An Eastern Mind: The Chinese Philosophy of Chuang-Tzu

An Eastern Mind: The Chinese Philosophy of Chuang-Tzu

Structure, Energy and Materials

Now you may ask, how does one achieve this inner harmony? How can the ancient eastern philosophy help modem people who purse physical and psychological health? Now l must refer to my colleague Lao-Tzu whose words have been collected in the Tao Te Qing. He had developed three elements. As the heavens have three elements – the sun, the moon and the stars – the earth has three elements – the water, the fire and the wind. Human beings also have three elements- Jing Qing Shen – which I would translate as Material, Energy and Structure. The material is our solid body, our flesh, our blood, our hair, our organs. The energy is what flows among the materials – the dynamic of the human body which can be the temperaments, the feelings, the emotions, the sensations. The Structure is a bit complex. It can be the way that energy flows among materials, or the pattern that materials transfer thorough energy. Thus, the Structure has determined how we are different from one another.

If we take a look at Lao-Tzu’s non-action idea, he suggested that the best way to keep harmony among the three elements is Being – that one shall follow the nature as the water follows down the river pathway. Lao-Tzu had illustrated a simple way of being. However, it is too hard to fulfill this ideal status. It is even harder since he did not give a clear way to reach this being, as he suggested. Tao is not to be told. Then we could tum to another philosopher Confucius, who had written Li and Jiao. He believed the way to realize harmony is to teach people how to behave. His concept is all about structures. That perhaps is why for over 2000 years, the Chinese kings all favored his concepts and promoted it. It is always easy to make rules and let people follow.

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About the Author

Xiaoyun (Sharon) MaXiaoyun Ma is a national class counselor and author based in China. Her research focus on mental health developments of individuals and specific groups. Her interests cover cross-cultural studies, gender inequalities and humanistic psychology. She has been promoting the Reflection Group for Chinese educated women via both online and offline channels. She aims to support women to break through the traditional social norms and develop their own potentials. Xiaoyun Ma grew up in a traditional Chinese family in Northern China. Other than research and practice, she has a lot of other interests including Chinese ancient dance, poetry as well as photography. She started her first career as a journalist at the China Central Television (CCTV) after graduation. During her time of further studies at the University of Leicester, she began to develop special interests in clinical psychology and keen to become a psychotherapist. In 2019, she graduated from CAPA(China American Psychoanalysis Alliance) basic and advanced training program. Today, as a practitioner, she adopts the psychodynamic approach in her private practice facilitating clients to develop their self-awareness and examine the unresolved conflicts gradually.

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