The Power Of Water

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

WATER

by Deborah Calla

Is there anything more soothing than being under the shower letting water run down our bodies?  It is not ecologically correct, especially if you live in California where it never rains, to take long showers but even a quick one can do the trick because there is nothing like a warm shower to relax the body and mind.  Maybe it’s because we are greatly made of water or maybe it’s because when we are in the womb we are “cuddled in water” but water is healing.

SPAs have taken note and have created all kinds of baths and steam rooms, from tea baths to charcoal steam (hydrotherapy) and Hollywood has explored from every angle the tired, the anxious, the depressed, the happy and the sexy under the water shot.

What is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to treat a disease or to maintain health. The theory behind it is that water has many properties that give it the ability to heal:

*          Water can store and carry heat and energy.

*          Water can dissolve other substances, such as minerals and salts.

*          Water cannot hurt you, even if you are sensitive to your surroundings.

*          Water is found in different forms, such as ice, liquid, or steam. Ice may be used to cool,      liquid is used in baths and compresses at varying pressures or temperatures, and steam is used in steam baths or when breathing in.

*          Water can help blood flow.

A Brief History Of Hydrotherapy

*          Greeks originated the practice of hydrotherapy by indulging in hot baths more than 2,500 years ago.

*          In Rome, “sudatoria” or steam rooms made up one section of the bathhouses, which also incorporated eating, talking, gambling and sports. The letters S-P-A frequently appeared on the walls, an abbreviation for “solus par aqua” meaning health or healing through water. Modern-day spas derive their name from this acronym.

*          In 200 B.C. India, the steam bath, or “swedana” was developed as part of a purification treatment. Wealthy families of the period incorporated bathhouses into their mansions.

*          Muslim bathhouses, or “hammam” consisted of a domed, central steam chamber. Adopted by Europeans, the hammam serves as the model for modern Turkish baths.

*          Russian hot vapor baths, known as “banya,” originated more than 1,000 years ago. Today they retain their function as a health, beauty and relaxation treatment.

*          Sweat bathing gained popularity in Finland at approximately the same time as the Russian banya. It remains wildly popular to this day–the country boasts more saunas than cars.

*          In Native American cultures, the sweat bath first served as an ancient hydrotherapeutic technique and is still practiced in a similar form today. Sweat lodges are traditionally low, windowless, insulated domes constructed of willow branches. Inside, red-hot stones are sprinkled with botanicals and water, creating an aromatherapeutic steam.

So What Is Water?

Chemically, the water molecule is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen and is positioned in a special way that results in it having both a negative and positive charge. Scientists believe that water in its liquid form is a collective of water molecules that form and re-form continually. Water undergoes a number of transformational physical changes when subjected to certain environmental conditions.

Additionally, water is one of nature’s most effective solvents, and many substances are found dissolved in natural water. Water falls from the sky as precipitation and emanates from the ground in the form of springs. The colossal power of water can be captured as usable energy and is of major economic importance.

Water And Its Symbolism

Water is most often symbolically regarded as the Great Mother or the prima materia, the universal womb. As the ultimate source of life, water is associated with birthing, fertility, and the feminine/yin, and is connected to goddesses and other mythological female creatures.

Water related spirits and goddesses celebrate the vitality of water and its status as the source of life. Artemis, goddess of the moon and ruler of the tides, is associated with menstruation.

Water spirits express the dual nature of water. Water sprites were tempters of evil, embodying both water’s life-giving and destructive properties, while the Naiads, Nereids, and sirens of Greek mythology were envisioned dualistically, emerging as either shy nymphs or dangerous, luring creatures.

Like water’s mutable scientific properties, its symbolic meaning is variable. Water is the source of all life, and it also has the power to drown and destroy.

Water is essential for our survival and so we must take prompt action to save our water.  Fresh, clean water is finite and as the earth’s population growths these sources of water get spoken for.  Compounding the problem is the lack of proper sanitation in these bodies of water or near them and large areas with no natural sources of water.

So if we want to survive as a species and continue to enjoy the history and the therapeutic usage of water we must take steps to clean and preserve our rivers, streams, and oceans.

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The Cosmology of Taoism

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Every being in the universe is an expression of the Tao.

It springs into existence, unconscious, perfect, free,

takes on a physical body, lets circumstances complete it.

That is why every being spontaneously honors the Tao.

The Tao gives birth to all beings, nourishes them, maintains them,

cares for them, comforts them, protects them, takes them back to itself,

creating without possessing, acting without expecting, guiding without interfering.

That is why love of the Tao. Is in the very nature of things.

This philosophical reflection of Lao Tzu’s considers the process of Creation as it is depicted and understood in Taoist cosmology. At the same time, it is a plainspoken love poem that accounts for the presence of love throughout the universe.

The creative nature of the Tao, as portrayed in this poem, offers a rationale for a core belief embraced by the world’s great wisdom traditions – that love is embedded in the character of creation. The fascinating thing about Lao Tzu’s characterization of the universe is that it accounts for the presence of love without any attribution to a creator. The love depicted here does not flow in the expected direction – it is not showering down upon us from a heavenly source. Rather, it arises within creation itself, as a reflexive expression of gratitude, flowing back toward origins it has never quite forgotten and has never ceased to intuit. In the same way that there is an indelible sense of fondness for the land of ones birth, every being has been endowed with this metaphysical affinity, this beacon for the spirit. It is like an innate navigational sense pointing toward our existential birthing grounds; it is the wellspring of the religious impulse that has been given so many voices.

“The Tao gives birth to all beings / nourishes them, maintains them”, likens the activity of the Tao to the role of a doting mother. It is in this unfolding maternal activity that a perfect expression of love is manifested. The love that the cosmic order elicits and inspires in its inhabitants is simply reciprocal, a response in kind. Nothing additional is required to embellish or elevate the universe beyond its natural, perfect state.

In Taoist cosmology even death is an expression of a universal order that is deeply engaged with the beings under its heavenly mantle. The tide of death is not seen as a terminus of existence but as a return to its springs. The Tao is the ever-present custodian presiding over the arc of being, from first arrival to final departure. “That is why love of the Tao / Is in the very nature of things.” Love is woven into the fabric of life, as intrinsic and indispensable as the breath which sustains it.

While the cosmology of Taoism transcends personification, the Tao is not regarded as a mechanistic system. It is described as being “unconscious, perfect, free”, letting “… circumstances complete it.” Taoism does not imply a rigidly predestined template any more than it requires an architect whose blueprints lurk behind the façade of reality. The life-forms into which the Tao pours itself are organic and evolving; a dimension of uncertainty or contingency is characteristic of this system. No traits need be ascribed to the Tao that are not readily observable in the world that surrounds us.

The idea that love is an inherent quality residing in all things, implies that an authentic understanding of the world is only available to a mind that is informed by the heart. It is fitting then, that this account of creation reads like a love poem. It reflects a sensibility that regards creation and love as inseparable processes that animate the world. They are entwined in the fabric of the atoms; they are manifest in one reality.

That is why love of the Tao.

Is in the very nature of things.

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