This is considered to be the most powerful method for attaining health. This is not just physical health but also psychological and ultimately spiritual health. It affects us on every level and particularly at the deepest level of human existence.

Of all the methods available to Chinese medicine, meditation is considered to be the most important aspect. In a Han dynasty work it is stated, “It is most important to nourish the spirit, it is of secondary importance to nourish the body. The spirit should be pure and tranquil, the bones should be stable. This is the foundation of long life.”

The Tibetans agree and say, “The mind is King”. It is the innermost aspect of ourselves as human beings. It is therefore the most essential aspect but perhaps the most difficult to access. However, it is at the level of the mind that true miracles can occur. These may be in terms of our health where meditation or visualisation exercises can help in serious diseases such as cancer. More often, it leads to an increased level of emotional and mental well-being due to its ability to directly transform negative states of mind.

There are several strands to Chinese medicine. The two most significant are Taoist and Buddhist influences. These two philosophical systems (which some would describe as religions) have as their ultimate goal, enlightenment – the realisation of our oneness, of our true nature, of our ability to be limitlessly wise and compassionate. Meditation is the method to attain these higher states of consciousness.

There are several levels at which meditation can be practiced. You could practice meditation purely on a mundane level to attain relaxation and joy. On a more spiritual level, it is possible to practice meditation to attain freedom from suffering and allow our true nature, our compassionate heart to shine forth.

What then is meditation? Simply, it is a state of mind which does not seek to manipulate thoughts and emotions but merely to allow them to settle of their own accord. For some people, this may occur as they are absorbed in some simple task or when they are in a particularly relaxed state of mind. If this is the case with yourself, use this experience when you begin any meditation exercise.

As the thoughts and emotions settle, the natural clarity of the mind is revealed and its natural radiance, which is compassion, will shine out.

What then is mind? There are many levels of mind or consciousness. There are two to consider here. The ordinary or judgemental mind is frequently the mind of our everyday existence and the one which leads us into all sorts of difficulties and problems. It seeks to see the world in terms of dualities, of good and bad, of attachment and aversion. It is the mind which reacts to situations with anger, irritation, impatience, jealousy and so forth.

The innermost level of mind has different terms according to the particular spiritual or religious tradition. This mind can be considered to be sky-like in nature, yet aware, clear, unobstructed and limitless in its wisdom and compassion.

Meditation can be learnt and practiced by anyone because we all have a mind. The methods referred to below are simple ways for anyone of whatever spiritual or religious inclination to allow the mind to calm and to settle.

When you first begin to meditate you may notice that your mind becomes noisier and busier. This shows that the meditation is working because you have started to become aware of the ‘internal chatter’ which is normally not noticed in our busy lives. With time, thoughts settle and emotions are calmed.


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