Most folks are reluctant to embrace acupuncture as a healing method. After all, the notion of being pierced anywhere on the body, including on the face or genitals, in order to mend, sounds scary in the least, mentally questionable at the extreme.
Despite the fact that the majority of acupuncture needles are placed on clients’ arms and legs, and despite the fact that such placement, in conjunction with conventional medical care, or instead of conventional medical care, helps quell pain, helps reduce the need for surgery, and helps minimize the need for prescription drugs, let alone actually cures so many major and minor ills, people remain squeamish about it. There are no long waiting lines, in western countries, for acupuncture.
Personally, I’ve successfully, b’ayin tova, employed this modality to help with herniated discs, torn menisci, liver disease, bronchitis, and much more. Friends of mine have successfully turned to acupuncture for relief from infertility, headaches, insomnia, blood sugar imbalances and other woes. All of us have found this kind of treatment to be effective, easy, and fairly inexpensive.
Nonetheless, our culture continues to see encouraging care providers to insert sharp objects into our bodies as an excessive choice. Individual testimonies notwithstanding, the greater portion of our modern population would rather be drugged and cut than “risk” getting punctured.
Analogously, the greater portion of our modern population would rather suffer trials and tribulations than release themselves to “cosmic acupuncture,” to small, focused repurposings of personal energy that can quickly and efficiently enable them to serve Hashem better and that can quickly and efficiently enable them to experience more joy and less suffering.
Most people believe that if they can’t sense proof of result, e.g. of the value of something as simple as acupuncture needles or of something as complex as Hashem’s ability to cure human troubles, they will neither believe in nor trust those processes. Said differently, active applications of faith, in general, and of gratitude, more specifically, are too often regarded as suspect.
Such a rejection of the available cosmic help is a pity. Trust in G-d might seem like a piercing move, but it is actually a restorative one. Gratitude is a balm for every human experience.
To clarify, I am not advocating shrugging off personal responsibility for our physical welfare or surrendering our spiritual selves to despair or nihilism. Passivity is not the same as “seeking treatment.” Rather, compliance with an unfortunate status quo is equivalent to “giving up, curling up, and dying.”
That is, I am referring to the active behavior of thanking The Boss for EVERYTHING in our lives. This kind of action IS our human means of: activating “alternative” heavenly responses, pulling ourselves past points where we our stuck, and enabling ourselves to climb past former, inner limits.
Sometimes, as is true with corporeal acupuncture, this way of bettering ourselves might sting for a very tiny duration. Sometimes, we will have to return, repeatedly, to our starting places in order to insure that we are “cured.” Almost always, though, we will benefit from adopting these “unusual” choices. Note: just as Chinese medicine has been around for millennia, so, too, has the Torah way of life.
Granted, it seems as contrary to be grateful for difficulties as it does to invite someone to stick needles into our ears or along the sensitive lengths of our fingers. Just as we are more apt to seek easy to swallow potions than to avail ourselves of procedures involving penetration of the skin with needles, we are more likely to resent that our Tatty in Shamayim has sent us health, financial, marital/dating, parenting, and other significant problems than we are to thank Him for doing so. It remains easier said than done to accept as true that little ouches, i.e. needles, or our intentional diminishing of our egos, can: heal bigger ouches, rectify our souls, and reroute us to the spiritual journeying most of us claim to be seeking.
Sometimes, it takes hopelessness to frighten us into acknowledging the worth of such solutions. For me, a tumor sent me to explore unconventional ways of being physically healed. A severe back injury, experienced later, sent me back and emptied my remaining caches of doubt.
In the spiritual realm, it took heartbreak, of various sorts, for me to risk the illogic of faith. How can Aibishter love me, I cried, privately, if some of my goings on are beyond the bounds of religion or if some of my actions are less than humane? Surely, my bad experiences are “punishment” for my real or imagined “crimes.”
Except the above is false; none of us can know which of our choices merit reward at any particular juncture and which merit censure. Human causality is not at all divine causality. Fools think they can grasp links and fools, ultimately, know epistemic misery.
The rest of us, Yours Truly included, are well advised to realize that G-d is not trying to hurt us, no matter the nature of the depths we experience. Not only can’t we control the universe, we can’t actually, deeply, comprehend it.
Further, if The Almighty isn’t trying to hurt us, then He is either watching us with disinterest or He is actively helping us. We know He is not passively watching; Hashem did not fashion creation and leave it to run itself. Moment by moment, he governs his handiwork. Therefore, if we are being intellectually honest, we are left to conclude that He cares and devotedly works to aid us.
Consequently, it’s good if we look to cosmic acupuncture as a remedy. Sure, it (temporarily) hurts to give thanks when life is not going according to our plans, but it permanently helps.
Humans undergoing significant transformation are necessarily enveloped in amazing energy. At the level of the body, stimulating certain points, visa via sharps, can bring healing. At the level of the soul, bringing on the pointed dissonance of gratitude in the face of adversity, too, can heal.