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Acupuncture as Spiritual Cultivation and Self-Exploration Therapy

Acupuncture as Spiritual Cultivation and Self-Exploration Therapy

Acupuncture treatment is a way to alleviate symptoms, heal from chronic conditions, let go of sadness and anxiety, change thought patterns. Some patients come with specific ailments that they want gone asap! Others come to maintain health and a sense of balance.

I have used acupuncture to support my own spiritual cultivation and mental processing. It has also been a powerful way for me to get to know my body and mind, and to connect to my spirit.

Chinese Medicine, as practiced within my tradition, sees acupuncture as a therapy to support the soul: the embodiment of the spirit. Taoist philosophy believes our spirit chooses the family we are born into as a way to live out its chosen curriculum: the experience it wishes to explore within life. Our spirit chooses our parents, our ethnicity, where we live, the body we have, even the difficulties we endure through life. Addictions, health problems, relationships filled with conflict: all of this has been chosen by the spirit.

This is not the concept of Karma, as believed by Buddhism. There is no good or bad connected to the life we are given within Taoist thinking. We do not struggle with alcoholism because we committed some sin in our past life.

The spirit desires completion. It chooses situations and experiences so it may transcend what it does not understand, or has not made peace with. The goal of the spirit is transcendence. This is the path to peace.

Classical Chinese Medicine is based on Taoist spiritual philosophy. Health and disease is seen as the spirit’s movement towards transcendence, as played out through the soul. This process becomes our life.

We are born with a temperament: a personality, also chosen by the spirit. Personality profiling is popular within Chinese Medicine, especially within the Five Element Tradition. People can be divided in 5 basic personality types based on the 5 Basic Elements that create the universe: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. We possess all elements within our make-up, however each of us tends to favor one or two elements.

In looking at myself, my body is largely metal in its features. Astrologically, I was born a wood personality. As I was created into physical form, the energies from my parents merged to create my morphology (or physical attributes). This was combined with the energy from the cosmos, or my astrology.

Metal and Wood. There is inherent conflict between these two elements, which has created the conflicts within my life. Wood has a tendency to become stuck in the past, seeing the present through the eyes of the past. Whereas, metal desires living in the moment, and letting go. I often struggle with letting go of the past, which manifests physically as tension in my diaphragm and chest.

The Taoist belief system will not let me see myself as a victim, however. My spirit which chose to be born into a Metal body under Wood astrology.  My tendency toward weak lungs and overactive liver energy brings experiences into my life so this conflict can be played out, and my spirit can transcend the places I am stuck.

I started going to an acupuncturist many years ago to treat my lung weakness. My intentions were merely physical at the time, until I saw potential to work through underlying reasons for the weakness. I am a spiritually-minded person anyway, and the process of working with my temperament, addressing the conflicts within my life, appealed to me. It felt empowering. It gave me understanding and greater insight into who I am. I learned what parts of my self I should cultivate to strengthen my constitutional weaknesses and balance the areas I was over-active in.

I’ve used acupuncture as a way to begin to understand myself. I’ve also used it as a way to clean up my life, create resolution, work through conflicts. It has been a positive by-product that my physical body has also strengthened.

I no longer suffer from chronic asthma. My digestive problems have disappeared. My compulsive tendencies are easing. The deep, unconscious depression and sadness I lived with for years, is gone. I feel fully supported by the universe, in touch with my spirit. I am working through my poverty-minded belief system. I sleep well. I am able to be productive and successful in a world in which I no longer feel alienated.

These have been revolutionary, life-changing shifts for me. When I first went into acupuncture treatment, all of these areas were big problems in my life. I used to feel very weak. Now I feel strong.

It is a blessing to be able to support others through their transformative process. It is fulfilling to have a part in helping people’s pain and physical symptoms disappear. It is truly joyful to witness someone transform their life, find their spirit and let go.

Nicholas Sieben, MS, L.Ac.

Nicholas is a healer who uses acupuncture and reiki to help awaken and heal. His mission is to promote greater freedom of body, mind and spirit through compassionate self-awareness. Through the use of ancient medical practices and the spiritual philosophies of Taoism and Buddhism, Nicholas helps illuminate the path to healing. He is a student of the renown Taoist priest and Chinese Medical Master Jeffrey Yuen. He completed his acupuncture studies under Mr. Yuen at the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences, and received a B.A. from Brandeis University in Sociology and Philosophy. He has a practice in New York City.

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