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,
"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,
- 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
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:
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
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
Walk Your Talk, Talk Your Walk
" (to quote Bill Cosby) I still have to
promote the book and teach what's in it. There's that authority
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!