Work on Yourself

Work on Yourself

When I first started reading about Taoism, I was surprised by legends of how the doctors treated their patients. First, the patients paid the doctor to keep them healthy…if the patient got sick, the doctor had to give their money back. Second, Taoist doctors would only want to see the patient five times for a sickness. By this point, they felt the patient should be able to take care of themselves. This was a sharp contrast to parts of the medical system in America which profits from disease and repeat visits. (I am a fan of ongoing preventive medicine and treatments, so I see an acupuncturist regularly, on the solstices and equinoxes.)

The hard part of this, which is not the fault of the medical establishment, is that the patient has to take responsibility for themselves. They have to take time to work on themselves, to untangle the knots in their bellies, to stretch, do chi kung, and tune into their energy levels. There is a saying that “if you want to feel healthy, you have to be willing to let go of what is making you sick.” Taoist teachers might recommend letting go of one ‘bad habit’ or unnecessary thing each day. In your mind and your daily schedule, eliminating unnecessary items helps us relax, just as a clean room is more calming than a cluttered room.

A daily routine of simple health exercises can start with five or ten minutes. Over time, it may build, but a few minutes of active movement (even walking quickly) helps blood move, helps the lymphatic system process junk, and speeds up metabolism. In the information age, we can find chi kung, yoga, and learn tai chi unlike any other time in official history. I love my doctor and acupuncturist, but I only see them a few hours every year. I have to take care of my own health and be responsible for the long-run.

More stress-reduction, self-massage, and meditation techniques outlined in:

The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching: Transforming Your Lead Into Gold

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