Zazen has been practiced for 2,500 years. It traveled from India, China and Japan to arrive in the West around the middle of the last century. The practice of zazen is neither a means of introspection nor of contemplation. It is a means by which we come to experience the unity with our selves and the Universe. As a technique, it is easy to learn and simple to practice. As with most valuable techniques, what matters is not trying to understand it, for there is nothing in it to be understood. What matters is doing it. As you do it day by day, it transforms your health and your life.
Since its publication 25 years ago, my bestselling 10 Day Clean-Up Plan has appeared in many editions and many languages. The original book still continues to generate 5 star reviews at Amazon.co.uk and elsewhere such as, “This is the BEST, most effective detox/cleanse plan I have ever tried. I have been using this little book for the last ten years.”
Depression can be a killer. I know. I suffered from it badly in my early twenties. I suspect I was born with a genetic tendency towards it. I am familiar with the deep sadness, feelings of shame and helplessness, the terrible fatigue coupled with not being able to sleep to relieve it, the poor concentration and strange shifts in appetite. I have learned a lot about handling it over the years. There are many causes of depression—some are of the body, and some of the psyche. I don’t think you can separate the two. Just as body and mind feed each other in producing the dark, seemingly endless blues which can set in at any period of your life, the herbs you call on for help will improve both body and spirit. When you feel depressed, you can feel anxious as well. Many of the plants which are effective in lifting the blues help to clear fear and anxiety too.
Whatever else happens in my life, I must have flowers. These gifts from Nature nourish the soul. We scatter their petals when we marry. We send bouquets of them to celebrate the birth of a child. We decorate our homes and our places of worship with them. We use flowers to comfort the lonely and the ill. We even honour the end of a person’s life by laying floral wreathes on a grave. Not only do flowers play a central role in the rituals of life, they bless our ordinary daily existence by blossoming in our gardens, waste ground and hedgerows – and gracing our windowsills by protruding gaily from a cracked teapot. Perhaps it is the velvet softness of their petals and their luminous colours that make these affirmations from nature so precious to us. Maybe it is the uplifting energy they carry – an energy you sense lying in a field of poppies or when you go into a florist’s shop. It could be the fragrance of flowers, or the transient nature of their coming and going. I don’t know.
Real age—your biological age—has little to do with how old you are in years. Most people, age prematurely. This is avoidable. It is also reversible. One of the reasons I have such a passion for herbs is, when you know what to use when they can slow biological aging, help restore balance, and improve how you look, you feel, as well as how your body functions year by year. Combined with regular detoxification and a natural diet high in a wide variety of fresh vegetables and top quality protein, they can even rejuvenate the body in medically measurable ways—improved circulation, increased resistance to illness, and to emotional and mental troubles. They can also help you reconnect with your innate vitality whatever your chronological age.