As with most of my epiphanies as a practitioner, my last one happened while I was treating a patient the other day. We were talking about what we would work on now that her chief complaint had resolved through the excellent work of a skilled team of healers and clinicians and also through own readiness and willingness to evolve.
“Well, now that we have nothing to ‘fix’”, I said, “we can work on other levels, higher levels of how our being interacts with itself and with the outside world. Which usually means a raising of consciousness”. I hadn’t started the thought with that conclusion but after the words came out of my mouth it resonated with us both.
It’s not that I came up with any particularly new idea, but it’s not one that people usually associate with a reason to come in for acupuncture. Generally when patients come in it’s because we either really need a particular problem or pattern to improve in order for their quality of life to improve, or because they have gone to acupuncture for years because they know it does something that makes them feel better, whether they can put their finger on precisely what that is or not. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is exactly the same idea, we cannot achieve self-actualization without first meeting our needs for food, shelter, love, and belonging.
I’ve noticed this truth for myself as well in my own life. In some phases I feel that I’m simply trying to catch up, catch my breath, and get my feet under me. What a refreshing and expansive feeling it is when I am fortunate enough to be in a phase where I can ponder the bigger questions, deepen my relationships, and listen to the sounds of a truer calling, a path that fits into what the world needs right now. Sometimes our bodies know when we need a shift and this is when they talk to us, and then our healing journey can begin. I think that ultimately these journeys help us to grow as individuals and increase our compassion for all beings. Afterall, there is no satisfying culmination of anything without the growing pains which accompany the way there. This can sometimes be difficult or impossible to see when we are in the thick of a health problem, and that is why we need each other to light the way through.
I know that there are many routes to get there, to this state of elevated consciousness, however fleeting it may be. I’m sure many of you know your favorites. One of the things that makes acupuncture stand apart is that the needles act like a small catalyst for all the reactions your body, mind, and spirit have been lying in wait to enact. Don’t ask me how, I don’t know! It’s a little bit of magic, art, science, and ancient wisdom that just happens to make a delicious recipe for…raising consciousness. With no hangover.
Cheers to 2020, may we listen and become ever more.