Posted by joe rigs on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 Under: Get your mind right
“Knowing ignorance is strength.
Ignoring knowledge is sickness.
If one is sick of sickness, then one is not sick.
The sage is not sick because he is sick of sickness.
Therefore he is not sick.” -Tao Te Ching, verse 71
Let me start with telling you, once and for all, that there is no such thing as the perfect human diet. Trying to be perfect, when perfection is impossible, will lead to stress. Stress will lead to poorer health. Poorer health will cause you to try to be more perfect. The only thing that could be considered a perfect diet is one that resonates with you, one that you believe in and one that makes you feel your best. Not a diet that other people swear by or tell you you should eat. Not a fad diet or one that is steeped in dogma.
Whether you choose to eat a paleo diet or a vegan diet, or if you choose not to label your eating habits at all, which is what I recommend, there are certain things that are inherently obvious. You already know, intuitively for the most part, what foods are harmful and shouldn’t be eaten. This is knowledge. You cannot hide behind the excuse that you simply didn’t know that Little Debbie snack cakes weren’t healthy. This is ignoring knowledge.
Instead, accept that you can never know everything. This is profoundly true when it comes to nutrition. It seems like, for every single food you can think of, there is scientific research that either declares that it’s the worlds most powerful super food, or that it’s the most hideous food on the planet and you shouldn’t even look at it. When you accept that you can’t know everything, this is knowing ignorance.
Become sick of sickness. In this interpretation of verse 71 of the Tao Te Ching, I believe that becoming “sick of sickness” means that you stop trying to know everything and stop striving for perfection. Another interpretation of this verse says: “Only he who knows when he is deluded can free himself from such delusion.” In other words, you become sick of trying to know everything. Believing you can know everything and be perfect is delusional. Accepting that you are perfectly imperfect means you are sick of sickness and therefore, not sick.
Another way you can interpret this is to not allow “sick” thoughts to enter your mind. When you feel a sore throat, get an ache or a pain or notice that you have the a stuffy nose, where does your mind go? Do you immediately think that those symptoms are the beginning of an inevitable illness, like the flu? Or, do you recognize that this is a message from your body telling you that something is out of balance and you need to take action? Affirm that this is not the beginning of dis-ease, but a gift from your body, like the check engine light in your car. This gift gives you time to evaluate your needs. Do you need to rest, support your immune system and to manage your stress levels? Maybe you need to look more closely at your diet and make a change. Perhaps you’ve become too sedentary lately and you simply need to get out of your house or office, move more and reconnect with nature.
One other interpretation of the last line is this: “It is because the wise are aware of harm that they avoid coming to harm." The symptoms are not the disease, they simply make you aware of, or point you toward the disease or imbalance in your body. If you are on your way to catch a ferry, but stop at the sign that points to the dock, you will surely miss the boat.
In : Get your mind right
Tags: tao te ching health sickness