Crave Less, Live More

June 17, 2013 at 12:17 am | Posted in Good Advice, Reflections, Relevance to Today | Leave a comment
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What primary foods can do for you

By Tysan Lerner | June 15, 2013

Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. (Epoch Times)

Most of us spend years searching for the perfect diet and the perfect way to feel healthy, energized, and attractive. Scientific studies are launched one after another, showing how each new diet that comes along is superior to the one before.

It’s Not Just About Food

What we eat is deeply important. Food nourishes our blood, our cells, and our brains, but who we are being between meals is just as important for good health as what we eat.
So, as you embark on your health journey, look not only at what you put into your mouth, but also at who you are when you eat, what is your life is like, and what you are doing with your body, the temple of your soul, on a daily basis.

Joshua Rosenthal, founder of Integrative Nutrition, has coined the term “primary foods.” He says: “Food is more than what you find on your plate. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary.”

I used to think that if I ate a balanced diet, it would bring me into balance. That I would feel centered, awake, and happy to be alive. I became obsessed with finding the perfect way to eat, hoping I would soon find the balance I so craved.

As a result, I did look and feel physically better. My digestion and skin improved. I had more consistent levels of energy, fewer headaches, and less belly fat, but I still struggled with my mood and weight. I kept thinking, I must fine-tune my diet even more. I must get this right.

But here’s the thing, eating right wasn’t going to fix my financial issues, my relationships, my lack of creative expression, or my body composition. Nor was eating right going to bring me closer to higher spiritual ground.

Eating right helped me fix my physical body, but not my mindset. And when I finally understood this, my life began to change.

Getting in Alignment

According to Rosenthal, there are four common areas in peoples’ lives that carry a lot of weight for them: relationships, career, fitness, and spirituality. Take a look at each of these areas in your life and think about how they are going for you.

Do you feel that they are in alignment with who you are and what you value? Rather than allowing them to just happen to you, think deeply about what you want them to look like for you and how you can make them work even better.

An Exercise to Get Started

Take four pieces of blank paper. Label each with one life area: relationships, career, fitness, and spirituality. Create two columns on each paper. One column is for the things that are nurturing this aspect of your life, and the other column is for the things missing in this aspect of your life.

Write down one thing you can do on each page to help improve this area of your life. At the end of the day, when you have filled your life with healthier primary foods, enjoy craving less, and living more.


Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is

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A Cultivator’s View of the World: After Tens of Thousands of Cuts and Polishings, One Finally Becomes Something of Value

October 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Discussion, Good Advice, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | Leave a comment
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( It says in Three Character Scripture: “Jade will not become jade without being carved and polished.” To be carved on is a painful process. Therefore, after long-standing endurance and patience, it usually will become something of value. According to legend, a long time ago a large temple was built in a city. The temple was very sacred and quiet. The only thing missing was a Buddha statue for believers to worship. So the faithful invited a famous jade craftsman to carve a Buddha statue so that they could express their admiration.

The jade carver saw that the believers were very devout, so he personally went to the mountains to select the stone. His hard work finally paid off because he found a superior stone. Because the stone was so large, he split it into two pieces, picked up one of them at random, and started working on it. As it was being carved, this piece of stone could barely tolerate the pain. It said to the craftsman, “It hurts terribly. Can’t you cut more gently? I have endured the wind and rain in the mountains, but I have never experienced such pain as this. Can you really carve me into a Buddha statue?” The carver responded, “Endurance is a process. As long as you are determined, there will be a new life at the end of the pain. Trust me and please continue to endure.”

The stone thought for a while and told the carver, “I’ll consider it. When will you be finished carving me?” The carver put down his chisel and said to the stone, “I’ve just started working on you. You will need to continue to endure for 30 days. After I am done, if people are not satisfied with my work, I will need to rework it and improve it. But if others are satisfied, you will become a Buddha statue.”

