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The restorative power of meditation: a reflection

Written by Alf Zollo | Friday, 9 October 2020

chinese medicine tips and advice

Meditation is an ancient practice that has long been used as a tool of self-discovery and a way to cultivate inner peace.

As modern-day life is filled with social media, instant communication and constant distractions, it’s important to make time for mindfulness and to be present in the moment. Alf Zollo, one of our acupuncture students from Adelaide, shares his love for meditation and the benefits you will reap if you choose to introduce this practice into your day. And, in case you don’t work it out, he is also a passionate poet.

My life
Is the flower
Of my meditation.

No meditation,
No flower,
No life.

I have been practicing meditation for 25 years. This sounds like a long time, but I wasn’t born yesterday, and neither was the universe. At some point I wrote the poem above to describe my experience. I could write for days and days, page after page about meditation; but it will only be of benefit if it leads one person to one second of meditation.

The mind
is the longest bridge
to cross.
It never reaches
the other side.

There are many parts to our nature: our body, our feelings, our thoughts, our will. Sometimes these parts of our being cooperate and work together. Often, they do not. Remember, the basis of our profession is keeping the body a happy member of the team. It really took me some time to make friends with meditation and feel it was my answer to truly blossoming as a human.

Is the source
And the solution.

When we first take the time to go within, we are very unlikely to discover a world of immediate delight. Often, instead, wave after wave of thoughts break upon our awareness. Sometimes these thoughts are positive, but quite often, they are negative. And they may even harass us relentlessly, as a foe on the verge of defeat fights the hardest. The reality is we do not depend on thoughts for our survival – they depend on us for theirs.

Everything starts
And ends
With the breath.

As an acupuncture student, in first semester you learn the channels through which qi and blood flow. The lung channel comes first. (As far as channels go, for the beginner it is short and simple – only 11 points!) We start with the lung because the first act of life beyond the womb is a breath. This marks the beginning of our separate existence on earth. Our final breath is the key which opens the gate of death. Many are the breaths between these two moments.

Neither a parade of ignorance,
Nor a triumph of knowledge,
With the breath of my heart I bow.

Conscious awareness of the breath is a practical approach to developing a meditation practice. To concentrate on the breath entering and leaving the spiritual heart is a means to cultivate our own inner being and presence. In the channel system of Chinese medicine, there is an acupuncture point called shan zhong, which translates as chest middle. It is atop the sternum on the midline at the level of the nipples. This is the place I recommend centering the breath to meditate.

In the heart of the dawn,
Hope catches fire.

The foundation of Chinese medicine is the Huangdi Neijing. Author unknown, it is over 2000 years old. An early chapter describing the internal organs is titled, ‘The secret treatise of the spiritual orchid.’ In this treatise, the body is a kingdom and the heart is Emperor, the supreme ruler of life, where the radiance of spirit resides. If we consciously use our breath to enter into the heart, we empower our truest self. This will help us silence our thoughts and we can begin to cultivate peace, love and joy in our lives.

Why not
Think of love
Before anything else?
Why not
Worship love
And become
The heart of delight?

I hope you enjoyed this reflection and it inspires you to explore your own heart-world and the practice of meditation.

Alf Zollo

Alf Zollo is an acupuncture student from Adelaide, in his second year of study at Endeavour.

He is a passionate student when it comes to all things acupuncture and Chinese medicine, however, it’s his love for meditation that conquers all. He has hosted a series of meditation workshops for students and enjoys the mindfulness that the practice brings. Alf is also an avid writer and has recently self-published a book of poetry, which has been a personal goal of his for a long time. In his spare time, he also enjoys running and playing the shakuhachi (a bamboo flute instrument).

“If you do not begin, you will never finish.”

Read more by Alf Zollo