Ayurvedic / Yogic Philosophy - Srotas, Chakras and Marmas

Added on by Patrick D Holiman.

 

         Benefits can be derived from moving out of the materialistic mechanical paradigm of anatomy and physiology into a more ‘energetic’ picture of the psycho-physical being.  

 

In the teachings of Ayurvedic anatomy and physiology, there are veins and arteries just like in conventional anatomy and physiology. In addition, there are numerous energy channels, which are too subtle to detect with the human eye or even with a high-powered microscope. These are referred to as nadis, which emanate from whirling energy centers - the chakras.

 

Nadis and chakras are familiar to students of yoga.  Not as familiar are what is referred to as 'srotas'. Srotas are pathways for air, food, water and the seven tissues (plasma, blood, muscle, fat, nerve tissue and reproductive tissue). There is a pathway for prana - as in respiration, and the mind, which is technically know as 'manas' - the sense perception mind.

 

         The srotas have a root, a passage, and an opening. We may not be accustomed to thinking of the mind in such a manner. Dr. Lad enlightens us in his book The Textbook of Ayurveda. He says the root of the individual's sense perception mind (manas) is the heart (cardiac plexus) and the ten sensory pathways. There are 5 senses in bilateral pathways – five to the left and five to the right. The passageway of manas (lower mind) is the entire physical body. And the openings are the sense organs - ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose. 'Marmas' - the energy points, which are located all over the body like acu-points - are also openings for mind.

 

It might be pointed out that according to Samkhaya philosophy, which is the basis for Ayurvedic medical theory, the mind has four aspects: Chitta - consciousness and the ability to discern dimension, beauty and harmony; Buddhi, the intellect and the ability to make decisions; Ahamkar, the ego and the sense of individuation; and Manas, the sense perception mind. Manas is often contrasted as the lower, individual mind with the higher, Universal mind.

 

The marma points are traditionally listed as 107 or 108 and sometimes 365, like in traditional Oriental Medicine. When you think about it, what a person hears, touches, sees, tastes and smells affects their mind. Likewise manipulations of the external openings of the mind via the marma and acu-points can also affect the mind.

 

The ideal in manipulating the marmas and acu-points is to bring benefit to the person receiving treatment. This is the principle behind marma therapy and acupuncture / acupressure. By manipulation of certain external points one influences internal tissue, organ systems and the mind, promoting relaxation, health and beauty.

 

Marma and acu-points can affect all the srotas. There are 15 srotas (channels) and two extra for women - a channel for lactation and a channel for menstruation.

 

In Polarity, we usually talk about the five elements and their association with the five chakras along the spine - ether, air, fire, water and earth. These are spinning energy centers that carry out their physiological function by way of the nadis (energy channels). The chakras are the subtle function behind the 3 nervous systems - central, sympathetic and parasympathetic.

 

The chakras have a relationship to sense perception. The subtle aspect of ether is sound and hearing; the subtle aspect of air is touch; the subtle aspect of fire is sight; the subtle aspect of water is taste; the subtle aspect of earth is smell.

        

The higher energy centers are not discussed in too much detail but only acknowledged due to the fact that they are usually accessed through programs of yoga and meditation not manipulation.

 

Addressing individual marma points which relate to the chakras - Sthapni marma, which is acu-point yintang, is located between the eyebrows. It controls the sixth chakra (Ajna), prana, the mind (manas), the senses, pituitary gland and the meeting of the nadis in the head, which include pingala (positive current), ida (negative current) and sushumna (the neutral current that runs through the center of the spine).

Neel marma, located near acu-point stomach 9 and 10, is a large area of the lower neck just lateral to the trachea. It governs Brajaka pitta (combined fire and water principle), which is the heat of the skin, speech, thyroid and circulation to the brain. Its location is at the ether chakra.

Hridaya marma, which is at the same location as acu-point conception vessel 17 but is much larger, is located in the general region of the heart, the middle of the sternum. It controls the tissues of plasma and blood; the circulatory systems and the air chakra.

 

Nabhi marma, which is the same as acu-point conception vessel 8, but is much larger in size, is located in the navel and surrounding area. It governs the fire chakra, which includes digestion and exertion. Controls digestive fire (the fire of the solar plexus located in the first 1/3 of the small intestine), digestive juices, bile and pitta (combined fire and water principle) in the whole body.

 

Basti marma, which includes acu-points conception vessel 2 through 6 located between the pubic symphysis and umbilicus in the region of lower abdomen and the surrounding area above the bladder. It governs the muscular system and bodily fat and kapha (combined earth and water principle), according to Dr. David Frawley in his book Ayurveda and Marma Therapy. This point affects the second, water chakra.

 

Guda marma, which includes acu-point governing vessel 1 and acu-point conception vessel 1. It is located at the anus and surrounding area. It governs the earth chakra, the channels of excretion, urination, reproduction and menstruation as well as the testes and ovaries.

 

So what is the benefit of an energetic picture of the human body?  In a way the foregoing is simply a hodge podge of conceptual make believe.  But, if we can understand the technical aspects of an energetic picture of the human body, we won’t remain stuck in a slow to change and materialist body imagine. This could enable us to be able to more easily change our vibration and tune into a higher frequency.

Tissue Development

Added on by Patrick D Holiman.

Tissue Development

Cells organize to form tissue. According to Ayurveda there are seven basic tissues: plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow (the brain is known as the "sea of marrow" and this suggests that marrow is also related to the nervous systems) and reproductive tissue. Plasma tissue contains nutrients from digested food, which nourishes all of the other tissues, organs and body systems. Blood supplies oxygen to the body tissues.

