Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meetings with remarkable people

I am fortunate to have had that part of my life, the part into which five element acupuncture burst like some spray of stardust, its second half, illuminated (not too strong a word) by two remarkable masters, both of whom, in their differing ways, moved my life onwards in a different direction, but to me, looking back now, somehow in a pre-ordained way.

The first was JR Worsley, the second now is Liu Lihong. The first led me deep into a world of the spirit which has informed my acupuncture practice ever since. The second has only just appeared over my horizon, but is just beckoning to me from that vast region of the physical world which is China, and from that vast region of the spiritual world which is Chinese thought embedded deep in its past, the thoughts of the Nei Jing, of Lao Tse and of all the long and ancient lineage of practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine.

I started my acupuncture studies because I was curious to understand the profound reactions awoken in me by my own treatment. I only encountered JR Worsley late on in my studies, but my further studies with him, his visits to my practice and my many visits with my patients to consultation days with him deepened my understanding of his profound contribution to moving acupuncture forward into the modern world and widening it to encompass the psychological insights this modern world has provided. He represents the first stage of my encounter with acupuncture.

The second stage starts after I closed my acupuncture college a few years ago, and this was followed by a gap in time before the next part of my acupuncture life began about a year ago. It was then that I met Mei Long, a young Chinese acupuncturist practising in Holland, and my acupuncture path moved forwards in a different direction, this time towards China (see my blogs of 1st June, 2nd August and 8th Nov 2010). Mei has now completed her translation of my Handbook of Five Element Practice into Chinese, and it is now in proof form (it looks beautiful), awaiting an introduction to be written by Liu Lihong.

And here we come to my second important encounter, that with Liu Lihong, which took place at the Rothenburg Conference a few weeks ago. Having written a seminal book, Reflections on Traditional Chinese Medicine, which Mei tells me is a bestseller in China, he is determined to bring back to traditional Chinese medicine the spirit which has drained from it, and sees five element acupuncture as representing that spirit in the field of acupuncture (he is a traditional herbalist). He is encouraging me to come to China once my book is published over there, which should be in the next few months. So as one door closed upon my life as a teacher in this country, the next, beckoning me to continue my teaching in China, now opens for me. My acupuncture life has indeed been fortunate to have been blessed by two such important encounters with remarkable men.

Finally, lest anybody should think that it is only men who have taught me the great lessons of life, these encounters were preceded by one which brought to an end the first half of my life, for this part of my life was illuminated by the insights of a very great woman, Anna Freud, Freud’s daughter. She died just before I encountered acupuncture, and she would have been delighted to know the direction my life took not long after her death, for she was always encouraging me “to do something big”. I think I now dare say, a little hesitantly and I hope with due humility, that I have now done what she would have liked me to do. I am sure that without her encouragement I would never have dared do what I have done or write what I have written, including this present blog! Nor would I have been ready to accept the challenges my life has offered, and might instead have been tempted to turn my back upon them as I would have done in earlier days.

I give thanks for having been granted the rare grace of encountering three such remarkable people, each of whom in some way changed or is changing the direction of my life.

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