"I am drawing together in this book some of the writings about my practice as five element acupuncturist which I feel will be helpful for any of my colleagues, particularly now those in
, who want
to benefit from what I have gradually learnt over the years. I am especially keen to pass on the lessons from my
own acupuncture master, JR Worsley, with whom I studied closely for several years
as part of my postgraduate training. One
of the many things I remember him telling us was that we would always learn
more from what we didn’t get right to start with, especially our diagnosis of guardian
element, than when we got things right.
I know that the mistakes I made in my early practice were always
valuable lessons for me, and I therefore hope that what I write here will give
five element practitioners a little more confidence and enjoyment in their five
element practice. China
We can never be neutral observers of life. As all scientists now acknowledge, the observer is always part of what is observed, so there is no such thing as being objective. Our judgements are always subjective. The important thing is to be aware of this and to try and understand ourselves as deeply as possible so that we can understand the nature of our involvement in any human interaction. In five element acupuncture terms, this means understanding how our own guardian element colours how we perceive all the people we meet, and in particular how this fact colours our interactions with our patients, and our diagnosis of their particular element.
All I write about the elements is always therefore to some extent coloured by what I perceive through the filter of my own element, Fire, and in particular its inner core, the Small Intestine and the Heart deep within. Anybody reading what I write must therefore take this into account, and accept my particular slant on the elements which a lifetime of being Fire gives to it. Of course I have many, many years of observing how people of other elements interact with other people, and learning from these observations so that I hope I have also much to say about the world as seen through the filters of elements which are not my own.
The subjective nature of all our interactions with the world around us is undoubtedly why I notice that my writings about the elements which I present here are not evenly spread over the five, but tend to be focussed more on Wood and Fire, with Earth a slightly more distant third. Throughout my writing life, I appear to have written far less about Metal and Water. I rationalize this a little by thinking of the order in which the elements are placed around the great five element circle. Fire’s relationship to its fellow elements is closest to its mother element, Wood, and its child element, Earth, whilst it has a more distant relationship to the following two yin elements, Metal and Water. I wonder also whether this helps explain my yang Fire’s deeper understanding of totally yang Wood and half-yang Earth, than of the two more mysterious and more hidden yin elements. Despite myself, then, this book is tilted slightly more towards the yang, the sunny side of the mountain and daylight, than towards the yin, the shady side of the mountain and the darkening light.
As I draw together the observations of all the elements and their interactions with each other which I present here, it is useful for those reading this to understand that, unique as each human being is, everybody will have their own individual take on the elements which will lead to their own often quite different perceptions, but ones which are as valid as mine are for me. The important thing is that we should constantly test our understanding against what we learn from our interactions with one patient after another, so that we remain honest enough to modify our thoughts to take account of any new insights we gain."