Muscle tissue covers the organs, performs the movement of joints and lends strength. Fat tissue lubricates the tissues. Bone tissue supports the body structure. Marrow and nerve tissue carry motor and sensory impulses. Reproductive tissue contains the ingredients of all tissues. Each tissue depends on the energy of the less complex tissue in this chain of life.

Each tissue is nourished in a serial manifestation, according to Ayurveda as taught by Dr. Lad in his books Ayurveda, the Science of Self- Healing and Textbook of Ayurveda. Each of the seven tissue types are transformed sequentially from plasma to the reproductive tissue. Any weakness in one tissue type affects the formation of subsequent tissue. For example, a weakness in the muscle tissue will affect the fat tissue. Tissue transformation results from three processes that occur simultaneously: irrigation - nutrients are supplied to the tissues through the blood vessels; selectivity - each tissue extracts the nutrients it needs; and direct transformation - as nutritional substances pass through each tissue the food for the subsequent tissue is produced.

Each of the seven tissues is subtler than the previous one and takes longer to form. Reproductive tissue takes the longest to produce. It is said that it takes 28 days to form a drop of semen, whereas plasma can be formed in a few hours.

In standard anatomy and physiology, cell formation progresses to tissue to formation of the organs. The seven tissues, as taught in Ayurveda, each relate to the structure and function of various organs.

Besides the nourishment and production of the tissue itself, each tissue develops a related by-product. And, as with any manufacturing process, there is also production of something similar to a base or waste by-product, which is called a mala.

Plasma is rooted in the right chamber of the heart, where all the venous blood returns, and in the large vessels. Plasma passes through the venous and lymphatic systems and opens into the arteriole-venous junction. The by-products of plasma are the outer (epidermis) layer of the skin, breast milk and menstrual fluids. The base by-product (mala) of plasma is mucus.

Blood, as defined in Ayurveda, is only the red blood cells, not ‘blood plasma’, which includes white blood cells and blood platelets. Red blood cells only make up 45% of a blood sample. The remaining 55% is ‘blood plasma’.

Blood is rooted in the liver and spleen, passes through the arteriole circulatory system and opens into the arteriole/venous junction. The by-products of blood are blood vessels, granulations (which are formed as a part of the healing process in large open wounds) and small tendons. The base by-product is bile.

Muscle tissue is rooted in the fascia and tendons, mesodermal cells, and the layers of the skin below the dermis (outer layer of the skin). Muscle tissue opens to the pores of the skin. Muscle tissue by-products are the inner (dermis) layers of the skin and the subcutaneous layer made of fat and connective tissue. The base by-product is earwax, nasal crust, sebaceous secretions and tartar.

Fat tissue is rooted in the omentum, which is an apron-like double fold of fatty membrane that hangs down in front of the intestines, and the adrenal glands. Fat tissue opens to the pores of the skin. The by-products of fat tissue are tendons or sinews, ligaments and flat muscles. The base by-product of fat is sweat.

Bone tissue is rooted in the pelvic girdle and sacrum. It opens to the nails and head hair. Bone tissue has a by-product of teeth and cartilage. The base by- products are head hair and nails.

Marrow and nerve tissue is rooted in the brain, spinal cord, joints and junctions between the tissues. It passes through the central, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Marrow and nerve tissue opens to the synapses and neuromuscular junctions. The by-products of nerve tissue and bone marrow are tears. The base by-product is the crusty secretion in the eyes.

Reproductive tissue is rooted in the testicles and nipples on a man, and in the ovaries and areola of the nipples on a woman. Its passage is by way of the ejaculatory duct, prostate, urethra and urinogenital tract on a man and fallopian tubes, uterus, cervical canal and vaginal passage in a woman. It opens to the urethral termination on a man and labia on a woman. Reproductive tissue has a superior by-product of ojas, the subtle essence of properly nourished bodily tissues. It has a base by-product of pubic and axillary hair.

The tissues are woven from the five elements. They are enlivened by the life energy, prana and the biological affects of vatta, pitta, and kapha. Bodily tissues are the biological representation of the subtle energy currents in the body. If they are in a healthy condition, the tissues maintain normal physiological functions and promote proper working of the more subtle energetic forms of the doshas - prana related to vatta, tejas related to pitta, and ojas related to kapha. 

Yoga Postures

Added on by Patrick D Holiman.

The number 84 is a classical number given to how many yoga postures there are.  This is due to the fact that there are 84 lakhs (100,000 which = 8.4 million) species which include:  3,000,000 types of plants and trees, 2,700,000 types of reptiles and insects, 1,400,000 kinds of aquatic animals and birds, 900,000 varieties of   mammals and 400,000 types of humans, gods, goddesses and disembodied spirits.

    

     The names of the postures illustrate the universal principle of consciousness in different stages of evolution.  By practicing the classical positions of man/woman and nature one helps to universalize consciousness. 

Neurology and Scalp Acupuncture

Added on by Patrick D Holiman.

When one practices scalp acupuncture, it can affect the brain and central nervous system.  It uses the same paradigm that neurologist uses, like what you would find in an anatomy book, except that acupuncture tries to stimulate the cranial nerves with the acupuncture pin, not drugs or surgery.

    So what paradigm does Tradition Oriental Medicine use?

     In Oriental medical theory the brain and uterus are considered 'extraordinary organs.'  

    The brain (known as a sea of marrow and consciousness) is closely involved in sense perception, thinking and consciousness.  It is not treated directly in theory, but through:
1)    The kidneys – which produce the marrow from the stored essence;
2)    The heart – which is said to house the mind, memory and thinking;
3)    The liver – which regulates the smooth flow of vital functions;
4)    The spleen – which rules concentration.

How Does Acupuncture Work Anyway?

