Purpose of Self Cultivation

This document is to be taken as a primary guidance in your personal development during the educational program you are following. Realize a few things when you have started this program:

- There is a preparatory BA program in which the field of Chinese medicines and practices is mirrored onto oneself and experienced and researched in different ways.
- There are MA professional skills programs in which groundwork is done in creating professional ability for general independent practice along creative lines of thinking as required in any medical and care profession.
- There is a doctorate specialization program for those who wish to excel beyond the ordinary and wish to play a role in the development of their profession

This means that study is a serious thing that consumes time and life activities to be successful.
On top of that it should remain at all times clear that goal setting is part of the decision of why you choose this program. Keeping that goal clear is very important. Developing long term and short term goals and strategies is therefore of detrimental importance. Students who fail to do this will not learn to monitor their progress and therefore are easily tempted to put themselves down (or grade themselves to high) according to the methods of thinking everyone has developed as a natural habit when still a child.

It should also be realized fully that the IOC in all respect is a ‘University of Chinese Medicines’ according to the best of European and Chinese traditions, is not orthodox and therefore requires personal flexibility or flexibility development to deal with a constantly changing professional climate for the Chinese medicines and Chinese medicines education.
The Chinese medicines are a cultural medicine that requires insight into the cultural ideologies of traditional and ancient Chinese medicines. All medicines are culturally determined because it is often the cultural view that determines ideas about health and disease. In our time due to the complex global developments, being aware of the interaction between different cultural views is of high importance. To do so we have included sociology and cultural, medical and psychological anthropology to our program. On top of that, Chinese medicines bring with them their own culture that is based on a worldview where self cultivation (and restraint) are core aspects. To be able to understand this it is important to develop insight in (amongst other things):

- traditional, ancient and modern medical practices,
- traditional, ancient and modern medical education,
- religion, philosophy and ethics,
- traditional, ancient and modern worldview and ways of politics

It should also be understood that medicine and education under all circumstances are primary service oriented care professions. In this time we cannot permit ourselves to develop and maintain traditional chauvinist programs where care and medicine are separated because of ideological prejudice or presumptions. In CM care and medicine are at all times intertwined. Care (eventually) extends itself to:

- Self
- Fellow students
- Fellow practitioners
- (Future) clients
- (Future) students
- Society
- Nature
- Worldview
- Behavior
- Study
- Skill development and maintenance

This listing is not complete and the practice of this is exhausting and should be pondered over many times before it is fully grasped how extensive exactly. One of the main reasons why it is so exhaustive is because service oriented professions are very demanding and exhaustive when done only in a semi conscious way. Semi conscious behavior is on the long run destructive behavior in any profession because it enlarges the change of making mistakes, slacking, underachieving and so on. A service oriented profession demands pride, honor, personal warmth and excellence in understanding and professional skills. It does not need reward or professional achievement. Most people in a service oriented profession will always remain invisible and unrecognized for the great deeds they perform to society and the people in there. This is why the profession is demanding, and when that is accepted and integrated within the way of life eventually truly rewarding.

What needs cultivation?

People in care and medical professions like creative artists find their job emotionally exhausting, demanding. Main causes for this are confronting and problematic contacts with clients, students and so on. The Oriental College organizes her study program partly around these issues by means of self cultivation, which contains Qigong health and alchemy practices, ethical training, culture and social studies and so on. Each student needs to learn to take care of themselves in relationship to self, profession and society for three reasons:
- To understand the content of the Chinese medical theory
- To develop the appropriate medical and/or didactic skills
- To learn to deal with internal stress due to exhaustion and confrontational hazards

People very often do not realize that any care profession is truly demanding. It requires professional attitude, knowledge and skills, but also a continuous accumulating pressure from unsolved confrontations, being confronted with incapacity to deliver your job any time to full completion and so on. Most people do this by hiding between popular myths such as spiritual theories, work protocols and so on, not aware of the fact that these are part of the problem of dissatisfaction and growing insecurity. Talking about problems commonly does not help. Mostly it only aggravates the problem since talking generally stimulates sensation of dissatisfaction and irritation. Also they get better described. When one feels not understood or heard, one will aggravate the situation by overdoing it in expressing, therefore creating a falsification just to be heard: overkill. In self cultivation one learns modesty and internal dealing with problematic tensions, but that does not always come easy.

