The Whole Body
The Taoist approach to health considers the entire body as a system. Religions may split the body between upper and lower parts. The religious approach can judge the ‘lower’, animalistic aspects of sex, hunger, and basic instincts as inferior. This split approach also judges the ‘higher’ aspects of the heart and spiritual aspects of the third eye and crown as better than the body’s insatiable cravings.
Similarly, the western medical model of healing is known for its specialties. Broadly speaking, the western model divides the body system into subsystems and component parts. When there is sickness and disease, this model focuses where the disease is present and looks to eliminate it right there. The cutting edge of primary care is taking a more holistic approach, but it will take some undoing to transform a decades-old system of sub-specialization.
On the other hand, the Taoist approach to health looks at the individual in its totality. It considers its environment, its habits, how it interacts with the environment and the weather. Taoism considers the interaction of the five elements and yin and yang, within and without the body. In the Taoist model, the desires of our animal urges work hand in hand with the energetic and spiritual urges of our body. And lastly, there is a millennia-old, time-tested model for building our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health—we just have to make time to practice.
The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching:
Transforming Your Lead Into Gold