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

What does ‘being in service to others’ really mean?

The following is an extract from a colleague of mine’s newsletter: Laura Clark conducts talks and courses on esoteric subjects and has facilitated group meditations, group work and individual transformative processes for over 30 years. I highly recommend her work.

Aquarius and service to the soul

“The constellation of Aquarius is one of supreme importance to our solar system at this time, for it is the sign into which our Sun is rapidly moving and its influence is gaining in momentum and added potency with each vanishing decade. It is, therefore, largely responsible for the changes now being effected in our planetary life in all the kingdoms of nature, and, because it is an air sign, its influence is all pervasive and inter-penetrating.

The keynotes of this sign are three in number and very easy to understand, though when they make their note felt on the reversing wheel, most difficult to demonstrate. They are:

1. The service of the personality, the lower self, which eventually transmutes itself into the service of humanity.

2. Superficial and selfish activity which changes into a deep and active intention to be active on behalf of the Hierarchy.

3. Self-conscious living which changes finally into a sensitive humanitarian awareness.” EA135

Service is described thus:

When the personal lower self is subordinated to the higher rhythms and obedient to the new Law of Service, then the life of the soul will begin to flow through the man to others, and the effect in a man’s immediate family and group will be to demonstrate a real understanding and a true helpfulness.  As the flow of life becomes stronger through use, the effect will spread out from the small surrounding family group to the neighbourhood. A wider range of contacts becomes possible, until eventually (if several lives have been thus spent under the influence of the Law of Service) the effect of the outpouring life may become nationwide and worldwide.

But it will not be planned, nor will it be fought for, as an end in itself.  It will be a natural expression of the soul’s life, taking form and direction according to a man’s ray and past life expression; it will be coloured and ordered by environing conditions,—by time, by period, by race and age.  It will be a living flow, and a spontaneous giving forth, and the life, power and love demonstrated, being sent forth from soul levels, will have a potent, attractive force upon the group units with which the disciple may come in contact in the three worlds of soul expression.  There are no other worlds wherein the soul may at this time thus express itself.

Nothing can stop or arrest the potency of this life of natural, loving service, except in those cases wherein the personality gets in the way.  Then service, as the Teachers on the inner side of life understand it, gets distorted and altered into busy-ness.  It becomes changed into ambition, into an effort to make others serve as we think service should be rendered, and into a love of power which hinders true service instead of into love of our fellow men.  There is a point of danger in every life when the theory of service is grasped, and the higher law is recognised; then the imitative quality of the personality, its monkey nature, and the eagerness of a high grade aspiration can easily mistake theory for reality, and the outer gestures of a life of service for the natural, spontaneous flow of soul life through its mechanism of expression. EP Vol2 p123

And

“Service is, par excellence, the technique of correct group relations, whether it be the right guidance of an anti-social child in a family, the wise assimilation of a trouble-maker in a group, the handling of anti-social groups in our big cities, the correct technique to be employed in child guidance in our educational centres or the relation between the religious and political parties, or between nation and nation.  All of this is part of the new and growing Science of Service.  The imposition of this soul law will eventually bring light into a distracted world, and release human energies in right directions.  It is not here possible to do more than indicate this briefly.  The theme is too large, for it includes the awakening of the spiritual consciousness with its responsibilities, and the welding of the individual into an awakened group; it involves the imposition also of a newer and a higher rhythm upon world affairs.  This constitutes, therefore, a definitely scientific endeavour and warrants the attention of the best minds.  It should also eventually call forth the consecrated effort of the world disciples.” EP Vol 2 p130

Those so illumined are collectively named the New Group of World Servers.

Their role is described thus:

1. To receive and transmit illumination from the kingdom of souls.

2. To receive inspiration from the Hierarchy and go forth, consequently, to inspire.

3. To hold the vision of the Plan before the eyes of men, for “where there is no vision, the people perish.”

4. To act as an intermediate group between the Hierarchy and humanity, receiving light and power and then using both of these, under the inspiration of love, to build the new world of tomorrow.

