There is one teaching over the (almost) 10 years I’ve been a student of Zen and Chinese Medicine that has prevailed over all others. ALWAYS stay curious…
Zen is sometimes spoken of as the ultimate inquiry, the ultimate question, the ultimate curiosity… into each and every moment. If we are not constantly curious, then we run the risk of adding a layer of our own stories and/or patterning (karma) onto our reality. Sadly, this hardly ever works out well… or at the very least, it does not allow for the widest potential of possibilities to unfold before us. There are so many instances I can look back on where I got stuck in this “why me? what about me?” sort of pity-party… interpreting whatever had just happened to me as something apocalyptic!
But in those situations that I stuck around long enough to actually watch the chain of events that followed… there would invariably be relief, even gratitude for what played out. The pain I have had in my SI joint for the past 2 years is a constant reminder of this very important lesson. If I hadn’t had this pain, perhaps I wouldn’t have met and in some instances teamed up with some of the most gifted practitioners in their respective arts. I could go off on this tangent… but you probably get the idea. Can we challenge ourselves to remain curious so that we may receive the treasures that lie along our path, inclusive of what are so easily labeled as obstacles?
And no doubt the greatest teacher of this lesson are my patients. Khosrow, one of my Five Element Acupuncture teachers, said something like, “if you’re clearing a block on one of your patients… and the pulses change, great, stay curious… if their pulses don’t change, great, stay curious… let them teach you how to help.” This was VERY hard for me in the beginning. I had such a personal stake in whether I helped my patients get better or not. If they were doing well, I was doing well… if there was someone I couldn’t help, it really affected me. I later realized this was not healthy… and not a remotely sane perspective. I overheard someone last week at an event refer to themselves as a “healer”. I have to say, anytime I hear this word, I cringe a little bit. It is my opinion, that we can only be healers for ourselves and no one else. I do not heal people… period. Hell, I’ve got my hands full with trying to heal myself, let alone heal somebody else! At the end of the day, all I’ve got is a working knowledge of one system among many within Nature’s medicine. And the goal of that system is to FACILITATE the reorganization of the five-element cycle of energy withing someone’s body, mind, spirit toward balance.
After that, all I can do is stand back and watch the magic unfold with peaked curiosity!
The same is true (and possibly moreso) for the “patient as teacher” coming to see me. If they are fixated on how their healing process SHOULD be, this usually ends in disappointment. But, if they are curious and open to the vast array of possibilities as to how they could actually feel and heal… than that curiosity more often than not is met with profound and inspiring changes. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. I can’t even put into words how honored and inspired I am by those in my curiosity-shop. They are the healers, they are the magic-makers, they are MY teachers…