Tag Archives: tao

The Origins of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine used to be called, ‘Taoist Medicine’ but they changed the name to avoid any religious or spiritual connotations to the science of it.  Really, it all comes from The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine.  Huang Di as the Chinese call him was a Taoist adept and sought immortality.  In the first chapter somewhere it says, ‘to live forever, one must eat a diet free of grains,’ or something to that effect.

Chinese Medicine is Taoist Medicine, and although no one ever succeeded in becoming immortal, besides in folk legend, many have led better lives with greater health and vitality.  That is the promise of TCM and the wholistic lifestyle, a longer life with less pain and illness.

The first thing in changing your life so that you increase longevity is not just to reduce carbohydrate, but to reduce grains like wheat, rice, and corn.  These foods are just empty filler and feed cancer and raise blood sugar.  There are benign starches, like quinoa and sweet potato and beans, but that’s a different story.

Nutrition is the beginning.  Changing your life for the better also includes external exercise, internal exercise, meditation, psychology, rest, hygiene, etc…

The Taoist masters wanted to live a long time.  I do too, because I’m not banking on the afterlife.  The more wholistic health knowledge you have the better off you are.  And the first thing in turning your life around is changing your diet.  That is why the subject of this blog is Taoist Nutrition.

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Living in Harmony

The way to last a long time is to not wear out.  And you do that by doing whats required of you at the right time.  Do a little bit every day, that is the Taoist way.  Excess leads to disease and disaster.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, ‘if you would be happy, you would do what you should, not what you want.’  That means do what is right for you to do, not necessarily what is most indulgent or gratifying.  I myself like to neglect exercise and eat too much, and in the short run this feels good, but in the end it will bear bitter fruit.

To be happy, think about how the present moment will influence the future.  Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  If you work harder now, the future will be easier, and if you are lazy now, the future will be very difficult.

A lot of the diseases we suffer from are diseases of neglect.  Falling into a good routine or habit is actually a good thing.  Wake up the same time every morning, eat at the same times every day, do your job with zeal, and spend quality time at home during the proper times.  Don’t become obsessed with one particular thing.

One of my problems are, and you may notice this if you read my blog, is that I obsess about the perfect diet too much.  And the causality is quite clear.  Diet is the one thing I seem to have complete control over in my life, and food gives me great pleasure.  But obsessing about which foods to eat is pointless in the end, and a grave waste of time.  As long as you have enough to eat you are doing fine.  I’m not thin but i’m not morbidly obese either.  I can sit, stand, and walk, and praise Jah.

So when it comes to being physically healthy, and living in harmony, examine your own habits.  Diet and exercise is a big part of it.  This is something you have control over.  Don’t blame genetics, environment, or chance completely, take responsibility for your state of health.

When you have an illness, there are only two possible outcomes, either you will cure yourself of the disease, or you will die from it.  Sometimes just learning to be healthy and living with whatever problems you have is good enough.

Philosophy, Religion, and Diet

In this era, anything goes.  But some people still adhere to dietary laws as entailed by their religious views.  Observant Jews don’t eat pork, shellfish, or meat and dairy together.  Muslims don’t eat pork or drink alcohol.  And most of the religious traditions of the Indian subcontinent advocate a lactovegetarian diet.

Veganism is growing in the USA.  The biggest reason people do it is because of sympathy for the animals and also environmental concerns.  Veganism is not a religion.   But if one examines history, it is the Ancient Hebrews who first considered vegetarianism a lifestyle choice.

Kosher vegetarianism is a very sane, moderate view of diet.  Meat symbolizes death and decay, while milk and dairy products symbolizes life and growth.  Fish and Eggs are considered Parve, or spiritually neutral.  A kosher vegetarian eats plant foods, dairy products, and is not against eating fish or egg.

In the east, amongst people like the Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and Jains, lactovegetarian is reccomended.  Some Bengali vegetarians consider fish and seafood to be ‘fruit of the sea’ and therefore still eat it.

