Chinese Medicine is a healing art that requires investing a lot of personal effort to investigate, reflect, memorize and apply, while continuously striving to reach higher levels of understanding. After your Chinese medicine soul gains enough nourishment, then it can finally transform to healing energy, and that’s reaching the place where all the magic happens.
But how do we find the right path? In this article I will present the main steps as four levels according to how the ancients did it. Although the modern learning methods differ from those of a generation ago, perhaps we could learn something useful from the old-timers, discover and absorb the practical points and ultimately find inspiration and enlightenment.
Confucius said that: the people in the South have a proverb, “if someone is not persevering or does not have constancy, he should not be a wizard or a doctor”.
1. Patience, hard work, focus on the essential materials (Foundations)
In old China, potential medical disciples often had to go through series of tests before being allowed to learn the secrets of the art. For example, herbal training usually started from following a teacher up in the mountains, finding herbs and learning much about their properties. Eventually there would be an explanation about which herbs could be used together to create a classic formula. Because in ancient China books were expensive and rare, students usually had to copy by hand a small collection of important books and memorize them. They didn’t have to study every book under the heaven, but only master the materials available to them, and then …think, reflect and imagine. This level of dedication is essential, especially because our priorities are easily distracted by the so many voices, approaches and ideas that become trendy ever so often.
2. Open your mind – look at the bigger picture (Wisdom)
The Chinese doctors in the ancient times had deep knowledge of various other fields, and therefore before making a diagnosis would take into account the social situation, the struggles and stresses of the common people, the weather changes, the special geographic specifics of the area they practiced, and many other factors. For example, the traditional acupuncture education explicitly demanded mastery of the “six fields of knowledge” (六通) which included astronomy, geography, and geomancy. These prerequisites, would enhance the doctor’s understanding of how the “heaven, earth and man” (天地人) could affect the patient’s balance, and ultimately assist them towards selecting appropriate healing approaches.
*Be sure to check back next Monday when Ioannis will share the next two levels of magic 🙂
Ioannis Solos newest book “Developing Internal Energy for Effective Acupuncture Practice” came out last month. He studied Traditional Chinese Medicine at Middlesex University and the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. He enjoys researching, teaching, practicing and critically interpreting the ancient philosophy and culture of China, internal martial arts, health preservation practices, classic medical texts and lesser-known Chinese esoteric traditions. He is also the author of “Gold Mirrors and Tongue Reflections: The Cornerstone Classics of Chinese Medicine Tongue Diagnosis” published by Singing Dragon.