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Quality of Life:
Open doors-Closed doors

Those who live in big cities more frequently notice the deterioration in the quality of life.
The pathologies resulting from stress have considerably increased.
We know that in every crisis situation, whether personal or social, the uncertainty increases with the resulting increase of anxiety, anguish and depression. In Argentina, for example, between 15 and 20 percent of the population suffers from anxiety disorders while 7 percent suffers from depressive disorders, which is equivalent to approximately 9 million people.
Several therapeutic approaches including psychotropic drugs are prescribed at present depending on the gravity of the symptoms exposed by the patient, thus allowing the patient's disease remission or improvement.
However, there are complementary and practical tools like Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Meditation, among others, which not only work the body from the physical point of view but they “sharp” the person’s own perception and facilitate the regulation -not only- of the physiological processes, but also of the emotional and energetic ones as well.
But at present...even closer to us we have our five senses… plus the sixth sense which like open doors leads us on a variety of stimuli.
Sometimes modern life numbs us with its hyper-stimulation and acceleration. Stopping for a moment would allow us to sharp our internal-external tuning.
With a “sharp tuning” we can start registering how we are breathing, the way we sit on a chair and if we close our eyes for a moment, we can feel that our internal space is always present.
That inward observation focuses and stops us, at least for a moment, from our mind's whirl.

Open doors-Closed doors

In our lives we carry the keys to open the appropriate doors for each moment, but sometimes we keep them in a locked box and forget they were there.
What keys are we talking about?
The key of the readiness to learn what is still unknown to us; the key of the observation to discern and choose the best; and the key of the decision to move in the direction of life, nature and well-being. Thus, we will follow the important paths of our life: To get to know ourselves.
If we know ourselves more deeply, we will know what we will need in our way regardless the situations we are experiencing.
The moment of improving the quality of our lives is this one and in the combination of all the moments... we are used to living with our thoughts placed in the past and our expectations placed in the future. What about the present?... It faded away without us being aware of it. It passed.
For that reason, in the western practices the attention is focused on the “now”. That continuous present…
And we start to go out from the “autopilot” by going deep into our conscience, being alert and awake.
Calming down our minds, watching our thoughts pass by like clouds in the sky we clear up the vision which allows us to get out from the maze.
Finding a space of inner relaxation connects us with the necessary stillness we can only keep inside us and thus elevate our conscience.
In this elevation, when watching from the top we find the way out. Sometimes, it is closer than we think…
What is the factor through which we open or close ourselves to the quality of life and deeply suffer the stagnation?
Relaxation is usually the key to open the closed doors inside us. It mingles body, mind and spirit.

Where can we do such a relaxation?
Exactly where you are now. In our everyday life, in our personal relationships, in those neutral moments while we are in a bus or metro, while we are having a bath or when we get up. And at the end of the day, before going to sleep, look for that space of rest, calm and inner break.

“Every thing is where one is”

In the Taoist meditation, the so-called “sitting in calm” is a frequent practice that allows us to meet the state of peace and stillness again.
There is a very important area of the body located three fingers below the navel and called Tantien or Dan Tien which is taken into account by the Taoist practices, the Tai Chi and the Chinese Traditional Medicine.
Said area, such as a field, must be cultivated in order to harvest health and long life since the Tantien storages the essential energy (original qi or true qi) fundamental for the quality of life.
Only in calm and peace the true qi expresses itself and the opposed harmonize.
By paying attention to, putting the hands on and addressing the inner look to such area connect us with a source of energy which -like a seed recently planted- we must take care of and cultivate it so that it germinates and develops. With patience.
I remember a Chinese short story about two monks and a pilgrimage:
It is told that in the Emei mountain there were many monasteries. The monks from the big monasteries were very rich and those from the small monasteries were very poor.
One day, a monk from a small monastery went to visit a big one with the purpose of saying goodbye because he was leaving for a pilgrimage to Putuo, an island in the East sea. Putuo is about three thousand li from the Emei mountain and it is necessary to climb high mountains and to cross many rivers to reach that place. That complicated journey takes months and sometimes even years.
When the poor monk told the rich monk about his project, the latter was amazed:
- But what do you carry for your journey?
- A jug and a bowl will be enough for all my needs. I will collect the water with my jug and when I feel hungry I will beg for alms food with my bowl.
- I want to do that pilgrimage too. I’ve been preparing myself for several years -said the rich monk- but I’ve never been able to set off since there is always something missing. I'm afraid you may not take things seriously. This journey is not as easy as you think!
A year later, when coming back from his journey, the poor monk went to greet the rich monk from Emei and told him about his pilgrimage to Putuo.
Despite his perplexity, the rich monk admitted:
- As far as I am concerned I haven't finished my preparations for the journey yet.

The path towards quality of life starts by taking the first step.
Every thing is where one is. In this “continuing present”.
And the key to open the door is in our pocket.

Dr. Cecilia Y. Cáceres