Medicine and the Practitioner
All medical systems have their use and value; each satisfies certain needs. Every system is only as good as its practitioner. As the practitioner is the most powerful medicine in the surgery, it matters hugely who you are and not just what you do. Thus, the study of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has to be not solely a study of medicine but also a way towards personal development.
Acupuncture is part of TCM. TCM is a supremely preventative medicine with a sophisticated theoretical structure. Essentially it is a simple and profound system, not based upon man-made laws but upon laws of nature, the natural laws of the universe, or what the Chinese refer to as the Dào – the Way. 道
The Dào predates human civilization and transcends all boundaries of space and time, race and culture, since it is the universal and enduring Way of nature. It is the primal power that forges all phenomena in the universe, from the infinite to the infinitesimal. Invisible yet ever present it permeates the world with the very breath of life, and those who learn how to harmonize themselves with the Dào may harness that power to enhance and prolong health and life itself.
This Way is not simply a philosophy of life but rather an entire way of life based upon the most fundamental of laws. These laws do not change and will never become out of date. They are permanent and immutable.
“There was something formless yet complete
That existed before Heaven and Earth:
Without sound, without shape,
Dependent upon nothing, unchanging,
All pervading, unfailing.
One may think of it as the Mother of all things under Heaven.
Its name is not known, but it goes by the label “Dào” (“The Way”).”
(Dào Dé Jīng. Ch.25.) 道 德 经
These mysterious words come from the 5,000 Chinese character book Dao De Jing – The Way and its Power – written over 2,500 years ago and attributed to Lao Zi, the Ancient Sage. Its incisive insights form a living fountain of wisdom that has brought comfort, advice and enlightenment to millions of people throughout the world. No other book on earth has been translated as widely and as frequently, and no book except the Bible has been translated so often into English.
Dào literally means “path”, “road”, or “way”. It is a “trail” on the journey through life which conforms perfectly to nature’s own topography and time-table. It sees man as a tiny, vulnerable creature within the grand scheme of things and suggests that our best hope of survival is to live in conformity with the huge natural forces that formed us, as well as our environment.
To go against Dào would be like trying to swim up-stream against a strong current. Sooner or later you will exhaust your energy, grind to a halt and be swept away by the cosmic currents of the Dào.
Study of the Dào lies at the heart of all things Chinese. Daoism remains one of the richest and certainly oldest ongoing philosophical traditions in the world. Today its principles still lie at the core of all classical Chinese arts, from science to poetry, calligraphy to cooking, meditation to martial arts, music to medicine.
No one can cure anything at all.
People, practitioners, at best can assist.
To do so is a privilege.
All medicine can only aid the body, mind and spirit to heal itself.
Healing creates freedom.
One must be the best practitioner, the best possible, in this time, this place, under these circumstances. This is wanted by all patients. They need the best .