preventive wellness tip 638: what skillful gardeners know

I remember growing tomatoes in the backyard when I lived in Jersey City some 8-9 years ago, my first go at a vegetable patch. I was pretty stoked about getting this new project off the ground, but any seasoned gardener paying me a visit would’ve immediately seen that planting tomatoes in the shade like I had done was an unskillful act–inevitably leading to disappointing yields.

Tomatoes like sun. Duh.

Chalk it up to a lesson learned.

We humans are, in some ways, like tomatoes. I’m not referring so much to how some of us turn red and juicy when we’re ripe, but rather to what skillful gardeners know:

 we need light to thrive.

The light issuing from the center of our solar system is indeed a vital source, but it’s not the only source. The light I’m referring to (said to be the microcosmic reflection of the sun) dwells internally, in our hearts. Just like a person can be surface beautiful and depth ugly, we can have light on our skin yet darkness in our hearts, yes?

Thus, we must recognize–as the various holistic traditions do–two fundamentals:

1) there is a light within that needs to be rightly cultivated, and

2) neglecting this inner light favors the onset of disease

As an acupuncturist in practice over a decade now, I’ve come to realize that some of us grow ill for precisely this reason. The shining of our inner light compromised because of anger, fear, guilt, grudge-holding, etc., the conditions are ripe for stubborn diseases to appear–chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, anxiety, digestive disorders, etc.

While there are several necessary methods for restoring this heart-level energy, today I share with you one practice in the form of a three-part dedication (3PD).

The 3PD is a modification of a traditional Indian prayer/mantra, universal in its benefit–and thus I trust is fully compatible with your own inner tradition. It can help awaken all-inclusive kindness and compassion within us. It can help us to see our weaknesses more clearly and thus accelerate our growth (kinda like how turning up the light in a dim room makes a chocolate stain on a white shirt go from less obvious to more obvious).  Just as training the musician automatically produces sweeter music, uplifting the mind automatically uplifts the body–please remember this.

This day:

May I be happy.

May I be free from sickness.

May I experience what is good and beautiful in this life.

May I not be unhappy.

***

May you be happy.

May you be free from sickness.

May you experience what is good and beautiful in this life.

May you not be unhappy.

***

May all beings be happy.

May all be free from sickness.

May all experience what is good and beautiful in this life.

May none be unhappy.

Peace. Peace. Peace.

The intellect will want to read–likely in quick scan mode–for its own understanding. But as “the heart has reasons that reason cannot know”, I ask you to go back again and recite the words slowly and deliberately from a place of genuine caring. By the way, the “you” can refer to anyone you want: friend, enemy (frenemy?), world leaders, victims of war or natural disasters…the mind is the only limitation.

As you recite each verse and practice consistently over time, can you sense what awakens within you as a result? Don’t create something where nothing is, but rather learn to simply sense. It could be a non-specific sense of increased well-being, decreased anxiety, decreased pain, the unmistakable feeling of the heart’s light awakening, blissful sensations circulating within, etc. These fruits of practice should be rightly honored as a natural result, but not so overemphasized that they become a source of affliction (such as attachment, pride, and arrogance).

And if no benefit accrues to you despite consistent and sincere practice, then chalk it up to simple physics. It could be that the vibration of these words just doesn’t resonate–maybe like how an article on the virtues of doing a car’s oil change at home just doesn’t resonate with a brain surgeon.

Will this practice magically erase our selfishness and unskillful qualities? Of course not, we know better than that. We all have our right work to do. It’s my hope that incorporating this 3PD into your daily wellness program helps you on your way.

J*

Justin Jaucian, MS, BA is a NJ licensed acupuncturist and 12-year practitioner of Chinese Medicine specializing in pain syndromes. He also offers preventive wellness programs based on Chinese medicine’s holistic principles and practices with a focus on maintaining the health of the spinal column.

Copyright (c) 2014, Justin Jaucian

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