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Winter Relaxation and Contemplation for our Heart and Mind

Isaac Eliaz, M.D., L.Ac., M.S.

The holidays are over and we are now deep into the winter season. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the winter is about conservation of energy, efficiency and slowing down our pace in concert with nature. As nature slows down and everything grows slower or stops, the potential for new growth in the spring is already taking place. A beautiful place to see this is inside a beehive. While the bees are dormant and less active, the queen bee is already laying drone eggs. These drone eggs take 28 days to hatch and another few weeks to mature and be ready for their role of fertilizing the queen bee in the spring.

Winter time is an excellent time for retrospection, meditation and exploration of deeper issues. To dive deeper into our being we need to slow down. An example is our thinking and “doing” process. We are usually very busy both in our activity level as well as our thinking process. In fact, we are so busy that we usually are not even aware of how sped up our thoughts and actions have become. When we slow down through meditation, relaxation or simply taking some time off, we may be overwhelmed by the recognition of how busy our lives really are. Our natural reaction is to run away by staying busier, and the cycle continues to wind us up even tighter.

If we can take the time to relax and slow down, however, it can provide an opportunity for introspection. There is a gap between each of our thoughts and when we have racing thoughts, this gap is not recognized. However, when we slow down the gap becomes more evident giving rise to “stuff” that is stuck under the surface of our mundane activities. While some of it may be pleasant and ”blissful,” some of it may be unpleasant and bring up feelings of anger, attachment, desire, jealousy, pride, and other emotions. Simply pushing them away or denying them won’t really work on a long-term basis and can be detrimental to our health.

A better way to deal with these feelings and emotions can be achieved through a variety of methods that will benefit our health and wellbeing. We can antidote them, transform them or free them through meditation and contemplation. Let’s take anger as an example…When anger arises, we can antidote it with patience or transform it into compassion for the person that has made us angry. But we can actually release and free these feelings through resting the mind and the thinking process. As we all well know, this is easier said than done. However, the end result of such a process when one engages in it sincerely, diligently and consistently over a prolonged period of time is a true “change of heart.” There is a wonderful book called “Change of Heart” that summarizes the teachings of H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche – a phenomenal Tibetan mediation master who worked tirelessly during his life to help people gain a deeper insight into their mind and heart, and find greater happiness and peace. His advice transcends any religion, ethnicity and gender, and can be of enormous use to anyone interested in making their life and the lives of the people around them better.

This level of mind/heart medicine is an integral part of true wholesome health, and the winter time is a good time to incorporate this facet into your lifestyle. The process of slowing down and peeling taking place during the winter has a much different quality than the peeling process that we engage in during our spring and fall cleanse. The end results may be similar, but physiologically, different organ systems are involved.

Caring for ourselves is a year round, lifetime process. Synchronizing our self-care programs with the seasonal wisdom and advice offered by Traditional Chinese Medicine can help to harmonize our beings and provide us with natural vitality and wellness throughout the changing year, and our ever-changing phases in life. For additional information on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and various modalities of treatment, visit www.dreliaz.org.


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