Such a large question! Its taken me a few days of thinking about it to come up with a sort of answer. Although I spent my very early years in a fundamentalist christian cult (till I was 5), after we got out of there I was always brought up to be open minded and respectful regarding people's differing philosophical and religious views with my mother's catch-cry "If you believe in it, then it's real" ringing in my ears to this day.
So when I was introduced to CM theory/philosophy by a very interesting and inspiring lady (
), I was not so entrenched in a religious dogma that it was difficult to accept. In fact, as soon as the sheng and ke cycles were made known to me, I was pretty much in love with TCM from that point on.
The biggest impact that the CM philosophies had on my way of thinking was not just the peaceful, wonderful feeling I got from reading the dao de jing. It was the way it broadened my understanding of the term "health". I used to think of health as limited to the microcosm and regarded it mostly as the absence of disease within the cellular boundaries of an organism. It was the CM way of thinking (as well as the writings of Herman Hesse, who was himself highly influenced by the Yi Jing and traditional Chinese belief systems) that helped me to understand health as the ability of an organism to survive in an environment that is perpetually changing ie, the relationship between heaven, earth and (hu)man.
Sorry bout all that hot air and thanks Carole!