The casual observer, stumbling across this blog for the first time, might say to themselves, Oh, how cute. He’s writing about Oriental medicine, so he tries to legitimize what he’s presenting by using an Oriental image.
I’m writing this initial post to dispel that incorrect projection. To me, practicing Oriental medicine is about understanding and living the principles, not trying to look Chinese. No, the image is a representation of something that is missing in American medicine and American culture.
The reason I chose this photograph for the layout of Future Medicine Now: Contemplations is that it is an iconic portrayal of what liver qi (chee) should be. Liver, like all the other systems in the body, has its own qi, which has a personality, functions, emotional tendencies, and energetic directions of travel.
Liver qi is responsible for the smooth flow of qi throughout all the other organs. Qi must flow smoothly — everywhere. If it doesn’t, there are problems. If liver qi is not flowing, other organs and systems begin to suffer as well.
This is not a fairy tale. This is real. This information should be of vital interest to a culture in which the two big killers are stress and diet — not cancer and heart disease. Stress and diet.
Keep in mind, from this ‘new’ vantage point we are no longer viewing symptoms as causes, we are perceiving and treating actual root causes. Cancer and heart disease are merely symptoms from the perspective of Oriental medicine. In order to treat such deadly symptoms, we must know their cause.
Which brings us back to the header image. This photograph captures the very essence of ideal liver qi:
Dawn on the banks of a deep, quiet, yet steadily flowing river.
Its placid surface conceals the powerful, yet controlled forces below.
Deep stillness permeates the fresh, nourishing air.
The ethereal mist of nighttime sojourns softens the harsh edges of worldly reality, and eventually drifts away, almost imperceptibly,
revealing the clarity of a placid blue sky.
A great heron lifts effortlessly and silently on powerful wings to glide down the river.
This is the clear reflection of a calm, serene, centered beingness.
Now, let me ask you: how many individuals do you know who have liver qi which looks like this? How often does your liver qi look like this?
Then consider, how much cancer and heart disease would we see, if this were the steady state of liver qi?
So this image has nothing to do with ‘Oriental’. It has everything to do with vitality, peace, balance, and harmony. And the cultivation of these precious attributes are how Oriental medicine effects its remarkable outcomes. We cultivate or stifle them with our attitudes and attention in each moment of the day, and with each bite of food or non-food we place in our mouths.
Most Recent Contemplation: Izanami Redux
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