Yesterday, a patient I’ve been working with for stress-related anxiety walked into my office and made an exciting pronouncement.
After a year of incapacitating insomnia connected to massive life transitions, including starting her own new business, a move, and the death of her partner, she stood in the middle of the room and told me, “Something’s happening.”
“It used to be that when I was looking for answers – trying to get at what I really feel or know or need – I’d look out there.” She pointed up in the general direction of the ceiling. “I thought that spirit – or whatever it is I turn to for guidance and direction – is far away and hard to reach.”
“But these past weeks, I notice when I look to find out what I feel or know or need, I go in here.” She placed her hand, palm down, over her heart. “I don’t look outside and far away but here, inside of me. I listen to my own body, my own heart, and I get clear answers to my questions about what I need to feel better.”
This is a person who has never studied Chinese medical theory or Taoist alchemy, has never read my book, or heard of shen – the spirit of the Heart. But she is deeply committed to her own healing and to discovering the truth from within her own being – the first principle of neidan – Inner Alchemy.
Through her growing relationship with her own inner process, my patient is now changing lead to gold on a daily basis.
This single example is why, after thirty years in the treatment room, I am still in awe of what Chinese medicine can do and why I believe so deeply in an alchemical, soul-centered approach.
Even though her pulses came into perfect harmony each time I needled Heart 7 – Spirit Gate …
Even though I never doubted that the primary focus of treatment was rooting her unstable shen spirit back in the palace of her Heart …
Even though her sleep was improving and she was increasingly able to maintain her serenity in the face of the challenges of life …
I still feel I’ve knocked it out of the ballpark when a patient comes in and confirms in her own words the truth I already know …
Yes! This medicine really works!
Although healing can’t always be tracked on a graph, performed as a protocol, or promised as a predictable outcome, our patients know and feel the qualitative shifts that happen as qi is harmonized, the soul is tended, and the spirit is recognized as a central part of the healing process.
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