Why ‘managing illness’ isn’t necessarily the answer to illness

Today I attended a health meeting on chronic illness with a number of medical professionals. The one overriding phrase I noticed being repeated again and again was the approach of “managing illness” or “managing health conditions”. And what I realized as I was listening to the presenters is that there seems to be a general expectation that people are either going to have a long-term condition for the rest of their life or for a long time to come.

In other words, there is an UNSPOKEN ASSUMPTION that this is it – one is sentenced for life and we just have to make the best of it.

NO, NO, NO. It doesn’t have to be like this.

As I have see from clients I work with and my colleagues work with, it doesn’t have to be like this. This is an outmoded and limited view.

If we look at the situation from a different perspective and understand that:

  1.  Symptoms are highly intelligent communication from a very intelligent body
  2. Symptoms contain clues to the solution
  3. The body is a self-healing mechanism
  4. Symptoms can be de-coded and the underlying cause revealed

Then, rather than seeing symptoms as a problem, we can see them as part of the solution.

Symptoms need to be understood and interpreted for what they are:  messages of some underlying mental or emotional dis-ease which is manifesting as pain.

I know I keep on harping on about this, but really, if you take a different approach you’re going to get a different result.

So what is the solution?

We have to stop focusing on the condition, on the symptoms. These are just the end-result. It’s not just about “managing symptoms”. We need to look in the other direction, literally turn around 180°  and look at the causal factors. Once we deal with them, the symptoms will disappear.

For more info see www.artofhealth.co.nz

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Gossip and Toxic Friends Detox!

Inner Mean Girl Reform School 40 day cleanse
Stop feeding your inner critic and nourish your inner wisdom!

Inner Mean Girl Cleanse

Is it time to get rid of your gossip girl?! We think so!

Blog 2 of the ’40 day Inner Mean Girl Cleanse’! by Kim Knight, The Art of Health www.artofhealth.co.nz

So, the second call this week was with gender expert Susan Shapiro, author of ten books including ‘Toxic Friends’ and ‘Tripping the prom queen’.

“A gossiping relationship is a dysfunctional relationship” Susan Shapiro

Apparently, (and it makes sense if you think about it), the origins of gossip were not negative – it was about getting information out, passing the message on, getting the word around.

These days gossip tends to be a negative habit, which if we look deeper we find has a lot to do with not feeling good about ourselves, and trying to bring others down in our attempt to make ourselves feel better. This often has the effect of tearing friendships apart.

So, if you think you might have a habit of gossip, whether it be just a little or lots, here are some useful tips for starting ‘good talk’.

Why do we gossip?

The first question to address is ‘why do we gossip or stay in relationships where so-called ‘friends’ gossip about us’? Well, many reasons, and it often boils down to:

  • issues of low self-esteem
  • the need to seek approval from others
  • fear of not being part of the crowd

In other words, we’ll do anything to be liked or not disliked out of our fear of rejection.

Often the habit of gossip is taught to us as we grow up by our mothers, aunts and elders and as we grow we just take it on as another habit.

Different levels of rivalry

What is the relationship between gossip, competition, envy and jealousy?

  • Competition: “I’ll fight you for what you have”
  • Envy: “I want what you have”
  • Jealousy: “I want what you have and I’ll kill you for it!”

Sound like nice behaviour? Not really! Want to change? Read on…

Susan Shapiro’s tips on how to prevent gossip:

“You have to share values to share friendship” – Susan Shapiro

  • Building mutual respect brings trust. We feel safe if we are not afraid people will gossip about us. So make a decision to build mutually respectful relationships.
  • Build friendships with people with mutual values.
  • Before you open your mouth to gossip, ask yourself “do I really want to hurt someone else?” or “how can this gossip be positive?”. Gossiping hurts ourselves and others, so do yourself and everyone else a favour by not gossiping.
  • Don’t be swayed by others in group – stick to what feels right for you.
  • Make a conscious decision not to gossip – it’s easy as that, although sometimes not so easy to change the habit.
  • Turn it around and say something supportive instead of derisive about that person

“If we stay in unhealthy relationships we keep ourselves from healthy relationships” Susan Shapiro

How do you know it’s time to let go of a toxic ‘friendships’?

  • When someone does something really hurtful – then you really know that person is not a friend at all
  • When you no longer share common values
  • When you notice you are avoiding friends and don’t feel courageous enough to be honest and say so
  • When friendships make your life worse rather than better
  • When toxic behaviour starts making you sick!

