False evidence appearing real?
Face everything and rise?
What is fear? And what is Fear’s result? How does it affect our health, happiness, and longevity?
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Although I am not sure that is an accurate statement, it certainly carries a lot of weight, both from a psychological standpoint and a physical health standpoint, as you shall see.
Fear comes primarily from two things: attachment, and the Unknown. Attachment to life itself and the uncertainty about one’s fate in the Afterlife – its existence or judgments or pain vs. non-painful – leads to the Fear of Death itself.
Fear has three main categories from a TCM point of view.
Fear as itself, which causes shrinkage of Qi.
Fright, panic, shock etc… which cause a scattering of Qi; like so many children running from a would-be attacker.
Sorrow; Sorrow can come from Grief (related to loss and attachment) but it can also be derived from feelings of shame, guilt, and failure. This type of Fear is particularly insidious as it creeps on with age and tends to consume the Qi in an ever quickening amount. Until one day, hope, dreams, and even love can become deficient or absent from a person’s life.
From the perspective of TCM/Shen therapy, the presence of any of these emotions in “excessive” amounts would be considered a Pathogen or Evil Qi. That is, they attack and weaken the Righteous Qi, and Defense Qi thereby. It is sort of like in Lord of the Rings, the movie, where the Nasgul come along and drive the Men mad with fear, in order to scatter their armies. But when the light approaches, then the dark forces are repelled. This is pretty much what I am talking about, but it happens not just psychologically (with Depressive disorders and Anxiety), but also within the body.
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Everyday your body is supposed to have a certain flow. Just like everyday, Monday through Friday, the country wakes up and goes to work. This is how your body operates. Anytime this is interrupted: by weather, diet, lifestyle, or excessive emotions, then these normal routines get interrupted. The most common one under study is probably sleep and the Melatonin cycle because it is so important to get good sleep and so few people do.
But in general, we can surmise various changes in the body via the overall canopy of Qi changes.
Sinking Qi leads to problems of prolapse, hemorrhoids, vaginal and seminal leakage, spotting, incontinence, loose/undigested stools, RBC/WBC in urine, spontaneous sweating, and more.
Scattered Qi tends to result in more cognition changes. Arrhythmias and murmurs, palpitations, fears, feelings of persecution, unexplained bouts of crying or laughter or melancholy, fatigue, lethargy, malaise, lack of willpower, again many of the symptoms of Sinking Qi can be present in the Genitourinary System, especially incontinence.
Consumed Qi tends to be more of an energy problem than either with feelings of chronic fatigue and lethargy, coughing fits and bronchitis, repeated infections, feelings of listlessness, hopelessness, despair, unrequited grief; there may be sensitivities in the skin and protective mechanisms. Paranoia can result from the excessive consumption of Qi. At the same time, people whose Zheng (Righteous) Qi is being consumed tend to have more traumas, accidents, bad experiences one after another as their life-stream tends down a bad spiral. Bad decisions aren’t as much a problem as indecision. Fear creeps in, of old age, abandonment, and ultimately an untimely death. It is a very serious condition.
In TCM, the mind is inextricably linked to the body, and so the feelings of fear surround are are further enforced by the body’s changes and overall health. There is no separating them into separate files. They are blended together in one seamless stitch, where it becomes difficult to tell which is more important and which can be treated/should be treated first.
Aside from that, the nature of Xie (Evil) Qi is to hide from the person that which is most important to treat. Few people – unless they have seen recent, rapid changes since a person’s death that hit them hard – mark the connection between health changes and deterioration and things like grief, shock, and fear.
One patient I have once had a fall that led directly to the invasion of Epidemic Pathogen. This hot pathogen nearly killed her. It definitely changed her perspective, lifestyle, and everything.
But other people are not so lucky. Some people never get over the shock of a bad diagnosis. I would not want to know the number of cancer cases that were made harder to treat merely by people being told they had not long to live – and believing that – followed up by treatments that REQUIRE being above a threshold of Qi to survive in and of themselves. Chemo and Radiation kill Zheng Qi, in hopes of killing the Xie Qi of the cancer. Now imagine adding on top of this an excess of fear, panic, and shock, all of which descend and scatter the Qi. Some people enter grieving, and become surrounded in a tunnel by grief from family and friends, as if they are walking the Green Mile. This is assuredly a bad scenario for a person to be in if they want to survive or just have good Quality of Life.
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Some Element types tend, unfortunately, toward Fear. All of them have fears, it’s just different for different people. This is where I think the power of dismissing fear – and worries, especially both if unjustified – can be very helpful. But how?
Most people who do so are of the “doer” types who just keep moving, hoping to dodge the bullets or not notice when they get hit. This can be useful, but sometimes it can avoid dealing with fears.
There are also people who believe in stopping and analyzing fears, confronting them, etc…
I believe in either case, an excess of one or the other is probably not helpful. In some cases it is handy to run… like from an avalanche. But in other cases it is important to not run.. like from a bear or cougar. The ability to know the difference, and to know them internally and for one’s health, happiness, and longevity, is a long study in its own. Depending on your element type, that study might be worth your time. I would say water and fire type people: YES! But for Metal, Wood, and Earth, probably not… it would probably stagnate you too much. In which case I recommend merely finding some mantras or habitual practices for dealing with stress. Case in point: Metal people have got to BREATHE. Wood people have got to MOVE. Earth people have got to DISTRACT themselves.
Dealing with fear is not a simple rule book; but it pays in dividends for happiness, longevity, and overall health to find a few skills and tricks to getting yourself untangled from the net of fear; and even to reverse long standing fears. And in cases of paranoia, I highly recommend acupuncture and therapy because there may be a need to get outside perspective on your fears and their relative reality. Remember: when it starts interrupting your life, work, and family/relationships… that’s when it moves from a personality quirk to a problem/illness.