Why Meditators Easily Catch Colds and the Flu ... It Means Your Kung-fu Has Improved
You can rant, you can scream, you can say it shouldn't be so but it is true
People who advance in meditation progress become more susceptible to catching colds.
Paradoxical? It shouldn't be, and here's why.
Have you ever stepped into an air conditioned elevator on a hot day, or sat directly in front of an air conditioner in a room and then come down with a cold, a headache or the sniffles? That result is what Chinese medicine calls a "wind invasion," meaning that this "external wind" was so strong that it entered into your body and made you sick. You become sick because of a chi invasion into your body rather than because of a poor immune system, and so this type of cold can be cured almost immediately if you use the right sort of herbs to expel the wind.
Chinese medicine explains, "The 100 diseases start with wind," which means that most all the illnesses you can get in life start from some sort of internal chi flow gone astray and in the case of a cold or flu, often that "gone astray" is the result of some "external wind" invasion (external chi) entering your body. Since an advanced meditator has cleaned out their chi channels to a greater degree than the average individual, these little empty tubes are more susceptible to the "wind invasions" that might cause a cold, which explains the advanced cultivation practitioner's propensity to easily become sick.
Of course when your chi channels open up, it means that your body is cleaner and more purified than that for a non-meditator, and existence of purified chi channels freed of internal obstructions are often why you become more sensitive to your environment and can psychically sense things others cannot. I've met meditators who could sense earthquakes from hundreds of miles away (yes, we've tested them) simply by the changes in chi that they could feel because of their purified chi mai. All sorts of environmental sensitivities - including the ability to tell when others are sick - are the result of purified chi channels.
Now notice that this type of cold or flu from "external wind" has little to do with your immune system. It actually has to do with the fact that your chi channels are more open than those of ordinary people, and thus cultivation practitioners MUST learn to protect themselves from air conditioning and drafts. That's why you'll see people who are really succeeding in their practice wearing hats and jackets in restaurants, and extra layers of clothing in general. They often tell you they "feel cold" when everyone else is warm simply because they have opened their chi mai and are therefore more sensitive to the circulating cold air.
It's a cardinal rule in spiritual cultivation to protect yourself from wind invasions, and the more you meditate the more this becomes true. It's easier to feel cold the more you meditate and it's not because you are becoming weaker, but because your body is becoming more purified.
People who don't cultivate often don't get sick but I guarantee you that they have lots of junk jammed into their connective tissues, and while these thick layers of dirt function as a sort of buffering protective mechanism against wind invasions, these people are really sick inside. Not only are they body-dead, but these individuals are the ones who usually get cancer whereas those who often get colds and flu rarely get cancer at all. A cold or flu is like a rare storm that comes along to blow the weak trees out of the forest so that it can continue to grow and prosper.
The moral is that the more advanced you become in spiritual cultivation, the more your chi mai will open up necessitating that you protect yourself from wind invasions. That's why couples making love should never be active in front of an air conditioner or open window that's creating a draft, because it's very easy to become susceptible to a wind invasion at those times.
This is standard human being knowledge, and yet so few people know this fact. If you ever make love (in front of some sort of strong wind or draft) and wake up the next day with a headache or just feel lousy the next day, it's actually because you caught a cold during your activities because you didn't protect yourself. You should never drink something cold after sexual intercourse for the same reasons as well.
As another general rule, you'll also find that people with light bones more readily get sick than others, and these are the individuals you should actively encourage to spiritually cultivate. More often than not, cultivators tend to be on the weaker side and yet their bodies are more favorable for progress in spiritual cultivation. But this isn't an absolute rule -- it's just a tendency you often see. Those who are frail and sickly can often benefit the most from cultivation because meditation will cause their yang chi to arise, and then their whole health situation will change.
So when you see someone who seems frail or sunken -- what Chinese medicine calls a "deficiency state"-- and who often catches colds or the flu and seems to have light bones, encourage these people to meditate. Gain some merit by teaching them to meditate yourself, or even go so far as to buy them a book and explain to them that their physical make-up is extremely well suited to very quick advancement in spiritual progress.
The reason people usually get this type of body is because of karma, both good and bad. For instance, one of the ways to burn up bad karma is to be born a bit sick or weakly, and cultivation practitioners often choose this channel since it really isn't much bother. In Chinese and Indian culture the fortune tellers who wanted to be able to really know the future were always told that they could suffer in one of several ways -- to become blind, crippled, to never be able to save money, to be socially despised, or to always be sick in this way. Thus becoming sick frequently is actually one of the ways to deal with good fortune.
However, don't take this to mean that you should purposefully get sick or not try to heal yourself when you do, because it's a breach of discipline not to take care of your body on the road of spiritual cultivation. Even in Buddhism, monks are instructed that they can and should eat meat if that was called for as a remedy in order to get well, and in Judaism the Rabbis say it's proper to eat non-kosher medicine if that's the only way to get better,too. Cultivation doesn't mean you throw wisdom and common sense out the window. You need your body to cultivate, so take care of it. That means to stay away from things that will hurt your body. Both Milarepa and Buddha, for instance, only achieved enlightenment after they returned their bodies to a state of health.
As for individuals with heavy bones, it's usually very hard for them to make cultivation progress because of the "heaviness" of their earth element. These individuals sometimes have too much fire element or water element in their bodies, too. If they have too much water element, they should practice breathing methods. If the earth element dominates I've found that visualization practices often work best. Too much fire element in the body almost always calls for herbal medicines to remedy the situation, so every imbalance of the five elements has its own specific prescriptive remedy.
Actually we cannot even specify general rules as I have just done, for everything must be determined according to the individual situation. However, I want you to know that meditators often do seem more susceptible to colds than other people simply because their body is more purified, and thus more sensitive to the environment, as you would expect it to become. That's why they can sense things at a distance. Wearing clothes, rather than going naked, is the proper way for human beings so the remedy for this situation is prevention through extra clothing, avoiding drafts, and having appropriate herbal medicines available for when you do catch a cold.
So while most people think meditation means getting healthier, which it does, but this means fewer colds, they're missing the fact that you become more susceptible to wind invasion-type colds, and that's just the way of the world. That also doesn't mean you shouldn't meditate, but that you should protect yourself with wisdom and act accordingly. All this is summarized in Chinese medicine and Indian ayurveda, but if you want to learn more details you can read The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine.
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