Can’t believe it’s basically been a year since… (yixingtianxia Day 1)

I can’t believe it’s basically been a year since… I really started to take care of my health. Like many of you know, I took a week off of school the week after spring break to go to a health workshop thing in Atlanta to learn about how to improve my health. There I met a lot of people like me, people with their own problems and diseases. Together we laughed, cried, learned, and exercised. I’m sure most of us came out of the week feeling good that we had accomplished so much in so little time. Most of us probably went back home to normal life with a new attitude and lifestyle, focused on health as the priority. Now that’s its been a year already, I can think back to myself that I’ve really come pretty far. I haven’t had anything serious happen to me, no reason to take any more medicine or go back to the doctor, and I feel in control of my thoughts and my life. Of course I must continue in this way, remembering what it was like before and knowing that I shouldn’t sacrifice something like fun, money, school, etc in favor of doing what is necessary for a healthy life. It’s been nice to change.

So its already Spring Break again. My mom, friend, and I are going to do mini-workshop thing at home, trying to do as close as possible to what we did at the actual class. Of course it won’t be as strenuous and serious as before, but it will help all of us get in the mindset of continuing to improve ourselves when we go back to school/work. I kind of didn’t want to do it that badly, but since my friend wanted to do so, why wouldn’t I? I’m excited that he is embracing this method and that it is working for him. This kind of thing is weird because you are always scared of whether it works. You hear stories of other people and even when it works well for you, it might be another step to keep continuing. I guess I’m saying that even though something is really effective and works, if you are willing to put in the effort, you won’t get anywhere. I guess its similar to knowing that eating healthy/sleeping at the right time and right amount/exercising is good to keep you healthy, but that knowing that doesn’t change most people’s mindset at all. In addition to that however, not many people are focused on changing their own attitude either. I personally don’t need any scientific evidence to know that having a negative attitude or sinning can have negative results on your actual body. The disease of the mind -> disease of the body and vice versa.

Today was the first day. Woke up at 5:40 and ran at 6 for an hour. Then we had date/ginger tea and just meditated (just telling yourself to relax) for 15 minutes. Then we did pai da for a while.For me, I finally tried hitting in a different place other than the elbow where I had ezcema and guess what I had sha (translation is literally ‘poisoned blood’) come out.

Explanation (if you’re interested): Basically its just bad stuff. Doing pai da (slapping) and having that come out is both a treatment and diagnosis. If it hurts patting there, it means that area has a problem, and if you continue to hit – the sha will appear (it can be red,blue,purple, w.e and can have different shapes/forms). Some people will get bumps/swelling which is also ‘good’.

Putting that in quotes to just say that most people will think hitting yourself is the stupidest thing ever and that getting sha to come out must be a bad thing. I think that reaction is similar to I guess the philosophy that the reactions/symptoms you get from diseases are bad. Some examples are: having high blood pressure, getting a fever, etc. They are symptoms not the cause. Treating the symptoms probably isn’t the best answer since you never take out the root. Its probably similar to how treating a skin disease with creams/steroids kind of mask the problem when its something that’s causing the skin to act in a certain way. I have personal experience with this since all the creams I used worked until a point where I had to get stronger and stronger types because they all stopped working. When I didn’t use the creams, the skin would get even worse and it felt like the skin was getting thinner.

The most common response is that hitting yourself will make your blood vessels like pop or something or cause internal bleeding that cannot be stopped. Well lets just say that if you keep doing pai-da (slapping) on that area – the sha ‘melts’ away. If you don’t want to do that, then you can just wait a few days and everything we look as normal as before.

Edit: removed the picture

What happened (really quickly): We ate some porridge for breakfast/lunch. We slept for an hour after lunch. Then we did la jin. After that we wrote down what we did and reflected upon the day, writing down how we were feeling after a day’s worth of work. Everyone seemed to have positive outcomes: My Imom said her allergies weren’t that bad, my back and left leg wasn’t hurting and I felt great and not tired, and my friend said he hadn’t felt as good as he did since before he started having problems/pain. Huge news right there.

