Stranger in a Strange Land
by Deborah Valentine Smith (originally printed in Jin Shin Do® Foundation Newsletter)
Recently I received a brochure in the mail that invited me to "cash in on the $13 billion Alternative Medicine Industry." This seminar promised an
overview of the professions and products available in this "new and lucrative" field. My gut response to this was a deep, sinking "Uh Oh." I
couldn't seem to clarify my feelings and get them down on paper, so I went to the old master, the I Ching.[I asked how this apparent popularization
of our work would affect it.] It spoke to me of the Wanderer and of Modesty. The warning was to be careful to remember that we are not at
home. When one is not at home, one may still find shelter, even acquire property. But one must always be alert and on the defensive because
one is always viewed as an outsider. By carelessness - by laughing and joking, not taking things seriously enough - even the temporary resting
place may be destroyed. Whether in a high position or a low one, the best approach is to be modest. There is no need to brag about
accomplishments and no need to avoid attention. The best position, the I Ching says, is to be interested in your work.
My client today had bronchitis and asthma--bronchial spasm. She is seeing a doctor who is giving her drugs, and an acupuncturist who is
needling her and giving her herbs. I asked her why she thought of getting a Jin Shin Do® session. She said that the other treatments were
effective but, "Jin Shin Do is different." She felt she needed body work
What was different about it?
She said she had been sick and stressed for long enough. "I need some hands-on assistance to release. Jin Shin Do® is focused attention.
Working points on your self is one thing, but being touched by someone else is different. It is an intersection of many fields. Touching another
vessel of life force makes new energies available. And Jin Shin Do®is pleasant. Well...not always, but frequently it induces a state of relaxation
that can be very opening. I'm ready to look at what this tightness is about."
The Jin Shin Do practitioner wanders through the hospitals and doctors' offices. "What do you do?" they ask. Remembering we are not at home,
we translate the language of energy fields into the language of medicine. We speak of the effects of energy flow on physical structure. We notice
physical manifestations. We address symptoms. And this is true. This is part of what we do.
Part of the skill of addressing symptoms is learning the diagnostics of Traditional Chinese Medicine, though we are careful to call it "assessment of
the energy condition" because we are not at home in TCM either. We don't address yin/yang, dry/damp, hot/cold, excess and deficiency in the
same way as acupuncturists or herbalists. "What do you do?" they ask. We speak the language of meridians and Extraordinary Vessels, of Eight
Principles and Five Elements, Six Divisions and Four Levels of Protection. We follow the flow of Qi. We assist in correcting imbalance and
opening blockages. And this is true. This is part of what we do.
As the blockages open, we work with deep emotions, memories and trauma. But we are not psychotherapists. "What do you do?" the therapists
ask. We talk about segments and emotional armoring; about body memory, meridians and emotions. We follow the Qi, we notice how the mind
tries to stop the feelings, stop the flow of Qi. We follow the workings of the mind back to the healthy core of the being. The true nature speaks.
The spirit makes itself known in whatever way necessary. We are on its side. And this is true. This is part of what we do.
But we are not ministers or priests or gurus. "What do you do?" the spiritual people ask. And we speak of the Shen, the light of the being and its
connection to Tao. Sometimes we translate Tao to God because it is the language of the land we are in. And this is true too. This is part of what
But we are not at home in any of these lands. When we attempt to set up permanent residence in any one of them or we lose our true resting
place; our nest will burn. Like the birds, our home changes from season to season. We may rest a while in this or that place, this or that discipline
or institution, but we carry our home with us. This is the miracle that is Jin Shin Do¨.
The I Ching, long before Heinlein, described the Stranger in a Strange Land. The Old Master's advice to the Stranger is to be modest. A stranger
has no large circle of friends. Not many are like him, so it is best for him not to give himself airs. "If through carelessness a man loses his cow,
i.e., his modesty and adaptability, evil will result." Modesty, when it is in a high position like the mountain, dispenses the clouds and rain that
gather round it and disperses light. Modesty, when it is in lowly position like the earth, is lifted up.
The superior man reduces that which is too much
And augments that which is too little.
He weighs things and makes them equal.
The I Ching says also that the plain - the area between the mountain and the valley - took a long time to achieve through these means of building
up the low and diminishing the high. In the end it seems easy of accomplishment and self-evident. This is the image of modesty.
Isn't this true of Jin Shin Do¨? It is a coming together of many elements. It is the lofty aspects of the spirit, the lowly material aspects of the
physical body. It has taken thousands of years to develop, yet seems "natural" as we practice it. The spiritual is not more important than the
physical/emotional. Neither is the reverse the case. Where a person is over focused on one to the detriment of the other, we help him/her to find
balance. This too is modesty.
How do we describe all this on an insurance form? When we are asked for a protocol for asthma or bulimia or arthritis, what do we say? Is there a
code for modesty? It becomes necessary to use the language required in the land in which we find ourselves. But we must remember that we are
visiting. We may speak the language fluently but we do not look or act the same as the natives. When we give up being ourselves, we lose our
true resting place.
"Jin Shin Do¨ is intuitive and spontaneous," my client said. "It is what it is." Not acupuncture, not bodywork, not therapy, not laying on of hands.
Yet all that. We can speak the foreign language and still remember from whence we come.
©2000-2016 by Deborah Valentine Smith