Part of the problem is that to be professional you need to hide your personal emotions from public view. Irritation, annoyance, insecurity, arrogance, dislike of the person(s) you’re working with is out of the question. As a therapist, doctor or teacher you are a true servant and are not allowed to let your personal needs go before that of the person that comes to you for advise, treatment or training. Why? It is unethical to do so. Why is it unethical? As a professional you are trained to be a service tool to others and to at all time perform to the best of your professional abilities, not to he best of your personal needs. Self cultivation addresses the connection of personal needs and professional skills and understanding. If this is not properly addressed in training by resolving personal physical, psychological and emotional issues the risk for burn-out and other chronic ailments are a strong professional hazard against which there is no insurance. Self cultivation is therefore also a tool to teach you dedication. Dedication again is again part of the development of professional ethics.

How to cultivate the good to blossom and to weed the bad?

Dedication shows you the need to willingness in study and personal development within professional skills.
- How does dedication express itself? Through discipline.
- How does discipline manifest itself? Through the eagerness to create space in your life to study and practice and sacrifice aspects of life that can hinder progress. One has to come that dedication is the fulfillment of life as ‘all free time to spend in the service of self and others’

So what do you need to cultivate yourself? The following is a general guide as to what methods you can use and are offered within the program. Sort out in what you are weak and strengthen that in yourself through this listing. Generally you will need cultivation activities like:

- Fitness training: Wudang fitness, Zhong Wujigong
- Tension controlling and guiding exercises: Zhong Wujigong I
- Strength boosting exercises: Zhong Wujigong II
- Sensitivity boosting exercises: communication qigong through internal gazing and internal massaging as well as communication with mind construction, circulations of qi by mind will, Zhong Wujigong, yuanqi and ling meditation
- Inner peace/silence and mirroring skills: Wuji and dantian meditations
- A theory that connects personal development and integrated Chinese Medicine and professional skills: Alchemy theory
- Goal orientation and maintenance: coaching and inner communication qigong for mind content, dedication development through practice (all practice is sacrifice, all regulating to life activities to develop goal orientation is also sacrifice)
- discipline and endurance: health and fitness as well as development in professional skills and theory
- Proper coaching and guidance: a professional self cultivator who lets you fight your own battles while explaining them to you
- Health all practices, theory and common sense healthy life style not risking your health through destructive habits

On cultivation time

On top of these you will need creativity: a natural talent to all the relaxed and able people, so that will be developed in time further when not naturally visible. For that quality you’ll need patience, study and practice, failing and succeeding: remember: in failing sometimes more can be learned then in succeeding! Learning is discovering and stepping over boundaries. Studying is a continuous experiment in which you alone can determine the outcome. Others can only be of influence to a degree, including your teachers.

To speak with Zhuangzi, an over two millennia old teacher of the Dao: ‘a weapon is as dangerous as the hand that holds it’. This means that it is your feel for yourself and the tools being offered that will determine if you fail or succeed in reaching your goals and in what period of time.

Everyone’s development needs the time it takes to bloom and mature into fruition, therefore the IOC program is constructed in such a way as to allow maximum educational freedom and informality. The minimum achievement limit to succeed is set by the school in respect to ancient traditions: high!

As far as the OC is concerned you will develop as fast as you can. When following the directions as set out in study advise and program, and spending all time you can, you can enter a doctorate program to specialize within a period of four years, in a very few cases in less, but more likely more when not creating enough time for yourself.