Tao

The heart of the school is Tao.

From the perspective of human well-being Tao can be understood as a process of alignment with the cycles of nature and the universal animating force such that one lives compassionately and with a peaceful heart.

Only a great sage is constantly aware of Tao; yet all of us can strive to be mindful, and we can practice in our daily lives the active acceptance that awakens compassion and peace.

Taoism is an ancient source–some say the main source–of acupuncture. J.R. Worsley [1] has this to say about the relationship between acupuncture and Tao:

 

The Taoist Concept of Health, Illness and Cure

“Tao” is the Chinese character which, approximately translated, means “The Way.” It is the expression of a subtle concept which Lao Tzu, the Taoist sage of the sixth century B.C., said could not be spoken of, only lived. Following “The Way” means treading a path through nature’s eternal changes, acknowledging in all living things their essence or true spirit. To interpret the Tao is almost impossible but it indicates the path which we travel from birth to death, that path which, if followed, allows us to acknowledge who we are and allows us to appreciate all creatures as living in harmony.

Traditional Chinese acupuncture is a form of health care and healing which seeks to harmonize the human being with the Tao. The practitioner is ever mindful and trusting that nature, allowed to work and flow unimpeded, leads the patient to health in body, mind, and spirit, just as the rivers flow naturally

and effortlessly towards the ocean. “Easy is right” said another Chinese sage, Chuang Tzu. Disease is the result of violating natural laws, of falling out of harmony with the Tao. Losing “The Way” means losing the inherent ability of the body, mind, and spirit to adjust readily to the changing environmental and social circumstances. Failure to adjust causes constrictions and blockages within, interventions which then disrupt the flow of vital and healing energy, a situation which increases vulnerability. The body becomes diseased, the mind uneasy, and the spirit withdraws. If it withdraws completely, death prevails.

The traditional acupuncturist is therefore carefully trained to understand the laws of nature, to diagnose in acknowledgement of them and to work therapeutically to restore their effectiveness. In doing so, the life force, the Ch’i energy as it is called, is able to cure the causative factor of the disease. The continuing flow of this energy is the essential prerequisite of good health. One must be mindful of the fact that in all systems of healing, from the ancient traditional Chinese methods to the modern technical, scientific methods of the Western trained practitioner, neither man nor woman has the power to cure disease. At best, all she or he can do is assist nature in the cure. Therein lies one of the main foundations of Chinese traditional medicine. It is only possible to reinforce the body’s own defense mechanism to overcome the disease in the most natural of natural ways.

Ch’i energy gives all life the strength to follow the Tao. Traditional acupuncture treatments should always encourage the recipient to realise this inherent principle so that he or she may gain a genuine appreciation of the remedial and worthwhile benefits of being in harmony with nature.

1. J.R. Worsley, Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, Volume I,
Great Britain : Element Books,1982, pp. 8-9.