My Small Intestine luo seems always to be in gear. That’s the acupuncture channel that acts as the feedback system – the part of you that says, “How am I doing?” If the answer that comes back is, “Not so well, actually…” the body makes an adjustment as that question is answered, concentrating blood into the Small Intestine Luo Channel where it deposits the emotion that arises, creating a buffer between the emotion and the body-mind.
I just returned from a visit to the pharmacy a block away. Saturday morning, 6:40am, still dark and quite cold, there were only two people out: a very disorientated woman with no coat and, outside the pharmacy door, a man in a wheelchair—the bandaged stump of his amputated leg protruding through a gaping hole in his jeans—who demanded I come out with a bag of Doritos.
I picked up the toothpaste and on my way to the check-out, visited the aisle of packaged junk food. The Doritos were there. I reached out my hand to grab a bag but my arm wouldn’t do it. A million things went through my mind, including the scene in the hospital where he’d been told they’d have to amputate his leg because of the necrosis due to diabetes. What to do… On the shelves in the next section were nuts and trail mixes. My arm went out successfully. I checked out, put the items in my bag but left the trail mix in my hand. The man was still there at the threshold of the store, eager. “Ah, you got me.…huh?” “I work in medicine and I couldn’t get you the Doritos so I got this instead.” He snatched the trail mix and I turned and crossed the road. When I got to the other side, I looked back and he wasn’t there. Where was he? He couldn’t possibly have gone out of sight in those few seconds. Looking more closely, I saw him inside the glass door of the pharmacy, talking to the check-out woman, holding the trail mix right in her face.
My Small Intestine Luo was having a field day. He asked for Doritos and could you do that simple thing without making a judgment? Without being superior? No, no, you couldn’t. You had to be right. You had to prevail. You had to help someone heal. You had to push the medicine in his face. Why couldn’t you simply have bought the Doritos? Well, because then I would be helping him lose his other leg. Then I wouldn’t be living by my own principles. Then I would be miserable all day. Then I would be a hypocrite. Uh huh, and anyway, how do you know he has diabetes? He could’ve been in a car accident.
So confusing… I felt the Blood in my veins moving in a strange way and I stood on the corner outside my apartment and closed my eyes for a few seconds. I wondered why I was so tortured. Where did all this emotion come from? It didn’t come from my childhood. Throughout my upbringing, I could have failed school, dyed my hair bright green, joined a religious cult, pierced my ears seven times through the cartilage and my parents still would have said to me, we love you so much, darling, and we’re having roast lamb for dinner. I could do nothing wrong. Maybe it comes from having been a musician and having had to please conductors for so many years and the silent conversations I would have with them often while playing the most sublime music. Was the beginning of that note to your liking, sir? Was it the right color? Did it blend with the note the second bassoonist was playing in that chord? I remembered the scariest phrase I ever played, in the first movement of Shostakovich’s extraordinary fifth symphony with one of the conductor’s personal friends conducting. I prayed that my lip would behave under the intense pressure, that the third register notes would speak cleanly and serenely above the pianissimo orchestra, the fine, fine adjustments of my lips at odds with a pounding heart. I realized my Small Intestine Luo had been at work a long time.
When I reached the apartment, I went straight to the bathroom, grabbed a lancet and thrust it into SI-7, the Luo point of the Small Intestine Channel. That’s the point that frees the feedback system and resets it. Then I’ll know what to do, I thought. And within a minute, I had the answer. Ha, I thought. Who knew! The answer was that I should have done nothing at all. I shrugged and poured myself a glass of water. “Give yourself a break!” I said to myself as the Luo relaxed, the Blood reset and I breathed a sigh of acceptance. Then I marveled at this medicine again.
Practice as though nothing else matters because everything does.