We all know that Chinese medicine is a path of balance. A journey of harmony and restoration. An art that seeks to align the channels and tend to the ebb and flow of Qi. As practitioners we are trying to unravel the knots that bind or drain away imbalances so as to invite the body back to health. Our medicine is an art that seeks to bring harmony to the whole.
Attention to the body's subtle cues and responding with nourishment and care is of the utmost importance. Cultivating attention brings about a potential that allows us to discern subtle changes and fully immerse ourselves in the healing process, connecting with our patients on a deeper level— and at the same time releasing our attachment to results.
In this conversation with Damo Mitchell, we go off the beaten path as we discuss some arguable topics revolving around the use of attention versus intention in the clinic, developing a sense of discernment for what’s valuable, the linear nature of our medicine, and how cultivation ties into all this. It’s a conversation that is bound to raise a few questions (and perhaps some eyebrows).
Listen into this discussion on the cultivation of qi and why attention should take precedence over intention in our clinical work.
Additionally, there is a “Part Two” portion to this conversation that takes us further into simplicity, attention and natural flow
In This Conversation We Discuss:
- Damo’s perspective on Daoism in Chinese Medicine.
- Looking on the inside and learning how to develop a discernment for what’s reliable vs. what’s imaginative.
- Chinese medicine as a personal cultivation system.
- Clarity from structured thought and the implications in the clinic.
- Is Chinese medicine linear or non-linear?
- Differences between intention and attention—and how it applies to our clinical work.
- The connection of the Yi and the Qi.
- Somatic empathy in Chinese medicine.
- The different types of Qi and how to cultivate/develop them.
- Consolidating the Dantian to become a cultivated-enough practitioner.
- How to get a handle on attention.
- The tricky business of cultivating attention
- The Boss level practitioner is indifferent to outcomes
- Wu wei (non-doing) is what leads to zi ran (natural flow)
- Chinese medicine is weird
- Unpacking the first line of the Dao De Jing, an how it points toward how the mind maps our experience into names and thus loses access to the experience
Study the art of needle insertion. This fundamental aspect of Acupuncture practice has almost unlimited depth and it is a prime ‘skill’ which should be developed over many years. Do away with those guide tubes as they are nothing but a hurdle to the development of effective needle usage.
I started out in the martial arts which I began at the age of four; it was through these studies that I first encountered Chinese medicine which I began to learn at age 14 with Tuina. Fast forward 28 years or so and I find myself having completed a UK degree in Chinese medicine as well as having been apprenticed to a number of Chinese medical doctors in China and South East Asia. Never really finding myself comfortable in a conventional ‘clinical;’ setting, I always leaned more towards study with esoteric and Daoist practitioners of medicine who worked in smaller communities or out of their own home. To me, the separation of personal cultivation from Chinese medical study shouldn’t really exist and they both form an equal part of my lifepath.
These days, I am the head of the Xian Tian College of Chinese Medicine as well as the director of the Lotus Nei Gong School of Internal Arts which keeps me more than busy!
Links and Resources
There is a wealth of videos that will give you a taste of Damo's work on YouTube.
Ready for a deeper dive? Visit The Internal Arts Academy for a wealth of video instruction on Nei Gong, Tai Chi, Ba Gua and various assorted lectures. And for live events and trainings head on over to Lotus Nei Gong.