About the Author:
Paul Pitchford is a teacher and nutrition researcher. In his healing work with individuals, he develops rejuvenative plans based on awareness and dietary practices. His early training, following ancient traditional practice, was primarily through apprenticeships and private instructions with masters of meditation and East Asian medicine. For more than three decades, he has applied the unifying wisdom of Far Eastern thought to the major dietary therapies available in the West to create a new vision of health and nutrition.
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From Part I, Chapter 2: The Principle of Extremes
When the excessive principle reaches its limit, the extreme yin or yang transforms into its opposite. This is known as the “Principle of Extremes.” This principle is readily observed in warm-blooded animals, when a fever is produced in response to an exposure to cold, or when chills result from an excess of summer heat.
1. Extreme activity, such as hard physical work, necessitates rest.
2. If activity is very fierce and yang (such as in war), death (which is very yin) can be the result.
3. People frequently become more child-like with extreme age. Also, with advancing years, a person gradually exhibits less physical strength but, if healthy, greater wisdom. This represents the loss of bodily attachment to earth and the shifting of focus toward heaven, an example of extreme yin changing to extreme yang.
4. As internal heat and blood pressure become higher (yang), a stroke resulting in paralysis (yin) becomes more likely.
5. Extremely energizing substances such as cocaine cause utter debility later. One also is eventually weakened by stimulants such as caffeine and refined sugar.
6. In meditation, proper concentration on a single object ultimately results in universal awareness.
The process by which phenomena change into their opposites may be described graphically with spirals, a very common pattern in the universe. These cycles of change are progressively quicker while contracting, slower while expanding. Such cycles are balanced by opposing cycles. For instance, when the national economy slows toward stagnation, cycles of emotional anxiety become ever more intense. Another pair of spirals illustrates the way in which metabolic cycles in the body take longer to fully repeat with age, with a simultaneously greater need for nutrients. For this reason, we need less quantity but more nutritionally concentrated food as we grow older.
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