Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 23

It's around noon right now and I'm sitting quietly at my desk. The air is blowing in from the windows behind me and there's nothing that can upset me right now. About an hour ago, my wife and I went to the doctor. She needed a shot before our Vietnam trip in September and I was going to get my blood pressure checked. If you remember from a few months ago, I had somewhat elevated blood pressure. What I didn't tell you is just how high it was. 


That's high and while I could go over and over all the nasty and unhealthy food and life decisions I've made in my past, it doesn't change the fact that my pressure was high. Not only is my health one of those things that I like to pretend is always good, but it's also something that I have liked to avoid thinking about. For a solid month, my wife had been trying to get me to go in and get my blood pressure checked and for a solid month, I made up excuses. Today, I couldn't make anything up and together we took our pressure. I also visited a doctor, but first we decided to use one of those machines located in the waiting room. She went first.


That's good. She's always had pretty healthy flow throughout her veins and even though some might say that's she's a little on the low side of the spectrum, it's better than being on the high side. Blood pressure naturally rises with age. She'll be fine. 

Now, it was my turn. Since I have a problem with my blood pressure, I am a little embarrassed by it. I can joke about it because I'm self-deprecating, but when it actually comes down to it, I don't want my health problems to be a discussion topic for other people. As I've mentioned before, Koreans are food snobs, so if they see a foreigner with high blood pressure, they will use that as ammo to repeat their "All Western food is unhealthy" mantra. Of course, as I was slipping my arm into the hole, a man in his early forties decided to stand directly behind me. I glanced back at him and gave him a look, but he didn't budge. Koreans don't care for personal space.

Source: ROKetship

There was nothing I could do about it, so I turned back around, pushed the "start" button and waited as the air filled up the sleeve around my arm. I used to think I had a little trick for lowering my numbers. You see, I first noticed that my blood pressure was a little higher than normal back in college. My step-father has blood pressure issues and has a little tester at home, so one day while on vacation, I strapped it on. The results weren't great, so I started coming up with ways to cheat it. I thought that if I held my breath then the pressure of blood flowing would decrease and therefore lower my numbers. That was wrong and a doctor here in Korea told me that I was pretty dumb for trying that. 
"Why would you try to fool yourself?"
I couldn't answer that question. Why do I try to fool myself? It's my health and my life. Foolishness.

The pressure around my arm slowly started to release and the numbers on the counter started dropping. I was nervous, my wife was worried and the douche face behind me was entertained. Finally the number stopped. 


Victory. I was more than relieved and stood up immediately to share the excitement of my amazing results with my wife. The guy behind me sat down, so I made sure to stand directly behind him and watch his results. 


He needs to take medicine. 

You might be asking what this and Jainism have in common. Well, my diet this month has been healthy and minimal. I don't overeat, nor do I eat salty things. This diet and my Buddhist diet have been very healthy. I also weighed myself. 


That's down from 158. It's a big drop, sure, but not as big as during my Buddhist month where I dropped from 162 to 139. I need to be more aware of what I'm putting into my mouth and I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who need to do the same.

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