A quick reminder to students:
You are in school to pass an examination which tests you on content and curriculum that is arbitrary, not terribly clinically-relevant, and was cherry-picked by a handful of people based on their personal agendas and biases about what acupuncture could do. This curriculum is the product of decades of politics, monetization, and racism, which is why it's often contradictory and overly-complicated while positing itself as "common sense" and "organic."
This exam is a hurdle you must leap to begin your professional studies: it is not and must not be the end goal of your studies, and certainly should not define your perspective on what acupuncture can be.
Acupuncture is an art: it can and should take many forms, be subject to many meanings, be filtered through your personal lens, and interpreted in all the ways that Beauty must. The materialism of Communist TCM we are taught is just one form: it is true, but partial, and is by no means the top of some imagined hierarchy. I am always skeptical of anyone promoting it as the one, unflinching, universally-true perspective on our medicine: this was never the case and that promotion has its own agenda.
Clinging to course fundamentalism–with its imagined "bulletproof" certainties–may make passing the exam easier, but it dulls and deadens the poetry of our medicine. It offers only the first flicker of light for students. And when this false standard packages itself as "the truth," it seems to make depth and wonder the exception. And it argues that Beauty is naive, or a fool.
Your job is to discover meaning for yourself. The point of all education is to expand consciousness and widen perspective: to let light in, because the way we look at things determines what becomes visible for us. How we see decides what we see. Let more light in.
This is Shen: the brilliance of illumination projected through the unlimited potential life affords us. This is the Heart/Kidney axis: curiosity for self-knowledge and discovery, in communion with the mystery and wisdom of existence, casting its radiance across the other officials.
Go to school and pass your boards; but offer yourself the grace to consider that your cognition and insight into these very deep philosophies are not static and exist along a spectrum: the things I believed to be true when I graduated are no longer the same. Consider that someday the things you think now–whose truth you are convinced of–will be questioned, or unseated, or detonated altogether. I hope they are.
The job of a good education is not to concretize belief and relieve uncertainty: it's to attract light and create an insatiable hunger for more. Make room for imagination, creativity and foolishness: I promise they will be the gasoline that will sustain you past the first spark of your career.
You are an acupuncturist. Approach your studies the way the Sun invites in the day: with wonder and awe, and above all, beauty.
Needed to hear this! 🙌🏾
As a semi-recent grad I second and applaud this statement! Thank you for your consistent inspiration and beautiful words that carry it out to the many of us who are so nourished by it.