5. To toil in Pisces, illumined by Taurus and responsive in degree to the Aquarian impulse coming from the Hierarchy.

These objectives are not only individual objectives, but the goal for the entire group.  All who respond to the life-giving force of Aquarius and to the light-giving force of Taurus can and will work in the New Group of World Servers, even though they have no occult knowledge and have never heard of their co-workers under that name.  Forget this not. RI233


You can contact Laura on

M: 021 0566 583

You can contact Kim Knight, Health and Wellbeing Coach on

M: 021 410 633

www.artofhealth.co.nz

Earth changes: the shifting of poles

What’s really behind climate change and why we need to come into our hearts

“Life becomes much more enjoyable when you stop believing your mind.” ~ Adyashanti

Three years ago at a Qi Gong conference in Thailand with Master Mantak Chia, I had an ‘aha’ moment on my understanding of climate change and how it was related to the shifting of the planet’s poles. He explained how according to ancient Taoists, every 25,000 years the earth’s north pole and its corresponding alignment with north star shifts, and that this is what is happening now.

He told us how the north pole will  align with one of 3 stars. Currently it is Polaris, but it is moving towards Vega, and previously it was Thuban.  As soon as he explained this, I realized that all the earth changes and climate change made sense. Of course, if the poles are going to change, we are going to experience a lot of shake ups on earth.

He also explained how our heart is tilted towards the north star, hence the angle of our heart within our chest, and how the pulsing of the north star affects our own heart pulse.

And then a couple of months ago I was having an interesting conversation with someone who was friends with a retired pilot. Apparently, the earth changes are playing such havoc with airplane equipment and compasses, that airports are having to be temporarily shut down to re-align landing strips. According to him, we would be gob-smacked if we really knew what was going on with the earth’s magnetic grids.

Yesterday I was forwarded a link to a video by Kiesha Crowther, one of the 12 young Shaman wisdom keepers. In it she talks about the pole shift that is currently happening and will be complete in a couple of years from now. Apparently, we will not recognize the earth as it is now, and if we are to survive, we must live from the heart not the mind.

This also made sense to me of why for the past few years both myself and my colleagues have been training ourselves so vigorously to live from the heart, and why I have had the urge to create workshops such as ‘Train your heart mind and abdominal brain’.

It’s lovely when the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place, despite the traumatic events which are taking place all over the planet right now.

I recommend looking at Keisha’s video: http://vimeo.com/16812713

The Key to balancing your Mind is to lead with your Heart
What brings your mind to the Stillpoint in the Heart?
What SELF will you choose as your Center?

The Key to balancing your Body is connecting it with Nature
What allows your body the feeling of perfect peace?
What moves you from your heartspace?

The Key to balancing your Spirit is honoring the Wisdom within
What rests at the core of your Authentic Center?
What resonates with the voice of your soul?

by Mary Mcnab

The symptoms behind the emotions behind the symptoms

Understanding the deeper layers of dis-ease and consciousness.

As most of you who have experienced Mickel Therapy will know, most often we find that the underlying cause of dis-ease are unrecognized and unresolved emotions. This is because everything in the universe is energy, which includes our physical, mental and emotional being. Blocked energy (or Qi in Taoism) will compromise the physiological functioning of the body and manifest as symptoms of pain.

However, as with many things in life, there are multiple layers to be understood.

Understanding the deeper levels of triggered emotions

On the surface, we can have a situation which triggers an emotion. For example, someone says something to you which makes you feel a certain way, eg, your boyfriend says you look fat in your jeans and you feel upset. And using the Mickel Therapy protocol, you would use the 5 step process to dispel the emotions in a constructive way, which will also dispel any symptoms if they had also built up.

Now, the interesting thing is, we tend to think the current situation is the issue. And upon introspecting a little further, we usually find it is not. The current situation is just the trigger for an emotional pattern which is already sitting in the body, waiting to be resolved and understood. And the emotion will often be a recurring emotion that we feel during a recurring situation that is similar to something we experienced ongoingly as a child, which we were not able to deal with at the time. Often we describe this as ‘having our buttons pushed’.

So, to take the healing process to a deeper level, it’s first important to recognize that there are deeper issues at play. This is what I like to call looking at the ‘surface’ level situation (boyfriend tells you you look fat) versus the ‘deeper’, underlying issue (old scenario).

So, when you notice a recurring theme in your emotional triggers, you might like to ask yourself “where have I felt this before?…with whom?…when?…how old was I?”…and see if you can discover or uncover the deeper, hidden story that is repetitively playing out in the present. Understanding this will allow you to experience the gift of the current situation that is pointing you towards the resolution which lies at a deeper level.

Understanding the symptoms behind the emotions

As you know, in Mickel Therapy we say that missed emotions lie hidden beneath symptoms. And by identifying those hidden emotions, and taking corrective and appropriate action, we can dispel the symptoms.

But what if the emotions themselves are also a symptom of a deeper issue? What if emotions were actually a symptom too?