Added on by Patrick D Holiman.

This question is often asked. Hua-Ching Ni, a Taoist adept, points out that human beings are a complete model of the universe. As such, humans demonstrate the physical as well as mental and spiritual aspects of existence.

Knowledge of the more subtle aspects of the human body is not gained through dissection and observation of anatomy. Oriental Medicine (and I use that term Oriental Medicine as a metaphor not something that is limited to certain practices that remain entombed in the Chinese countryside) and the acupuncture energy meridians delineate the circulation of energy within the human body on an extremely subtle level.

The ideal health system helps prevent dis-ease rather than treat illnesses after they have manifested as painful or distressing physical and mental symptoms. An Ideal health program can involve elevation of our general state to enjoy a feeling of well-being with physical and mental energy. The term organ in Oriental Medicine does not refer to simply an anatomical entity, but the manifestation of a functional sphere of energy that is carried out all over the body. These organ spheres have certain responsibilities to keep the body in harmony with nature through the process of cycles of energy transformation. The transformation of energy that creates the planets, the Earth and the four seasons also creates the corresponding organs within the human body.

The subtle energy meridians of Acupuncture not only connect the organs to each other but the external to the internal. These pathways have clearly and distinctly established pathways and definite directions of flow just as the circulation of the blood and lymph systems do.

Those from the past who had the skills of human observation and understanding discovered that illness often produced painful areas upon the skin and that the pain would disappear when a cure was affected. They saw that stimulation or sedation of various points on the body produced an effect upon the functioning of internal organs. In a somewhat tongue in cheek extreme, it was observed that when someone was speared, a chronic ailment would heal. It has been learned through centuries of experience that stimulation of what is referred to as distal points will work like the points that are stimulated locally. Thus the stimulation of a point in the thumb web can affect the face or throat. A point on the leg can affect the colon, etc.

The energy circulation in and among the organs themselves cannot be acted upon directly. But they may be influenced through the surface points. These key points are well established through thousands of years of observation and experience.

At these points, energy imbalances, deficiencies, excesses, blockages can be restored to normal balance. Pain is the lack of free flow. The blood and energy wants to flow in certain natural pathways, and if they cant, dis-ease may follow. So the simple objective is to restore the normal circulation of chi (energy) and blood. Then one feels relaxed and energized and all the tissues and organs are nourished. The protective chi is strong and the shen (spirit) is balanced.

All of the channels are connected and polarized in such a manner that the circulation of energy throughout the body flows in continuous and constant patterns. There are six yang channels, six yin channels and eight extra channels that form the bodys energy network. These channels, along with the acu-points, are described in various acupuncture books and in the Acu-Point book.

The continued harmony of an individual depends on maintaining the appropriate balance of yin and yang. The five phases of fire, earth, metal, water and wood maintain the equilibrium of yin and yang if their energy transformations are appropriate. If the energy transformation becomes unbalanced dis-ease can appear. For example, wood attacks earth. Say a person feels angry or has some other emotional upset, or takes some inappropriate food that causes excess blockage in the liver (wood) channel. The excess wood can shut down the food absorption function of the spleen (earth), etc.

Taken from the Acu-Point Book: In summary, to bring about balance in a dis-eased condition, manipulate the following:

1. Local points and distal points that relate to the affected area and adjacent points (points in the same area but on the other side of the body).

2. Points that are sore, ah-shi points. 3. Front mu and back shu points. 4. Influential points.
5. Yuan source points.

6. Xi-cleft points.
7. Five element points.

8. Points according to signs and symptoms related to a particular organ system designated by the four diagnostic methods. 

YOGIC ATTITUDE AND PERSPECTIVE

Added on by Patrick D Holiman.

 

         There exists a yin/yang energy of attention.  In this attention lies the secret.  The yin force is centripetal in character, meaning it spirals inward.   This is the state of energy associated with cross-legged meditation and going inward.  Yang energy is centrifugal in character, meaning it spirals outward.  In the ideal, this is the state of being totally in the now, giving full attention to what we are doing in the present.

 

            Being totally in the present is Zen and the art of whatever you are doing.  Action performed with the mind dwelling in the past, worrying about the future, not  being  in  the present moment - this action will naturally lack any power.  This is simple logic.  Most of our problems arise in thought, not in the task, the action at hand.

 

            The yogic attitude on preparing for relaxation and concentration involves the yin/yang of awareness/attention and recognition that we are not our thoughts but something greater.  Our mind's energy should not be dissipated in things that have no concrete reality, that is, the past and the future.  Conscious attention to the present will evolve a better future.

 

            The world is basically a projection of consciousness, a projection on the screen of the five elements.  This means that if we want to know reality, we look inside consciousness, not into the elements of the natural world.

 

            Our experiences are created by our manner of perception.  We are inclined to believe that we are seeing the world outside and viewing it from within our head.  This is actually the reverse of what is happening.

 

            When we view an object, we are inclined to think that we see a vase, for example.  The vase is a certain distance from us, and we perceive it through the sense of vision.  The organ of the eye stimulates certain sensory nerve impulses that register in the brain.  This registers in our consciousness that yes, indeed, this is a vase.  It has a certain shape, a certain color.               

                                                                       

            What is difficult to realize is that actually the experience is happening within consciousness and is being projected outward.  We cannot know consciousness by studying what we project onto the screen of the mind.  We can turn around and look at the thing that is projecting the show.  This is what we basically have to do to understand life and consciousness.  Not to waste time studying the endless projections of the elements but to turn the attention on consciousness itself.

