April 28, 2020
Yesterday I received an email from a student:
Dear Ann, Would you be able to say a little but more about your motto-phrase “Practice like nothing else matters because everything does”? I want to understand with full depth what you mean and how this came about. I have a feeling it would be a meaningful clarification especially at this time.
That’s a blog, I thought. The phrase just came to me out of the blue. I liked the indirectness of it. Indirect language always makes you think. The looser the language, the more room there is for people to make it their own—to spin it their way. I was, though, talking about focus. An acupuncturist must have focus. Good acupuncture is like driving a vintage stick shift car on a long, steep, winding mountain pass. You listen to the engine like a musician; you know the pitch and timbre of every fraction of the engine’s work. You hear and feel the beginning of the engagement of the clutch, the plates coming together, and the smooth but not-too-smooth release of the clutch pedal, your feet in perfect harmony as you squeeze on the gas again. It’s really something, being one with a real car on a difficult road. The focus of a bow and arrow might feel the same, there are a thousand other ways to think of it.
Picking up a needle, you register its weight, its texture, the coil around the handle, the loop poised at the top. In a minute this needle will actually form a conduit between patient and universal qi, between stagnant qi and the qi of limitlessness. The qi awaits your instruction, and you await the instruction from the qi. Ren-12 is needled. “How would you like me to respond?” says the point. “Am I now the twelfth point on the Ren channel—are we working on bonding, on feeling that we are whole and complete in ourselves? Am I now the first point on the lung channel, welcoming the breath in, allowing the descent of qi to the large intestine to instigate a letting go? Am I the lower confluent point of the Triple Heater Divergent Channel, focussing on rebuilding the mediumship needed to regain latency of a pathogen? Am I the collection point of the Stomach, the origin of fluids and blood; shall we make fluids? Tell me how to respond.”
The acupuncturist focuses their intention and manipulates the needle until the intention is unequivocal and then received. The acupuncturist creates the feeling of that intention in their own field and holds it until there’s agreement in the etheric field of the patient. And then it begins to happen. Change comes. The patient’s breathing changes, color comes to their face, weight shifts on the table, perhaps the throat clears, perhaps a flutter of the eyelids, maybe a brief wave of nausea. A second point is needled and the treatment has a vector, a direction, a circuit. Now we have flow. The acupuncturists checks the pulses. Is the shift in alignment with the intention? Let’s keep going. Another needle is added. The intention of the treatment is further clarified. The atmosphere changes in the room. The patient’s circuitry is forever changed. Every detail, every movement, every thought and nuance brims with presence. Nothing else matters.
Practice as though nothing else matters, because everything does.