Michael Konigsberg – A commitment to medicine, to healing
Frankly, what led me to choose Emperor’s College was convenience. I was moving back home intended to transfer schools. The two schools worth consideration in Greater Los Angeles were Yo San University and Emperor’s College, and of these Emperor’s College was the only one whose fall term began when Mercury was not retrograde. Decided, done. However, there is no decision in life — however seemingly cursory — without higher guidance. I did, after all, investigate the college to vouchsafe its suitability for my standards, and it checked out: academic rigor, community among students (who are reasonably happy), philosophy built into all core curriculum classes, and a pervading appreciation of energetics and “spirituality” (term to be defined in a subsequent essay).
On healing and transformation
There was something else I couldn’t articulate, but intuited — that I was meant to be at Emperor’s College to continue my lessons… All these qualities were prerequisites for the work I want — no, am compelled — to do. After I was diagnosed HIV positive in 2006 and elected not to take pharmaceutical drugs, after myriad other health problems manifested in the wake, after I answered the call to healing work and entered my Master’s of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program, I identified a single-pointed purpose. Through a healing crisis, my life was now about uniting the single-pointed movement of Spirit with the physical body, and, thus, my life didn’t belong to me anymore. I needed to give what I had attained in my path to others via speaking, sharing, and helping. In completing my spiritual curriculum to help others at similar turning points of wellness, I decided that Emperor’s College would help me attain the tools I needed.
Education is the healing of the karmic wound, which yields the joint gifts of empowerment and wisdom to give to humanity. It does so because to raise and expand consciousness is to do the same to the entire human being that is its dependent creation — and the physical life catching up must go beyond its limits in this, and this is transformation. We at Emperor’s College all transform in completing our curriculum, a word that here carries both academic and metaphysical meanings. The demands of the program are formidable, and, in the work, we are brought to face our shadows/wounds/limits; compelled to surpass them, we heal emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. My experience has been no exception.
Yet, I have powered into my process with steady fortitude, and the yield is showing itself exceptional. It’s an existential imperative – maybe compulsion – that I feel to be present enough to internalize the philosophical lessons, both overt and subtle, in every class. I contemplate the struggle in the limbo spaces between classes and meals and commutes, allowing the constructive energies to sink into my blood and jing — along with some destructive unnecessary emotions — and release the dross over time. I make some room for joy when I can.
“I am becoming this medicine”
I achieve good grades overall, though I indulge in tiredness some quarters and perform the less. More importantly, I am becoming this medicine. The reason I continue is the same call that compelled me to apply at first, which is the same that drives me to finish and then to practice as a doctor: Healing is a universal phenomenon larger than my personal curriculum, where the Higher Consciousness leads physical life to a more authentic vibration freer from suffering, and to which I pledge my life simultaneously as a part of the matrix, as a living example, and as a mere servant.
Founding Mission of Emperor’s College
Of course, one’s inescapable karmic lessons are found wherever one goes, and the choice of one school over another could be arguably moot. Still, Emperor’s College is my apparent destiny. Here is the perfect arrangement of personalities, friendships, frictions, teachers, confusion, fulfillment, existential darkness and light, blessings, and inspiration to charmlpushlforce me to become my Higher Self. Such transformation is a matter of survival, since that which does not evolve dies (in a way that is never quick and painless). After all, the founding mission of the college from Dr. Bong Dal Kim is to become a superior doctor through personal growth and change. In his founder’s message on the school webpage, he references an I Ching treatise on the Liver and Gall Bladder regarding the balancing of personal emotions. Processed through the Liver, emotions in balance reflect a soul in harmony with change and the Universe, and a positive and happy flow of Qi is the result; unbalanced emotions indicate resistance and stagnant Qi, expressed as repression, frustration, and anger.