            To carry this point further, when we start to consider the world as a projection of consciousness, we may naturally reason, "If the world is only a projection of consciousness, then why is it that I can get several people to agree that this is indeed a vase?" The point missed on this line of reasoning is that the people who agree with us are also part of the projection. 

                                                                       

            From here we might reason that if this is the case, then nothing really matters since it is only a projection and not reality.  The thing to realize is the total oneness of consciousness we are a part of.  There is oneness, wholeness and a reason for complete love of everything, because it is a part of us.

 

            This reasoning is not meant to act as doctrine but to suggest that to know the truth in life, we need to look within our own consciousness rather than toward the projection.

 

            Until the experience of an eternal moment of total awareness, the world and relationships seem real.  This state of `unknowing' makes the daily life experiences seem more significant. To understand our ignorance of this state of total 'unknowing' is the wisdom of Socrates,  “To know that I don't know.”

 

            If we look at and study the outer, material world, we will not find anything beyond the confines of change because the material universe is fundamentally composed of time, space and the law of action and reaction (karma).

 

            Total awareness cannot be found in time and space.  Time means change, and space cannot exist without time.  We cannot travel through a distance, through space, without an element of time involved in the movement.  Everything is relative.

 

            Logic and simple definition say: if there is such a thing as 'ultimate truth' it cannot involve something that changes in time.  It cannot be something today and something else tomorrow.  What was true for the ancients must be true now.  Truth by definition cannot be something that is relative.  This is transcendental, primal truth, not social conditioning.  Ultimate Truth must be beyond time and space, beyond change which is neither ultimate nor is it Truth.

                                                                       

            Most of our difficulties and misconceptions are due to the fact that we tend to identify with the physical body and body consciousness.  This body is naturally subject to continuous change in the form of birth, growth, decay and death.  Identification with body consciousness leads us to carry a basic misconception into all our conceptions of the universe.  Our ability to discern the truth in life is distracted by identification with the physical body. 

 

            So the fundamental effort in meditation is first to still the body consciousness by making the body still.  Making the body strong, flexible and free of blockages can help this process by making the body comfortable.  Bodywork, good nutrition and yoga postures help us to still the body with minimum effort.  Then put the body in a lotus posture, or sit in a chair, so that the backbone is straight, without leaning against the chair back or the wall.  This is a big advantage in concentration.    

 

            Once the body is able to keep still for some time, try to still the mind.  Mind always chatters about its perceptions of body sensations.  Having a still mind is easy to talk about but hard to do. The technique to still the chattering mind must be learned from a teacher who has accomplished stillness. 

 

            The aim of all yoga is ultimately to still the vritis - the waves of the mind -the consciousness.  The vritis are of four kinds: the chitta or the subtle subconscious, the buddhi, or intellect, the ahamkar, or ego, and the manas, or sense mind.

 

              We still the vritis, the mind waves, the consciousness, and go beyond it to total awareness.

INTRODUCTION TO ACU-POLARITY MEDICAL PHILOSOPHY

Added on by Patrick D Holiman.

 

            The term Acu-Polarity has its background in Ayurvedic Medicine, the ancient wisdom of India and Oriental medicine, the teachings of Chinese Acupuncture and herbology.  Nevertheless, this is not trying to represent those teachings as they are now, or how they have been practiced in India and the Orient, but rather to help the reader understand a practical truth.

 

            The first thing to look at is our manner of perception, internally as in mysticism and externally, as in science and technology.   Science uses analysis and division of consciousness into the object and the observer. 

 

            Science and technology are very impressive.  For example, if someone invented a solar battery that could be mounted on the hood of a car to make it run on energy from the sun, we would all benefit from this in an obvious way.  The inventor would become rich and famous.

 

            In mystical experience, to know is to become one with the object of knowledge.  There is no division of consciousness but an experience of oneness.  Regardless of the time or country, there is universal agreement on this among those who have had the experience. This, however, is not as overtly impressive as are the discoveries of technology.  If someone tells us they have experienced a heightened state of awareness, we are not sure.  The person may be delusional, or we may simply not understand what is meant without having had the experience ourselves.

 

            Both Ayurvedic and Oriental medicine acknowledge that man/woman is the microcosm and the Universe the macrocosm.  The physical universe is recognized as a level of consciousness that devolved in a step down process from a higher and primary source of energy and awareness.

 

            Darwinian evolution encourages us to think the opposite:  that we evolved from the elements and lower life forms.  In Polarity, the elements are considered the most negative pole of the original source energy manifestation.

 

            In Polarity, all creation evolved from and rotates around a center, whether one considers cells and atoms or universes. The task in energetic medicine is to understand the physical in terms of the higher energies.

 

            In the spiritual sciences, a purely spiritual philosophy with no physical reality is no longer accepted.  Likewise, the physical sciences can no longer be understood without reference to the higher energies and consciousness as the source.


Yams and Niyams - Don'ts and Do's

Added on by Patrick D Holiman.

Some of the writings of Ayurveda have suggested that many psychosomatic illnesses have their origins in inappropriate behavior.  With this possibility in mind, it is a reasonable approach to get a further understanding by looking at the yoga teaching on ethics.

      

       The yams and niyams are the ethical practices that lay a foundation for yoga practice.  Ha (sun) tha (moon) yoga proper includes four parts: Yams (-) don'ts, Niyams (+) do's, Postures, and Pranayama (the science of breath).

      

       There are five yams: (1) harmlessness or non-violence to all living creatures; (2) living the truth, non-lying; (3) taking only what is honestly yours, non-theft; (4) avoidance of dissipation of life energy through excesses of all kinds, or non-indulgence; (5) not being chained to unnecessary things as 'needs' in life, or non-possessiveness.

