‘Towards a spirit of peace’ is one of the most interesting texts I have ever read about epilepsy in the context of Chinese Medicine and is available on line. It is a work by an author named Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D. (see link below)(1).
This is NOT a text about epilepsy although it is covered, but rather it looks at a wider concept. The ‘Shen’ or ‘spirit’ in Chinese medicine and its embracing view of the body heart-mind in oriental medicine.
The ‘shen’ or ‘heart-mind’ is how I think about it in words, but mostly I would say ‘spirit of the heart’ is how I feel about it.
I feel that the role of the heart in Chinese medicine is seen as having a great deal to do with consciousness. From what I have read of Ayurveda it appears to be held as the same or similar.
In the west the heart is perhaps overshadowed by the brain’s electrical discharges, and the importance that is attached as the brain being the ‘hub’ of the body. (2)
The first chapter of this book goes to great lengths to explain the Shen, and so I will not go into it in depth, except to say that the heart is seen as ‘the Emperor’ in its role alongside the other organs of the body.
There are barriers that cause problems in understanding in relation to accessing information on Chinese medicine.
The Chinese language is written as ideograms, the sounds of the language all are totally alien to English language speakers. Variations in tone and pitch could be compared to learning to play a new musical instrument for the English tongue; a language that has you patting your head and rubbing your belly, and tap dancing all at the same time.
Then the philosophy, differences in thinking, the possible conflicts that arise from cultural, social, and religious beliefs. The Great wall that surrounds China could be a metaphor for many barriers in understanding.
Why did I read this text?
The most beneficial part of my tai chi training by far has been in relation to training in awareness. Perhaps this is also called mindfulness? (3)
Without awareness I wouldn’t be able to feel seizures starting, I wouldn’t feel that my back hurts, my joints hurt and my belly is churning. Is my vagal nerve trying to tell me something? Is my anger or my fear or my grief making me ill?
I don’t know, but if I feel then I can try to understand. If I am aware how I feel then perhaps I can change the emotion.
When I feel emotions, I am more likely to become ill, in particular if I don’t acknowledge them and where and how they have arisen.
This text talks about emotions in the context of ‘emotional equilibrium’ something I’m sure we all aspire to obtain but very, very few I suspect will achieve.
Even if we have fleeting glimmers of equilibrium, there may well be more emotional storms than sunny days.
Who feels good all the time anyway? Isn’t it part of being human to feel, in all the emotional colours?
My emotional storms are accompanied by lightening, this has given me extra motivation to want to look at how to heal them before they take a hold and turn into a thunderstorms.
It may be that describing it in words is not appropriate because it relates to feeling.
I don’t like being allergic to emotions.
The last time I cried for a day because I was sad, I had seizures for 2 days afterwards. I don’t know which is worse; crying because I am sad or the fact that if I cry then I’ll have a seizure.
Does this mean heart is broken?
I don’t think so, I still feel with my spirit the same as everyone else.