Episode 7

Published on:

6th Jun 2024

Looking for the Root, in Medicine, Qigong, and Religion

Cynthia Li, our interview partner for this episode, is a biomedical doctor who I have been dreaming of asking questions for several years now, ever since our mutual friend Michael Lerner introduced me to her work. She is a biomedical doctor, specializing in functional and integrative medicine. She is also a qigong practitioner who studies and performs what she calls “qigong consciousness healing” or “collective field qigong.” She is the author of two books: an incredibly honest and courageous biography of her own intense healing journey published in 2019 and titled “Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Disease”, and the recently published “Mingjue Awakening: Teachings on Pure Consciousness, Collective Field Qigong, and Energy Healing.” I hope you note down these titles and get a hold of both of them when you are finished listening to this podcast. I find them incredibly relevant to many of the most salient conversations in the field of Chinese medicine as practiced in the West. The links are also in the shownotes.

This episode is the first half of our interview with Cynthia, with the second half to follow in two weeks. It seems to me like this whole conversation circled around Cynthia’s quest for the root: for the root causes of her patients’ conditions in her medical practice, for the root in her own healing journey, for the root in her qigong practice, and, in an unexpected turn, for the root in the Christian teachings she received from her Chinese parents. Most importantly, in the context of true healing, she suggests that we track down the sometimes hidden threads in each of our lives, including our traumas, that lead to our true inner work, in a playful way, like a scavenger hunt.

Being both a traditionalist and a scientist who appreciates long-term observational study, her work seems to dance between the pursuit of the true, enduring essence and the creative manifestation and application thereof in the moment, whether she is looking at her medical or qigong practice, her life journey, her spiritual interest in Christ consciousness, or the authentic transmission of her teacher’s wisdom.

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About the Podcast

A Pebble in the Cosmic Pond
Old and New Stories from China's Healing Traditions
Tune in every other week for inspiring, joyful, and informative conversations on transforming ourselves, our communities, and the world, in the spirit of ancient Chinese medicine, spirituality, and philosophy. Separating fact from fiction, we aim to bring you medicine from China's distant past, translated here to meet YOUR needs today, in clinic and beyond.
I am your host, Dr. Sabine Wilms, medical historian, recovering university professor, and author and translator of more than a dozen books on the Chinese healing arts, from gynecology and pediatrics to medical ethics and materia medica, published by Happy Goat Productions. In addition to writing, I teach and mentor at https://www.imperialtutor.com/, about the roots of Chinese medicine and its larger cultural background. In addition, I will bring in insights from my checkered past as a biodynamic goat farmer and musician, all under the banner of my favorite phrase, “cosmic resonance,” a.k.a. the Chinese ideal of harmony between the three realms of Heaven, Earth, and Humanity. I really love to inspire people and spread around some good vibrations, which is what I aim to do in this podcast, with the assistance of some of my favorite clinical and academic colleagues, friends, and guides, like Leo Lok (our self-proclaimed "Purveyor of Multiple Perspective") and Dr. Brenda Hood, master physician and specialist in all things Daoism.

New episodes will generally drop twice a month, with a free one on the new moon and a bonus one for Imperial Tutor members on the full moon. Check out https://www.imperialtutor.com/membership for more information on my mentorship. Episodes will be roughly an hour long and will follow the format of what you may already be familiar with as the Imperial Tutor’s Tea Time Talks: loosely structured conversations that provide education, inspiration, and connection. If you want to be notified of new episodes, why don’t you subscribe to my newsletter at https://www.happygoatproductions.com/connect?
Here are our three main goals:
1. Bridge-building: We gather to explore the liminal sweet spot, in between Heaven and Earth, the distant past and the present moment, East and West, the clinic and the academy, the healer and the scholar, the discernible and the unfathomable, oral lineage and written text, and, ultimately, between Yin and Yang.
2. Collaboration: The treasure house of traditional Chinese medicine is bigger than any single person's expertise, no matter how vast. We actively pursue and embrace a diversity of opinions so that we can collectively deepen our understanding.
3. Authentic Transmission: Translation, from the past to the present, from Chinese to English, from texts to clinical application, etc., invariably involves an alteration and adaptation of the original message. How do we stay as true as possible to the insights expressed in the ancient Chinese texts while still making sense to our listeners? We invite you to consider the creative challenges of this task with us.

Potential future topics include: Meditation Sickness and Qigong Psychosis; The Difference Between Responsibility and Fault; Daoist and Confucian Perspectives on Humanity's Role Between Heaven and Earth; The Creation, Development, and Transmission of Medical Knowledge and the Dangers and Benefits of Lineage; Buddhist Perspectives on Reality and Expedient Means; The Wuwei Way; The Weasel and the Yak, and The Frog in the Well; Simple Questions: How to Read the Classics; The Cosmos in Six Lines: The Yijing as a Tool of Healing; Translation, Transmission, Transcendence, Transcreation; Pointing to the Moon: How to Name the Unnameable; Should Return and A Hundred Meetings: What's in a Name; The Fish’s Delight: The Limits of Sense Perception; Clear Talk: Creating Light in Dark Times; Reverberations of the Valley Spirit; Lotus in the Mud: Buddhism and Medicine...
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About your host

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Sabine Wilms

I am the producer, manager, director, and (whether I like it or not) person in charge of this podcast. I take full responsibility for this project and vision but do not necessarily agree with anything anybody else says on my podcast, whether it is framed as an opinion or a fact. You can find out more about my books at happygoatproductions.com, my mentoring at imperialtutor.com, my classical Chinese offerings at translatingchinesemedicine.com, and my gynecology courses at traditionalChinesegynecology.com.