The stone became silent for a while. On the one hand, it thought about how great it would feel the day it became a Buddha statue. On the other hand, it could not bear the severe pain of being carved. After two hours it cried out, “This is killing me! This is killing me! Please stop using the chisel to carve me because I really cannot stand the pain anymore.”

The carver put down the stone that he had carved on only a little bit and simply broke it into four slabs that he laid down on the temple floor. He then picked up the other half of the stone and started working on it. After carving for a while, the craftsman curiously asked this piece of stone, “Don’t you feel any pain?” This second piece of stone said, “The last piece of stone and I were originally one piece. The intense pain is the same, but I will not give up easily.”

The man asked, “Why don’t you ask me to carve you gently?” The stone replied, “If I ask you to carve gently, the Buddha statue might not turn out refined, which would then be returned for reworking. It’s better for you to do it perfectly the first time and not waste anybody’s time.” The carver was impressed by the tough character of the second stone and was happy to continue his work. After 30 days of endurance, he had successfully carved a beautiful Buddha statue.

Soon after, a solemn and mighty Buddha statue was presented to the believers of the city. It was placed on the altar, and people admired and praised it. The temple became increasingly popular and welcomed an endless flow of people every day. One day the first stone, which had been made into stone slabs, asked the Buddha statue, “Why are you placed so high above to be worshiped, while I have to bear being trampled on by thousands of people every day?” The stone that was made into the Buddha statue smiled and replied, “It’s simple. You only had to go through a very simple process to become stone slabs. I had to endure numerous cuts to become a Buddha statue.”

Throughout history and in looking at human life, this situation is the same for everything in this world. In fact, the only difference between choosing to endure and seeking comfort is one thought. If one misses a given opportunity, one might face endless pain in the end. If one believes in the promise of the future and endures the test with tenacious perseverance, one will have a bright future.


Sun Simiao and His Cultivation Theory Related to Health

August 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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January 16, 2010 | By Shanxing

( Sun Simiao, who is also called China’s King of Medicine and Heavenly Doctor Sun, was a famous doctor in Chinese history. He also practiced preserving health through qigong. Sun was born during the Western Wei Dynasty. Legend has it that he lived for 141 years. Sun decided to learn medicine because when he was young, he often got sick. He was versed in the Chinese classics and history, as well as the thoughts of a hundred schools. He could “memorize thousands of sentences each day” at age seven. For his skill of memorizing a daily article of over one thousand words, he was praised as a “sacred child.” At age 20 he could expertly discuss the theories of Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi, and was also good at the Buddhist classics. Sun refused to become a government official during the Sui and Tang Dynasties. Tang Dynasty Emperor Li Shimin personally visited him.

Sun Simiao made a name for himself for having summarized the clinical experiences and medical theories prior to the Tang Dynasty and compiled them into two renowned medical books, Qian Jin Yao Fang (Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Liang of Gold) and Qian Jin Yi Fang (Supplement to Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Liang of Gold).

1. Sun Simiao’s books passed onto future generations

Sun Simiao authored over 80 books in his lifetime. Besides Qian Jin Yao Fang and Qian Jin Yi Fang (mentioned above), he also wrote Lao Zi Zhu (Notes to Lao Zi), Zhuang Zi Zhu (Notes to Zhuang Zi), one volume of Zhen Zhong Su Shu (Book on the Bed), one volume of Hui San Jiao Lun, three volumes of Fu Lu Lun (On Fortunes and Happiness), one volume of She Sheng Zhen Lun (Advice on Health Cultivation), one volume of Gui Jing (Canon of the Tortoise), and others.

Qian Jin Yao Fang consists of 30 volumes and covers 232 medical subjects. Sun Simiao believed: “A human life is extremely precious; more valuable than one thousand liang [an ancient Chinese unit of weight] of gold.” Because of this belief he titled his book with the two characters “Qian Jin,” which means one thousand liang of gold. The entire book collected 5,300 prescriptions, covering a wide range that is rich in content. It is a colossal work, representative of medical science during the Tang Dynasty. It had a great impact on and made significant contributions to medical developments, especially prescriptions for later generations. The scholarly text also made contributions to medical advancements in Japan and Korea.