For example, you come home and you’re really hungry, and you notice that your flatmate has some delicious dessert in the fridge. So you have some, but feel a bit uncomfortable because he wasn’t around to ask first. You eat the dessert, but then you start to worry about what he’ll say when he comes back. So the body has started to send emotions. Depending on how aware you are of this, the emotion may or may not build up to become symptoms (eg, a headache or muscle ache).

Let’s say it stays at the emotional level, but the worry continues. We know in Mickel Therapy that we need to communicate our feelings honestly to that person when they come home, and most likely the emotion (worry) will dissipate.

However, if we look a little deeper at WHY we are worried, we have the opportunity to start uncovering and identifying the symptom beneath the emotion. Ie, we have the opportunity to start seeing the pattern which we are repeating in our consciousness which is leading to the emotion.

So, you might like to ask yourself, “Why am I so worried?”. And the answer might be something like “because I’m afraid he will judge me or be angry with me for eating his cake”.

And then you ask yourself “WHY am I so afraid of what he will say or think of me? Where does that habit of thinking come from?” And usually you will discover this is an old pattern from the past, which was set up in childhood, usually because back then we were judged or criticised for doing something or other, usually for something quite innocuous which did not really merit the criticism.

And then if we ask ourselves, ‘how did it make me feel back then when I was judged or criticized?”, that’s when we discover the real feeling behind the original emotion, which we are still trying to avoid today, because back then we felt so BAD when we experienced the criticism or judgement. And notice how I say ‘the emotion we are trying to avoid’ – unconsciously we are walking around manufacturing emotions and thoughts in an effort to avoid feeling the original feeling that made us feel unloved, abandoned, unworthy, ashamed etc. So these emotions are actually defence mechanisms to help us avoid feeling bad, because, as one of my teachers once said “when we feel bad it is directly translated by our emotional body as being bad. For our emotional selves, being bad translates into not being able to enjoy life. Not being able to enjoy life translates into not deserving to live”.*

Getting back to our natural state of joy

Remember, emotions are irrational and thoughts are rational, and together unhealthy thoughts and emotions keep us from feeling good and enjoying life. This is why it is critical that we really come to understand ourselves from the inside out, to understand our consciousness, thought processes and beliefs. We need to understand the patterns that are driving our habitual negative thinking and keeping negative emotions in our consciousness. We need to set ourselves free, because our natural state is a pure state of joy, we have just forgotten it.

And that is how we can see that “What is natural has become unnatural, and what is natural has become natural”. Our natural state is joy, but if we are continually perpetuating negative thinking patterns via a state of unconsciousness, we train ourselves to feel unhappy, and we come to think that is the norm.

So, if you’re really serious about healing deeply, next time you notice yourself feeling bad, dig a little deeper into your consciousness and discover what’s going on. This is how we can free ourselves from the past and move into a brighter, happier future.

Blessings on your journey!

Kim Knight, The Art of Health

* Teacher quoted above: Gilles Marin from ‘Healing from within with Chi Nei Tsang’

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

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!

The true meaning of health vs disease

It’s only when we understand WHY we get ill in the first place that we will truly know how to maintain health.

I recently attended New Zealand’s first ever Health and Productivity Management conference in Auckland. It was a wonderful day and I met many inspiring people who are passionate about improving health in the workplace. It is definately a step in the right direction that more emphasis, and hopefully budget, will be put towards improving employee health.

This article is part one of a series demonstrating why we need to understand the reasons for illness in order to successfully improve wellness at work. This will also help understand the rising new phenomenom of ‘presenteeism’ –  employees who turn up for work who are not present, functional or productive’.

After spending the last twenty years really delving into the root causes of ill-health, including having healed without medication from a number of chronic illnesses – and helping others to do the same -these are some key truths I have discovered about health and healing:

Our natural state is good health

“Sickness is felt, but health not at all” – traditional Chinese proverb

Despite the fact that illness appears to be an epidemic today – to the point that it’s no longer considered  out of the ordinary – our natural state is to be healthy. In ancient China, you only paid your doctor if you became ill, such was the emphasis on preventative healthcare and the everyday expectation that good health was normal.

