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MemberMay 23, 2022 at 7:41 am
I’m very touched by your words, Babbie. You have summed up one of the core intentions of the mentorship and all my teaching which is to cultivate the deeper soul and spirit dimensions of Chinese medicine as well as other alchemical healing traditions which have found their way into our time and our world. It is so very easy for the rational modern mind to transform a healing ritual that requires presence, clarity of purpose, self-cultivation and ling 靈 on the part of the practitioner into a mere “technique.”
Of course, there is a time and place for technique, and we see the importance of technical skill in a Western surgical procedure, an herbal prescription for an acute condition or a complicated acupuncture orthopedic treatment, but when it comes to touching the soul and spirit, another attitude and dimension of consciousness is called for.
Most anyone can be taught to insert a sterile needle into a specific point on the surface of the skin but it takes a very different kind of training and practice to be able to open the doorway to the ephemeral.
I am currently reading a book by Peter Kingsley called Reality. Over 500+ pages, Kingsley unpacks the criss-crossing of misunderstandings that have led to the Western one-sided preferencing of liner rationalism over the multi-dimensional fluidity of ancient spiritual awareness. He speaks of the early pre-Socratic philosophers, Parmenides, Empedocles and others who were in fact shamans, mystics and sages, who courageously traveled between dimensions of reality and whose message was that the world we “think we know” is, in fact, an illusion. Our work, from this perspective, is to unhook ourselves from the straitjacket of the mind and open to the vast mystery that is our original nature and being. Kingsley writes:
“What they (Plato, Aristotle and other later Greek philosophers) did was to begin reasoning with Parmenides, trying to improve what he said, criticizing him for not making better sense; adjusting his logic to make it more palatable, more pleasing, more persuasive. Rather than allow it to perform its real purpose, which is to initiate the devastating process of changing us, they took the other route of changing it. In other words they did what always happens when the mind gets hold of something. They brought it down to their level; made it their own.
This “bringing down to the level of the mind” is what I have seen happen all too often to Chinese medicine. Rather than allowing the potent inner tradition of our medicine to change us, the medicine is changed to be more manageable, more palatable and pleasing to the modern mind. The goal of the alchemical practices I have developed over the past decades has been to sacrifice the pleasing and palatable and re-kindle the mystery and to support practitioners and patients in initiating and bearing the “devastating process of change.”