YMAA CA Retreat Center, 3/18/2020
This article republished with permission. The views are those of its author.
Editorial note: The main point of this article is that in the big picture, we (humans) are relying on modern medicine to keep us from becoming ill. Whether you agree with the author or not, ask yourself “are we becoming naturally stronger or naturally weaker?”
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is a startling wake-up call to the entire human race. Although advances in science have enabled us to live more comfortably and conveniently than ever before, they have also caused us to rely too much on external remedies for our health and well-being. Nowadays, we often hide behind a wall of technology and chemicals to get better. Our natural immune systems have become unnaturally weak and compromised as a result. We have become “greenhouse” people, seemingly unable to survive without the high-tech amenities and drugs that have become so commonplace in today’s world. In the process, we have been changing nature on a global scale. Now, we must face the consequences and brace ourselves for the challenges that lay ahead. Our current ways of living do not show any signs of imminent change. Material and energy pollution will continue to change the environment in ways we do not expect and are unprepared for, ultimately presenting the most difficult challenges to us, to nature, and to all other life on this planet.
Today we are finding that viruses are still periodically winning the battle over modern medicine, despite all of the great strides we have made in medical research. Viruses have evolved and become much deadlier than what they used to be. Meanwhile, our own capability to adapt and evolve, as these viruses have, has become stagnant because of the very environment we created in order to live a safer and more comfortable life. We need to make our immune system stronger, to try to keep up with pathogenic evolution. In ancient times, maintaining our health was much more imperative, given the absence of modern science. While overall life expectancy in the past was not as high as today, the average person was more adapted to a rougher and less merciful world. Our modern lifestyles have made us detached and ignorant of nature’s condition, and as a result, we fell behind in evolving together with it.
Our Disconnect from Nature
The nature of humans contradicts, damages, and even alters the nature of the world we live in, not to mention the nature of the human body. Our habits and beliefs seem to encourage and promote a desensitized, incomplete understanding of nature. Time and time again, we are surprised and taken off guard by how nature responds. Natural disasters are a prime example. We are perhaps most familiar with natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, floods, tornadoes, etc. Diseases should also be included in this list, as they are very much a part of nature as well.
People with a higher level of awareness tend to have a better survival rate. They are the ones who take decisive actions in trying to prevent or entirely avoid disasters before they happen. Many of those who ignore warning signs or are incapable of making the necessary changes in their lives unfortunately often succumb to nature and perish. Before the time of such large urbanized environments and societies, I believe there was a greater pressure and urgency for us to develop and maintain this awareness. We have been increasingly distancing ourselves from nature over the past few centuries, ultimately making us ignorant of nature’s condition.
Humans have also strayed from nature because of war. Many of the wars and mass killings in our history were a direct result of the societal matrix that we ourselves have created. This matrix has no place in nature. It is the matrix that locks us into the bondage and dogmas of glory, dignity, power, wealth, desire, etc. We have been killing, conquering, enslaving, abusing, and taking advantage of each other for thousands of years, and sadly it still continues today, just in a less conspicuous way. The 21st century is truly the time to break free from this unnatural, corrupted pattern of behavior. We have focused too much of our attention and resources on developing the material sciences. Spirituality has been ignored. The time to change is now very crucial, because our wars today carry the threat of nuclear devastation.
Modern Medicine as a Supplement, Not a Replacement
Modern medicine has literally replaced some of our inherent abilities to survive in nature. Our abilities diminished over time because there was no longer a need to maintain them. Advances in medicine have resulted in a very successful pharmaceutical industry, one that allows us to shortcut solutions and continue neglecting our body’s natural survival mechanisms. The human body was not meant to be this passive. If we keep hiding ourselves behind this wall of modern medicine, then we will only continue to weaken.
Of course, we should continue researching and developing medical science to better face the unknowns of the new oncoming era, but we must also recognize that we should not and cannot rely on it completely. The environment is becoming more and more complex, and it will likely result in a day where modern medicine alone cannot overcome a disease. Our vulnerability as a race will become ever much more apparent then. It is hard to predict exactly how the environment will change due to the constant flow of pollution and new contaminants that humans keep introducing into nature. This includes artificial energy created from cell phone radiation, satellite technology, and light pollution, as well as material waste generated from manufacturing, power plants, and nonbiodegradable products. Viruses have evolved to a point where they occasionally still conquer both the environment and modern medicine. We must give ourselves the chance to evolve as well, to give ourselves another line of defense behind modern medicine.
At the most basic level, movement and exercise will help your blood move, facilitating nourishment, repair, and energy circulation (Qì) in all of your body’s cells. The body functions most efficiently when this circulation is happening, and it is the foundation for a strong immune system.
