Most people not only want to live a better life but also a longer life. Though living well is a prevalent human pursuit, it is a pursuit that can be very difficult to attain. The reason is living well is a practice that necessitates deep ancient wisdom, not merely the traditional understanding of modern medicine, so that we may be able to live a life of well-being and health.
The human body has an innate intelligence that helps maintain its health and youthfulness. It has an intrinsic realization of its fundamental needs, and is equipped with warnings and signs of imbalance within itself that may inevitably lead to disorder and illness. We therefore need wisdom, to boost this consciousness and generate an environment in which the body’s biochemistry transforms to the substance of thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, which is vital in sustaining and maintaining our general wellness so we can enjoy a state of optimal health as long as possible.
Body wisdom lies beyond our mere daily living and eating habits. Living well is an art while eating is a science; both augment each other, much like “yin” and “yang”. Basically wisdom is a person’s capacity to manage and generate this science and art in order to live a longer and better life.
The wisdom of thousands of years is different from the wisdom of contemporary times. While the latter is more inclined in the acquisition of knowledge and its pragmatic applications in life, the former has got to do with the how the mind perceives and thinks.
About 25 centuries ago, the great Chinese sage Lao Tse wrote the “Tao Te Ching,” an immortal classic that is one the most translated and widely read books in history. Legend states that Lao Tse, who was living in China, thought of going to Tibet, but was stopped at the city gate. Before he left he put down his thoughts into writing. However, he was forced to condense his eternal and profound wisdom to a mere 5,000 words. This work is the “Tao Te Ching”.
How Can the Wisdom of Tao Help Us Live a Long and Better Life?
Rather than using a “conditioned” contemporary mindset, the singular wisdom of Lao Tse espouses the “reverse” thinking of the human mind. This means that before one can even think out of the box, he must, first and foremost, have an empty mind, aside from creating his own box in thinking. Lao Tse promoted “no expectation of outcome” (compared to the contemporary mentality of “setting goals” or “goal-oriented”), “living in the present” (as opposed to modern way of living or “multi-tasking”) and under-doing” (compared to the contemporary attitude of the more, the better or “over-doing”) in order to garner internal balance and peace, which is essential in living a life free of stress and worries. These factors are fundamental in the science of healthy living and the art of living well sans stress.
Moreover, Lao Tse also believed that genuine wisdom can be derived by self-intuiting and internalizing eternal truths. Tao wisdom is different from contemporary wisdom in that it does not have a plan for everything -just as a person’s health lies on true wisdom, which is the unique body chemistry of that person and an intimate awareness of the needs of his body, known only by that person.
One other instance of this ancient wisdom comes from the “Father of Medicine,” Hippocrates (377 to 460 B.C.). His fundamental tenets of wellness and health are deep. He was the one who said “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” Those words of wisdom run counter to the wisdom of modern Western medicine that primarily promotes the utilization of drugs. The United States may be the richest country on earth but it is also the sickest with its cost in healthcare running in the hundreds of billions each year.
Hippocrates also has a thing or two to say about the art of living. He said, “An ounce of prevention is equal to a pound of cure.” This contradicts the Western medicine paradigm of curing illnesses through procedures and/or drugs which a paradigm much preferred by the pharmaceutical industry, instead of prevention via a holistic approach to the wellness and health of the spirit, mind, and body. Modern Western medicine believes in quick fixes of symptoms, rather than preventing them from occurring in the first place.
Echoing that of Lao Tse’s, the wisdom of Hippocrates espouses “under doing” or “non-doing” through his words: “Doing nothing is at times a good remedy.” He believed that “everything in excess goes against nature” due to the body’s inherent wisdom in healing itself. The bad news is, this is the opposite of what modern medicine is doing which leads to the rise of more disorders and sicknesses brought about by toxic procedures and medications.
Wisdom is looking at things with your naked eyes in order to see things as they really are and not viewing them through multihued spectacles. It is about profound perception and acute awareness. True wisdom is using deep understanding to view everyone and everything around us in proper perspective.
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