" /> Eric Hayward – AAHW

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In the fall of 2006 I unexpectedly lost a job. With two kids, a mortgage, and a full-time student for a spouse, I am the only breadwinner in our family. The bottom had truly dropped out. It was the perfect time to do something seemingly courageous, unexpected and risky, but in fact, utterly sane.

In the summer of 2007 I enrolled in the Masters program at AAAOM. Reality is constant change; there is no better system to understand change at its most fundamental level than Chinese medicine. Still so early in the program, this is the kind of information I am absorbing-the philosophical and historical layers. Sometimes during lectures I get a feeling for the thousands of years of careful observation, testing and theory behind these mind-blowing statements of fact about the secret life of my internal organs, for example. The idea that human life is a process of change, connected with nature, rather than the sum total of its physical parts, has been the most profound piece of learning I’ve received.

Actually, my old assumptions about life started to prove false some time ago. Even before I lost that job. I had already stumbled across the realizations that life is short and often difficult, that there is much suffering in the world, and that the happiness I seek in egotistical pursuits will continue to elude me, through an unexpected encounter with Buddhism. Losing the job showed me those truths more plainly than any theory. Enrolling in AAAOM was my way of taking action, making a conscious decision to step outside my adopted worldly nature into my birthright as a human being. Through my education I can learn to better understand myself and the world, and in doing so, help others.

I am most grateful for the way my study of TCM, at this unique institution, deepens my understanding of practices like meditation and Tai Chi, showing how “spiritual” ideas can take form very practically in the world. I don’t believe I could have this quality and depth of learning at a school lacking the authentic traditional qualifications of the AAAOM faculty.

With these words I wish that all beings might receive such a life education. But without having to get fired first.


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