This is why when we are healthy we just feel fine. Our body is designed to feel good, and it is only if something is wrong that it will start to send signals to say so. What is also very misunderstood is that it is:

Our natural state to be calm (of mind) and relaxed (of body)

In our frantic lives, where everyone is rushing around with far too much on their plates, we have completely and utterly forgotten that our natural state is to be calm and relaxed. This is the normal state for the body to function in on a daily basis, and a pre-requisite for good health and longevity. The body also needs to be in this state for healing to occur. Which is why our body will ‘take us out’ when we need to heal (in the form of a fever which takes us to our bed, or needing bed-rest after an operation).

In Taoist philosophy, the world is a mix of yin (stillness) and yang (activity), and in theory we need equal amounts of both. But if we were to check our ratio of yin and yang, most people would probably be 95% yang, 5% yin. This is going against the natural flow of life and when this is maintained, we will quickly start to experience:

Stress – the fight-flight mode of the body

The fight-flight mode of the body is designed for emergencies. It is not meant to be a place to live from in everyday life. The problem is, most people are constantly stressed…but don’t know it. When our body is in the stress (sympathetic nervous mode) the body literally believes itself to be under threat and all body systems start working in emergency mode: for example heart rate increases, breathing speeds up, blood moves from the organs to the extremities in preparation for running, stress hormones are pumped out, digestion and elimination stop, and so on.

Now, the body can cope with this short-term, but it cannot continue to function properly long-term in this state. That sort of makes sense, doesn’t it? How can it do its job of running our body properly if the systems are compromised? It’s a bit like asking your car to run properly without good oil or a whole host of unresolved issues, in other words, it’s damaged goods.

So, the only thing the body can do is to try and get our attention, and this it will do by starting to send symptoms. The problem is, we have not been taught how to interpret the signals or understand the real reason behind symptoms. Thus most people do not understand that:

Illness is a healthy reaction to an unhealthy situation

The body is an infinitely intelligent organism, with a key role of keeping us healthy. It has, what we call in the Mickel Therapy trade, a ‘body intelligence’ – an in-built system for keeping us healthy. When we are well, we will just feel well. But if the body intelligence is not happy about something in our life, which could be anything from work to personal issues, it will start to communicate its unacknowledged needs in the form of symptoms. So one of the first steps in healing and understanding health is to really get that:

Symptoms are a cry for help and attention

Most people do not yet understand that symptoms are the body’s way of communicating to us. The body has its own communication system which does not use words. In the absence of words, it has to find ways to communicate with us. So how does it do this? There are various levels, starting with plan A, then plan B and so on:

Plan A – Body Sensations

Simple body sensations. For example, feeling hungry is the body’s way of communicating it needs food. Feeling a pressure in the bladder indicates we need to go to the toilet. Having a gut feeling is a bodily sensation from our abdominal brain telling us what is the right thing to do. It’s all very simple, if we listen, take notice and take action. However, if we miss this level of body-sensation communication our body will go to:

Plan B – Emotions

Emotions. Feelings are our body’s way of communicating to us and with us. This is the most misunderstood form of communication. People do not realize that emotions are a form of communication from the body intelligence telling us how it feels about what is going on in our life. They are an internal guidance system, keeping us on track in order to stay happy and healthy. We ignore them at our peril because missed emotions will build up to become:

Plan C – Mental symptoms

Mental symptoms, which actually are also physiological phenomena, (just separated here for clarity), include symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritabiltiy and overwhelm. Anxiety is an overload of unidentified emotions and depression is de-pressing unidentified emotions. Unresolved emotions, which are emotional energy, will build up and manifest themselves physiologically as mental symptoms. Left unresolved, we then start to experience:

Plan D – Physical symptoms

It’s at this point that we start to experience physical pain and discomfort. This is the body really trying to tell us something and get our attention to take some corrective action. However, because of the disconnection between the head and body, often symptoms at this level are not understood. This includes symptoms such as insomnia, irritable bowel, allergies, asthma, food intolerances, low fatigue, hayfever, hives, rashes, high blood pressure and so on. These tend to be symptoms which currently are not really considered a major problem and the common solution is some form of medication. Unfortunately this kills the messenger, and the body then has to find other ways to get its message through. Eventually, because the body intelligence is simply programmed to do its job (thank goodness) it will keep pumping the (as yet un-decoded) messages out which will get louder and louder to become:

Plan E – Chronic Illness

Chronic illness sets in after the previous symptoms have been pumped out for a while but the underlying reasons have not been identified or addressed. Chronic symptoms may be things such as cysts, fibroids, cancer, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, heart attacks, diabetes and any serious illness. By this time our life will have become seriously disrupted, to the point that we can no longer function normally. At this point we will find ourselves having to take time off work or leave altogether. This is the ‘wake-up call’ stage. The final stage of the body’s attempt to get our attention. So here’s the good news:

