In Traditional Chinese Medicine
(TCM) Shen is often translated into spirit. Shen can be understood
as the mental attitude, moral integrity or disposition of a person
or their private inner world.
Shen, one of the three treasures of health in TCM theory is
considered the most important to build health as compared to
the other two, Qi and Jing.
In ancient times there were 3 levels of healing: physical,
mental, and spiritual. The treatment and prevention of physical
disease was considered to be the lowest level.
Shen, housed in the heart was often compared to the emperor
of a kingdom or in the individual the life or the body.
Healing the Spirit:
Regenerating your Shen
by Kevin Scrimgeour, Tofino
In ancient China, the correct function of the wise emperor was to channel
the spiritual forces of heaven down into the earth for the good of
all. By doing this, the "mandate" of heaven was received
and the universal cosmic order that brought blessings was bestowed
on the kingdom. In contrast– when the emperor was out of alignment
with heaven–a process of realignment would occur by bringing
progressively more challenging circumstances. This would occur until
the emperor realized the error of his ways or the throne was taken
over by another more aligned person.
We are all emperors or empresses of our own kingdoms. When we are
unaware or out of alignment with our Shen or inner selves it is difficult
our lives to be in balance and to enjoy the blessings we are bestowed.
The holiday season is the perfect time to realign and build your
Shen and thus your general health. Below are a few suggestions on how
come into the New Year in a healthy mental and physical state.
The mind and mental attitude is a major factor in how one reacts
to all types of stressors. The holidays are considered to be one of
most stressful times in people's lives. The loneliness or even
the stress of making the perfect turkey can become disharmonizing to
the mind and thus the body. Many are stressed by the financial set
backs or weight they have gained. If you are staying up all night to
trim the tree and decorate for the perfect holiday house you may be
missing the point. What is your inner mandate this holiday? What do
you need to do in your life at this time?
Think of how to maintain your balance this year and further how to
reclaim the joy of the holiday season. This is the final celebration
of the year. Open up to new possibilities for joy this season. Perhaps
you will start a new tradition. Think of these words when you decide
how to spend your time off: Happy, loving, fulfilled, generous, peaceful,
contented, spiritual, joyous, calm, festive, and emotionally connected
to the ones you love. These are the type of ideas you may want to
align with when you plan for this season.
Many people do not plan enough rest in their holidays. It is wise
to do only what you enjoy most. Do not try to fill your life with action.
We don't have to say yes to every invitation. Cooking and shopping
frantically is not the reason for this break. Start by prioritizing
what is truly important to you and politely decline everything else.
Try to get the most out of the simple things. We live in one of the
most beautiful places in the world. Actively enjoy your surroundings
and savour the simple things that you often take for granted: The
smell of a cedar tree, the wild beauty of the ocean on a stormy day
simple cup of tea instead of the finest wine. Become a connoisseur
of life. Ease into a restful state instead of getting caught up in
the Christmas frenzy by walking on the beach or treat yourself to
a massage or a visit to a spa.
The holidays are often about the pleasure of giving. The intentions
of the Three Wise Men has been twisted into one of the major stress
givers of the holiday season. Todays gifting tradition has been steeped
in obligation and commercialism. Gifts aren't as important as
the thought or intent behind them. The gift we crave most is the gift
of spirit. The gift of spirit is one of undivided attention, caring
and comfort, compassion, beauty, forgiveness and good cheer. Play some
music, light some candles, enjoying the moment with another is one
of the greatest gifts. Don't try to do everything at once, this
is a time to de-stress with people you care about.
Restore & Reflect
According to Chinese
Medicine winter is a time to rest, restore and reflect. Take
time to slow down and reflect on the past year and yourself.
Use this time to discover your priorities. Do what you want to
do, make the most of this time and continue to make the most
of your life.
The renewal of winter comes when we say goodbye to unfinished
business. You need to welcome the New Year. Forgive yourself
of last years mistakes, regrets and disappointments. Say good
riddance to any sorrow or hard luck. This is an opportunity to
start afresh by building on the good things in your present.
Kevin Scrimgeour is a doctor of Traditonal Chinese Medicine in Tofino.
Tofino Body & Soul - Spa and Wellness articles