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CONSCIOUSNESS OF BREATH
“You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be.” Chuck Palahniuk
Life is made up of many breaths. Therefore, your consciousness of your breath is your consciousness of life, as well as of many other things in life. Consciousness of breath begins with breathing.
Consciousness of the Importance of Breath
Are you constantly conscious of your breath-your breathing in and breathing out? Most people aren’t.
Breathing is the most subconscious and yet the most important activity in human life. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t conscious of it.
Breath and the Bible
The Bible has made references to the importance of breath from God, which is not only life itself but also divine understanding.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
“In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?” (Job: 12:10)
“But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.” (Job 32:8)
Breath and Chinese medicine
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the two most important health regulators of the human body are breath and blood flow. Optimum breathing brings oxygen to every cell in your organs and tissues; while smooth blood flow carries nutrients to nourish them. The effective and efficient functioning of breath and blood flow is conducive to the balance and harmony of the yin and the yang, which are the fundamentals of Chinese medicine.
The Chinese breath is longevity breath because it helps you not only get but also use oxygen 24 hours a day. The Chinese breath lowers your blood pressure, calms your nerves, and alleviates your body pain, if you have any. In addition, the Chinese breath improves the overall emotional health through clarity of thinking, and even detoxifies your body system through internal cleansing. The explanation is that your body organs, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, glands, and digestive valves are all connected to the diaphragm (the muscles between the lungs and the abdomen), which basically moves the air circulation within the body when you breathe in and breathe out. Without moving the diaphragm muscles, and using only the muscles of the chest, you breathe only partially and incompletely. As a strong testament to its significance, the Chinese breath focuses on correct breathing with the diaphragm; Chinese exercises, such as Tai Chi, and Qi Gong, also focus on the importance of breath.
The Chinese breath is also related to qi, which can be interpreted as the "life energy" or "life force," which flows within the human body. According to TCM theory, qi is the “vital substance” constituting the human body; it also refers to the physiological functions of organs and meridians (energy highways assessing different parts of the body and their respective organs). It should be pointed out that breath and qi are similar but not quite the same. The air that flows through the lungs at each breath has many similarities to the qi energy flowing through the meridians of the body. That goes for oxygen as well; the substance that breathing transports to the blood, and the blood distributes to all of the body-just like qi energy traveling through its many meridians.
Consciousness of Correct Breathing
Breathing has to do with the lungs, which serve two main functions: to get life-giving oxygen from the air into the body, and to remove toxic carbon dioxide from the body. Therefore, it is important to be conscious of a longer breathing out than a breathing in so as to maximize the removal of the toxic carbon dioxide from the lungs.
But the functioning of the lungs may have compromised due to aging or incorrect breathing over decades of misuse. Compromised breathing is often due to changes in bones and muscles of the chest and the spine: bones becoming thinner can change the shape of your ribcage, making it less capable of expanding and contracting during your breathing.
In addition; the muscles supporting your breathing and your diaphragm may also have weakened due to age, such that you have difficulty in breathing in and breathing out enough air.
Furthermore, the lung tissues near your airway may have weakened, leading to their incapability to completely open and close the airways. As a result, air that is trapped in your lungs may also prevent efficient inhaling and exhaling, thus making it harder for you to breathe. On top of these, a weakened immune system may also make your lungs become more vulnerable to infections and less capable of recovering from your exposure to smoke and other toxic environmental particles.
To add insult to injury, as you age, your nervous system that controls your breathing may have become less functional, making your airways more sensitive to germs and infections. As you continue to increase in age, your lungs may become more vulnerable to lung infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, resulting in many health-related problems due to a lower oxygen level in your blood supply.
First and foremost, learn how to breathe correctly; many people don’t breathe right because they are not conscious of their breathing. Breathing right may help you in many ways in your everyday life and living. Remember, a healthy mind always has an easy breath, giving a relaxed body. Humans tend to focus on breathing in, to the extent that they may completely neglect what happens when they breathe out, as if it were not that important. This discrepancy between breathing in and breathing out needs to be corrected in order to create a free-flowing breath. Concentrating on breathing in may fill up the lungs with air all the time, such that the breathing becomes quicker and shorter, and thus stressing both the body and the mind. This may, ironically enough, lead to “feeling out of breath.”
The wisdom of correct breathing is to empty the lungs of air completely so that it may be filled fully with air.
THE OXYGEN ADVANTAGE
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
DEATH AND DYING
“Life begets death; one is inseparable from the other.
One is form; the other is formless.
Each gives way to the other.
One third of people focus on life, ignoring death.
One third of people focus on death, ignoring life.
One third of people think of neither, just drifting along.
They all suffer in the end.
Trusting the Creator, we have no illusion about life and death.
Holding nothing back from life, we are ready for death,
just as a man ready for sleep after a good day’s work.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 50)
“Abiding in the Creator, we do not fear death.
Following the conditioned mind, we fear everything.
Fear is a futile attempt to control things and people.
Death is a natural destination of the Way.
Unnatural fear of death does more harm than good.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 74)
Dying and Beyond
On the final journey, with acceptance of the inevitable fate, there is usually no anger or even sadness-just numbness that initiates the winding down of the body.
Dying is just something we all have to do. Do you want to die with grace?
Dying with grace is to end well; all is well that ends well!.
A Case in Point
Francis of Assisi, the Italian Saint who chose a life of poverty in spite of his family’s wealth, said on his deathbed: “Death will open the door of life.” He died gracefully while singing.
