Friday, June 11, 2010

A tragic example of the failure of the body’s coping mechanism

It may seem insensitive to write about the recent massacre of 12 people in the North of England in five element terms whilst events are so fresh in our minds, but I think I am justified in writing about this because five element acupuncture may be able to offer an explanation.

The question everybody is asking is how an apparently mild-mannered, “normal kind of a bloke” could turn into a mass-murderer overnight? Those who have studied five element acupuncture will recognise this as being, in all likelihood, an extreme example of what we call possession. I have always disliked this word because of its rather spooky, and totally mistaken, suggestion of alien forces invading us from outside, but it is the word in common use and, although not a helpful description, I cannot at the moment think of an alternative. A less emotive way of regarding this state is to think of it as being one step beyond obsession, at the point where obsessive thoughts and feelings become overpowering. Hence the poetic description which compares such a condition to being akin to internal demons taking over control. Luckily, as five element acupuncturists we have at our disposal the means of treating this, to which we give the name, again poetically, of summoning the dragons to fight the demons. Seven points are used in combination for this treatment and their aim is to help to re-balance the spirit and reconnect it to the outside world. If treatment is successful, it will in effect bring the patient back to himself/herself again.

All the many descriptions of Derrick Bird emphasize the look in his eyes, or more accurately, the absence of the kind of eye contact we expect when we look at another person. Without exception, they describe his face as looking blank and his eyes as staring past them as though he was not seeing them. From a five element perspective he is indeed not seeing them as you or I would. Instead he is looking at something inside himself, as though listening to some command from within himself which is driving him to action. It would be accurate to say that the connecting links between himself and the world have become stretched almost to breaking-point, but not totally severed until the moment when he turned the gun on himself and broke this connection. He is literally in a world of his own, in which what is going on in such a devastatingly disturbed way has now become divorced from any semblance of reality against which he can measure what he is doing.

The point at which a state of possession so alters a person’s ability to function normally that their behaviour becomes visibly disturbed varies from person to person. People may continue to function surprisingly normally until something causes a collapse. Up to this point, possession can be said to provide a form of safety valve for the internal chaos within, but if there is no release over time, this valve may blow, as it did in Derek Bird’s case, where the apparent trigger appears to have been his fear of going to prison for failure to pay his taxes. Fortunately in most cases it does not manifest in such an extreme fashion, and can also appear in very mild form which can only be detected by the most acute observer. I have for example recognised it in well-known people on TV.

Possession could therefore be said to have developed as one of society’s ways of coping. It is only when this coping mechanism fails that we see the kind of actions which we have witnessed this week. As a five element acupuncturist I always feel that I am fortunate in having a treatment at my fingertips which I can offer to help patients release the build-up of pressure such as that apparently experienced by Derrick Bird and, by this means, hope to re-establish a proper connection to the everyday world. If treatment is successful in doing this, people are then better able face up to whatever deep-seated problems have led to such despair. I see the dragon treatment therefore as offering a kind of rebirth.

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