The body is a self-healing mechanism

If we can identify the real cause of the illness, and take the corrective action, our body has the innate ability to heal itself. Actually, we already know this: for most people, if we cut ourselves, we know that the cut will heal very quickly by itself. Do we have to do anything to help this? Well, we may put a plaster on to prevent dirt or water getting in, and we may avoid using that finger for a few days, which is giving it the assistance and opportunity to heal, but essentially the healing is coming from the body intelligence without any cognitive input from ourselves. It is the body’s automatic job to heal, just like the heart beats and we breathe without having to think about it. So if this is the case, in order to understand how to heal bigger issues such as anxiety, depression or chronic fatigue, what do we have to do?

Understand the laws of health

“The key to healing is awareness: becoming aware of what you were previously unaware of, and then making new choices”.

In order to stay healthy we must start to understand what it is we need to do in order to prevent illness in the first place. We have to understand how to live in accordance with the laws of health and laws of life. This is the major missing piece in our society. We have become so out of touch with our own nature, so trapped in our heads and disconnected from our bodies, that we simply do not feel or see what is going on inside us emotionally, mentally or physically. We have to recognize what it is that the body is not happy about – which it is sending emotions and then symptoms about – in an attempt to get our attention so that we will take appropriate action. I will be going into detail about these laws of health in the sequel to this blog, but here is the first key concept:

The necessity of putting ourselves first and looking after our needs

This may sound very selfish to some, but it’s actually not. We have to learn to tune into our own needs and listen to them. If we are to stay healthy we have to do what ‘feels right’ for us. And our body will tell us, because it’s programmed to do so. These are the sensations that come from the gut. And here’s a tip to how to understand what your body is telling you:

  • if you feel good, relaxed, calm and relieved over a choice of action, it will probably be the right thing for you.
  • And if you feel tense, stressed, uncomfortable and worried, it is probably not the right decision.

The question is, are you going to take notice and trust your body intelligence, or are you going to ignore it (again)? The choice is yours.

Stay tuned for the next blog which will talk in depth about what it is we need to do to unravel the mystery behind symptoms

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’

Nervous Breakdown or Breakthrough?

THE REAL MEANING BEHIND (SOME) MENTAL BREAKDOWN

by Pranada www.spiritualemergence.co.nz

Early days

“I grew up in the UK, living a fairly average English life: school, sports, family holidays in Ireland and Greece, visits to the Grandparents at weekends etc. My understanding of life was that you went to school, then university, then got a job, got married, 2.2 kids, white picket fence, worked for 40 years, then retired… Life, however, had other plans.

After leaving university, I found work in the world of tourism, firstly working as a tour guide escorting people around Europe, then a stint in Switzerland as a resort rep, followed by a year as a croupier on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, finally basing myself in London as a marketing manager for a major travel company. By this time I was travelling in style every month visiting luxury hotels in Paris, Frankfurt and Vienna.

In theory I should have been happy (or so I thought): I had a great job, great flat, nice car, lovely friends. I was proud of reading my name and title on my business cards, felt important as I sat in airports every other week with my briefcase full of work, and special as I checked into 5 star hotels week after week.

The journey starts

But unbeknowns to me something was stirring inside. Gradually over a period of time I started to feel unhappy, not even really recognizing it at first. It took my Mother to point out to me that I wasn’t happy and I should see a psychiatrist. So off I went. I can’t quite remember the details of those meetings, what we spoke about, what I learnt, as looking back I can see I was way too unaware of myself to notice what was really going on. I changed pyschiatrists and started another round of introspection and digging into my past…unhappy childhood due to the strain on my parents of my brother’s mental health problems…

I was still working at this time, and I remember clearly dragging myself into work, sitting at my desk not wanting to be there at all, somehow forcing myself to get going for the rest of the day. And this continued day after day. Why wasn’t I happy? I had this fantastic job, had realized my dream of jetsetting around the world, and yet I felt so depressed?

The depression continued for a few more months, then insomnia set in, and somehow or other I found myself spinning further of control into a deep, dark vortex of unhappiness and negativity. There just didn’t seem to be anything I could do to stop it or make it better. At some point I became too depressed to work and on my psychiatrist’s advice took a leave of absence for a month. I remember feeling how extraordinary it was to take a month off work. Me? Take time off work? Don’t be ridiculous – I’d worked since I was 16 years old.