Maybe for a believer, death is, indeed, a triumph, a meaningful exodus from this mundane world to the eternal world beyond.
A Case in Point
Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his last speech, just several days before his assassination: “It (death) doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountain top. . . . and I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land.”
It was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s strong faith that led him to believe in the existence of the Promised Land beyond death. Indeed, to many believers, they are only humans having a brief existence in this transient material world, and their final destination is the eternal world beyond death.
A Case in Point
There have been many near-death experiences (NDEs) during which people claim that they have seen strange lights and tunnels, letting them have a glimpse of the eternal world beyond. Some of these instances have been written in books and become Amazon’s bestsellers, such as Heaven Is for Real (2010), about a child who saw heaven during surgery.
Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon and author of Proof of Heaven, said in Newsweek in 2012 that his incredible near-death experience had totally convinced him that his consciousness (the soul or self) exists somehow separate from or outside the mind, and therefore it can travel to other dimensions on its own. Eben wrote: “This world of consciousness beyond the body is the true new frontier, not just of science but of humankind itself, and it is my profound hope that what happened to me will bring the world one step closer to accepting it.”
Are you ready to believe in dying and beyond?
YOU JUST DON'T DIE!
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
NATURAL HEALING FOR INSOMNIA
Insomnia is a sleep disorder affecting millions of people all over the world.
Sleep is natural to man: we go to bed when we are tired, or when it is bedtime. Unfortunately, many of us have sleep problems: we go to bed, but we cannot fall asleep immediately, and many of us may stay awake for hours; or, worse, some of us rely on sleep medications to put ourselves to sleep.
All sleep medications cannot cure insomnia. They are dangerous toxic chemicals that may further aggravate sleep problems. Stop all sleep medications; instead, use herbal healing for insomnia.
Do not take over-the-counter sleep medications; they do nor provide natural sleep.
But the fact is that many of us are suffering from insomnia or sleep deprivation. According to a Swiss research study, even gold fish, having been deprived of sleep for an extended period of time, would stay still for a protracted period of time to make up for its sleep deprivation. Therefore, natural sleep is natural to all living things, and essential to the overall health and wellness of an individual.
But how do we heal insomnia without toxic pharmaceutical drugs? Use herbal healing for insomnia.
To heal insomnia, first of all, you must understand the kind of insomnia you are suffering from:
If you heave acute insomnia due to shock, fright, or grief, you wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares, accompanied by anxiety and restlessness.
If you generally wake up between 1 am and 3 am with anxious dreams and nightmares, your insomnia may be due to anxiety, or an overactive mind.
If you wake up around 3 or 4 am and cannot go back to sleep again until your usual getting-up time, your insomnia may be due to irritability or overwork.
If you find it difficult to fall asleep and you wake up early feeling groggy and unrefreshed, you may have insomnia due to too much mental stress or heavy workload.
If you wake up at the slightest noise and find it difficult to get back to sleep, often accompanied by vivid nightmares, your insomnia may wake you up in the early hours and make you sleep late.
Sleep problems are only a reflection of the problems inherent in your life. That is, if you are living life to the fullest, you normally do not and should not have sleep problems, which are the byproducts of emotional turmoil and mental anguish. Therefore, you must address all your life problems that are the underlying causes of your insomnia.
Stress is the No. 1 enemy of emotional and mental health. When you are under stress, your body naturally responds to the increased tension by producing hormone epinephrine. Excess production of this hormone may wear out your hormonal glands, leading to elevation of blood sugar, acceleration of breathing rate, increase of muscle tension, and excessive sweating - all contributing to insomnia. In contemporary living, stress may come in many different forms that disturb your good sleep. These stress-inducing problems need to be addressed in order to solve sleep problems.
To illustrate, sexual problems are a cause as well as a reflection of bedroom problems that need to be addressed, not avoided. Avoiding sexual problems will create only more stress that causes insomnia. Family problems, such as confrontations with teenagers, may cause heated arguments and conflicts. Reduce stress at home with the techniques of good parenting. Money problems may also generate financial stress. All in all, everyday life problems have to be taken care of before sleep problems can be resolved.
Meanwhile, as you take care of your emotional and mental problems, also use natural herbs to alleviate your sleep problems. If you experience occasional sleepless nights, use certain roots, flowers, and leaves of plants to cope with sleep problems.
Make your own tiny herbal pillow stuffed with herbs (a tablespoonful of chamomile, hops, lavender, mugwort, and rose). Place your hand-made pillow on top of your pillow, close to your nose so that you can inhale the herbs while you sleep. After a while, you may need to reactivate the herbs inside your tiny pillow. You can do it by sprinkling any odorless grain alcohol on the pillow and let it dry. A herbal pillow can last a year.
Drink a cup of chamomile herbal tea before going to bed. Chamomile soothes your stomach. Indigestion is one the causes of insomnia.
To make chamomile tea, use 1 rounded teaspoon of chamomile herb in 1 cup of boiling water. Cover it and let the herb steep for 10 minutes. Pour the tea through a tea strainer and drink immediately.
There are many natural insomnia herbs. If you have trouble falling asleep at night or if you wake up too early in the morning and cannot fall back to sleep, try Saint-John's-wort. Another natural herb effective in overcoming insomnia is valerian, which is most effective as a tincture. Take 1 teaspoon of tincture 1 hour before bedtime.
In addition to solving your life problems that are the underlying causes of emotional and mental distress, use natural herbs to heal insomnia to promote holistic health and wellness. Never use sleep medications because they do not work over the long haul.
ALCHEMY OF HERBS
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
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