In one of our earliest written texts of medicine, the Nei Jing, the Yellow Emperor queries his sage advisor as to why we ail.
Q: When a person loses harmony with nature and disease arises, where does the error lie - with nature or humanity?- Huang Di
A: Heaven in me is virtue; Earth in me is Qi- Qi Bo
Heaven’s virtue does not mean, though, to try to act virtuous, but to come to a more profound understanding of what our deepest inner virtue from heaven is; and how its Qi flows through your own life.
In order to comment on this discussion, I want to refer to a Taoist discussion where we are warned, almost eerily, that once the Qi has become unhealthy, there is no more surging in life. The gate of heaven bestows life. When everyone is for themselves, the Qi of earth can’t show its brilliant virtue; beings no longer follow their destiny; there is disorder, and life of humanity perishes. Heaven shuts its gate, withdraws vitality from life, and deprives earth of its light. While this may sound dismal for humanity, there is a solution.
Only the saints who withdraw from life and follow the natural course can escape from harm and save the beings from extinction so the Qi of life doesn’t run dry. Those whose hearts are nourished by the Qi of heaven can allow heaven to surge up again through them.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to leave your life, enter a nunnery, or withdraw to a cave; but perhaps withdrawing from conditioned societal dictates which are no longer healthy or applicable.
What is the natural course? Look at your own life. Do you sleep well, arise refreshed, allow life to be as it is, and respond according to its flow without resistance? Or do you find yourself contracting into a more self absorbed reaction ? We all do this, especially when we are distressed. It is the normal fear based stress response. Yet it is also the energetic response of qi stagnation that raises our stress hormones, contracts our receptivity and eclipses our vitality. Nature doesn’t want to reproduce these patterns; they are not economical, nor in line with heaven’s mandate that we evolve.
Chinese medicine stresses that passions and desires drain our essences, as we attempt to lead the spirits out of their appropriate time. Overactive attempts to impose our will always results in ruin. We are encouraged to empty the heart of desire, detach from our contracted emotional responses, and the spirit of existence can come through unobstructed without our mental interpretation. And there are so many exercises that can facilitate this process.
Stay in the moment. Care for yourself first. Notice the ways your qi becomes stagnated or depleted. Live with an open and grateful heart. Move your body in ways that give you joy. Eat in ways that give you better energy. And don’t worry so much about trying to control how life comes through you! Trust that your desire to bring forth life comes from the origin, which wants to evolve - through you. Begin at home, within your own life, where the virtue of heaven can bestow its gifts.