I love this quote from the first chapter of the classical foundational text of acupuncture titled The Divine Pivot (Ling Shu):
“Whether meeting it or following it, by means of one’s attention, one harmonises it.
Those who understand the way of the dynamic, will not impede it and thus it manifests.”
We – acupuncturists – must focus our attention on “it” – the qi. We must get out of its way but by learning where it wants to go and where it is, we can understand it, and facilitate a state of balance – harmony.
Here’s another profound quote from The Divine Pivot that is loud and clear:
“ The (unskilled practitioner) attends to the form (aka physical). The superior (practitioner) attends to the spirit (aka nonphysical).”
What do you gather from this? To me, it says, an acupuncturist doesn’t just stick a needle in your boo-boo – we are assessing and nuancing the unseen energetics of the body. That’s why people don’t come to me to fix a dislocated shoulder or a torn meniscus. They come to me to assist their body in regaining harmony and balance to enhance their own healing abilities. We all are born with mechanisms within us to continually heal ourselves. Every second of every day our body is rebuilding and repairing. Sometimes we sustain an injury – whether due to physical trauma or inflammatory response to our diet or environment or stress hormone overload – that finally creates an imbalance upon imbalance that makes it hard for the body to find its own homeostatic rhythm again. We often don’t see symptoms until the root cause has been actively damaging us for years.
The cool thing about Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM for short) is that we have ways to measure the state of our Qi that don’t rely on how high the pain level is or our own mental perception or even the physical manifestations. We can ask the body in it’s own language – what’s wrong? where do you need me to come in and help? That is why this medicine has endured and why it is so effective. Yet it is the burden of the practitioner to develop the skills to do this best. They don’t call it a practice for nothing! My teachers from each of my courses is a practitioner in practice – they are always practicing. All of the great practitioners and teachers are always students of this medicine. So I thank you for coming with me on this journey to discover acupuncture and it’s wonder and wisdom.