I have been privileged to have studied Chinese Medicine for over 20 years with the renowned Taoist Master Dr. Jeffrey Yuen. Dr. Yuen teaches from the Classical tradition, pre-communist China. (From a lineage of Taoist Priests that spans 88 generations. ) His bio can be viewed at www.jadepurityfoundation.org. Over the years, he has taught 1 or 2 year-long programs on a number of things: Chinese Herbal Medicine, Aromatherapy, the Stones and Chinese Medicine, the Psyche and Chinese Medicine, Advanced Acupuncture, and much more. What makes all of these courses so unique is the thread of Taoism running through all of them. From a Taoist perspective, all illness is an invitation to change. That all illness is a sign of a spiritual imbalance in some way, that to truly heal, we need to look at what that invitation to change is. And to achieve that, we need to know ourselves.
One tool Dr. Yuen shared in a class, and I don’t really remember which program it was, was that to know ourselves we should be able to answer 5 questions, one for each of the 5 Elements. In Chinese Medicine we have 5 Elements: Air/Metal, Fire, Water, Earth, and Wood. Each represents organs in the body, and each has emotional/spiritual characteristics. I can go into them more fully at a later time if anyone is interested. He teaches that to be self-aware, we could meditate on the 5 questions. I found this practice to be enormously helpful, and revisit the 5 questions every year or so, because as I evolve, the answers evolve also. The questions are listed below.
For the EARTH ELEMENT: What nourishes me, or nurtures me?
For the WATER ELEMENT: What do I have faith in, what do I trust?
For the WOOD ELEMENT: What motivates me? What moves me forward?
For the METAL/AIR ELEMENT: What is precious to me? What do I value?
For the FIRE ELEMENT: What inspires me and brings me joy?
As I have changed and grown over the years, the answers have changed with me. Once you know what is precious to you, you can take steps to protect that. Once you know what nurtures you, you can be mindful about doing that for yourself. For instance, I know that reading nourishes me, so I make time to do that. I know that my serenity is precious to me, so I make sure that I don’t give my power away to people or situations that thrive on drama or negativity. I am clear about what inspires me, so I commit to including those things in my life.
I love to share Dr. Yuen’s teachings, to make them available to others, so that we can all be blessed, even if we have not had the desire or opportunity to devote years to the study or practice of Classical Chinese Medicine. May these teachings bring you further insights into yourself, and with those insights, healing. Blessings, Judith Star-Medicine