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Posts Tagged ‘mental

I just read a Chinese parable another day. It says an old man was asked which one is more important, the Sun or the Moon. The old man thought for a long while and answered “the Moon”.

“Why?”

“Because the Moon shines in the night when we especially need it; the Sun shine in the day when it’s already light.”

I found it inspiring. Taking thing for granted seems to be a major disposition of humans. Yesterday I read another article on facebook, about a 104 year-old Japanese doctor’s health advices. While I appreciated most of them, one advice struck me hard: “Energy does not come from sleeping a lot or eating well, it comes from feeling good” Well, I hope the doctor did not mean literally (or maybe the translation wasn’t accurate due to the confusion of Japanese language?), because the fact in front of me is that if we don’t eat and sleep but just feeling good, we die, and die with horrible feeling. As simple as that.

To be specific humans’ energy does come from foods. Sleep doesn’t provide energy but the importance of it is also crucial to our health.

Since I lived with chronic health problem for ages, I found, people – of course include me – tend to take physical health for granted. We apprise our mental power so much to an extend that some people literally believe feeling good is all we need to live well. The belief in our mental power is also out of proportion. During Chinese cultural revolution, a famous slogan was “The field produces as much crops as people want.” Nowaday a popular phrase goes “There are nothing you can’t do but only what you can’t imagine.” Such beliefs go on and on and it is call positive thinking and it’s panacea for all diseases and fuel for all ambitions.

Why people so insist the importance of our mental energy? I suppose the reason is exactly the same as that old man who says the Moon is more important than the Sun, that is: like the Sun, foods and sleep are there almost EVERYDAY, so we ignore the benefit of them, forgot that if we don’t have them there will be no chance for our mental power exercise.

The the Chinese article that cites the parable story above also talks about mother’s love, another thing that many people take it for granted. Yes, I believe physical health is like mother’s love, we only realize it’s importance when we lose it.

The Moon Shines in the night, brings us romantic imagination and fascination, so and so, but it’s the Sun who stays there day and light, provides the most important elements for our existence, which made all those romantic stuff possible. Yet, when we enjoy these “luxuries”, we think those are all it’s about and don’t give credit to something that’s more essential. Why? I don’t know but I suppose that shortsightedness is the flaws we humans are born with.

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unconditional.
unconditional. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all need love. This is because that love make us feel connected to others, and this connection eases, or even eliminates our biggest fear: loneliness. Thus love becomes the greatest – sometime the only – reason for us to live.

But, unfortunately, love from others are not entirely secure. It comes and goes without warning and it’s not within our controls. This is because love from others usually is “conditional”, which means it happens only if we possess certain conditions, such as physical beauty, wealth, social status, etc. So without these conditions, we are in danger of losing love. But, if one possesses a type of love that is “unconditional”, he/she would feel the most secure in his/her life, because this love is provided regardless how he/she is, and stays with him/her as long as he/she lives. 

So where does unconditional love come from? I found that they mostly come from two sources: 1, parents; 2, one’s own.

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English: Common signs and symptoms of fibromya...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since most people take modern medicine as “absolute” (by saying that I mean, people believe modern medicine can take care of all physical illnesses, except fatal diseases like cancer), they easily consider the cause of unknown illnesses as “mental”. This is why we often see people try to “encourage” those who suffer invisible diseases to work “harder”, to push through, as if they are mentally weak individuals. I still remember once a kind lady’s first words to me after hearing my brief story: ” be tough.” I have to say, not only this is a wrong approach, but also offensive attitude (even an insult) toward those patients. Why, because one of primary reasons these people got so sick is precisely because they are mentally tough – so tough that they overdrew their energy, and their illnesses are nothing but the consequence of their mental toughness.

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I consider myself very spiritual. I used to almost completely ignore my physical needs, fatigue, pain, illness, etc., but, after paying a sky-high price for my ignorance, I become almost completely obedient to my physical part of myself, when to eat, sleep, rest, I act like a soldier following orders of general. Of course, this change took many years!

