There have been countless research studies on spiritual well-being or just being happy, and all have shown that feeling good about yourself or everyday situations maintains or boosts your immune system. Everyone seems to have a different way of finding happiness. Some people find it in religion, while others might find it in food, exercise, favorite hobbies, family and friends.
Here are some philosophies to check out:
One of the most popular philosophies in the world today is Eastern & Chinese philosophy when it comes to happiness and spiritual well-being.
Eastern & Chinese Philosophy What I like about Eastern Philosophy is that it provides a framework of faith to live a healthier lifestyle and to get to know your inner soul. I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Physical & Spiritual Journey:
Every martial arts student goes through a spiritual journey or quest to truly understand his body, others around him, and to find peace, harmony and balance, as well as to seek advantages over their enemies. This spiritual journey is as equally important as the physical journey in becoming a Kung Fu Master. You do not have to be a martial arts student to embrace this philosophy. Know what you put into your body, observe others and be a good listener. You will feel the difference immediately.
Principles of Spiritual Health:
The ancient Chinese developed a sophisticated science of astrology – by observing nature and the heavens - that continues to have a profound influence. Rooted in the fundamentals of Taoism, which sees life as the play of opposing forces and cycles, it evolved into a system vastly different from Western philosophy. In Taoist astrology, the year in which you are born determines your character and interactions with other people. The years form a cycle of 60 unique signs, each with distinct strengths and weaknesses. A Kung Fu Master will use this astrology and other Chinese philosophies to:
- See the totality of life and put things into perspective
- Understand the concept of Yin & Yang
- Defeat adversity by adapting to circumstances
- Tap into one’s own inner spiritual forces to help shape the future
You don’t have to be a Kung Fu Master to embrace these principles.
Yin & Yang:
The concepts of Yin & Yang originated in ancient Chinese philosophy and metaphysics, which describe two primal but complementary forces found in all things in the universe. The ancient Chinese found that the universe is changing every day, and although it changes easily every day, it also has seasonal and annual cycles.
According to ancient Taoists, all life is interconnected. Life is the balance of yin & yang. Death occurs when yin & yang separate.
Yin (feminine, dark, passive force) and Yang (masculine, bright, active force) are descriptions of complementary opposites rather than absolutes. Each creates and defines the other’s opposite.
Any Yin & Yang dichotomy can be seen as its opposite when viewed from another perspective. Most forces in nature can be seen as having Yin & Yang status, and the two are usually in movement rather than held in absolute stasis. For instance, without the existence of dark, the concept of light would have no meaning. Similarly, high is defined by low, and sweet is defined by sour.
I love the concept of Yin & Yang because one realizes that you can see any situation from different points of view and derive a contrary point of view from another person observing the same thing. Some call this the dance of Yin & Yang. By understanding Yin & Yang, it’s hard to be judgmental.
Ch’i or Qi:
Ch’i is a fundamental concept of traditional Chinese culture. Ch’i is believed to be part of every living thing that exists, a kind of life force or spiritual energy that can be tapped within. It is frequently referred to as “energy flow” or, literally, “air" or “breath.” When I achieve something I felt impossible – like running in a marathon – I feel my Ch’i, but every day I feel Ch’i too when I’m by myself and listen to my heart beating; those special quiet moments like just before going to bed, taking a shower or taking a bath.
The Way of the Tao
According to the ancient Taoists, all life is interconnected and one can live in perfect grace and harmony by accepting, observing and acknowledging the changes of life. Life can be wasted on the young. As you get older, one realizes that your body keeps evolving and, in most cases, loses its original shape, size and, some say, beauty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, however. Embrace the change and you can make a difference. If you eat healthier, exercise and, are focused on living, you are going to look and feel better.
The Twelve Earthy Branches:
Based on the lunar calendar of Chinese Astrology, which helps define directions, relationships, seasons, months and hours, the earthy branches that incorporate a year are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Serpent, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Phoenix, Dog and Boar. They each have significance in determining relationships, balance and destiny. For instance, the Taoist consider these six signs – Rat, Tiger, Dragon, Horse, Monkey and Dog – to be Yang, and the other six signs to be Yin. A Kung Fu Master can quickly observe his opponent by their personality, which ties into the Twelve Earthy Branches, and know the time and approach to overtake his enemy. You do not have to be a Kung Fu Master to observe people and live in peace, harmony and balance. It all starts by living a healthier lifestyle and feeling better about yourself.
Five Elements (Chinese Philosophy)
The Twelve Earthy Branches are structured on five elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood. The ancient Taoists created the five elements as distinct energies and referred to them as natural phenomena. These energies are always moving, unstable and constantly changing, like the dance of Yin & Yang, and are used for describing interactions and relationships between the phenomena.
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of placement and arrangement of space to achieve harmony with the environment. It involves the use of geographical, psychological, philosophical, mathematical, esthetic and astrological concepts in relationships to space and energy flow. Feng Shui is linked to Ch’I; a person’s energy can either deplete or add to the energy of his surroundings. The space can also affect the individual, especially in matters of luck, health and prosperity. Feng Shui is not only a practice that is related to physical space, but also to the inhabitants of the space itself, as both are interconnected. Kung Fu Masters always know and understand the space they are fighting within to anticipate their enemy’s moves and formulate their own. You can do the same. Know where you are in a place or in your life and the goals or steps you want to climb.
The Bagua is a fundamental philosophical concept derived from Yin & Yang, from ancient China, and is generally represented like the symbols featured above. A Bagua map is a tool used to map interrelationships and is used in Feng Shui to map a room or location and see how different sections correspond to different aspects in one’s life. It can be used to map one’s home, office, or find areas lacking good Ch’i and to demonstrate how those physical areas are reflected in one’s life.
Tai Chi – derived from the Yin & Yang symbol - is an internal Chinese martial art practiced to promote health, longevity and form. It is often considered the soft style of martial art, an art applied with internal power. The core training involves two primary features: solo form, which is a slow, almost ballet-like sequence of movements; the second being different styles of pushing hands for movement, balance, agility and technique. My mom loves Tai Chi and it has helped her back and neck pain.
Tai Chi Ch’uan
Ch’i Nei Tsang – derived from Tao principles – is a Chinese approach to medicine, strengthening the body and balance. It focuses on ways to avoid absorbing negative and sick energies from others. Ch’i Nei Tsang teaches how to take full charge of your health and to heal others. Meditation, internal exercises and martial arts of the “Healing Tao” provide a foundation, or a lifestyle, for Kung Fu Masters to achieve. I don’t know a lot about this, but it sort of makes sense to me and is similar to practicing holistic medicine.
Chinese Massage – Jing Luo Theory
Like acupuncture, Chinese massage is based on the theory of Jing Luo or channels. According to this theory, your body is networked by a system of pathways, which function to transport Ch’i and blood and to regulate Yin & Yang. This kind of massage focuses on “xue” or acupressure points and meridians where Ch’i gathers and can easily be manipulated. Kung Fu Masters use Chinese Massage to detect diagnostic information and restore or move Ch’i to heal injuries. In addition, herbs and tea – combined with massage - are also used as part of the therapy or healing procedure. I love massages and do feel different once I’ve had one. The idea of moving or freeing energy in our bodies makes sense to me.