The human body was made to move and to exercise. It is the reason we have so many different muscles and joints. At the most basic level, movement and exercise will help your blood move, facilitating nourishment, repair, and energy circulation (Qì) in all of your body’s cells. The body functions most efficiently when this circulation is happening, and it is the foundation for a strong immune system. We move less now, due to the development of machines and modern transportation. Exercise has become more of a hobby, pastime, or luxury when in fact, it should be a daily necessity. Good health is often paired with an active lifestyle. The Chinese have long talked about Qì and the importance of Qìgōng for countless generations. Qìgōng is the traditional and most natural way to condition and strengthen our physical and mental bodies, and consequently, also our immune system. There is no mystery behind Qìgōng. At its core, Qìgōng is about the movement and circulation of energy. In fact, any form of exercise can be considered Qìgōng. Qìgōng was developed through thousands of years of experience, in accordance with nature and the human design. Eventually, the purpose for practicing Qìgōng became not just about health, but also spiritual cultivation. I believe reemphasizing the importance of Qìgōng practice will be central to regaining and utilizing the full potential and resiliency of our body’s original inner defense system.
We must do more in educating each other on how to maintain and condition the immune system, and to establish a regular routine for self-maintenance and practice.
Qìgōng is the traditional and most natural way to condition and strengthen our physical and mental bodies, and consequently, also our immune system.
A Stronger Push for Data
Qìgōng, Tai Chi, Yoga, and other related disciplines are now recognized by more and more people as viable methods for improving health and the overall quality of life. These activities often involve exercise or movement, and a deliberate, focused use of the mind. The key is in the mind. We can make our immune systems stronger from the inside-out and depart from using drugs and technology to cure us from the outside-in. I hope to see more support for scientific research geared towards gathering the data we need to explain why these methods work. Although many white papers have already been published on various studies in these areas, I believe they are still too often overshadowed by Western medicine—what most people tend to find more convenient and believable. But many studies produced inconclusive results and require further experimentation and analysis. We are still missing the data to decisively prove or disprove certain theories.
My wish is to see governments, local leaders, universities, and those with the financial means to step up and encourage, promote, publicize, and demystify those Qìgōng secrets and ancient practice methods that can have the biggest health impacts on the world today. Recruiting the right instructors and professionals to teach, monitor, and run these studies is an important key to making this happen properly. Unfortunately, maintaining a consistent standard, especially in controlled studies, can be difficult because of the widespread confusion and misinformation about what Qìgōng is about and how to practice. There must be a more unified effort in pushing for better and more consistent data. I want to see Qìgōng proven as scientifically sound. As we gather more data, I believe we will likely be able to develop technology to manipulate Qì and even correct energy imbalances in the body.
I believe reemphasizing the importance of Qìgōng practice will be central to regaining and utilizing the full potential and resiliency of our body’s original inner defense system. We must do more in educating each other on how to maintain and condition the immune system, and to establish a regular routine for self-maintenance and practice.
Due to the rapid development of drugs and technology, we have been ignoring and downplaying the importance of maintaining a strong immune system for far too long. While we are developing modern medicine, we should not forget to also develop our own immune system. Modern medicine can serve as an effective barrier against many diseases and ailments, but history has shown us that it can and will still have limitations in the future. As viruses have continued to evolve into stronger variants of themselves, our own immune system defenses have conversely become depleted over time and overly dependent.
We should thoroughly examine the ancient knowledge of traditional methods and practices that are now available to us—experience, study, research, and experiment with them—to see what possibilities there are to revive our inner capabilities of natural defenses. I believe they are as important, if not more, than our current system of medical science. In cases where modern medicine falls short or is delayed, as is the present case with COVID-19, at least we will not be as susceptible to worst-case scenarios. The coronavirus crisis has made it very clear to us that human health will always be a global concern. We all live in the same environment. We are all a part of the same race. We all need to work together to effect a change.
I will be following this article with another titled The Scientific Foundation of the Ancient Chinese Secret of Youth, which will focus on the details of how you can rebuild your inner energy core and boost your immune system. My goal is to help you comprehend the scientific theory behind how the immune system works and highlight how ancient methods of practice can maximize its potential.
If you would like to share these articles with others, please feel free to link, repost, or translate them. It is my hope that the entire human race will unite and rise up to nature’s challenge.
*** If we wake up now, together, we can still make ourselves stronger and create a more sustainable future. ***
About the Author
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming immigrated to the USA in 1974 and has since authored more than 50 martial arts and Qìgōng books and DVDs. His publications are available from YMAA Publication Center (ymaa.com) and wherever books and videos are sold. He has also written a number of novels to share various thoughts, insights, and personal perspectives about life with readers.
If you are interested in knowing more about Qìgōng, you may refer to the following books/DVDs by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming
- Understanding Qìgōng (6-DVD Set)
- The Root of Chinese Qìgōng (Book)
- Qìgōng – The Secret of Youth (Book)
- Qìgōng Meditation – Embryonic Breathing (Book)
- Simple Qìgōng Exercises for Health (Book)
- Five Animal Sports Qìgōng (DVD)
Article edited by: Nicholas C. Yang, Dr. Thomas G. Gutheil, and Colin Borsos.
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