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(5 pages total)

Page 2 - Eating in Harmony with Daily Energetics

A dietary practice that is composed primarily of whole grains may thus be considered one of the most important aspects of a lifestyle for enhancement of one's experience of Qi. Yet traditional Chinese medicine maintains that there may be more to consider in one's dietary practice than its general contents.

The principles of traditional Chinese medicine also suggest that it is important to eat in harmony with the energetic transformations manifested in the seasonal cycles of Nature.

In his Outline of Materia Medica (1578), the master Chinese herbalist Shi­Chen Li (1518­1593) stated that "in spring, one should eat more pungent and warm foods to stay in harmony with the upward movement of the season; in summer, one should eat more pungent and hot foods to stay in harmony with the outward movement of the season; in autumn, one should eat more sour and warm foods to stay in harmony with the downward movement of the season; in winter, one should eat more bitter and cold foods to stay in harmony with the inward movement of the season."

The movements of Nature that we observe in seasonal changes actually occur­­ albeit on a smaller scale­­ each and every day, and throughout everyone's life cycles. Our morning corresponds to infancy and spring, noon to adulthood and summer, evening to maturity and autumn, and midnight to death and winter. A daily dietary practice which goes with this Natural Flow enhances our personal experience of Qi. Just as struggling against a river's flow merely wastes one's energy, so a diet that is not in harmony with the movement of Nature will sap one's Qi. On the other hand, just as swimming with the river will magnify one's sense of personal power, so a diet that harmonizes with Natural Qi will enhance one's personal experience of Qi.

Further, and perhaps more importantly, a diet in harmony with Natural Qi is truly sustaining, as well as practically and ecologically sustainable. Such a diet provides true sustenance, and is practically sustainable, because it will harmonize, rather than conflict, with our own inner physiological cycles, which reflect those of the environment. And it is ecologically sustainable by virtue of its harmony with Natural cycles of Qi.

Using the principles that underlie Chinese medicine, let us look at how we might create a practical way of eating that harmonizes with daily energetics, and thus enhances our personal experience of Qi.

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