Helpful exercises for assessing and ending toxic friendships:

Exercise 1

Listen to your inner self and ask:

  • ‘Is this friendship healthy for me’?
  • ‘What do I get from it’?
  • ‘What does she get from it’?
  • ‘Why are we friends’?

See what answers you come up with. And then make your decision from your wise, inner being. Trust your heart!  Listen to your Inner Wisdom vs your Inner Mean Girl.

Exercise 2

Take a friendship inventory – ask yourself:

  • Which friends are helping me become the person I want to be?
  • Which friends inspire me?
  • Which friends are toxic?
  • What do I need and want from a friendship?
  • What are my expectations from a friendship?

“If we want to be happy and healthy, we need non-toxic friends”.

Exercise 3

Gossip inventory

  • Where do you gossip in your life?
  • How was it modelled to you?

The connection between the heart and tongue.

Tip from Kim:

In the Universal Healing Tao practices, we have a meditation exercise called the ‘Inner Smile’. In Taoist theory the heart is intimately connected with the tongue. In fact, the tongue is known as the ‘child’ of the parent ‘heart’ organ. And whenever we go to speak anything negative about someone else, we get a sensation in our heart just before we speak the words. This is the heart telling us “NO! I don’t enjoy speaking ill of others”.

The heart is about love and compassion. When  we feel love and compassion for others, WE also feel good.

So, next time you are about to say something detrimental about someone else, NOTICE how it feels in your heart, and if it doesn’t feel good, STOP!  And say something else.

For more information on these Taoist practices see www.taohealth.co.nz

And finally…

Susan Shapiro’s Inner Mean Girl Dare for the week:

“If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”

Be true to yourself in friendships!

For more info on Susan Shapiro see: www.susanshapirobaras.com

For more info on the Inner Mean Girl Cleanse see: www.daretoliveyou.com

For more info on Kim Knight see www.artofhealth.co.nz

Getting to know – and manage – your inner critics

Inner Mean Girl Reform School 40 day cleanse
Stop feeding your inner critic and nourish your inner wisdom!

“A critic left to its own will dismantle any good that you have created”  Sark

This blog is the first set of tips that come from the call with SARK on how to manage your inner critic(s).

GET TO KNOW YOUR INNER CRITICS!

Do you know all the different inner critics that you have? For example:

‘The Pusher’ – who can never do enough

‘The Perfectionist’ – who is never good enough

‘The Comparer’ – who always thinks others are better than me

‘The Unlovable’ – who always imagines they are not lovable or acceptable by others

‘The Guilt Inducer ’ – who feels guilty for doing anything for herself

According to Sark, our Inner Mean Girls (hereafter referred to as IMGs) are a result of early conditioning to life which grows out of proportion. The energies are unconscious and have not been attended to.

However, it’s important to remember we have an Inner mean girl and an inner kind girl – we have both. And the BEST antidote to IMG is self love. That inner wisdom, that part of our self that is all loving and unconditional, no matter the circumstances.

Inner critics just want to work. So we have to redirect them, give them a new job. Turn the inner critic into an ally and get a team of inner helpers instead. So, how do we get more connected to inner wisdom?

Here are Sark’s tips for dealing with these inner mean girls:

EXERCISE ONE

Practice the THREE ‘A’S:

“You can’t change what you are not aware of” Dr Phil

‘Awareness’ – notice when one or more of your inner critics is at work. Awareness is 80% of the solution. If you are not aware, you cannot change anything.

‘Attention’ – Give your whole attention to your inner mean girl. That’s what she really wants – ATTENTION! She’s been craving it for years. Invite that part to speak on paper or have some sort of a conversation.

‘Allowing’ – Allow your inner wise self, your nourishing adult, to participate, respond, lead the way and offer a different perspective. We need to claim our power back from this inner critic. We give our power away when we allow the inner mean girl to run our mind. Reassure yourself you are more than your parts. Stop your inner mean girl making decisions – let your inner wisdom make our decisions.

Awareness + Attention + Allowing = Profound transformation

EXERCISE TWO

‘IF YOU REALLY KNEW ME’

A major key in health is being honest and authentic. It has immense healing power.

So get together with some friends and fill in the following question:

“If you really knew me, you’d know I’m really hard on myself about …………………..”

For example:

“If you really knew me, you’d know I’m really hard on myself about my weight – a man will never accept me with my body not being ‘perfect’”.