And amongst the Taoists, no food is taboo.  It’s about eating the right portions and proportions of food relative to each other.  Christians too say any food is clean to eat.

My view is to do what is best for yourself.  Don’t tell people about your eating habits and don’t bore them with your list of abstentions.  I like dairy products, so I’m not giving them up.  I do what is best for myself.

I believe meat, fish, and eggs was originally natural and good, but capitalism, consumerism, and overpopulation ruined everything.  Applying the factory line production method to agriculture was a grave mistake by humanity.  Animals are not machines, every animal, from insect, to cow, to dog, to monkey, to man has sentience.

In this era, it’s not hard to go to a supermarket and get anything you need, all year round.  I live in a part of the USA where there are few natural disasters.   Veganism and Vegetarianism is a vote for the environment, for animal rights, and reverses many diseases.  Only in this country is it easier to get restaurant food with animal foods in it than without.  I’ve decided to stop going to restaurants, unless its for a slice of pizza or vegetarian sushi.

I think kosher vegetarianism is the most sane way to go as far as diet.  Dairy is very nourishing, in some cases too nourishing, and fish and eggs should be an option for people who don’t have the time or inclination to prepare their own food.  The main thing is to eat what’s available and not obsess about diet.  But in this crazy society, even the nutrition textbooks are wrong, let alone the media and public perception.

At the end of the day, gaining or losing weight is about calories in and calories out.  But also at the end of the day, looks and weight don’t matter so much.  You don’t need the body of a bodybuilder to be healthy.  And a six pack of abs means nothing.  Judge your health by how you feel, how long you live, and the state of health you’re in.

As an aside, remember that years upon years of weight fluctuation on the atkins/paleo/ketogenic diet causes insulin resistance and liver derangement.  A doctor can’t invent a crash diet that violates everything we know about nutrition and get away with it.  Bodybuilders and boxers use the low carb approach before contest because it causes a rapid decrease in water weight.  Don’t think the atkins diet is a lifelong diet.  No one in Asia, Africa, or South America is adhering to this philosophy, because they have no obesity problem.  They eat a lot of fiber and walk a lot.

 

Don’t Neglect the External

This may seem like obvious advice for someone living in America and talking to a primarily American audience.  But for a long time, I’ve been eating a good diet, meditating, breathing properly, and yet, not exercising enough.  That is not balanced and not good.

Internal exercise includes meditation, breathing exercises, qi gong, and yoga.  External exercise runs the whole gamut from running, swimming, and weightlifting to sports like boxing, tennis, and soccer.  As you live and work and foster children, don’t neglect the external.

It seems like exercise is the first thing to go when people are short on time, or are just plain lazy.  The Taoist sages are all hunchbacks, not because being a hunchback gives you more wisdom and leadership ability, but because wise men tend to neglect the physical in preference for the spirit.

As a human being, it is wise to make time for exercise every day.  Don’t neglect it.  People these days work infront of a computer all day, then go home and eat starch and take their kids to their extracurricular activities.  And that’s if they’re lucky and from a middle class family.  This lifestyle isn’t natural, and it just leaves you a worn out wreck in the end.

The real way to live is to do what you enjoy for work, take care of your responsibilities and offspring with grace and ease, and grow old gracefully.  Not many people are truly rich.  Tao teaches you to have a balanced view and a balanced practice of life, and the first thing people neglect is physical exercise.

Don’t neglect the External.

The Controversy of Gender

It says in the bible in two parts in the early part of Genesis, ‘male and female he created them, in God’s image.’  It also says, ‘that is why a man must leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, so they become one flesh.’

So there you have it.  The meaning of life in a nutshell.

What is the meaning of truth, God, and life?  Lovingkindness.  Every Christian knows, God is Love.  Love should not be confused with sex or sexual activity, you can love baseball but not make love to it.  Desire drives the cosmos.  God is the desire to be.

God is both your mother and father in heaven, and the crux of life is for a man to find a woman and procreate.  In this era, sex, gender, identity, and the moral order are all in a flux.  The ordinary people seem confused and angry.