I definitely can’t say I know everything, rather that I know nothing. I just know my own experience and am trying to learn from others. My experience and the experiences of others tells me that although the normal method of treatment (your role to get sick and the doctor’s role to treat you) worked well before, the current state of technology and knowledge is far too limited. So much has changed in the past years – transportation, communication, the availability of food, etc has caused our lifestyles to change. We are still learning and figuring out life. Only until pretty recently has the public known about how smoking is harmful. I guess in due time we will figure out a lot more. However, for the people who are currently sick and need help, they have the opportunity to try something else. I don’t know whether any of us has the responsibility and authority to tell anyone how they should live and how they should treat their disease. You can say that most of the people in the world are bad or that all alternative medicine (treatment that isn’t currently used) is bad, but I think the people suffering have a different perspective. The percentage of survivors isn’t the best indicator to someone whether they should try a treatment because it cannot apply directly to them. Yes it is hard or depending on the person, impossible to guarantee anything. However, I guess some of us can’t wait till the time when it’s finally established that we have figured something out. Probably going to add to this part later.

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First Reflection

I wrote this on the last day the 7-day Yixingtianxia workshop in Atlanta. We were asked to write a reflection of what had happened to us before coming to the class, what changed physically/mentally regarding your disease, and any other feelings. I attended this class the week after Spring Break this year (2011). Since then I have just come back from a month-long trip to China where I participated in 2 more 9-day classes – I have yet to organize what I wrote then so I will try to get that out asap. Xiao Hong Ci has put what I have written below on his own blog  – If any of you can read Chinese then read the posts of the many other people who have been through the same experience as me.

I guess I will first say that everything I will talk about is from my own experience. I don’t want to seem like I am criticizing anyone of their of life decisions or Western medicine in any way. I don’t want to make it sound like I just discovered the best thing in the world and I have no problems. Its because I have so many problems that I eventually found out about this and am working on it. I just want to put out there what I have had to go through and what worked for me. Whether you decide to listen, and maybe try this method is totally up to you (I’m only suggesting it because I had to experiment on myself and hey; it worked for me). What I say may be directed toward people who do have some sort of problem/disease and are currently taking some kind of medication or are seeking alternatives. Most of the people I know (teenagers) don’t have any severe problems so I can totally understand why the things I talk about seem mysterious, weird, fake, or magic. It took me half a year to recognize this method after a friend’s mom told my parents about it. It took even longer for me to practice it at home and a whole lot of gut to decide to take a week off of school to try this thing out. I ended up trying this because I have some diseases. I was desperate for an alternative to what I was doing before because it never worked. So we can all be really doubtful and rarely be tricked/conned for our time, money, health. Or we can doubt less and be tricked more often but have the openness to try something new. It opens the possibility to something other than the status quo and possibility something better. I am not telling or commanding or trying to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to. I just want to give you the option and the knowledge that there is an alternative, an alternative that is working for me. Thanks.

Here is an example of before and after for my eczema. Keep in mind I didn’t take any special kind of ‘medicine’ such as pills, creams, special herbs, or special foods.

Now here is a really long  unedited essay that was written in one-sitting so I will apologize beforehand.

I have been a sick person ever since I was little. As a child, I could not comprehend what problems I had. As I grew up, I realized the problems I obtained but could only follow what the doctor said and blindly took medicine (pills, inhaler, creams, etc). At about middle school my mom realized that western medicine did not cure diseases; they only took away pain and discomfort. She went on this journey through now to find alternative ways of helping my condition (of course all of these methods either did not help at all or was not enough to fully cure my disease). It is possible some of these methods have their own merits and my own mind was not ready to endure the trials ahead at such a young age.

