Carob Trees and Community Acupuncture

Lately I've been doing a lot of reading about things that have nothing to do with Chinese Medicine. The funny thing is that even when I am not reading about things directly related to CM there is often a connection for me.

I found this passage in a book that refers to the Babylonian Talmud. It tells the story of an old man who was seen planting a carob tree. As the king rode by he called out “Old Man, how many years will it be before that tree bears fruit?” The old man replied “Perhaps seventy years.” The king asked “Do you really expect to be alive to eat the fruit of that tree?” “No,” answered the old man, “but just as I found the world fruitful when I was born because my ancestors planted for me, so I plant trees for my children's children.”

This passage has been knocking around in my head ever since I read it. I think that this sentiment is common amongst many indigenous cultures as well as many religions and I love the way that it is expressed in this passage. To a large extent modern western culture has all but lost this core value, to do for the sake of doing, because it is the right thing for someone other than yourself.

The old man is this passage is not only an altruist, but he recognizes himself as a part of a continuum of which his ancestors and his future children are a part. This ancient sense of social responsibility was not something unusual, it's just what you did. It was deeply ingrained in the cultures because it was necessary for both the healthy functioning as well a survival of a community.

Sometimes I wonder why I get so excited when I hear about a new community acupuncture clinic opening, or the various successes at the clinics. I think it is because it speaks to my desire to see people do things because it is the right thing to do, not only for themselves, but for everyone that came before them and will come in the future.

Through community acupuncture you are able to touch so many lives, even beyond the patients in the chairs. These new institutions that are being created serve a purpose that is not limited to just that patient in the chair, there's really no telling how vast the impact may be.

Thanks for listening to the potentially mad ramblings of my third trimester.


Author: bmiller

It is hard to stay where it started. Perhaps it was deep down in Blythe Miller's roots in the 19th century Russian proletariat. Perhaps it was deep in a Qi Gong fueled meditative state. Hell, maybe it was something her dog told her. At any rate, it became crystal clear to Blythe that regular people have a really hard time getting access to quality healthcare, especially acupuncture. And she has made it a priority to bridge that gap through promoting Community Acupuncture. She is currently slogging her way through the Masters program at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.

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  1. right thing to do

    Thanks for sharing this Blythe.  Beautifully expressed wisdom.


    Cynicism is a smokescreen for laziness and fear. Clear light mind awaken! Pierce through all layers of doubt and delusion! Inspire me onwards in ceaseless waves of selfless activity.