Homosexuality and transgenderism is on the rise in the West.  Gender roles are being blurred.  These are evil omens.

One should know that sex is merely the transfer of genetic information, from giver to receiver, and the only two genders are male and female.  Gender is determined by genetics, and every human egg begins with the X chromosome.  If at some point you acquire a Y chromosome, then you are born male.

Homosexuality and transgenderism isn’t inherently bad.  According to most spiritual traditions of the East, adultery and group sex is the only fornication.  And in this day and age, there is no concept of fornication.  Anything goes.

But spiritual people know that the conservation of essence, sperm, or jing preserves youth and vital power, and the reckless expenditure of it leads to early old age and death.  There is no moral reasoning in Tao, it’s not a religion.  You can worship the Gods but you cannot worship the Tao.

The way to stay healthy and young for a man is to moderate how many ejaculations he has and have more sex, and the way for a woman is to choose good partners.  This is not folk mythology, it turns out the Ancient Chinese were right!

In Egyptian myth, Osiris was a hermaphrodite male who was the descendent of the Sun God.  In India, Manu was the original Man who possessed the divine within.  And according to the bible, Adam was male and female, created in God’s image.  Eve was later formed out of his rib.  And according to native american lore, the androgyn male is the ideal shaman (medicine man).

You may ask, what does religion and mythology have to do with sex and gender?  Well, myth and religion is merely a perspective on reality, and everybody knows for themselves how strong the urge to procreate is.

The meaning of life is joy, and the only joy in life is to be loved.  End of story.

Who Wants to Live Forever?

Not many people are really interested in longevity and the possibility of immortality.  Benjamin Franklin said, ‘nine in ten men are suicides.’  That means, most people bring about their own destruction without even knowing it.

But there is that one in a hundred or so that really wants to live, and not just for hedonistic pleasure.  They want to live because strength and longevity is also virtue, and there is joy with strength and longevity.  We don’t simply live to eat and procreate.

There are few who like to constantly make progress and also learn about the world around them.  Getting to know Creation is the best way to know the Creator.  And you’ll never know it all.

The ancient Chinese said, ‘longevity is merit.’  The longer you survive under the sun, the more worthy you are.  To really be immortal, you have to put aside the mundane things of the world.  To live forever, you have to be worthy of living forever.

The secular, capitalistic, ordinary world is very depressing.  Even celebrities commit suicide because they feel life is empty.  The spirit is bigger than the body, and the higher life of a seeker is more fulfilling.  Of course, as a human being, one needs food and sex to live and be healthy.  A spiritual man aims to fulfill his gross biological needs in a loftier way than the crass worldly man.

In the Baghavad Gita it says, ‘each one becomes a slave to his own activity, if you want to be truly free, perform all acts as worship.’  This means we are all stuck in the same condition.  If you really want to live happily and for a long time, do your mundane earthly activities with spirit and zeal and selflessness.

 

Priorities

It’s important in life to realize what’s important.  Get your priorities straight.  The wise man plots his course.

The first thing is health.  Without basic health and fitness or even being able-bodied, it is hard to enjoy other things.  And the Creator wants us to live in joy, not in suffering.  Make health your first priority.  Eat well, move around every day, sleep regularly, bathe yourself of your uncleanliness, meditate, do yoga and train your mind…

The next thing is money.  Money is a real issue.  There seems to be nothing for free.  Money is survival, and even Solomon in the bible talks about money and its significance.  While clinging to money can make you unhappy, pretending like it is no issue can be even worse.  Money isn’t just survival, it’s power, and living in society means dealing with others.  So be productive and be results-driven.

Once you got your health in order and are pulling down a livable income, then look for love to complete you.  Love and friendship gives us a reason to live, and makes us feel alive.  Sex is physical love, but really emotional love is the most important thing here.  Find someone who cares.

There are other things in life, but those are the top three.  Health, Money, and Love.  I wish you well.

