Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Why practice Chinese medicine if Hashem controls it all?
The question was asked of me, "why practice Chinese Medicine if G-d controls it all?" But first, to answer this question, we must clarify exactly what is Chinese medicine, what is Jewish medicine, and why we are here.
Chinese medicine is based upon the integrative observations by brilliant ancient physicians and philosophers of relative cosmological phenomena in a very global sense, and considering and applying parallels to the human being. This way of looking at things is a very useful tool in helping to bring balance to the "dis-eased" patient, but specifically, not only physically. For Chinese Medicine also recognizes the profound relationship between physical symptoms of imbalance, and mental, spiritual and emotional components and manifestations of illnesses, a principle which is completely consistent with the Torah and traditional Judaism, and which particularly manifests in the pulses. BTW, pulses also play a significant role in the Jewish Kabbalistic tradition in the determining of spiritual imbalances which manifest physically.
From the Jewish physician's perspective, Chinese medicine and other brilliant modalities are valuable tools to be used and applied, much as a skilled craftsman would use a hammer, screwdriver or computer, to diagnose disharmonies and bring healing and balance. However, Traditional Jewish medicine (TJM) goes one step further: By applying specific principles from the Torah and Jewish traditional sources, traditional Jewish medicine guides the patient and physician to understand why specifically the patient has gotten out of balance, what the messages are in how this imbalances manifest themselves, and what can be done to not just treat symptoms, but affect a paradigm shift to bring balance and healing. Each patient's individual constitution, nature and life experiences ( including traumas ) represent significant pieces to be considered and honored in the individuals path that brought him to his present situation. We consider the present inner-conflicts that have engendered the imbalances (aka differential diagnosis), trace backwards in time the path of illness to seminal events before which there wasn't illness or a particular layer, thereof (pathogenesis), while honoring the patient throughout this whole process, never imposing our will upon him, meeting him where he is, (even if he is philosophically opposed to my beliefs) and helping to put the pieces together allowing the patient to heal himself, as a detective, a translator, and a tour guide, uncovering clues, making sense of chaotic signs and symptoms, and safely facilitating the journey back to health.
With that introduction, let me answer your question: Though, indeed G-d controls it all, He also specifically has given man, the crown of creation, free choice. The reason for this, our sages tell us, is for us to take those skills, emotions, and attributes that we were given, and use them to fulfill our specific individual purpose as to why we were created. Each person is a distinctly unique piece in the magnificent cosmic puzzle, and each piece is needed for the puzzle to be complete. Each of us is special and unique, and we need to find out where we belong and how we fit, but even more importantly, what we are supposed to do. It doesn't matter the degree to which we are brilliant, strong, artistic or charismatic. We are not expected to be like anyone else, and so the concept of jealousy in Judaism is anathema. Rather each of us needs to figure out what we are supposed to do, based upon what we have been given, and do everything within our power to fulfill that goal. G-d helps us, much like a GPS, in guiding us towards our life goal and purpose, but gives us absolute free choice, without which we couldn't make creative decisions. Alas, many spend their lives, hedonistically pursuing pleasure, or mechanically living chaotic lives, yet we are all spoken to and guided towards our goal and life purpose. Those who don't succeed, this time around come back again, and we keep coming back until we have fulfilled all that we need to do. (In this sense, Jewish reincarnation is very different from Eastern reincarnation, in that in Judaism, the consequences of our choices determine if we need to come back again.) Maimonides tells us, therefore, that each person needs to direct his inner-thoughts to "Know" G-d. (It's interesting that Biblically, we are told that Adam "Knew" Eve. For as our sages tell us, the definition of "knowledge" is unselfishly melding, connecting and intimately becoming one with the other.) "But," he continues, it is impossible to "Know" G-d if one is hungry, sick or in pain!" Furthermore, our sages tell us that one who is in prison, does not have the keys to help himself escape. So to determine one's specific life purpose, or soul correction, one needs to be connected. And to be connected one needs to be healthy, in balance, and not distracted by noise, hunger or pain. Therefore to slough off the filth, pain and old baggage that got us into the mess we're in, and get to that place of clarity, health and happiness, we need to find and utilize the most prudent and effective tools. The Chinese medical modalities can be enormously effective tools toward that end, when used wisely.