Then one day, after 3 days without sleep, I started to experience myself literally ‘spiraling out of my mind’ and at that moment I knew I had a choice: I could continue and let it happen, or I could stop it. The feeling of letting go was terrifying, and I chose to stop it. I had no idea what was happening. (Now with more experience I feel I was being given the opportunity to ‘lose my mind’ so that I could merge into Oneness, but at the time I was just not ready to surrender).

When I told my psychiatrist, she recommended I admit myself voluntarily into a mental hospital for proper rest and care. So I did.

Hitting rock bottom

Lying in my bed in my private room (I was lucky, I had health insurance) I just did not want to do anything at all. Nothing. I wanted to feel better but just didn’t know how. The doctors wanted to give me anti-depressants – I took them for a day and felt ten times worse, and refused to take anymore. They tried to get to me to go art class, this class, that class, I had to interest whatsover. The most interesting thing was observing the other inmates – there were all sorts: manic-depressives claiming they could see fried eggs on the ceiling, bulemics eating a stick of celery and saying they were full, epileptics throwing fits here and there…it was fascinating. But most of the time, I was in my bed, in my room, spiralling deeper and deeper into an unknown vortex.

One of the things I noticed was I was unable to read anything, I looked at the words but nothing made sense, I could have been looking at Russian or Chinese for all my mind could make of the words on the page. I could hardly talk, speaking was a mammoth effort and seemed quite pointless. And I could not watch television, somehow my eyes were far too sensitive to look at the pictures. So I just lay in bed, hour after hour, feeling very strange as I continued to go down the rabbit hole.

And then at some point, I don’t remember when, I just sort of gave up, surrendered to the process, and let myself go to the bottom. I let go of the resistance of trying to not feel how I was feeling, and sank to the bottom. Strangely, rather than finding myself stuck at the bottom of a pit, lost for eternity, somehow I felt myself rising up again, imperceptably, very slowly. And I even started to feel a smidgen better. How extraordinary! Surrendering doesn’t mean the end!

Re-born

One day I decided to go back to my apartment to collect some clothes, and I distinctly remember sitting on the underground train feeling like I was a new-born baby. It was the strangest feeling. Here I was an adult, feeling like I was literally a baby, a new-born baby. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other and make it to my home. But somehow I did, and made it back to the hospital. I stayed another week, slowly feeling a bit better and stronger each day. Until one day I decided to discharge myself.

I was still far from able to work, and fortunately due to work insurance was able to have more time off. Initially I re-adjusted to being back in my apartment, taking care of the daily essentials, and a few weeks later was given the opportunity to help deliver a yacht from Greece to France. The trip did me the world of good, and I grew stronger every day. And after a few months I felt well enough to return to work ( a new job, however, as I had quite my previous in the meantime). And not long after that I came to New Zealand with my then partner.

Resolution

It took another 7 years or so to really understand what had happened in that experience. At the time I just classified it, as the doctors had, as a ‘nervous breakdown’. But later I started to discover what that actually meant. What was really taking place was a breakdown of old mental patterning which was no longer serving me.

I had been living a lie without even realizing it. I had been living my life of go to school, go to university, get a job, make your way up the ladder, hopefully meet a nice husband…without even realizing that I was living it out of pure cultural and familial conditioning. I was living what I thought I ‘should’ be doing rather than what my soul really wanted me to be doing. And it took a huge breakdown of that paradigm to show me that this was not for me.

And what I eventually learnt was that a mental breakdown can actually be a mental breakthrough. A breakthrough to a new level of consciousness, a new world view, a new perception of reality. And in order for that to happen, the old has to be demolished, just like an old building has to be demolished before a new one can be built.

The shame of it is that in our society a mental or nervous breakdown is often perceived as a ‘taboo’ event, a negative thing not to be spoken of. Mostly this comes out of fear and lack of understanding – in other words, we fear what we do not understand. But this is not the case! It can be a great and actually much needed event! What if people had a different understanding of nervous breakdown?

For one thing, it would help the person going through it to feel a lot better, to at least get a glimpse of the positive potential within the experience. How many people today are stuck in hospital thinking they are going nuts when really they are just going through a necessary shift of consciousness? How many people could be given fresh hope by knowing that what is happening is OK?

I’m not saying that every person with mental problems is having a shift of consciousness or mental ‘breakthrough’, but that in some cases this may be what is happening and that it is a positive happening. So I hope to give people fresh hope. To know that they will come out the other side and that they are not weird or strange. They are just being upgraded!