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Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Spirit is the Master of the Body

Spirit is master of the body, just as a lord is master of his kingdom.  A restless spirit cannot take care of the body, which, when not guided by spirit, wanders down the path to death.  However, a tranquil spirit which calmly guides the body is the guardian of health and longevity.  

Chin Kang, On Cultivating Life (4th Century AD)


In traditional Chinese medicine as well as Taoist internal alchemy, spiritually tranquility has always been a key factor in human health and longevity.  In modern Western medicine, however, mental factors are consistently overlooked, and the somatic links between body and mind are not clearly recognized.

In a chapter of the Internal Medicine Classic entitled "The Oldest Truth", it is written: "When one empties the mind and frees it of all desires, the genuine energy arises.  If one maintains an undisturbed spirit within, no disease will occur."  What this means is that stress (i.e. "disturbed spirit") impairs immunity and renders the body vulnerable to disease, a fact often observed but not well understood by modern medicine.

Tranquillity is in fact the solution to the problem, but not the sort of tranquillity induced by modern drugs.  What is required here is the harmonization and rejuvenation of the Three Treasures by activating the internal alchemy of the essence, energy and spirit.  With a strong and tranquil spirit, the adept may harness energy to stimulate and heal the body.  It is accomplished by "sitting or standing still, doing nothing" and letting nature take its course!