Traditional Chinese Medicine – What’s it all About?

Traditional Chinese Medicine – What’s it all About?

Traditional Chinese Medicine

What’s it all About?




Traditional Chinese medicine is a vast and all-pervasive living paradigm or system.  It is difficult for the modernised person to understand how and why it works.  One of the principal reasons for this is that Chinese medicine is as much philosophical as it is practical.  Nevertheless, it is supported by a history of enquiry into the nature of our relationship with both our external and internal environment.  On a functional level, it may be utilised by those who understand the dynamics of change; seeking only to encourage an awareness of balance and to harmonise energetic dysfunctions.

Of course, if an enquiry is superficial, one will only find what lies on the surface.  To explore the depth of Chinese medicine is demanding.  As a philosophy sensitive to the complexities of daily life, it deals with the problem of energy on all levels.

The practice of Chinese medicine encourages self-knowledge.  This means you, the individual, must accept complete responsibility for your own life.  Beyond choice, that is all you can do.  With the acceptance of responsibility comes understanding.

We cannot escape or avoid the facts of our day to day life.  Not happy with this, we want that.  Desire and fear motivate us to behave in the most extraordinary ways, to the point where we betray our sensitivity and intelligence.  We do not understand the wanting.  So we justify, condemn, blame and deceive.  It is important to see the truth of waning; to see that as soon as you want something, psychologically, you are deceived!  Caught in the net of self-deception, we become dulled to the real challenges of life including the problem of health.

Perhaps you have never considered the possibility that you may need to make adjustments to the way you approach your life.  Why would you unless you were disturbed about one aspect of your life or another?  Yet, most of us are disturbed inwardly or outwardly.  The disturbance is there because our lives are not balanced.  For many of us, we use a socially respectable mask to cover up the disturbance and pretend that it is not there.  Yet, our response to the disturbance reflects everything about the nature of our imbalance.  How we deal with the disturbance reveals the depth of our understanding.

It would be safe to say that Chinese medicine can only really be understood in terms of its approach.  To begin with, Chinese medicine aims to restore harmony on all levels; at once suggesting that the individual’s world is his and her TOTAL world, their relationship with the world, and it is this relationship which is gradually eroded in our daily lives.  The process of erosion is the process of imbalance.  Chinese medicine examines this process and describes its functioning; on all levels of experience.  To understand a problem, one must enquire into the nature of it at the core.  The approach must be comprehensive.

The philosophy of Chinese medicine is about the dynamics of change and how this affects you and me.  For most of us, the concept of change is terrifying.  We do not seem to understand anything about it and demonstrate this ignorance in our daily lives.  We are ever seeking permanency and it is this search which makes us resistant to change.  Yet, life is change!  There is nothing permanent about it.  The self is impermanent!

It seems that the entirety of our cultural background, particularly in the western world, is firmly rooted in security as an ideal.  Psychologically most of us are completely sold on the idea that there is such a thing as a guarantee – that tomorrow can be made secure.  Beyond food, shelter and clothing, this search for security extends to not only the idea we have of ourselves, but to the way we approach the maintenance of balance in daily life – as if there are set, fixed, unchanging conditions.

This search is a projection of the mind and is obviously a product of our conditioning.  It is quite unreal.  It is impossible to adapt to change if the self clings to security on any level.  It is very important to understand that change is not terrifying if it is seen as the movement of life.  As human beings, we are changing from moment to moment.  In fact, the entire movement of change is a very natural process reflected deeply by the activity of all life forms.  Change manifests on all levels of experience and it is this understanding which gave birth to Chinese Medicine – an approach to life rather than a symptomatic prescription.



Source:  Geoff Wilson, 2006, “Take This Pebble”