Western medicine’s approach to disease does not have the right attitude and is too ingrained into our society to change. Their best method of curing disease is actually prevention (exercise, eating healthy, maintaining a positive attitude). They do not realize how important the last aspect is to helping people maintain their health. It is not so easy to just think positive and maintain this attitude. It requires a lot of hard work, love, and endurance to stay this way. Western medicine’s actual approaches to cure the chronic diseases that plague us today do not work. I can say this from the years of experience of taking medicine given to me by countless doctors, from the stories of my relatives and friends, from the statistics from health books and websites that state the leading causes of death (mostly all what western medicine calls preventable diseases as well as diseases that cannot be ‘cured’). It does not cure the disease. In every case this medicine makes the condition worse because

1. It is prescribed by your doctor to help your condition when the multiple side effects written in almost unreadable font are more likely to occur than any positive effects on your condition

2. It causes you to not think about your health because the medicine appears to solve the problem (it is only temporary)

3. It causes a cycle of medicine dependency almost like a drug addiction except that you think it helps because your doctor said so. This condition only gets worse such that you are taking more expensive, more time-consuming, and stronger drugs till you die. Ask yourself: Are there cases where people have taken the prescribed drugs and have had their diseases cured? No. If there was I would not be here writing this and no one would have problems with their health.

Eventually I started caring about my problems as well. I progressively felt more depressed mentally even though it might have not shown on my face or was consciously measurable. Asthma caused me to fear the symptoms and be afraid of exercise. Eczema probably caused me to hate sleeping and waking up to dry, scratched skin that was bleeding until my bed sheets were red.  My back problems would not let me do usual things that similarly aged kids could do: workout with friends, play sports, daily activities, etc. It was pretty scary knowing that some days I felt great and could run around like anyone else and waking up the next day finding out I could not get up or walk around without a limp. Simple things like lying down, getting up, sitting for prolonged periods of time, bending down to pick up something, and at many times even holding and opening doors was either impossible or unbearable due to the pain. I was known as a skinny, crippled boy. I felt like many of the older adults with so many problems. How can I bear to live in this situation when all the other kids around me seem so fine relating to their health?

If these methods do not actually do what we (the diseased) want them to do, why are we still following what the doctors say? I know many of us have nothing else to turn to because we had no other options and are too confident in our belief of ‘science’ to recognize other alternatives. The method my mother has found is the method of la jin and pai dai. This method is both ingenious and revolutionary because it satisfies the requirements of curing disease. For the everyday person, the most important fact is that it works from curing disease. The second thing is that it is easy to learn (it takes less than a minute to learn). The third thing is that it is perfectly safe. Fourth is that because of theory behind the method it can cure thousands (basically every) disease. Fifth and most important is that anyone can do the method themselves without a doctor because everyone becomes their own doctor.

So I how exactly have I changed? This may be of difficult to explain because this is a little bit of meta-analysis since I am analyzing how my own mind has changed. The simple explanation is that I gave up everything else: I took a week off of school and studying, I didn’t bring anything but clothes and essentials, I came here pivoting my hard-working attitude  to focus on my health. I ignored all the distractions such as vending machines, television, other peoples computers, etc. Of course I knew I have major tests the next week, I would be missing a lot of school work, and finals would be coming up in four weeks. However does it really matter what happens then? Xiao lao shi’s example of why everyone should take an opportunity to do this is because when you are about to die no one has to courage enough to say “I cannot go to the hospital because I am too busy and don’t have enough time.” What is the difference between now and later other than that you will be saving so much more of your time by doing this earlier? I was tired of my situation to the point I had set in my mind I would be intensely focused on making the most out of this experience. Of course, I had some thoughts for wasting time, not doing the exercises, being lazy, wanting to leave but I knew that keeping a positive attitude and staying here was for the better. Remembering what I came here for and knowing that stopping would also negatively affect everyone else helped me endure.

My other explanation for how I changed is something that is important not just for health but for life in general. From experience I truly know how different listening and remembering advice is from actually doing and following advice. You cannot simply tell someone that this method works my simply telling them “I am cured!” This might be the easiest way to get them to listen to you (otherwise you might be regarded as a con-man/faker). However it is a combination of the theory/explanation behind a method, the stories of others experience, and most importantly the actual self-practice of the method that will truly cause changes in a person. A side explanation for why the method helps control the most important factor in acquiring disease (all diseases come from the mind) is that this method of la jin/pai dai is extremely painful. What does this do? I causes you to only think about that spot and remember what you are doing (helping your body). The simplest metaphor for this is “no pain no gain.”

