Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Medicine Man's Mountainside and other Meditations

My Taiwanese Family has a cousin who is a Chinese Medicine Doctor.
Though his English is slow-coming, I've enjoyed lengthy conversations each time he comes round to visit. We talk of his trade, and how he doesn't like to work a lot. He likes to enjoy life. When he discovered I had studied various Martial Arts, he told me his line of work teaches him to see Chi. This excited me to no end, and he's promised our next conversation will be in the aspects and application of Chi. When I told him I also enjoy writing, I thought briefly of this blog. Now, when he sees me, he asks if I'm working on my book yet.

One of our first conversations, he spoke of his slow-paced life. His cadence and tone authenticated his words. He said "While I was in School for Medicine, they taught us of Da-rwin. I do not like Da-rwin. He said 'The stonger man wins,' that 'society is getting better,' but I look around, and I don't see that." I understood. The Medicine Doctor continued, "I like Ye-su. He taught be kind to the poor man. Give to the poor man." To me, these were strong, unsolicited words for a Taiwanese Buddhist. I told him if I were ever to write my book, I want it to be filled with conversations like this.

In a global culture that says "More = a better life" he consciously pursues simplification. Successful in his career, the Doctor purchased the side of a mountain to make as his Retirement Home. Nearly untouched now, he plans to spend the next ten years preparing the grounds of his future home.

Today, the family and I met him at his mountain side for a picnic. Resolved to enjoy our excursion, we decided to ignore the fog and drizzle and make the most of what we had. The doctor brought out a hatchet and saw and within a couple minutes, we had a fire blazing from the dried brush and fallen bamboo we could uncover from the foilage.

It was a great way to spend the afternoon. A fair chance to open my lungs outside the Taichung smog, and touch nature again. There was a peace in our landing. I could see what attracted him to the mountain-life. It brought back the best of memories from my years as a Scout. I couldn't help but wonder if that's how it's supposed to be. Less city and smog. Less of "More". Living off the land, and relying on one's resources for sustainability.

I didn't come to a conclusion. Regardless, it was a welcomed break from the concrete-familiarity.

Steeping Tea

Road Side Landing: Perfect for a Picnic

Lunch by the fire


Gavin said...

The simple life is so fulfilling yet we are bombarded with the 'more complicated life', 'accumulate more stuff', its exhausting! These moments with nature I think are to be cherished, its great to hear about them.

I look forward to hearing about the chi too.

Blue in Green said...

I think man is such a greedy creature. This is such a beautiful view and your blog is fascinating. Can I link to your blog and follow what you are up to? I would like to. Please bring me back here?

Don said...

Good post. I especially like the first and last pictures as well.

I think that the perception of life in the materialistic fast lane is overstated in the media.

I think it is very easy to become the change you want to see. No one will stop you from being less consumeristic. (Other family members may protest, but you should be used to that anyway.)

It is possible to learn to navigate through life in a manner that suits you, even in the context of American society. In fact, American society affords much freedom to chart your course and realize your dreams.

floreta said...

it sounds like you are very lucky to know this man! i would love to have conversations with a monk.

i also have taken some martial arts (kenpo) and am considering taking up aikido. chinese medicine and chi is just fascinating stuff!

i hope you can get to write your book too, someday. :) i had never really considered myself a writer (even when i like to write; i have mostly just journalled, which i thought "didn't count"?). just recently starting to say 'yes! i am'. which has been amazing.

thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

Samantha said...

Oh, Chase. I am so envious of your conversations. Also, I am envious of the fog and drizzle. I look forward to hearing more of him [and you, naturally].

Gabriel Allen said...

Dude. That medicine man sounds awesome. I would definitely like to talk to that man someday.

Henry the Dog said...

My mum says you are SO lucky to have these experiences. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Every Photo Tells A Story said...

Wonderfully written story, Chase. How true that "more" does not always equate to a "better" life. It usually causes more problems. I'm sure your book will be a great read!