EXERCISE THREE

SELF-LOVE DARE:

So, here is your ‘self-love dare’ for the next week:

  • Practice the 3 A’s
  • Practice the ‘If you really knew me’ exercise with others

See what happens when you make a conscious decision to be kind to yourself!

For more info on Sark: http://www.planetsark.com/

Kim Knight, director of the Art of Health,  specializes in teaching people the art of looking after their own health. This includes learning life-affirming behaviours and dropping life-depleting patterns. Some of Kim’s tools include coaching people:

  • how to put yourself first without feeling guilty
  • how to be authentic and communicate your needs and feelings safely
  • how to increase self-esteem, self-love and self-value
  • how to work out what YOUR body-mind needs to stay healthy and happy

You can find more info at http://www.artofhealth.co.nz

40 Day Inner Mean Girl Reform School!

How to stop feeding your inner critic and nourish your inner wisdom!

Inner Mean Girl Reform School 40 day cleanse

Would you like to know how to stop being so hard on yourself?

Join women around the world and cleanse your system of the 6 toxic habits of your Inner Mean Girl. And replace them with self-loving habits.

The Inner Mean Girl Reform School is running a FREE 40 day, 6 week Self-Love Practice starting 25 August (USA) 26 August (NZ). If you miss the start, it’s ok, you can join any time.

Having learnt the hard way how we can drive ourselves to illness through being hard on ourselves, (being a perfectionist, driving oneself too hard, over-achieving etc), I am a true believer in the necessity of looking after oneself in order to stay healthy and happy.

I’ll be following along on this course and each week sharing some of the top tips on how to become your own best friend.

I invite you to join in and do yourself a favour – take time to look after your best asset – YOU!

Full details of Inner Mean Girl Reform Cleanse and sign up here

Best wishes, Kim

Inner Mean Girl Reform School 40 day cleanse

Stop feeding your inner critic and nourish your inner wisdom!

CORE REASONS FOR CHRONIC FATIGUE, ADRENAL FATIGUE, FIBROMYALGIA

Whilst each person is unique, there definately seem to be some common denominators in people with these conditions. Here are a few core reasons – see what rings true for you:

  1. Traumatic events from the past that were not dealt with properly at an emotional level and are still lurking in the psyche
  2. The body is in a constant state of stress, or ‘fight-flight’, which is an unnatural state to live in, and creates huge pressure on all systems
  3. An inability to communicate emotions honestly for fear of hurting other people’s feelings or fear of rejection
  4. An inability to put oneself first and meet one’s own needs – always putting others’ needs first
  5. An inability to stop and rest, and a habit of doing, doing, doing
  6. Living up to other’s expectations and not following our own dreams or passions
  7. Driving oneself to achieve, achieve, achieve as a result of never really, ever, feeling good enough for whom one is
  8. Allowing oneself to be walked over or abused mentally, emotionally or physically, resulting in a huge build-up of repressed emotions (anger, resentment)
  9. A truck load of repressed and unexpressed emotions in the body
  10. An inability to feel emotions fully due to past fears of being rejected, punished, shamed, ridiculed or criticized
  11. A deep feeling of disempowerment which manifests itself as ‘victim’ consciousness, either overtly or covertly
  12. In the case of fibromyalgia, a truck load of resentment and frustration

The consequences of sensory deprivation in early childhood

by Kim Knight, The Art of Health

“If you don’t bond with anyone as a child, you’re not going to bond with anyone as an adult” – Dr James Prescott

I recently came across some fascinating information about early childhood sensory deprivation and the long-term consequences of this as they play out in life. The information comes from James Prescott PhD, an amazing research scientist who has devoted his whole life to studying this phenomenon. It made many things clear as to why we develop certain habits, tendencies and ways of being, as well as various mental, emotional and physical problems. I’d like to share a few gems from his work here.

The essentialness of touch

“The environment encodes and programs the developing brain for perception and behaviour through the six sensory systems”

According to science we have five main sensory systems known as sight, sound, smell, taste and hearing. It has been documented through clinical observation that separation at birth of the infant from mother can have dire mental, emotional and physical consequences. This is noted in particular with babies who are separated at birth in hospital, and in children who grow up in orphanages without normal care and touch.

A separation at birth immediately deprives the infant of feeling of loved, happy and secure. When separated from the mother, newborns will actually begin to build a resistance to touch and nurturing (despite the desperate need for positive touch) and the ability by the brain to handle and assimilate touch actually becomes impaired. Infants separated at birth and orphans in homes without primary care-givers often develop symptoms of listlessness and depression.