      

       The five niyams are: (1) keeping living quarters, clothes, body, food and thoughts as clean as possible, or cleanliness; (2) being happy with what life has provided, this is the underlying principle that nature always provides us with what we need (not necessarily what we want), or contentment; (3) being able to accept adversity (physical or emotional) without losing much balance.  This can be considered an austerity when accepted with a certain attitude.  There is no need to seek out austerity, as nature will provide ample   emotional   and/or   physical unpleasantness to give us the opportunity to set the ego aside and endure the situation; (4) study of the world scriptures and writings of experienced mystics--examination and self study; (5) an understanding that there is a higher power both personal and in cosmic events, the energy of faith.

      

       The number 84 is a classical number given to how many yoga postures there are.  This is due to the fact that there are 84 lakhs (100,000 which = 8.4 million) species which include:  3,000,000 types of plants and trees, 2,700,000 types of reptiles and insects, 1,400,000 kinds of aquatic animals and birds, 900,000 varieties of   mammals and 400,000 types of humans, gods, goddesses and disembodied spirits.

      

       The names of the postures illustrate the universal principle of consciousness in different stages of evolution.  By practicing the classical positions of man/woman and nature one helps to universalize consciousness.        

 

       This point also illustrates why the classic yogic diet has been lacto-vegetarian, not eating any meat, fish or eggs.  Man/woman has all five elements active.  With an active ether element one can reason, discriminate and perform actions that can promote an evolution in consciousness.  Quadrupeds have four elements active, lacking the ether element and, as with all other creatures besides man, are in bog joni karma.  This means they are reaping the effects of past karma but cannot perform actions that will give them realization of an ultimate reality in the form that they are presently in.  Birds lack earth and ether elements.  Reptiles only have two elements active, earth and fire.  Vegetation and plants only have one element active which is water.  The yogi, wanting to cause as little karma as possible, happily subsist on vegetables, grains, fruits, herbs and spices, and some dairy products. 

Non-Conclusion

Added on by Patrick D Holiman.

NON-CONCLUSION

The Vision of Polarity - the New Man/Woman

 

         Disease and war are part of the polarity of the universe.  There is no need to seek a peace that depends on world leaders to draw up an ultimate treaty.  Nor can we depend on this body of ours to be disease free or to last over a few years.   

                                

            Recognizing the situation, we can still accept this and act with love and caring.  The polarity of relationships is the science of human experience.  Consider these ideals:  Learn to relate to the opposite sex as a complementary equal, partner and twin.  Be affectionate and loving without repression or sexuality.  Be sexual when appropriate, and be able to withdraw and enjoy one’s own company. 

 

            Learn to dance with youth and children as teachers of eternal vitality and innocence.  Respect the elders of the earth as teachers of wisdom and experience.  And treat competitors as brothers / sisters in trade, knowing that the earth has supplied abundance for all.  This is the abundance a simple life and diet provide.  This state of gratitude and happiness will never come from greed and excess.

 

            To consider anyone an enemy is to lack the ability to really have a true friend.  To bring harm to others is like shooting ourselves in the foot.  This whole universe is our relative.  Spread out to know that Source and Ancient Origin of all there is.  When we truly know this ideal, we can still practice self defense, when absolutely necessary, but without hatred or gross violence.

 

            Polarity principles are in action everywhere.  A loving hug and warm smile are free polarity treatments to share and enjoy with all.  Learn to touch without the idea of seduction or violence, but with healing and affection.  Touch without the desire to change others’ ideas of right and wrong, but accept ‘otherness’ as it is.

 

            Understand the possibility of changing oneself and that in this great possibility is the key to what we seek to change in others.  If we are able to accomplish such a mighty feat, there is a possibility the world might change too.  After all, the world is simply a projection of consciousness.

Free and Easy Wandering

Added on by Ezekiel Holiman.

Free and Easy Wandering

Going with the Flow

 

In order to better understand the Chinese therapeutic approach to disorders of the shen / spirit, we have to first examine in greater detail the Chinese concept of healthy spirit. This concern falls into the realm of philosophy, psychology, and religion, because it involves the correct ordering of one's thoughts, desires, goals, and methods. Who is to determine what is correct? The answer is in the messages attributed to god or the sage.

 


To help draw attention to the fact that these philosophical /religious /psychological concepts influence Chinese medical therapeutics, we can consider the name given to a popular herb formula that is used for, among other things, mental distress, depression, and anxiety: Xiao Yao San (Free and Easy Wandering). The title given to the herb prescription makes reference to the unfettered wandering of the Taoists who prided themselves in being in tune with the movements of nature, living in harmony with the seasons, and in balance with the qi of the earth. This formula harmonizes the liver and when the liver energy is harmonized one’s relationships are free and easy going.

 

The corresponding acupuncture point is taichong (Lv-3), which is widely used today for depression, frustration, pent-up feelings, irritability, and mood swings; to match the herbal formula Xiao Yao San, that point would be combined with sanyinjiao (Sp-6) to strengthen the center while freeing up the circulation of qi. 



 

Many Taoist alchemists were seeking immortality. They used a variety of means to attain their goal, including meditation, special exercises that were later to become the familiar chi-kung, and ingestion of various alchemical substances, some of which became important in herbal remedies (and, unfortunately, some included poisonous components). 



 

Taoist Wandering: A Mind that Is Free



 

The fundamentals of Taoism are described in the Tao Te Ching, attributed to the legendary Lao-tzu. It is the most widely translated book from Asia. The following are some of the points that are relevant to the issues of integral health.