Qian Jin Yi Fang also consists of 30 volumes. Sun Simiao wrote it in the later stages of his life. It is a comprehensive supplement to Qian Jin Yao Fang. He divided the entire book of Qian Jin Yi Fang into 189 subjects, covering over 2,900 prescriptions. It describes over 800 medicinal drugs and provides effective ways for treating especially febrile diseases, strokes, miscellaneous diseases, acne, and carbuncles.

2. Sun Simiao’s medical ethics and further contributions to medicine

Sun Simiao expressed his belief that medicine is an art of kindness. In his book Da Yi Jing Chen (Sincerity and Devotion of Great Doctors), he wrote: “When a great doctor treats a patient, he must concentrate himself, calm down, and be free of desires and pursuits. He first needs to have a compassionate heart to devote himself to freeing the patients from the suffering of illnesses. If patients come for treatment, whether they are of high or low social status, rich or poor, elderly or young, beautiful or ugly, enemies or relatives, the Han race or other ethic groups, intelligent or unintelligent, the doctor should treat them the same as if they were all the doctors’ dear ones…”

This short paragraph is a clear representation of Sun Simiao’s noble character as a doctor.

He adopted a holistic approach to treating illnesses. He believed that by skillful nursing and recuperating successfully, one can be free of illnesses. As long as “a good doctor treats the illnesses with prescriptions and acupuncture, the patient’s illness will be curable and disasterson the earthwill be avoidable.” He stressed medical ethics and treated all patients the same. As already stated above, he declared, “a human life is precious, and more valuable than one thousand liang of gold.”

Sun Simiao also paid great attention to gynecology and pediatrics. He authored three volumes of Fu Ren Fang (Gynecology) and two volumes of Shao Xiao Ying Ru Fang (Pediatrics), which were placed on top of Qian Jin Yao Fang.

Qian Jin Yao Fang is the earliest encyclopedia on medical subjects in China. It covers a broad range of categories–from basic medical theories to different clinical subjects, and from theories and methodologies to prescription formulas and drugs. The book covers materials from the classics in one segment, while another category includes the empirical formulas and prescriptions that were circulated among the populace. This book included the strong points of different schools and is suitable for people from different educational backgrounds. It is popular even today.

Much of the book’s content still plays a guiding role, making it of great scientific value. It is indeed an asset for traditional Chinese medicine.

As already stated, Qian Jin Yao Fang has made great contributions to the development of prescription formulas. By summarizing the clinical experiences from the era of Zhang Zhongjing [a famous doctor in the Han Dynasty] to that of Sun Simiao and the achievements in prescription formulas over the previous several hundred years, it demonstrated Sun Simiao’s profound medical knowledge and extraordinary medical skills. Future generations have called Qian Jin Fang–the two books of Qian Jin Yao Fang and Qian Jin Yi Fang–the ancestor of prescription formulas.

Sun Simiao valued preserving health and actively practiced it. Because he was good at the art of cultivating health, he lived to over 100 and still enjoyed good vision and hearing when he was old. He combined ideas on the preservation of health from Confucianism and Taoism, as well as from ancient India, with those of traditional Chinese medicine. He proposed many practical and effective ways to cultivate good health, which, even now, guide people’s daily lives. For example: “One should keep a balanced mindset and not solely pursue recognition and self-interest. Be constrained in food intake, and do not eat or drink too much. Pay attention to the circulation of Qi and blood and do not be lazy and motionless. Live a regular daily life and do not violate the law of the nature…”

Sun Simiao was also the first to invent a urethral catheter. According to historical records, one of his patients could not pass urine. Seeing that the patient was in extreme pain, Sun thought, “It is already too late to treat him with medicine. If there was a way to insert a tube into his urethra, the urine could perhaps flow out naturally.” He saw a neighbor’s child at play blowing on a green onion stem. The green onion stem was very thin, long, and soft. Sun decided to use such a tube and gave it a try. Having chosen a suitable green onion stem, he charred it gently, cut the sharp end off, and then carefully inserted it into the patient’s urethra. He then blew into the tube once. As expected, the urine flowed out of the tube. The patient’s bloated abdomen gradually became smaller, and the patient’s illness was also cured.