The essentialness of movement

Dr Prescott also discovered that we have another critical sensory system; movement. He learnt, through observing infants and monkeys, that apart from touch, movement is a critical sensory system for healthy emotional and physical development.  Together, a lack of tactile stimulation, coupled with lack of movement, leads to mental and emotional dysfunctional behaviours including depression, violence, self-mutilation, addictions and aversion to touch.

Movement is a sensory system connected to the vestibular sensory system, the auditory system of the inner ear, which is in turn connected to the cerebellum. It is involved in all autonomic functions of the autonomic nervous system and all bodily functions are affected by movement. The brain literally needs sensory stimulation and movement for normal growth and development, and lack of touch and movement stunt brain cell growth.

For example, two monkeys, separated from their mothers, both given identical surrogate fur-covered bottles (mothers) in their cage, would respond and develop in a completely different way according to whether the surrogate mother was moving or not. The monkey in the cage with the still, lifeless surrogate became listless, depressed, anti-social and violent. When a new monkey was introduced into the cage with the monkey brought up with the static surrogate, the latter monkey would violently attach the former monkey if it tried to be friendly or touch it. In other words, instead of receiving the touch, it would push the other monkey away violently and defend itself at all costs.

On the other hand, the monkey given the moving surrogate developed much better relationship skills and emotional behaviours. When another monkey was introduced into its cage, it responded gently, allowing the new monkey to touch it and play.

Through these experiments Dr Prescott thus discovered that our emotional and sensory systems are not separate, they develop together, and that sensory deprivation will lead to emotional deprivation.

How the brain is programmed

“The single-most important stimuli for affectional bonding is movement connected to the mother after birth. More important than touch and breast-feeding, this is the sensory system that is responsible for basic trust”

As human beings, we are socialized, programmed and conditioned through our sensory systems. Our brain is literally programmed through these systems via the environment as we grow. Our brain cells unconsciously and automatically encode the physical environment that we experience, and we will only see or experience what is encoded. And whatever happens during that coding, whether it be perceived as pain or pleasure, is responsible for the beliefs and patterns that we create which then shape our lives.

What Dr Prescott started to realize was that according to the environment that we grow up in, and specifically the amount of loving touch and sensory movement we experience from the moment of birth, our brain will either be programmed to be able to handle, receive and give pleasure, or not. And if the sense of comfort, love and nurturing is lacking, our brain will automatically program itself for pain, violence and self-protection.

Movement instills safety

The primary sensory input that stimulates the central nervous system (cns) of the developing foetus is movement. This movement literally bonds the foetus to the mother before birth. When we are in the womb, this movement is felt all the time by the growing infant, and creates a feeling of safety and nurturing. The infant knows that when it feels movement that it is alive and that it is connected to the mother. In other words,

MOVEMENT = LIFE

NO MOVEMENT = DEATH

This is in fact a universal law. Anything that is alive will move, and anything that atrophies will die. And in emotional terms, movement also equates to safety and trust, whilst lack of movement will lead to feelings of “I’m going to die”.

This movement needs to continue once we are born. In many traditional cultures this happens automatically as the baby is carried with the mother at all times in a sling. This is also of course how many primates carry their young – they are attached to the mother for a considerable period of time, which instills within the infant a sense of security and trust.

Emotional Maturity, pleasure and pain

Dr Prescott realized that the emotional systems of the brain which experience pleasure need to be developed between infancy and childhood. Whatever we experience as sensory stimulation will lay down the neuro-structural foundation in the brain for our later experience of affection, peace, pleasure and love. If the pleasure circuits in the brain are activated, the circuits that inflict pain are simultaneously inhibited. So as we are growing, it is critical that we develop the structural and functional systems of the brain properly to allow our pleasure systems to develop and function properly.

Depending on what we experience as in infant in terms of pleasure or pain will determine how we perceive life as we grow. In other words, is life a pleasurable or painful experience? Our experience of life will be defined by what we experience in the first few days, months or years of our life, which then solidify into the unconscious beliefs and patterns we adopt as we grow. It has been postulated that 80% of our experience of  the world comes from our internal experience, whilst only 20% comes from real external circumstances. We really do create our own reality and live in ‘our own world’.

