Goodwill Message to Pakistani Acupuncturists on AOM Day, 2002
It is a special honor to send my message of goodwill to the acupuncturists of Pakistan. As political tensions between the Islamic world and the USA grow, it is especially important that individuals who have dedicated their lives to healing and comforting the suffering continue to build bridges even while circumstances outside of our control seek to tear them down.
I was drawn to acupuncture originally as an expression of Taoism. Through the eyes of Taoism, we can look at the universe, the human body, and even the circumstances in our lives as expressions of the interplay of opposing yet supporting principles —Yin and Yang. After I graduated from school in the USA, I went to work in a hospital in Kunming, China, hoping to learn more about traditional Chinese medicine and deepen my appreciation of Chinese philosophy.
But while I was in China, I felt very foreign for the first time in my life. I was not at all comfortable with my surroundings, and yet I found distant cousins there. They looked Chinese, they dressed Chinese, and they spoke Chinese. The only difference to speak of was that they had green eyes. They were Chinese Muslims and in those green eyes I saw the distant smoke of the fire lit by Abraham. In their smile I recognized the joy of service to the Almighty. In their presence I remembered my own connection to a God that exists just outside of our awareness.
It is my understanding that the second most frequently found word in the Qur’an is the term “knowledge.” Indeed as a young man growing up in a Jewish family, I was encouraged to immerse myself in school and look forward to a life of never-ending education. It seems that the two branches of the children of Abraham both hold education and knowledge highly in our cultures. More importantly, as Taoism teaches, opposites rely on each other to make up a single whole.
About 800 years ago, when Islamic universities dominated higher education in Spain, the interaction between Jewish and Islamic scholars gave rise to the mystical wing of Judaism as described in the Sefer ha-Zohar (The Book of Splendor). As I read through this and the Kabalistic writings that followed, I recognize how those with the eyes to see and a heart that is open to the will of God all express the same thing, that we are licks of flame floating above a single fire. That we are all pieces of a greater whole is found in the mystical schools of practically every religious or philosophical tradition there is.
The acupuncturists of Pakistan struggle with the same issues as we do in the West. We simply want to master the depth of healing possible through the modalities we have to work with. As I take my first baby steps into the practice of traditional Chinese medicine, my heart is warmed to know that on the other side of the world, there are others who are also coming to understand the tool of acupuncture, the paradigm of Chinese medicine, and the path of compassion.
On behalf of the Gancao.net family of websites, I welcome the Acupuncture Promotion Society of Pakistan to International Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day as a reminder that even amid the turmoil of Yin and Yang, there is between the two lineages of Abraham a wholeness that we as healers must use to the betterment of all mankind.
Al Stone, L.Ac.
October 16, 2002