By cultivating morality and the body with virtue and by having both virtue and talent, Sun Simiao became a great figure whom common people and medical professionals for several generations have highly respected.

December 24, 2009

Tales from the Practice of Medicine: A Brief Discussion of the Relationship Between Illness, the Four Seasons and the Four Parts of a Day

July 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Children's Stories, Culture, Discoveries, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today | Leave a comment
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Hu Naiwen, a Traditional Chine

[] According to The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Script, an ancient Chinese medical reference book, all illnesses arise from dryness, humidity, cold, heat, wind, rain, imbalances between Yin and Yang, happiness, anger, dietary imbalances and an inauspicious residence location. The ill person frequently feels better at dawn and during the daytime, but may feel worse at dusk and at night. In other words, the symptoms of an illness may intensify at dusk and get even worse at night.

What is the explanation for these phenomena? Our ancestors believed that man embodied heavenly elements; therefore, man’s health is affected by changes in the weather, the seasons and the climate. There is an ancient Chinese saying: “Birth is in the spring, growth is in the summer, harvest is in the autumn and storage is in the winter.” This saying can be applied to the energy of the human body. There are also four distinct parts of a day, including morning (spring), mid-day or noon (summer), dusk (autumn) and night (winter).

In the morning, the human energy is growing, so the spirit of the illness declines. At noon, the human energy continues to increase, so the spirit of the illness withdraws further. When human energy grows, it can overcome the illness. During this time, man feels well. At dusk when the sun goes down, the human energy begins to decline in correspondence with nature; therefore, the spirit of the illness starts to climb. At night, the human energy returns to the body, which means human energy returns to within the internal organs; therefore, the illness will occupy the surface of the human body. This is when the spirit of the illness is at its peak, which makes the symptoms of the illness get worse. This is the reason why illness is closely related to the four seasons, and the four parts of a day.

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Traditional Chinese Culture: A Beautiful Heart Makes a Woman More Beautiful

July 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Posted in Asia, Children's Stories, Culture, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | Leave a comment
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[] Cai Yong was also known as Cai Bojie. He was a renowned literary giant from Qi County, Henan Province in the Eastern Han Dynasty (202B.C. – 220A.D.) Cai Yong was known to value morality and to uphold justice. He enjoyed reading, mathematics, astronomy and playing music. In order to educate his daughter Cai Wenji [1], he wrote an essay titled “Lessons for Women” (女訓) He did not object to his daughter dressing up or wearing makeup. In fact, he believed that women should wear light makeup to make themselves more presentable and that women should keep their hair clean and glossy. On the other hand, he emphasized that it is more important for a woman to cultivate her inner beauty than to improve outer beauty. He believed that true beauty comes from inside.

In “Lessons for Women”, Cai Yong wrote, “Like the head and the face, the heart also needs care. Dirt will build up if you fail to wash your face for a day. Evil ideas will invade your heart if you fail to cultivate kindness for a day. Everyone knows to make her face more beautiful, but not everyone knows to cultivate her kindness. If you don’t take care of your face, even a fool will call you sloppy. If you don’t cultivate your morality, a moral person will call you wicked. It is tolerable to be called sloppy by a fool, but there is no place for you in the world if a moral man calls you wicked. Therefore, when you look at yourself in the mirror, think about whether your heart is pure. When you put on perfume oil, think about whether your heart is tranquil and peaceful. When you put on makeup, think about whether your mind is clean. When you moisturize your hair, think about whether your mind is at ease. When you brush your hair, think about whether your mind is rational and reasonable. When you put your hair into a bun, think about whether your mind is as straight and elegant as your hair bun. When you tidy up the fine hair along your face, think about whether your heart is as tidy.”

[1] Paintings: Wenji Returns to China

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