10 August 2010

The Inner

Inside. Innerness. Innernicity.

'The answers lie within....'

Why did the Chinese aptly call their cornerstone text of acupuncture the Inner Classic?

Wow--that is different for us. 

Ask someone, like a patient, how their eyes are. They'll bring up data from their doctor, opthamalogist, optometrist --anyone but themselves. Then we have to ask again, "No, how do your eyes feel to you: how do you experience your eyes?"
   Puzzlement is the response. 
   "Do they feel tired, blurry, irritated, burning...." 
   "Oh, well, they feel tired, but that's just because I read a lot."
Or, if they burn, "Doesn't everybody have hayfever?"
We want to be normal, it seems. 

Why do we discount the self, our own perspective, and the entire subjective realm?

"If you can't trust yourself," I tell my students when they look to me for answers, "who else can you trust?
Ken McLeod studied Tibetan Buddhism and quantum physics--both very extensively. One of his strategies for healing the mind in our place and time is simply returning the 'I' in scientific discourse. All meaningful discussion in our culture led to the erasure of the 'I' as some egoic, unreliable and limited perspective. This led to some useful knowledge, but the effect is now so complete, so saturated into daily awareness, that people look outside themselves completely for validation. This creates a situation ripe for exploitation, powerlessness, and "learned helplessness." The latter is the title of a great article on his website. 

The Other Ken--Ken Wilber, referenced in the first blog--attempted the same project: reclaiming the subjective as something meaningful. He studied Tibetan meditation as well, and wrote my students' favorite book of his with his wife as she was dying of cancer. True Grit is its title. 
Acupuncture, as all modalities, is a metaphor for healing. All the needles point in one direction: inside. 

When there is a change, we realize we were just a few needles away from liberation. 

"What drug is on these needles?" surprised patients used to ask me, when feeling acupuncture's effects for the first time. Especially addicts had no idea their own body could whip up such a heady brew on short notice, with such little prompting.
Some attempts to determine how acupuncture works describe it as a 'wounding.' In my experience, this is utterly not so. Acupuncture is simply a medium of communication. A lot of acupuncture, chiropractic and physical therapy these days is like somebody shouting at the body. The target then goes into duck-and-cover mode. There is no 'qi flow' in that! The 'wounding' approach is about the Outer, about overpowering. 
Alternatively, when any practitioner really listens and then engages in a soulful dialogue at an appropriate 'volume,' the inner emerges to meet the outer. We say that yin and yang then unite. This creates life, and life is healing.


  1. Hey Roger!

    Thanks for the great posts. This one in particular spoke to me. My practice has certainly changed a lot in the last few years, and just lately I have been thinking a lot about this concept of describing acupuncture as wounding the body to cause it to take notice. It was how it was described to me at one point, and I guess I just picked it up without really thinking.

    Thanks (as always) for giving me a great start to what will likely be a great day of treating patients!

  2. Hi Roger
    It's been awhile! Just found your blog site....such wonderful writing! This is so insightful! Thanks for sharing your stories...I will certainly use this as I start my practice in AOM!