institutes, has been a student of the Yijing since the early 1990s, and embraced the philosophy and shamanic roots of Daoism at the beginning of the 21st Century. In addition to being a counselor for a weekly grief‐recovery and transitions group, she offers meditation and qigong classes and workshops both privately and through Central Oregon Community College. Participation in kirtan, Indian devotional singing, for many months led Michelle to study the archetypal vibrations found in Sanskrit mantras and chants which activates your cells, stimulates the energy of the inner self, and unites your consciousness with your un‐consciousness. So excited by the prospect of sharing this technique to achieve joy and health through vocalization and vibration, she is developing a wellness program utilizing the phrases, tones and vibrations found in Sanskrit bhajans (devotional songs). Michelle now operates her new business “Everyday Enlightenment, Transforming emotion and attitude into positive, life-enhancing lessons!” She helps you do this through Consciousness and Awareness Development techniques such as qigong and meditation. Find her online at “Everyday Enlightenment” http://www.everyday-enlightenment.com , “Everyday Enlightenment” blog at http://enlightenmenteveryday.blogspot.com/ and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/EverydayEnlightenment ]


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