Tales from the Practice of Medicine: What Is His Illness? (Part II)

Yu Lin

PureInsight | June 28, 2004

[PureInsight.org] At dawn, before he opened his eyes, he heard his wife saying, "There are seven days until the deadline for filing the tax return. You have already had a whole year to prepare for filing the tax return. Now it is time to gather, organize and send out the documents for the tax return. If you delay the tax return filing as you did in the past, I'll immediately move out of the house."

"Is that a threat?" he asked his wife.

"No, it's just a notice," she replied curtly.

His wife knew that it was an extremely difficult and painful effort for him to stop being a scatterbrain. She knew that she was pushing her husband beyond his capability, but her patience had already worn out after all these years and she had lost all confidence in him.

He came to the clinic, with his mind somewhat wandering. As soon as he sat down, he took out his wallet from his pocket. He kept checking the contents in the wallet, but did not seem to know what he was looking for. Suddenly a photograph fell out of his wallet. I picked it up and gave it back to him. It was an old photo of a child who was about five years old. I couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl, because the face was painted in gaudy colors that were ugly and lacked any artistic talent. I wondered why he treasured such a bad photo and carried it in his wallet.

Before I asked about it, he offered to tell me about the photo. "It was taken when I was five years old. At that time, my elder sister was fascinated with doodling. She particularly enjoyed doodling on other people's faces. One night, when I fell asleep, she drew graffiti on my face. That night I was suddenly stricken with a high fever. The fever was so severe that I fell into a coma and my family had to send me to the hospital's emergency room. The doctor was shocked when he saw my face. When he was told that my sister had doodled on my face for fun, he took a picture of my face for a memory."

Upon hearing his story, I suddenly recalled cautionary advice from elderly Chinese people, "You must not paint a man's face when he is asleep; otherwise, his soul will be unable to recognize him and come back to his body…"

I asked him, "Has your mind been wandering about since then?"

He thought about it for a while and then answered in the usual absent-minded manner, "It seems so."

I somewhat understood what the root cause of his illness might be. Perhaps his soul never returned to his body since that night. During the past 50 years, he had been out of his wits. He feels as if something must be wrong with him. Although he does not suffer from any psychiatric disorder, his mind is always wandering. It does appear that there is no soul governing his body. When he is excited, he will run around and be unable to stand or sit still for one second. When that happens, he does not even know how to avoid bumping into a pot of boiling water or sizzling hot oil. When he is depressed, he does not even have the motivation to get out of bed. He does not even know where he is.

When a soul does not return to its body, the man will suffer from volatile anger and ecstasy. When the soul departs from its abode, then the man will be unable to discriminate between love and hatred, and his vital energy will be weakened. The body is out of control when the soul does not stay with it. It is sad. [Note: This paragraph was written in classical Chinese, which is difficult to translate. This is an approximation.]

After our conversation, I told him about the cultivation of body and mind, as well as the many benefits of practicing sitting meditation and cultivating one's mind character. I also explained to him that the underlying principle of Chinese medicine is based on the theory that one's mind is an integral part of one's body. I suggested that he start with trying to moderate his mind and improve his concentration. "Start with one minute and increase the length as you go forward. Try to enter tranquility for one full minute. You will have a better chance to gather your spirit back when you are in tranquility. When you are in tranquility, you will have a better chance to focus your mind and gather your vital energy. When you get your spirit and vital energy back, your whole body will return, including your soul."

He seemed to acknowledge what I said and started to reflect on it.

(The end)

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/4/19/21262.html

Add new comment