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lives, and outside of work, many of us are busy furthering our education or training in various ways. You'd think it would be going pretty well with us. You'd expect to see all these happy, hard-working people, who continue to learn late into their lives, some even until death. But it looks like all of us together have created a gigantic mess. A lot of academics and environmental activists are very concerned about the future of our planet."

"We don't have to worry about Mother Earth," says Yamada. "She's strong enough to take care of herself. We have to be concerned with humanity. This inability to treat the earth with respect is only a reflection of our own inner weaknesses."

"There's an old Chinese proverb that says A person is heaven and earth in miniature . From Heaven we have light and air - we cannot live without either. But because we have lost contact with Heaven, we are polluting the air and forgetting the power of our breathing. In China, they have exercises for practicing the power of breathing - called qigong . Modern science has not yet discovered the healing power of breathing and therefore we do not realize that breathing forms the bridge between body and mind. Qigong is particularly suitable to remedy complaints of a psychosomatic nature. It is a very good remedy against stress.

"What exactly do you mean by inner weakness?"

"From Earth we get food and water, but because we have lost contact with the Earth, we no longer know which foods are good for us. Hence the proliferation of diets, so many prescribed diets! Every year a new scientific diet is added. Why? Because we are no longer capable of feeling what is good for us. We can hardly do anything ourselves anymore. Our inner weakness not only expresses itself in

helplessness, but also in a loss of bodily functions. As babies, we perfected the most fundamental functions, like eating, drinking, sleeping, digestion, defecating, and breathing, but we have lost them along the way. We have lost our natural selves.

"Have you ever seen a baby sleep? So peaceful, so deep. With every

inhalation, its little belly goes up. It becomes totally filled with breath energy. Yet most of the women in my meditation group pull in their bellies during inhalation and, as a result, only the tops of their lungs are filled. We swallow millions of sleeping pills, anti-depressants, and painkillers every day. Frankly speaking, these are all signals saying 'Help, I can no longer cope with life!' All those pills, all those diets are merely pseudo-adapters! They remove us further from our natural selves. The situation is bad, Murphy-san, stress is striking at all levels worldwide. It could be the downfall of the human race!"

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