Hypersensitivity and addiction

“Addiction is a self-treatment of the emotional pain from the deprivation of affection and pleasure”

Another effect of maternal deprivation that Dr Prescott discovered is abnormally high voltage electrical discharge and activity in the brain, called ‘spiking’. Essentially the neurons become hypersensitive as lack of sensory stimulation through touch or movement leads to hypersensitivity to touch. This explains why people growing up without touch will desperately want it but will exhibit a number of contradictory behaviours when approached by others with affection: they may either shy away as soon as someone approaches them, respond violently with rejection and even develop self-mutilating behaviours.

The simple truth is that lack of normal sensory stimulation in infancy damages the brain’s development, stunting brain cells and creating malformed dendrites. The brain is literally not functioning normally. This then leads to the experience of the world as painful as opposed to pleasurable, which then leads to self-mutilating and self-sabotaging behaviours.

Another behaviour that develops is addiction. Lack of affectional bonding leads to addictions in an effort to deal with the emotional pain of deprivation. Addictions can range from over-eating, drinking and drugs to any number of socio-psychopathic behaviours.

Sexual behaviours

Dr Prescott discovered that whilst the sensory system that engages pleasure is damaged through lack of touch or movement, the sensory system that engages pain will also be affected. Lack of positive sensory input will heighten the pain threshold, leading to impaired pain perception. The affection-deprived individual then becomes more and more anti-social because the two major socialization systems (pain and pleasure) have in effect been rendered dysfunctional. This then leads to a greater need for sensory stimulation, wherebye we need to be touched, whether this brings pleasure or pain, because we are desperately seeking body contact. And this then leads to other behaviours as the person desperately and often unconsciously attempts to fill the emotional vacuum inside.

Dr Prescott discovered that once the person reached puberty, they would often try to compensate for the lack of touch and affectional bonding through sexual activity. And if a teenager or young adult was allowed to do so, some of the negative effects of early sensory deprivation might be compensated for. However, he also discovered that for people who were not allowed to be sexual at this time, their essential needs would be driven further inwards, creating even greater problems. As basic needs were further deprived, more and more violent behaviours, whether that be outward to others or inwards to the self, would develop.

Sensory deprivation leads to violent nations

Dr Prescott then did further research and discovered that lack of positive sensory input, coupled with sexual repression, was the recipe for developing violent cultures. It makes sense that if you have a number of people who have grown up with sensory deprivation, and then sexual repression, and who individually create violent behaviour towards themselves or others, then a group of such people are likely to exhibit the same behaviour en masse. He discovered that religions, cultures and nations who:

  • Think it’s normal to separate infants at birth (leading to sensory deprivation, lack of affectional bonding and damage of the brain’s ability to experience pleasure)
  • Do not carry their offspring on their body (negating the need for the sensory input of movement which brings a sense of safety, trust and life)
  • Support abortion (which is allied to sexual repression)
  • Support sexual repression (which further negates the basic need for touch)

are much more likely to support capital punishment and war, and develop into violent nations. Such cultures develop into patriarchal societies wherebye sexuality and feminine power is repressed.

On the other hand, cultures which:

  • Do not separate infants from mothers at birth
  • Do carry their young on their body
  • Support sexual expression and freedom

Develop into peaceful nations where feminine and masculine power is neutralized and harmonized. Thus, whether internally or externally, there is a balance of power and harmony.

So, if you want to:

  • Give your child the best start in life
  • Pave the way for the ability for pleasure to be a child’s normal life experience
  • Help stop violence in the world, whether that be on an individual or nationwide level

make sure you maintain intimate body contact with your newborn after it is born, and carry him or her continuously on the body for an extended period of time.

For more information about Dr Prescott, including free online documentary and his ‘Ten Principles of Mother-Infant bonding for health, happiness and harmony’ go to www.violence.de

Serving Community through the Tao

The following article was written for the Hindu Council’s 3rd national conference in May 2010:

Serving Community through the Tao
Community networking and strengthening bonds from a Taoist perspective

“Through looking at the problems of human beings as a whole,
we can see where our own individual problems lie,
and through working on our individual problems, our lives get elevated.
When our lives are on a higher level,
we can help to deal with the problems of humanity as a whole”.*

THE TAO

“What is ‘truth’? It is following Dao,
following the most fundamental laws of life and the universe.
There is only one fundamental law for each thing.
Everyone may have a different view on this one thing,
so who is right if there is only one truth, one fundamental law? …

It is our job to seek that one truth”.*

The Tao Te Ching is one of Taoism’s foremost authorities on the philosophy of the Tao, or the way of life. It describes how human beings can return to their natural state and live in harmony with the Tao. With over 7,000 years of history and more than 3,600 different Taoist sects, it is impossible here to give a full overview of Taoism. However, taking just one modern-day school’s teachings as an example – Ren Xue Zhineng Qi Gong – I would like to offer some thoughts on how the principles of Taoism can be applied to ‘community networking and strengthening bonds from a Taoist perspective’.