A side note: this method has worked for thousands of people, old and young, the severely disease and people who just want to be healthy. This method will slowly, but inevitability spread through the word of mouth to the whole world. We need as much help as we can to spread this message to everyone because the important factor from everyone adopting this method is a change of heart. If anyone has doubts about the effectiveness of this method, all they have to do is take the jump and do it themselves. No amount of speculation/theory/scientific study and research can currently predict how well this works. It is as simple finding all the people doing the method and asking them if it works.

When I first got here I was focused on only physically getting better and making the diseases go away. Now at the end of this experience, my diseases have gotten much better but I have not fully recovered. I know now that it doesn’t matter because whether or not the disease was cured or not, when I go back out into the ‘real world’ my mind should have changed enough such that it won’t be a problem anymore.

Like in most Chinese households, I grew up understanding how important studying and hard work was. I had to play piano and violin, study math and Chinese, be the best I could be. I say “had to” because I was kind of force to in a way. At a small age I dreaded the work and looked forward to playing, watching television, and video games. The worst part of the week was Saturday School; I had to learn Chinese. Even though I doing all these things well, I was not doing most of things on my own. Over time I myself figured out how to study effectively such that my mom did not have to worry anymore. I probably procrastinated like many others but always found a way to get work done. I looked at my journals from some years ago and found many things that seem like the wrong attitude to me now. Given this hard-working spirit that I gained over my childhood, I became a perfectionist. Every second was a second that needed to be productive. Wasted time was lost time. I hated sleep. I always had to have thoughts of ideas, inventions, and answers. Now I feel much clearer in my understanding of how to think. All that stuff before just clouded my mind with who knows what, essentially stress. It is not surprising that I developed more diseases as I progressively took on more work and thoughts while not caring one bit about my health other than trying to feel cool my exercising. I do not want multitasking; I want peace. What was I working for? Did I want fame, money, significance, or acceptance? Whatever the case, it is clear that I have changed somehow.

I still do not know what I want to do my future, but its fine. I just know it involve my maintaining my health and remembering to keep that in front. I believe I am more patient and able to wait for others and for myself. I am probably (actually definitely) less picky about things (especially regarding food) after fasting for five days. I used to have a bad appetite, most of the times not eating a lot unless I liked the food. I am sure I will take these things with a lot less resistance than before. Mental tasks and labor seem different to me. I feel a lot more willing to do things like wash dishes, wash clothes, cook food, clean the house, and much more. These things do not feel like a big deal anymore or what I used to think was a waste of time.

My pain tolerance has increased so I feel that many of the difficult things I had to do may be easier now. I believe my mind was never truly thinking about my health. I know that my perspective has changed for the better. Even though I may be tired, hungry, and miserable according to someone else’s view, I know that all of this is for my health because I have learned what disease really is. It depends on my attitude. In this case it is gift from God to remind me I have problems. The more I ignore this disease the worse it gets because my body wants me to know I need to change. Because the most important part of my health, my mind, has changed, I know that this experience has probably been my most life-changing experience event in my life.

Many people have come together to help our city of Atlanta to have our own seven day workshop. Xiao lao shi is a very busy person who was cured so many people I am so happy he could come here to teach me. I can only thank God that I was so lucky to have this opportunity to change myself and see the method work on the other twenty people here as well as myself.

Even given all these thoughts and changes, there are many things that have changed in me that I cannot possibly describe.  I hope that through speaking, listening, and just watching what my actions I can affect others in the same way I have been affected, if not at least inspire others and give them some hope. Although I am just one person, I hope my words and thoughts will seep through other minds such that they understand my story and how they can use my as a resource to change themselves. I know I came here to help myself and myself only, but I know in the end that if my perspective has so much I cannot help but spread my story and the method of health management. Let’s all share the dream of becoming our own doctors and taking control of our health and ultimately our lives.

Thank you Xiao lao shi,

Henry Zhu

If you or anyone you know is seeking health-related help/wants an alternative and  if what I have said makes any sense at all, share this with them. If anyone has any questions, concerns, comments, suggestions, please feel free to comment or contact me.

Update: further though rather limited information about this method at yixingtianxia.com – there is a badly translated English site. I will see if I can make my own thing of FAQ over time or if there is a need.