Sixth New Moon
Today is the sixth new moon of the year in the Chinese Lunisolar Calendar. We are approaching the end of the tenth solar term, 夏至 Xiàzhì, Summer Solstice.
Summer Solstice represents the ‘sweet-spot’ of summer and we should be feeling life is good!
New moons offer us an opportunity, as part of a monthly rhythm, to pause and reflect on where we are in the season and reflect on some wisdom from our ancestors. This new moon, we explore how health perspectives differ in the East and West.
The ideas and health perspectives that arise from the East and the West are based on quite different assumptions about reality. Western science sits squarely on the shoulders of Descartes’ Mind Body Split – “I think, therefore I am” – and a propensity for breaking things down into smaller and smaller individual parts.
By contrast, Eastern philosophies about life and well-being are based on recognizing patterns of relationship and interconnection – and recognizing concurrent levels of experience that are not merely physical, but may have emotional and spiritual dimensions as well.
Nutrition as an Example
In the West, the benefits of foods and herbs are described as containing certain amounts of protein, fat, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, anti-oxidants, chemicals, molecules and so on. This information is obtained in a laboratory by analyzing foods, separating them into their basic ingredients. The nutritional value of this food or medicine is a statement of the sum total of its chemical ingredients before they enter the body.
Food and medicine in the East are described as possessing certain qualities such as a warming or cooling nature, possessing certain flavors or acting on the body in a certain way. This information is obtained by observing the behavior of the body after a food/medicine has been consumed. The nutritional value of a food/medicine is stated as a set of energetic properties, which describe the actions that a particular food has on the human body.
Some food/medicines activate our metabolism, some food/medicines slow us down, others generate warmth in the body, some generate coolness, some foods/medicines are moistening, some drying, some nourish our kidneys, others our Liver or Heart.
In Chinese thinking, food and medicine are inseparable, part of the same continuum – they both come from the same source and have predictable effects on the body, it is just a matter of degree.
Many are familiar with the quote attributed to Socrates, “Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food.” also
“Do no harm” as part of the Socratic Oath of a Physician.
Today’s “doctor” (remember the root of this word is “to teach”) spends approx. 10 hours of a 15 year study, on nutrition. This is miles away from using food and nutrition as medicine. Our food has become harm-full and a threat to the future of Americans if we do not get past the diabeastity epidemic in our grocery stores, schools, offices and places in between.
New moons are times of New Beginnings as the seeds we plant in the dark of it’s newness rise to full expression in the next 28 days. Perhaps set your dreams in the dark toward a new pattern of YOU. To BE the next greatest version of the greatest vision you can hold for yourself in this moment. And this one, ad this one !
and be that.