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Happy New Year!
Today I would like to introduce the traditional way of achieving health in Eastern medicine. For many years I lived at a buddhist temple in Korea. During that time, my master Dae San would meditate at dawn each morning and then stretch outside for a while. After meals he would go out for a walk accompanied by many visitors, regardless of the weather. He was so regular in his habits that I never saw him deviate from them. They were carved deeply into my mind.
One day he spoke about his concept of health. The following are some of his teachings.
Don’t waste your spiritual energy
At dawn and in the evening, focus on conserving and building up your spiritual energy, particularly in the first 30 minutes after each meal. Conserve your spiritual energy as you would lamp oil.
If your spiritual energy gets diluted, it may be easy for you to lose your sense of calm and become irritable. Then illness can easily attack you. Blind action without consideration makes all illness worse, while consciously calming your mind makes all illness better. Also, refrain from watching TV for too long, especially at nighttime. Instead, calm your mind with meditation. After meals, take a stroll or just relax. Don’t watch TV, surf the Internet, or read a book within 30 minutes after eating.
Do appropriate physical exercise
Appropriate work and exercise are good medicine for the body. Walking is a powerful way to strengthen the brain. Our body can easily break down if not used, just as a machine may begin to rust if left unused.
Take control of your eating
Eating an appropriate amount and chewing your food longer are helpful ways to support overall health. Overeating makes your stomach weak, just as constantly overfilling a sack can eventually tear or break it. Most diseases arise due to careless eating habits, so make eating consciously part of your spiritual practice.
Don’t eat to the point of being full. Stop when you feel slightly less than full. According to recent research, the feeling of hunger promotes activation of the gene for long life in our cells.
Keep greed in check
Greed and gluttony (overeating) should be considered enemies which very quickly deprive us of health and even life. Greed also darkens our mind and blinds us to the truth.
Follow proper nutrition and medicine appropriate for your constitution
Strengthening your body with healthy food is like adding compost to soil. Temporarily using appropriate medication is like adding chemical fertilizer.
If you contract a very serious disease, you would be better off setting aside thoughts of both illness and medicine and focusing your energy. Instead of feeling nervous or irritable, allow this to be the impetus you need to learn to create a healthy, long life. This could end up being your good friend which prompts you to deepen your spiritual practice.