 

In chapter 8 of the 81-chapter work, the Tao is likened to water:





"Natural, whole virtue is like water; it benefits all things, but does not contend with them. It unprotestingly takes the lowest position; thus, through the virtue of wholeness, it is close to the Tao. One of whole virtue adapts to any environment. He attunes his mind to what is profound. When dealing with others, he is kind. In speech, he is sincere. His rule brings about order. His work is efficient. His actions are opportune. One of absolute virtue does not contend with anyone; Thus, he is above reproach." (12)



 

Joining the flow of Tao, wherever it may go, leads one to unusual places, but places meant to be visited by those who have devoted themselves to the Tao. People detest the places not because they are bad but because they are not familiar; they are held back by fear of the unknown, not trusting in the Tao. Fear is the emotion that ultimately causes the most difficulties. Going into nature and observing the flow of streams is, in itself, one of the natural remedies for a troubled mind. Learning to move gracefully around obstacles is one of the aims of practicing Tai Qi Chuan. 



 

What came to be known as Taoism was also elucidated by Chuang-tzu. 
The first chapter of the book of Chuang-tzu's teachings is titled Xiao Yao; this has been translated as "Wandering Boundless and Free; or Free and Easy Wandering (like the name of the herb formula)." Xiao has the meaning of free and unrestrained; Yao has the meaning of distant; thus, the term implies going a long distance without restraint. The chapter is comprised of short sayings or stories that encourages the reader to be free of rigid concepts. 


 

The key is to depend on no-thing at all, that is, to be free of all rigid concepts, attachments to material goods, positions of recognition, and all obstructions to movement through life, to have one's mind and body move according to the Tao, the "Way."

 

The realized Taoist becomes selfless (helpful to others but not concerned about receiving rewards and praise, hence meritless and nameless). In this description, it is said that to set out boundless and clear (free) is a rare and blessed thing. This roaming is not referring to actually traveling about the countryside (which is an external practice that mimics what happens inside); it refers to what goes on within the mind, either during meditation or in daily life. 



 

This story by Chuang-tzu reflects the words found in Chapter 25 of the Tao Te Ching, where the Tao is depicted this way (3):
I do not know its name, call it Tao. For lack of a better word, I call it great. Being great, it flows. It flows far away. Having gone far, it returns.  Man follows the earth; earth follows heaven; heaven follows the Tao; the Tao follows what is natural. The ultimate leader in the journey is that which is natural. 



 

In another passage in Chuang-tzu's chapter titled Xiao Yao is a discussion between Chuang-tzu and Hui-tzu. Hui-tzu was a contemporary and friend of Chuang-tzu who held a contrary and competing philosophical view based on logic and rationalism (6): 


 

'I have a big tree,' said Hui-tzu to Chuang-tzu. 'Its huge trunk is so gnarled and knotted that no measuring string can gauge it, and its branches are so bent and twisted they defy compass and square. It stands right beside the road, and still carpenters never notice it. These words of yours, so vast and useless, everyone ignores them the same way.'

Chuang-tzu replied 'Now, you've got this huge tree, and you agonize over how useless it is. Why not plant it in a village where there's nothing at all, in a land where emptiness stretches away forever? Then you could be no one drifting lazily beside it, roam boundless and free as you doze in its shade. It won't die young from the axe. Nothing will harm it. If you have no use, you have no grief. 



 

The tree that is logically useful (its wood is desirable) will be cut down; the tree that is logically useless (its wood too gnarled to be of value) is spared. So, which is better - to be useful or useless? And who is to decide whether something is useful: the gnarled tree serves just fine for shade and is not in danger of being cut down for its wood. 



 

In Chapter 22 of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu says (3):


 

Wise men embrace the one, and set an example to all. Not putting on a display, they shine forth; not justifying themselves, they are distinguished. Not boasting, they receive recognition, not bragging, they never falter. They do not quarrel, so no one quarrels with them.

 

The tree, in the story above, may be huge, but carpenters never notice it. The Taoist is likewise unnoticed because he does not try to call attention to himself; not calling attention to himself, he/she contends with no one. 


 

Zhi Dun (314-366 A.D.) introduced Buddhism, a philosophy based on the avoidance of rigid, limiting concepts, to Taoist China. In his commentary about the book of Chuang-tzu, one passage survives to the present; it is about Xiao Yao (7): 



 

Free and easy wandering refers to the mind of the perfected. When Chuang-tzu talks about the Great Tao, he uses the analogy of the Peng bird and the quail. Because the Peng's life is without obstruction, the bird is free from all limitation in the realm beyond the body. The quail, on the other hand, because it lives in the near and scorns the far, it is limited and obstructed in its mind. The perfected one rides the truth of heaven, soars aloft, and wanders boundlessly in unfettered freedom. He treats beings as beings-without being treated as a mere being himself. He is not self-satisfied in his wandering. Mystically one with the universe. He is not hurried, yet moves swiftly. He goes everywhere in his freedom. He is truly a free and easy wanderer.



 

The "Way" or Tao is freedom from worries about time (meaning worries about accomplishments that will be recognized by others), with a life that appears leisurely, like that of a butterfly fluttering here and there. However, to attain the state of true freedom, each individual must cultivate the proper attitude: to overcome the tendencies of striving for reward and resisting obstacles that seem to stand in the way. 



In the Tao Te Ching (chapter 48) it is said: 


 

"The world is ruled by letting things take their course, it cannot be ruled by interfering." Letting things take their course is often described as "being in harmony with nature." Harmony with nature requires yielding, but it results in great things. 



 

The study of this aspect of Taoism helps one overcome the ingrained personal approach of clashing with - rather than flowing with - a difficulty that is encountered, typically a difficulty that is placed by one's own mind.

 

The lack of freedom of the mind influences the person's flow of qi and blood, causing it to flow erratically and bind up; the bodily condition, in return, contributes to stagnant or erratic mental function, with the potential for continued worsening of the total condition. 