The Gall Bladder is responsible for releasing those unnecessary emotions and sending the constructive ones to work in the internal landscape. With such a founding intention, is it a wonder to hear constant talk of Liver Qi stagnation as we all struggle to balance school with personal spiritual, mental, emotional and physical wellness? Emperor’s College is a crucible of sorts; many of us get cranky under the weight and don’t always get on well with each other when personalities are incompatible, or we may seek to isolate as a defense and coping mechanism. Those who succeed in balancing and purifying attain the Gall Bladder courage and Liver flexibility — and the peace of the still, centered Heart’s Shen that houses it all in order to transmit the light of healing to others. I have been my best and my worst in balancing my emotions in my curriculum at Emperor’s College, verging on Dissociative Identity Disorder. And this is the gift in action.
Gall Bladder Spirit shuttles me back and forth in rooting out, like the acupoint Ben Shen, the shadows of bad humor, and then spurting forth the bile of courage and commitment. I hear I give others the impression of the peaceful, “free and easy wanderer” (leaving me flummoxed), so I must be doing something right. But this to me is the heart of my education. My parallel commitments to the balancing and purification process and to studying acupuncture and formulae, however taxing, are mutually enhancing. The commitment is one and the same — to medicine, to healing. Asking how I will use all this, my education and skills to fulfill the college mission, feels a bit much at this stage in the game. I just want to be here, now, and pass my pre-clinical exam.
A channel of healing
But I confess I dream somewhat grandiose dreams of being a channel of healing. Dreams led me to this point, so I’ll confess them. Given the challenges to healtlithat I and my colleagues all face while studying, working, aid~facing doubts and exhaustion and endless spiritual crises, I know that these challenges are Universal, are beyond and include my little incarnation, and I must honor this principle and give my life in service to others with similar needs. I want to work on Indian reservations and serve a displaced and ignored population. I want to work in community acupuncture to make holistic, safe, effective health care available to the majority of citizens who happen to be priced out by a market- and insurance-driven economic system. I want to practice privately and specialize in HIV care and gastroenterology and psycho-emotional health.
I want to work in pediatrics in any number of physical and emotional childhood diseases, ministering to the souls at such tender and vulnerable points in development, where so much is made and broken and saved. I want to organize teaching Tai Ji and Qi Gong to children and adolescents to empower them with discipline and consciousness in their health and development. Going further, I want to open a multi-modality wellness center in a bucolic setting, where people may come for short or long-term healing programs for an array of chronic illnesses – immune dis-orders, cancer, obesity, psycho-emotional disturbances, gastrointestinal dis-orders, sleep dis-orders, toxic body burden… This center would implement acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, functional medicine, chiropractic, massage, nutrition, Tai Ji, Qi Gong, mindfulness meditation, color/light and sound/music therapies, feng shui, nature walks, art therapy, fun and games, and more.
“I dream big”
Chinese medicine’s Five Pillars – nutrition, movement, meditation, acupuncture and moxibustion, and herbs – address the whole person to pass through the healing crisis and achieve wellness. I intend to pull out all the stops in assembling comprehensive, individually-tailored protocols. I dream big, but for what else have I come to Emperor’s College but to become my most superior doctor and give the best I can transmit?
But to achieve these things, I must continue and commit to my curriculum. I’ll have to finish my be educated. I must purify and balance. Mostly, I intend to share. I want share my story and lend my voice. I will speak of my path and the work I’ve done in my curriculum, the failures, the epiphanies, the little victories, the common-sense-defying choices, the listening I strive to do to my Higher Guide, and the constant reflection, the constant journeying. I think that what I have to say, others would benefit from hearing. I think I can be a model for others to give their entire beings to the medicine of whole-person education, to consciousness, to total healing and, thus, to greater service to the liberation from suffering of more and more of the planet. Is this too much to ask?
I among others will give my life to the transmission of healing work, with joy. We will not see the complete transformation of the planet within this go-round of the wheel. But we continue the work of our prior masters, and our followers will also. Even if I never even rent one room in another doctor’s office and am an itinerant healer on reservations and give talks in high-school classrooms, I will be part of the plan. Even here, now, at Emperor’s College – in classes, at work in the clinic, and crossing paths with schoolmates in the in-betweens of our personal dramas – I am part of it as I do my own double-meaning curriculum and share what I am.
The plan is never too much to ask, as long as you live your curriculum, your education, your path of work, your way of necessary service from the Heart. Knowing this, what else would I do?