Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Daring to think our own thoughts

However much we owe to those from whom we have learnt the most, it is one of the fundamental qualities of being a human being that each of us has the right, and I like to think also the duty, to develop our own understanding, and in so doing perhaps move what we have learnt in new directions.  This prevents us from simply repeating robot-like what we have been taught, and gives us space to develop fresh approaches.  It is natural that we will all feel daunted by the expertise of others, particularly those with many more years’ experience than we have, and this may make us believe that we have nothing original to add to what has gone before, but we each have our own particular perspective on our work.

I am thinking about this today, because of an email I received this morning.  It always amazes me how things occur very unexpectedly to move my thoughts in a new direction, this email being one of them.  It was from my lovely young Indian friend, Sujata, who lives in Bangalore.  Sujata is a keen reader of my blogs, and is herself a serious yoga practitioner, always looking for an inspiring yoga teacher to replace the one who unfortunately moved to another town and has left her somewhat bereft.

She told me about an interesting book she had just read in which the author described developments in his yoga practice.  This is what she said about his book:  

“(The writer) outlined his frustrated attempts, what the teachers had said, what he could implement or learn, what he refused to do, and how all this shaped his philosophy and knowledge.  It came at a time (a few weeks ago) when I (Sujata, that is) felt there were no more teachers here whom I could contact (after meeting a highly unsuitable teacher!) and I would just have to proceed by myself, by re-reading the old texts and practising.  It motivated me to think about things I had not thought of for a long time.”   
 
Sujata finished by writing:  ….It was the book about an apprentice that gave me the final push to go ahead, not the books written by masters.”

As I read this, a light went up suddenly in my mind.  I am very preoccupied at the moment in describing the many lessons I have learned over the years which have contributed to help me develop my five element practice.  What I had not until now thought of doing was to include in this writing more about the often difficult personal obstacles I have had to overcome in my practice to reach the point where I am today.  Sujata’s email has provided me with another slant on how I should pass on my experiences.  This should not just describe the valuable lessons I have learnt from others, but also the difficulties I made for myself.  In past writings I have tended to omit these, or have only briefly mentioned problems I encountered in my practice.  Perhaps the time has come, stimulated by what Sujata has written, to describe the five element journey to where I am now in more candid, honest terms than I have done so far.
 
This may well be a help to any reader now struggling with the inevitable confusions and puzzling situations confronting anyone starting out on the hard, but ultimately supremely satisfying road to becoming a competent five element acupuncturist.

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