Nan Lu, OMD examines how the spirit is the ultimate technique to healing.

by Nan Lu, OMD

Healing is ultimately an affair of the heart; the true healer lies within. Technique plays a role, but it is not the deciding factor in helping individuals or patients create harmony and healing. Spirit is the ultimate technique. It helps illuminate the purpose and reason for illness and disease.

Today, we’re awash with new healing techniques, tools and technologies. We are greedy for more and more information, yet real knowledge and wisdom can elude us. Often, practitioners in the healing arts embark on an endless quest for the latest techniques. While this search may satisfy those hungering for the next “new thing in healing,” it leaves others starved for a deeper understanding of how to truly help patients.

TCM offers a way to look at the human body by applying principles derived from observing Nature. Technique is secondary. In ancient China, it was understood that the best warrior needed only one sword. Why? The tool itself wasn’t extraordinary; it was only an extension of the individual’s talent and intuition. Tools are mere conveyances for the user’s heart and spirit.

Where are the masters who can talk about this wisdom and help us experience it? Sadly, they’re hard to find today. Our busy lives prohibit us from making the kind of commitment necessary to follow a master as apprentices did long ago. So, we’ve developed a deep thirst for shortcuts and an insatiable appetite for new technologies. We’ve come to believe healing depends on external things. Unfortunately, this desire creates a passion for more knowledge, not wisdom. The outcome is that one rarely has the chance to nurture the patience needed to learn one thing well enough to own it and amplify it.

In the healing process, good technique has its place. Yet technique only provides transportation for healing. It is the conduit that allows spirit to flow between practitioner and patient. Tools are not healers. If practitioners lack a deep understanding of healing principles and the true energy and spirit behind technique, the technique becomes dry, devoid of power. How is it a master’s work can produce a powerful healing effect, while his student’s cannot? Same technique… different outcomes. The difference has everything to do with the spirit and level of the master, along with everything infused into the healing—training, Qi, spirit and love.

Still, there are, even in the U.S., a unique group of Chinese TCM practitioners who have studied many years with high-level masters in China. Not only do they possess strong academic training and an extensive background in contemporary medicine, they have also apprenticed with some of China’s most respected masters and healers. This background alone makes them unique.

Traditional training involves an intense closeness with the master, living with him or her almost daily. Often it includes bringing the master tea, cleaning herb drawers, eating with and listening to the master. This training allows students to perceive firsthand how the master thinks, feels, and approaches patients. The wisdom derived from this experience is beyond book learning or language. It is experiential and of the heart. Few doctors, East or West, have been fortunate enough to gain healing insights this way.

Today in China, the traditional way of transmitting information from master to student is becoming extinct. It is becoming rare to find practitioners trained in the ancient traditional way—those that can bridge one generation to another. They are fortunate to possess something vital and intangible—something beyond the mind, beyond technique.


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