I wonder how many people really know how much we owe to our great physical conditions for our “noble” spirits. Most people take it for granted that we have some superior mental dignity which can exist independently from our physical existence, not aware of, or admit, that without our physical support, our spiritual beings could simply fall apart.

Of course, we saw many cases that one could be physically broken but still hold spirit high, but, based on my personally observation/experience, hardly anyone can sustain long term physical torture, either imposed on them by others human beings, or by illnesses. As matter of fact, I even think, arguably, that our high spirit after all, is nothing more than an “appearance” of something completely physical.

For quite a while, my physical condition has been soaring up, and the spiritual side of myself is also reviving. Though overall I am still a little more than 80% of myself, I know that I am on the right track – at least for myself: no longer hold my spiritual desires above my physical needs. Mind succumb to body, because health is everything, indeed!

Faith (comics)
Faith (comics) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I cannot count how many people unintentionally judged me when they actually just tried to help me. I appreciate their kind motive, but the judgment is something very hard for me to sustain.

I realized, one of reasons that they “suggested”, implied or even believed that my physical chronic illness was caused by my mental “depression”, is simply because they did not believe that being single (or living alone) could be a healthy lifestyle. Because of this “belief”, despite there were no evidences showing that I was depressed, despite of my patient and clear explanation, they still SAW that as a plain fact. This really show me how powerful belief is – as soon as you believe in something, you simply ignore facts that go against it. It can really turn black to white!

1986, Hua mountain in China.
It isone of the most dangerous places
in the world. I wish I could that again.

Change is not an easy task, especially when we talk about changing our life styles. And if the lifestyles are directly related to our personalities, changing them would take a life time to accomplish, or, it’s simply a mission impossible.

The reason I bring this topic is because it seems like I need to do some serious change in my life, otherwise I may forever live with my chronic illness.

Just a while ago, I discovered some Chinese herbs that made some tangibly positive effects on me. I am very certain and very happy about this discovery. However, my progress has not been a straight up line, but up and down. This, I realized, was caused by my personality: I always “overestimate” my condition, overdo what I am actual capable of, so at the end my actions overdraw my energy, lead to “crashing” down, for days, some time weeks. This would happen more often when I knew my condition was improved.

Had I not taken all these risks would my condition be different? I simply don’t know, because my condition is so weak that the “risks” I am talking about here were literally nothing by normal standards, such as walking 10 minutes more, or shopping one more store, etc. Also, the line between “able” and “not able” is extremely blurry during recent years of my illness. However, I do remember many time, when I reached a point that I hesitated about doing or not doing, continuing or not continuing, I usually choose former, and then suffered consequence later, almost without exceptions. So the question is, why couldn’t I choose the latter?

There is a Chinese old saying: “changing the world is easier than changing a personality”(江山易改本性难移). I now have full understanding of this adage. I guess for all my first half of life I have accustomed to this “toughness”, fearlessness or even recklessness, and fully identified myself with such character: this, is who I am and without being like this, I am nothing but a living dead. But now, it seems just opposite: I am half dead by being “myself”. Now I know that many people are lucky because they do not have to change their personality, because risking character or adventurous spirit is something fun to possess. Yes, I like to be adventurous, and I also had fun for 30 some years in my life, but now, the reality I am facing is, being myself, or suffering consequence. The truth is, I had already changed in a great deal, people who knew me 20 years ago (even 10 years ago) would hardly believe who I am now (of course, the “change” still is just physical wise, inside I am exactly the same person). But it seems not enough. My physical condition requires me to act like a complete reserved and “timid” person who must always choose not risking, always tell people and myself “no, I can’t”, instead of “yes I can!” (NO MATTER HOW TERRIBLE IT SOUNDS TO SOME “POSITIVE” PEOPLE).

Can I do that? I am not sure, but I like to try (guess I already made progress here :-), because this is by far the last hope I’ve got, if I wanted to live healthily, if I wanted to be that “original self”.

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