Balance, Simplicity, Consciousness
June 24, 2003 from the Byron Shire
(easy to read text version below)
Balance, simplicity, consciousness
Patricia Reimer meets a local author living what
Every now and again we meet people who strike us as extraordinary.
In the Byron Shire this probably happens more often than not, so
when someone manages to stand out they can't help but leave an
Daniel Reid is one such person. One of those impossible-to-box
kinds that no matter how hard you try just won't fit into any of
our preconceived ideas of how he should be.
A devotee of the Chinese
way he has spent his entire adult life understanding and passing
on the essence of Asian health and spiritual
principles. But you"d never know it talking to this American
born author who chats casually, colloquially even, without any
or graces. Having just released his 26th book, The Tao of Detox
he is both prolific and passionate but the 54-year-old Mullumbimby
man is understated in his manner. And with his healthy, compact
physique he's living proof of the benefits of what he teaches.
in his stunning home in the hills overlooking the green fields
and shimmering ocean, he is the picture of serenity in
his silk Chinese robe and slippers. As we talk and his fascinating
life unfolds he toys carelessly but intently, in a yin and
yang type balanced way, with an array of beautifully crafted fine
He labours over preparing our green High Mountain
Oolung tea, a strong detoxifier and reputedly the most prestigious
studiously polishing his pots with its essence as though
waiting for a genie or some magic realisation to occur.
Daniel is a
man dedicated to bettering himself both physically and spiritually
and one who believes the concepts of balance
and harmony engendered by the Tao and Buddhism provide the
He was born in San Francisco and his family left for Africa
when he was four so his father could help establish Ethiopian
for Emperor Haile Selassie.
"I spent my childhood in Ethiopia,
it was a great place to grow up, we had no TV, no commercial
culture, no junk food;
a pretty basic life" he said.
"That's where I got my taste
for so called third world countries. I went back to the States
and as soon as I finished
where I studied Chinese I went to Taiwan and stayed 16
"It was so wonderful to be in
an exotic Chinese culture that hadn't been modernised. That's where
in the culture,
especially Chinese medicine. The specific thing that
got me interested in medicine is when I threw my back
Someone took me to this Chinese doctor who did this
massage and used a
herbal poultice and I was fine the next day."
Ethiopa, USA, Taiwan, Thailand, Mullumbimby ...
Daniel Reid"s spiritual odyssey brings practical benefits to those
trying to live the natural way.
so impressed I went and apprenticed myself to a Chinese doctor
and that's how I started writing about
He spent the rest of his time in Taiwan
studying and writing about all aspects of the Chinese culture
and ancient Taoist health and longevity systems.
In 1989 he moved to Chiang Mai in Thailand, continuing
and write. He married his wife Yuki, or Snow, in
and on the advice
of a clairvoyant they emigrated to Australia in
1999. It would take a book to fill in the gaps which include
York and Monterey, California. Not to mention the
publication of freelance
srticles in the International Herald Tribune, the
Bangkoh Post and various airline magazines. And
all those books
ranging in subject matter from Chinese cookery
and Asian travel to
and the art of opium. More recently published works
Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity and
Complete Book of Chinese Health & Healing.
Daniel Reid is obsessed about the sanctity of his body he knows
we don't live in a vacuum.
"Health is not new age, health is as
ancient as human beings, what's new age is all the gloss, all
the paraphernalia he said
bad reputation natural practice has gained over the years.
don't write about anything that I haren't done personally, done
and tested on myself, and then the real point is to be
present it to my reader in a way that's relevant."
lies the paradox that is Daniel Reid. While treating his body
like a temple, he allows for human failure and knows
that talking about health as though it were an exclusive
right of only
some is irrelevant. The
Tao of Detox is a refreshing read
because it talks to ordinary people with ordinary temptations
shortcomings. Not to someone who is already pure and I
free of many commonplace health issues. He grabs the attention
average Joe by using an analogy of a car, an idea that
arose by witnessing
Americans' respect for their cars and contempt for what
they put in their own body.
"Imagine what would happen if you indiscriminately
poored petrol, diesel, kerosene, propane and a cup of
the petrol tank of your car," he writes.
the way most people eat today, mixing meat, bread, milk, fat,
sugar and other digestively incompatible
foods at the
same meals and pouring them into their stomachs at
"And what if you never changed the motor oil, neglected
to clean the filters, and let the carburettor get crusted
The result would be obvious, the fuel would burn inefficiently,
producing foul-smelling toxic wastes and gases, the
engine would soon begin to wheeze and splutter, vital
parts would seize
up and malfunction, and finally the, whole machine
would grind to a shuddering halt and need to be hauled
Simply put and to the point, this is how Daniel
expresses himself both in his books and in person. He also figures
people cannot avoid toxifying their systems and gives
on smoking, drinking and eating meat. Rather than
admonishing those who "retox" their bodies he gives them the tools
to deal with the
side effects. There's that yin and the yang again.
Byron Bay Shire is lucky to have someone of his calibre and charm
and could soon be benefiting from a series
by Daniel Reid as well as some detox clinics.
a great area for healing," he said. "There's good stuff available
but a lot of people become
because they have
had a bad experience. There's a bit of a problem
here; there's a lot of bullshit in the healing
world, a lot
here need a good detox."