In the Chinese model of health and disease, the free flow of qi and blood is the requirement for health and the obstructed flow of qi and blood is a cause of pain and dis-ease (there are other causes, such as deficiencies and excesses). The obstruction of circulation corresponds to both a physical stagnation (repression of natural movement) and the psychological condition we call depression, the sense of inability to move and change to overcome obstacles.

 

The great herbal teacher Zhu Danxi said (10):

 

"So long as the qi and blood enjoy harmonious flow, none of the hundreds of diseases can arise. Once they are depressed and suppressed, various diseases are produced."



 

Basics of Taoist Action:

 

Doing while not Doing (Wu Wei)

The underlying principle regarding actions presented in the Tao Te Ching is that one should take care of things that are in need of doing, and then move on to the next thing that needs to be done, without any attachment to the accomplishment of the first or the potential outcome of the next. By avoiding any "attachment to the accomplishment" it is meant that one should not dwell upon such things as taking credit for it, accumulating rewards (including material things and power), or spending time with retelling it in order to get recognition. 



 

Along these lines also, with regard to one's work, do not bother doing things other than what needs to be done. For example, one should not spend time at efforts that are aimed specifically at collecting wealth, accumulating power, or gaining praise, or even bothering others by taking up their time with unnecessary things. Moving from one moment to the next, taking care of what is necessary, and not straying from that, is the Way. So long as one follows this teaching, things will progress smoothly; but as one deviates from this pattern, obstacles and heartaches arise. 



 

Because one does not dwell upon accomplishments nor make efforts to gain things, it is said, "nothing is done." This is wu wei – effortless effort. It should be understood, however, that this does not mean simply sitting lazily, avoiding doing anything or skirting obvious responsibilities; something is done, just not specially recognized as such.

 

In the absence of striving after wealth, power, or praise, one may come by it naturally, which brings its own requirements for action; these outcomes aren't necessarily bad, just not suitable as a goal in themselves. 



 

These integral messages may be particularly relevant to the ordinary conditions that affect people today. This is about a way of being an intelligent response, not just a reaction to an event or undertaking. 



 

Here are some sample quotations about the proper way of living (3):



 

"Creating, yet not possessing. Working, yet not taking credit. Work is done, then forgotten. Therefore, it lasts forever." (Chapter 2).



 

"If nothing is done, then all will be well (3); Or, When people are free from cunning, desire, and artifice, Everything will be well ordered of its own accord (12)." (Chapter 3)



"The sage stays behind, thus he is ahead. He is detached, thus at one with all. Through selfless action, he attains fulfillment." (Chapter 7)



 

"Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it. Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow. Retire when the work is done. This is the way of heaven." (Chapter 9)



 

"Giving birth and nourishing, bearing yet not possessing, working yet not taking credit, leading yet not dominating, this is the primal virtue." (Chapter 10)



 

"He who stands on tiptoe is not steady; he who strides cannot maintain the pace; he who makes a show is not enlightened; he who is self-righteous is not respected; he who boasts achieves nothing; he who brags will not endure. According to followers of the Tao, 'these are extra food and unnecessary luggage.' They do not bring happiness, therefore followers of the Tao avoid them." (Chapter 24)



 

"An integral being does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone. (Chapter 38)



 

The Things to Be Done and the Way to Do Them



 

One can know what to do by focusing attention on such virtuous attitudes as gentleness, kindness, truthfulness, competence, alertness, simplicity, yielding (rather than obstructing), constancy, openheartedness, caring, perseverance, willingness to take on difficult tasks, mercy, economy, generosity, humility, gentleness, meditation, etc., and avoids such things as extremes, excesses, complacency, abandoning those in need, trying to do too much at once rather than take the small steps that are necessary, ignoring what is known, having desires for unnecessary things, and rigidity in ideas, as well as avoiding those concerns described earlier, such as boasting, accumulating wealth and power, and seeking rewards.



 

Here are some sample quotations (3): 



 

"In dwelling, be close to the land, in meditation, go deep in the heart, in dealing with others, be gentle and kind, in speech, be true, in ruling, be just, in business, be competent, in action, watch the timing." (Chapter 8)



 

"Alert, like men aware of danger, courteous, like visiting guests, yielding, like ice about to melt, simple, like uncarved blocks of wood...." (Chapter 9)



 

"Attain the utmost unoccupiednes. Maintain the utmost stillness, and do not interfere with all the things that rush together in activity and grow luxuriantly. Knowing constancy in renewing oneself, one can extend the duration of one’s life. If one can deeply understand the extension of life’s duration, one is able to contain all things within oneself. To be all inclusive is to be impartial. To be impartial is to realize the positive, creative virtues of Heaven. Such a one will be preserved, even after the dissolution of the physical body. (12) (Chapter 16)



 

"One of natural integral virtue is good at helping all people impartially. Thus no one is abandoned. Because he is good at protecting and preserving all things, Nothing is ever thrown away (wasted).” (12) (Chapter 27)



 

*This article is a paraphrase from the writings of Subhuti Darmanda, Ph.D. entitled Towards a Spirit at Peace, Understanding the Treatment of Shen (Spirit) Disorders with Chinese Medicine. Subhuti Dharmananda is an herbalist and acupuncturist who founded the Institute for Traditional Medicine and Preventive Health Care, Inc. (ITM), which operates two clinics in Portland, Organ and engages in a variety of educational and charitable projects related to traditional medicine). 

Thanks to Chuck McClintock for sending this to me in reference to our discussion about shen, po and hun.

Next time will be a discussion of emotional balance.



