I have always kept on my desk before me a quotation from a very wise old Austrian, Dr Oskar Adler, who I have mentioned before. He brought into our family a surprising aura of the esoteric which always seemed to sit oddly with our own more practical, down to earth view of life. And yet he had an important influence over us when I was young, one which had a subtle effect upon me and which slotted almost imperceptibly into my increasing understanding of those very aspects of life summoned forth by my knowledge of acupuncture. He was a musician and an astrologer, and where I learnt the most from him was by reading his fascinating books on astrology just as I started on my acupuncture training, for they showed me surprising parallels between the two disciplines, enriching my understanding of the world of the elements, and giving it a wider dimension.
The wise saying of his which has accompanied all my writing over the years is one in which he writes that each of us has a duty, a duty, I repeat, to pass on to the world beyond us whatever we have learnt in whatever form this is and however slight or insignificant this may appear in our own eyes. These words produced such an echo in my mind, and still do, that they became the impetus to my beginning to write my thoughts down, first in the form of handouts for the students at SOFEA, my acupuncture college, then expanded into one book after another (now six), then into my blogs and now into what I am writing here, which may well become my seventh book. Without the encouragement his words offered me, I might never have had the courage to write anything at all.
And I believe we owe it to the world to leave it a little bit changed, obviously, we hope, for the better, by the way in which we live our life, and this means not only by producing something creative, such as my writing or a painting or a poem, but by how we live our lives. Our passing through should cause some perceptible ripples to form on the groundswell of life, rather than for us to die leaving everything around us untouched. From a five element perspective, such ripples will relate to the specific characteristics bestowed upon us by the elements which form us, since these give a different shape to the flow of life through us, and therefore a different kind of way in which the manner of our passing will impinge upon those around us.