The Cost of Health Food

When planning ahead, as in planning a budget, remember that better food is worth the money.  There is a law of diminishing returns, meaning, there is a point where the difference between very good food and perfect food is not worth the extra money.  However, the higher quality of food you eat, the less you will spend in the future on medical care.  And medical bills are a major hassle.

I see typical American food as being very low quality.  To get good, fresh food, one must spend more and spend more time seeking it out.  But it is worth the extra time and money if you really consider the consequences.  Eating good makes your whole life better, improves your quality of life in other words, so it really is worth it.

It’s a strange culture where most people are sick and overweight, and yet, the models and actresses keep getting skinnier and less healthy looking.  American values seem to be distorted.  There seems to be a sense of misplaced perfectionism.

The point of a philosophical lifestyle is to age with integrity and to last a long time.  Looks are important to a degree, but no one’s perfect, and no one should be expected to be.  We are perfectly ourselves.

I feel good, and I think I look pretty good considering how little effort I put into my own health.  But I see the room for growth and I aim to work out more and be more proactive in my nutrition, and get into meditation and more socializing.  The prognosis for me is good.

I really hope values in America keep changing, and people get less ambitious and more into health, strength, and longevity.  You have to know from a young age what is really important in life and what is not so important.  If you don’t have a basic education, then you will be helpless in the face of the capitalist system which is designed to drain you.

Longevity is Merit

The longer you survive under the sun, the more value or worth you have.  In addition, the better you age, the more beautiful you are.  In this crazy society, most people are ready for the scrap heap by age 30.  And it’s all because of ignorance of the basics.

I keep saying this in my blog, but it is true.  Eat less calories, less carbs, and more water, and you will be better off.  There are people in this world who profit off your ignorance and misery, and you don’t want to let them win the game of life.

America has become a youth culture.  And this is not a good sign.  Youth is vanity, when you’re young you are just figuring yourself out and don’t know much, life really begins at 40, it doesn’t end there.

There are some practical ways to age more gracefully.  First is to eat a lot of high fiber foods.  If a food has a lot of fiber in it, it means it is unprocessed and natural and therefore good.  Second is to incorporate movement into your daily routine.  Don’t be sedentary.  Third is to be more calm and serene and slow down.  The more you speed up and hurry, the more stressed out you get and you actually sabotage yourself by getting worked up.  If you slow down and pace yourself, everything will work out better.

So that is my view on longevity.

My View on The Martial Arts

To begin with, I am just analyzing the relative merit of martial arts as physical education.  I’m not talking style vs style.

Right off the bat, I think karate is great for the youth.  It not only teaches them how to punch and kick really hard, but teaches them how to stand up for themselves, believe in themselves, and never quit.  These are all valuable qualities in life.

There is a lot of good karate out there but there is also a lot of fake karate out there.  Remember what Mas Oyama once said, ‘without sparring, karate is essentially a kind of gymnastics.’

I don’t think MMA is good for people, young people in general.  It teaches them all of the bad qualities of man and none of the good.  I would go further, but I won’t, because I know people who train and teach MMA.

Aikido is a special martial art.  It is ideally suited to physical education, and it teaches defensive principles.  Aikido is essentially a stylized version of weapons grappling, wrestling with weapons.  It is useful for police and military, and for people who aren’t fast and aggressive enough for karate, kickboxing, and MMA.

Also, weapons martial arts like Kali and Escrima are very good.  These are the best for military training.

Whether you do karate, MMA, aikido, judo, or weapons training doesn’t matter, as long as you learn the principle of self control and self restraint.  In the end, karate and hatha yoga has the same end, more mastery over the self.

But in the west, hatha yoga is seen as being for girls, since they are more flexible and peaceful to begin with.  Martial arts training is the un-learning of violence, not the fostering of more violence and aggression and ego.

Once you can do the technique with skill and grace and effortlessness, then you are the expert.  Sports are about winning and losing, but in objective reality, there is only the living and the dead.  And it’s always preferable to be alive than to be dead.