In our previous discussion, we examined the vantage points and enduring objectives of both conventional western medicine and Oriental Medicine, and how the difference between them defines what each culture considers good health.
If you’re satisfied with your definition, great. If, however, it leaves you a little uncomfortable, then perhaps a change in worldview is in order.
Our task now is to look at how to actually acquire good health. From this point on, the conversation, by necessity, will be for those who are already in alignment with the Oriental viewpoint or for those contemplating it.
Oriental Medicine treats all illness and disease, of course, but the viewpoint is on prevention. The likelihood of illness and disease (or catastrophic collapse in later life) is dramatically reduced when our choices throughout life have supported a confident and resilient immune system, a clear and lucid intellect, and vitality ample to negotiate the onslaught of life with reserves to spare. In other words, clear shen, balanced with abundant qi and essence.
Denizens of contemporary American life might say, “Jeez, how do you do that?!” Well, I could give you a list, but there’s quite a bit more to it than one more list.
Once again, there is viewpoint, and it might be helpful to share one more contrast between the viewpoints of conventional and Oriental Medicine. Chinese doctors who come to this country are usually bowled over by the metaphors used in our country. When discussing the treatment of disease, American medicine and its vernacular are full of words like ‘war’, ‘kill’, ‘destroy’, and ‘battle’. And its methods reflect that attitude. Doesn’t exactly suggest an evolved perspective, does it?
One very Chinese doctor we know paraphrased the attitude of American medicine as, “We’re gonna kick your ass!” To be fully appreciated, this needs to be heard in a melodious Chinese inflection from a gentle, simple, yet highly intelligent individual who truly understands and practices Oriental Medicine.
Such a person deeply feels the harshness of western concepts when juxtaposed to Oriental Medicine’s methods of ‘clearing’, ‘dissolving’, ‘moving’, ‘releasing’, ‘harmonizing’, ‘resolving’. What a novel idea to orchestrate harmony among all the systems of the body, working together for the greater good of the entire organism! Yet that is precisely how Oriental Medicine works. And it’s language reflects those concepts.
Conventional American medicine’s entire perspective is the exact opposite of this ancient wisdom.
(As I write this on a dark wintry night, I am interrupted by the sound of gunfire as the Vietnam vet across the ravine takes pot shots at the coyotes who just gifted us with an ecstatic serenade. I’m reminded of a remark attributed to Krishnamurti — “It is no measure of health to be well adapted to a profoundly sick society.” I think it’s time for bed.)
Okay, let’s say we’ve achieved the first objective in obtaining good health by discovering an actual system of medicine which purports to have a great track record in this endeavor. We’ve decided to turn our backs on the mentality that wants to shoot the coyotes.
Any time we realize that our current paradigm is obsolete, we find ourselves staring down a long road of sincere effort to get to the next one. Just finding out that Oriental Medicine is highly effective at providing what we want doesn’t take us where we want to be. It’s going to take some work, especially when we weren’t raised in a culture which embraces these principles. There is a steep learning curve ahead.
Paradoxically, it’s also true that everything changes instantly with a simple shift in viewpoint.
But where are we going to find the information and guidance we need? This is an important question, because accessing only a part of Oriental Medicine won’t do the trick. One soon finds that many practitioners in this country are only practicing a part of the medicine — which means they don’t understand the medicine. This is an inclusive medicine. Nothing is excluded. If all the parts are not understood, the medicine is a pale shadow of itself.
For instance, isolated modalities of Oriental Medicine — like acupuncture — are relatively watered down therapies if used outside the context of the medicine’s principles. They don’t work nearly as well if they’re not the result of a clear diagnosis informed by those principles. And the successful practitioner knows, as well, that an acupuncture diagnosis is not the same as an herbal diagnosis for the same client.
There is a lot to know. If you truly desire to learn how to obtain and maintain good health through this medium, it is imperative to find someone who knows and practices the entirety of the medicine.
More importantly, however, you must find someone who lives the medicine! Because, in truth, it can only be known through living it.
Finding someone who knows and lives the medicine is difficult enough. From that small number, we must now find one who is willing to teach and guide. There are many Chinese Doctors of Oriental Medicine in this country who were raised and trained in China and who know and practice the medicine. Some live it. But the majority are not willing to expend the considerable energy to share it with westerners.
And who can blame them? We are generally a pain in the ass. We (as clients) whine, we complain, argue, and are generally non-compliant. We hide the details which might reflect badly on our choices. We tend to be more interested in catering to our addictions than we are in obtaining good health. Westerners have usually spent far too much time filling their heads with disjointed, irrelevant information and misinformation on the web. We’re often not focused, sincere, or dedicated.
Most important to an asian, westerners are disrespectful.
Sue and I know the medicine pretty well. More accurately, we are continually learning and re-learning the medicine. We believe in the medicine, study the medicine, practice the medicine — we live the medicine. And we realize that education and guidance of clients, within the parameters of this medicine, offers the only way sincere individuals will arrive at the ability to make consistently intelligent health choices in their daily lives.
Personal responsibility for creating and changing our condition is a keystone of practice at Future Medicine Now. Bringing health to your life is a bilateral responsiblity:
If you’re on board, let’s get started. Life is unimaginably short.
Please understand, as comprehensive and huge as this medicine is, it is a simple, cause and effect affair. Many results will be immediate. Health can change quickly, dramatically. Do we quit at that first blush? Of course not. But don’t think it’s going to take forever to see results. Quite the contrary.
Is it worth it? We certainly think so. It serves us very, very well. Take heart in the fact that if you can produce the willingness and determination to obtain good health, maintaining it then becomes a breeze.
The truly remarkable part — the part that continually confounds the mind — is that once we’re well into the commitment, we discover that it really is quite simple. Why didn’t I learn this earlier? It’s a piece of cake! All that’s required is the understanding and the willingness. Just in case I haven’t said that before.
My teacher is fond of paraphrasing Spinoza’s observation that ‘anything good is as difficult as it is rare.’
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