Friday, November 2, 2018

A plea for tolerance: how a knowledge of the qualities of the five elements can help all of us understand each other better

I was reminded of one of the most rewarding aspects of my five element practice during a conversation I had with a Chinese psychotherapist during our latest seminar in Beijing.  This illustrated very neatly something I have consistently emphasized over the years.  Very soon after I started my five element studies all those many years ago, I realised that my understanding of the elements was shaping my approach not only to health and ill-health, which was my original reason for embarking on these studies, but also, at the deepest level, to how I related to other people.  My study of the elements helped me to a greater acceptance of the incredible diversity of human reactions, and this was making me more tolerant of those who differed from me.

The Chinese psychotherapist I spoke to specializes in family therapy, and told me how coming to my five element seminars and reading my books was proving very helpful in his own practice.  He asked my permission to quote from my books in his teaching, permission I was only too happy to give him.  I am always glad that my descriptions of the elements are useful not only to acupuncturists but to people of other therapies, as a way of helping them understand human interactions better. 

I have often said that I love the old English saying, “All the world is odd, except thou and me, and even thou art a little odd,” because it so accurately and neatly describes a common human failing, which we are all guilty of.  We tend to judge other people from the standpoint of our own prejudices, our own likes and dislikes, rather than seeing them as having equally valid, though often very different and conflicting views to our own.  We all have a common human tendency to judge others as though inadequate in some way if they act or think differently from us.  A knowledge of the elements therefore teaches us greater humility, and leads to greater tolerance, something this increasingly intolerant world of ours so badly needs..




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