Hmmmn! I suppose I asked this question because itâ€™s one Iâ€™ve been trying to answer myself for 36 years. Yes, of course CM changed my life in many, many ways â€“ physically, my home life, my career, my whole existence, but the way that the philosophy specifically changed me is much harder to define.
I know that when I started to study acupuncture it felt like coming home. Like relearning something I had always known. Of course, I had been interested in philosophy and psychology for many, many years, and my closest friends had been Asians during my teenage years â€“ most of them Chinese. The arts and cultures of Asia had always been of interest â€“ I did Chinese style painting, I grew Bonsai, I read books on Asia, I ate Asian foods of all varieties, but coming to acupuncture and its philosophy was a great deal more. I realised that I was prepared to spend the rest of my life working for and trying to preserve this form of healing and all that went with it. Teaching seemed to be the best way to do that â€“ the more people who understood and practised it the safer it was for future generations.
I now believe that the time was right for its preservation â€“ although I did not know it during the early years when we were fighting off attempts to ban acupuncture in Australia. In general the public had grown weary of modern medicine despite its many wonders (and they really are many) and were searching for new ways of being helped â€“ not just in body but also in mind and spirit. In a similar way, and we have seen this in the forum, there were individuals who were willing to study for years, often under difficult personal circumstances to acquire the skills to practise in a profession with, at that time, an uncertain future. I think, for many of them, and for me too, it was the philosophy that engendered this dedication. I really canâ€™t believe that itâ€™s because we get such a great thrill out of sticking needles into people!
Even today, as we have seen in this discussion, it is not an easy profession to master, and those students who think it is soon depart. It still requires a great deal of hard work and dedication â€“ although as a teacher students often told me I didnâ€™t know what it was like to be a student! (Did they think I was born knowing it?
) Certainly it is a challenging path and I believe that it is the beauty of the underlying philosophy that makes many of our students persist despite the many difficulties that they face.
Thank you all for trying to answer what is, I know, a rather difficult question. You all get top marks.