Friday, May 5, 2017

Thoughts on my return from an excellent time in China

When I return from China I always have to give myself time to pause a little, catch my breath and allow all the many happenings over there to settle so that I can assess them properly.  In a way, there can be no starker contrast than my two lives, one in China, now as I return from my 10th visit (or is it my 11th – I have lost count), and my familiar life here in London. For the few weeks I am in China, I am transposed into a life lived in the full glare of many hundreds of eyes. In London I can disappear for days into a quiet, almost meditative existence, interspersed at times by my hours of practice (now deliberately much reduced), my meetings with family and friends, and my much sought-after, much-cherished interludes of reading and writing.

Each visit to China yields new experiences, each time propelling what my little team of five element acupuncturists is doing over there further along the path of increased acceptance of five element acupuncture as an important discipline, with an exponentially increasing number of China’s own practitioners now reaching from province to province and city to city around this vast country.  And also stretching well beyond its shores, to Singapore, Malaysia and beyond, to Australasia.  Not being somebody who likes to bask in my own successes, I am, however, amazed at what has been achieved in the past 6 years of my visits, from teaching an initially small group of 10 interested TCM practitioners on my first visit to now holding two seminars, one of over 100 practitioners and the other of 70 practitioners, divided into an intermediate and an advanced group because of the large numbers.

For the past two years we have moved from Nanning in the south to Beijing, where the Foundation to which I am attached now has its own offices and will soon be setting up its own clinic.  When there I always give a talk to students at the Beijing University of Traditional Medicine, where hundreds of students crowd into the large auditorium, finding seats wherever they can, on the floor and gangways, or peering in from the corridors outside. The interest is overwhelming.

This time I also attended a new event which gave me a fresh insight into the burgeoning interest in traditional medicine in China.  I was asked to take part in the graduation ceremony of a teaching group of the Sanhe TCM College, under the name of Project Heritage.  This has been set up inspired by the work of my host, Professor Liu Lihong, to increase appreciation of the different heritages which underlie today’s practices of traditional medicine, including here, for the first time, five element acupuncture. The 500 or so graduates had all completed the first year of a course led by Profess Liu, of whom 100 will then be selected to pass on to their second year. This will be when five element acupuncture will form one of the seven disciplines of different medical traditions students can choose to study.

The first-year graduates were of many ages;  some were traditional medicine practitioners of many years’ experience, others simply students and some were lay people, all inspired by Profession Liu’s spiritual approach to his teachings.  As I stood there on the stage in front of these hundreds of people, expressing my admiration for the work the Foundation was doing to inspire new generations of practitioners, I felt honoured to be part of the amazing growth of this spiritual dimension to traditional Chinese medicine.

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