I had a salutary lesson recently in the danger of forgetting the basics of what I do. It showed me that it is unwise to ignore the principles that were drilled into me at acupuncture college all those years ago. One of these concerned when to use the points called the Windows of the Sky. We were told never to choose these points until we have given our patients at least eight treatments, because we need to be sure that a patient’s energy has been strengthened sufficiently to be able to cope with their effect. As their name indicates, they are points which are there to open up a window on to a patient’s life. We were warned that the light pouring into a patient’s spirit as a result of opening these Windows too early on in treatment may shine too brightly for them to cope with the reality flooding in. The poet T S Eliot says this very well in one of his poems: “Human kind cannot bear very much reality”.
The treatment I gave my
patient this week provided me with proof of this. Unwisely, instead of waiting to complete the number
of treatments we were told we should, I selected these points at the 5th
treatment, thinking that since the patient had already reacted so well to
his first few treatments, and, as he told me, was “trying to see a way forward” in his life,
it would be appropriate to select the Windows to help him do this. On his return for the next treatment he told
me that he had felt very depressed immediately after he had seen me, and could
find no explanation for this. It was only
when I reminded myself that this was just after I had done the Windows that I
realized that it was likely that giving this treatment too soon had had the
effect we were warned about. Gently
talking this through with him, it did indeed seem as if that he had been unable
to cope with the insights into his life which these points had presented him
with. I realised then that I should have
waited a little longer to select them.
This taught me, yet again,
that we need to tread warily when using the Windows. It reminded me that I should always ensure
that a patient’s energy is strong enough to deal with the insights
which are one of the gifts the Windows can bring when used wisely.