 

References



 

1. Wu JCH (translator), Tao Teh Ching, 1961 St. John's University Press, New York, NY.


2. Kwok, MH, Palmer M, and Ramsay J, The Illustrated Tao Te Ching, 1994 Barnes and Noble Books, New York, NY.


3. Feng GF and English J, Tao Te Ching, 1972 Vintage Books, New York, NY.


4. Porter B (aka Red Pine), Lao-tzu's Taoteching, 1996 Mercury House, San Francisco, CA.


5. Henricks RG, Lao-Tzu Te-Tao Ching: A New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Ma-Wang-Tui Texts, 1989 Ballantine Books, New York, NY.


6. Hinton D, Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters, 1997, Counterpoint, Washington D.C.


7. Kohn L, Early Chinese Mysticism: Philosophy and Soteriology in the Taoist Tradition, 1992 Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.


8. Porter B, Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits, 1993 Mercury House, San Francisco, CA.


9. Hua-Ching Ni, Hua Hu Ching: The Later Teachings of Lao Tzu, 1995 Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston, MA.


10. Kohn L, Early Chinese Mysticism, 1992 Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.


11. Reid TR, Confucius Lives Next Door, 1999 Random House, New York, NY.


12. Hua-Ching Ni, The Complete Works of Lao Tzu, 1979. The Shrine of the Eternal Breath of Tao, Malibu, CA.

Treating Colds and Flu

Added on by Ezekiel Holiman.

 

Treating Colds and Flu*

What is the difference between and cold and the Flu? 

            Cold:  Temperature less than 101.5:  Headache less likely; Mild loss of appetite; Mild aches and pains: Slight fatigue; No exhaustion; Stuffy nose; Sneezing; Sore throat; mild cough; Lasts 2-3 days, Average one week, can last up to two weeks.

            Flu: Fever can be high, 102-104 lasting 3-4 days; Prominent headache; Loss of appetite; Can have severe aches and pains; Can have severe fatigue and weakness lasting up to 3 weeks; Exhaustion.  Can have stuffy nose, sneezing an sore throat;  Can have severe cough, Can linger up to three weeks.

            Treatment: for the beginning of a cold with slight fever, congestion, mild coughing, slight headache, mild sore throat Cold away; or Isatis Gold with Isatis, Echinacea and Golden Seal if there is more inflammation and fever.

            Treatment of phase one of the Flu – Prevention. 

Siler and Platycodon Formula to assist in the elimination of wind heat and toxin from the body; Jade Screen Formula boost the wei chi (bodies resistance to external invasion); Six Gentlemen Formula strengthens chi and the spleen, transforms phlegm and damp; Ling Zhi Lung Formula for allergic asthma with weakened immunity; Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng) for adrenal exhaustion.

            Treatment of phase two of the flu – Initial exposure.  Dr. John Heuertz, DOM in his article “Effective Strategies for Treating Influenza” points out that during this phase the virus is traveling from its entry point (the eyes, nose, or mouth) down through the trachea and into the bronchia and lungs.

Cold Away; Astra Isatis; Andrographis Formula; Yin Chiao Formula especially if the first sign is a tickle in the throat.

            Treatment of phase three the fully engaged phase.  Symptoms have lasted for more than three days, exhaustion/ fatigue, loss of appetite, body aches, fever and cough. Mulberry and Lycium Formula is used when there are severe body aches and phlegm is not prominent.  When fever is the most prominent sign Siler and Platycodon Formula.  To stop cough rectify energy and resolve phlegm Ginseng and Scute combination is suggested.

*Golden Flower Chinese Herb Newsletter, article by Dr. John Heuertz, DOM “Effective Strategies for Treating Influenza.”

Polarity Theory Part V - Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF)

Added on by Ezekiel Holiman.

Cerebral Spinal Fluid

          Dr. Stone refers to the cerebral spinal pump as an energy system.  The cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) is formed in the ventricles of the brain secreted from specialized capillaries that are a tiny cauliflower-like mass - the choroid plexus.

          Through the spinal cord and nerve roots, the mind communicates with every cell.  This cranial rhythm involves the movement of the cranial bones, and a subtle pulsing throughout the body that works at a rate of 6 to 12 cycles per minute with an average of 8 cycles per minute.  This cycle is very steady in the individual, not varying in times of exertion or excitement as the heart rate does.

         Two basic physical energy sources combine for the physiological process: first the inherited constitution plus food, water, sunshine, and air; and second, the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid formed from the spinning chakras of ether, air, fire, water and earth.  CSF flows from the positive brain to the negative base of the sacral area where the kundalini energy resides.

Polarity Theory Part III - Nutrition

Added on by Ezekiel Holiman.

Polarity promotes the flow of life energy. It avoids things that are dead or weigh heavily on the mental and physical being. Therefore, Polarity teachings advocate a lacto-vegetarian diet consisting of whole grains, cooked and raw vegetables and fruits, nuts, beans, herbs and spices, and some dairy products. 

Meat, fish and eggs are avoided because the life principle has been taken from them, and taken in a manner most unpleasant to the animal. These foods are undesirable for the karmic effect produced by proxy when they are prepared for eating.

As to the question about eggs, fertile eggs grow up to be chickens and infertile eggs have no life energy. Consuming an egg is chemically the same as consuming a whole chicken. 

Dairy products may be used and have been advocated in a yogic diet for thousands of years. They contain many beneficial enzymes, and even though these products may produce mucus, according to Ayurvedic teachings, they promote a calm mind. Many people, who are lactose intolerant, or allergic to milk, may be able to eat fresh yogurt with good results. Dr. Stone taught that yogurt is better when made at home and eaten fresh. Many people have trouble digesting milk because it is taken cold with meals.