First of all, let’s look at the dual concepts of ‘networking’ and ‘communities’. Generally one could say this involves some sort of communication, interaction, sharing of ideas, support and assistance, with the goal of improving any given situation. And the one common denominator in those actions is a human being! So in order to be our best in our interactions in community, we need to be our best as an individual; and we function at our best when we are physically healthy, mentally clear, emotionally stable and spiritually uplifted. And for this to happen we need to cultivate and uplift ourselves.

This is where the practice of Qi Gong comes in. According to Ren Xue Human Life Science’ The two essential elements of traditional Chinese culture are Dao and Qi; Dao is the fundamental law of the universe and life, Qi is the change and activities that manifest Dao. Qigong is the method that goes with them from the very beginning’.*

QI

Qi,气 is the fundamental substance of life, one definition being ‘energy impregnated with information’. Thus essentially we are a field of energy and information. And our Qi can be upgraded and fine-tuned. In Chinese medicine our physical structure, functions and Qi, are formed from Jing (essence) and Qi, classified together as ‘Ming’. And our mind, the source of consciousness and spirituality – the True Self – is our Shen. Xing and Ming are actually one, and we need to work on both simultaneously in order to grow and evolve. This is known as Xiu or self-cultivation, which consists of two processes: correcting things that are not right, and self-refinement. The goal is to see and manifest the True Self, to reach a high level of realization and clarity, so that life can transcend to a higher level. According to Master Yuan Tze, founder of Ren Xue,“To uplift oneself and uplift others is our primary mission in life. It is the highest level you can get to when trying to deal with your own problems and help others”.*

QI GONG – A TOOL FOR TRANSFORMATION

Qi Gong is a form of training where bye the consciousness is brought inwards in order to transform and enhance our being. In so doing we align ourselves with the law of human life and collectively evolve the human race to a higher level. “We can look at all human problems as being the result of going against the law, and hence to deal with problems we have to go back and begin to follow the law. We have to manifest the real spirit of science which is seeking the truth and discovering the unknown fundamental law in order to serve humanity.”*

So what is this law and how can we live it? Although, as Lao Tze says in his opening verse of the Tao Te Ching ‘The Tao that can be spoken of is not the Tao’, it can generally be described as the correct way of life. According to Ren Xue philosophy, the first principle used to guide us on this way is ‘self-cultivation via the action of Zi Du Du Ren: ‘lift yourself up, lift others up’. To ‘Du’ yourself is to deal with your own problems and once you have done that you can then be of assistance to others. According to Ren Xue this is the ultimate goal of life.

To accomplish this we need firstly to always be in an internal state of ‘calm and relaxation’, this being the ‘natural’ state, the state of the Tao. Then the True Self will manifest, bringing with it a natural state of joy. We also need to acquire a level of truth, knowledge and understanding which we can authentically pass onto others. Only then can we “touch people with virtues and earn trust with true abilities”*

There are more principles that accompany the central idea of ‘Zi Du, Du Ren, which we do not have time to cover here. However, once we have begun to master and live our life using these principles, we can then bring the concept of ‘Dao De’ into the picture.

DAO DE

Dao De can be described as the moral codes which people follow when they interact, and include three key elements: motives, behaviour and judgements.  “When deciding whether to do something to achieve the result we want, we think about whether it is a good thing to do. This involves Dao De judgements. Once the decision is made, an action may follow. The Dao De motive will change into Dao De behaviour. While the behaviour is occurring or when it is completed, we assess the effects or consequences to see if they are consistent with the motive”. *

So we need to constantly check that our actions are beneficial, in other words are they fulfilling the requirements of ‘Zi Du Du Ren’.  If not they will deplete our Qi and downgrade our Shen. So the questions we need to ask in our actions with others are, (a) ‘what are my intentions, (b) am I delivering the purpose of my actions and (c) do my intentions and actions fit the guideline of ‘uplifting myself and others?’. If we can honestly say yes, then hopefully we will be going somewhere along the road to fulfilling the mission of serving community as best we can.

* All quotes from Master Yuan Tze, ‘Voyage to the Shore’