Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks





Gone Publishin'
by Brian Benjamin Carter, MS, LAc

Brian is the founder of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine. He teaches at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and maintains a private practice in San Diego, California, and is the author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.

"We read that 'knowledge puffeth up.' How can knowledge make us proud? There's no truth in pride. If our knowledge is true, then it ought to make us humble. If humble, then holy."

- Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Going Out on a Limb

As I endeavor to get you more healing information and help, I am conscious of the fact that you are conscious of me, the healer, the writer, the authority.

There is great potential controversy and danger in becoming an authority of any kind. I've heard on the radio that Americans trust 'experts' less than they used to. So, there's no guarantee that being considered credible and expert will get your message through.

Plus, as soon as you try to distinguish yourself for doing good, you get accused of presumption and ego, you become a great object of resentment for those who would like to do more but do not, and people suspect you of being a fake in some way, and some of the more twisted individuals go so far as to make up stories about you and spread them as gossip. Anytime you lead, you make the best decisions possible, and you open yourself up for criticism.

Why would anyone put themselves through all that?

For myself, I can say that I know I am a teacher. I love to read and think and investigate ideas and therapies, try them out, ascertain their value, and then communicate what I find to others so that they may be helped. I've done enough writing and teaching and public speaking now to know that I love the whole process, that whole feedback loop. So, I've found my calling: to find things that help people, and then to teach them to them.

To reach a lot of people, you have to become that 'authority' I mentioned above. Fortunately, I have developed a pretty thick skin, and I check my motives frequently for greed, narcissism, sloth, and so on.

So, let's go back to that Merton quote…

Did Writing My Book Puffeth Me Up?

I've just sent my book off to the publisher. I've just completed an arduous journey in search of knowledge and the best way to communicate it. I'd like to tell you why that knowledge has made me more humble.

First, I am not proud of the information because much of it comes from others. I'm standing on the shoulders of giants who include Huang Di (The Yellow Emperor), Zhang Zang Jing (authors of the first medical herbal text in 200AD), Li Dong Yuan (the great gastroenterologist), William Osler (father of modern Western medicine), Albert Schweitzer (Nobel peace prize winning physician), and Hippocrates (father of Western medicine).

I've simply put that information in good order and made it digestible and easy to use. But the way I did that comes from more giants. Strunk & White, William Zinsser taught great writing, and Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich), Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), and Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking) pioneered the easy to use self-help format.

Everything I did to create Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind, I learned from someone else.

King Solomon said, "There's nothing new under the sun."

True enough. But there's something relatively new in Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind. I believe it's the first time that Chinese medicine has met and mingled with one of America's greatest skills: hype.

Relax, I don't mean to say that I've hyped it beyond the truth. I just mean I've made it accessible to modern, MTV-shaped, soundbite-fed minds. I've made it familiar to my target audience, who are mostly women between the ages of 25 and 55. True, there are others outside this group, and the book works fine for anyone, any gender, any age.

When you look at the other general audience books about Chinese medicine and acupuncture, you don't see anything akin to Andrew Weil's Spontaneous Healing, or Deepak Chopra's Perfect Health. That's what I set out to do: to write a book like those based on Chinese Medicine.

But, like a literary yenta, I also married it with the style of Think and Grow Rich, and Power of Positive Thinking. That means action steps, questions for reflection, and summaries at the end of sections. I even added quizzes to help you evaluate your health habit savvy.

Walk Your Talk, Talk Your Walk

"NOW!…" (to quote Bill Cosby) I still have to promote the book and teach what's in it. There's that authority thing again.

I heard somewhere that not to many people should become teachers, because they're more harshly judged. Teachers have a responsibility to be accurate, to care about their students, and to practice what they preach.
Fortunately, I'm already passionate about accuracy. I check academic sources and medical research. I credit them when I quote them. I know I care about my students because I already teach medicine here in San Diego, and I teach other subjects one on one to the people I mentor: things spiritual, public speaking, and leadership.

But do I practice what I preach?

I'm honest in my book that my biggest failing is in my eating habits. I'm working on it though. And that's what I preach: progress, not perfection. I try to walk my talk.

There is a temptation, when you promote your authority, to appear to be perfect. Not only is that not my style, but also, it doesn't make sense. Eventually, someone will catch you screwing up, and you'll be ruined. Not only that, but people will hate you more than most authorities, because they want to tear you down to their level. They want to unmask the wizard, to see if the emperor is wearing any clothes.

So I'm more than happy to talk my walk, to tell you what I really do. Not only is it easier to come up with material, but it also takes the pressure off!

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About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor