Sunday, June 17, 2012

The simpler the better

It is interesting how often I return to the phrase “the simpler the better” when helping acupuncturists gain confidence in their five element skills.  And I keep on repeating it because, much to my continuing surprise, what I say does not appear to be actually what people want to hear.  It seems as if, instead, they prefer to believe the opposite to be true, that the more complicated things are the better.

One reason may be because people like to take pride in thinking that their discipline is a complex one requiring hard work to practise it.  To encourage its practitioners to greater levels of simplicity may appear to run directly counter to this, as though it strips away some of this pride.  It also takes courage to trust that minimum interference may mean maximum effectiveness, but there is no doubt in my mind that it does.

Nor must we think that it is easy to be simple, for this is far from the case.  Some of the most sublime music ever composed is that of Mozart’s piano concertos, where the pianist may only interject a single note as counterpoint to the orchestra.  And yet if that note were placed a bar earlier or a bar later, or at a slightly higher or lower tone, the whole perfection of the musical structure would be broken. These single notes could appear to be written by a child, and yet they are the product of the highest level of creativity.

I like to feel that we can show some of this creative ability in our own work, if, instead of bombarding the elements with a plethora of points, often picked at random from one of those books on points I dislike so much, we dare to hone our selection down to a few simple points, and end on the single note of a command point.  Treatment, like music, should then be allowed to fall silent, as we give the elements the time to carry on their healing work without further interference from us.

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