The first thing I wrote in the first line of my first book was I'm a charlatan and a fraud. And why not? We all are at some level; its all a grand charade. But what Im also sharing is ancient Taoist wisdom and techniques for attaining health, longevity and peace of mind, so even though I may be as full of shit as the next person what Im purveying is actually of some value. Because of that understanding, I feel confident enough to not give a damn what people call me - that's their business. And thats why Im able to use the travelling medicine show gag in the first place.
The travelling show medicine gag hes referring to is the artwork for an upcoming healing show hes presenting at the Lowry Theatre in Manchester, which presents the Doc as modern day equivalent of a 19th century snake oil charmer. And with his multitude of self-help books, perfume range, thriving online community and regular TV and radio high profile appearances hes got all the assets though as hes the first to admit, the key to identifying real charlatans is gut instinct.
Your belly always knows best and you should always listen to the sensation in your gut in respect of gauging other people and whether you can trust them or not, he intones.
If your belly feels cold and constricted around them or when you think of them, you can be sure they're bad news for you no matter how much you manage to deceive yourself on account of their plausible exterior. On the other hand, if you feel warm and relaxed in your belly about someone, they can be the biggest gangster on the planet but you can be assured they're good news for you personally. Always trust your belly, he stresses,
Also Skrufffs in-house advisor/ impromptu agony uncle, the Doc also makes chillout music which also comprises a significant part of his upcoming show, under the guise of sonic healing.
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): What exactly is this sonic healing youre offering visitors?
Barefoot Doctor: It's something I've been working on as a musician for over 25 years - it started surfacing when I was making deep trip (beat-less) music on PolyGram in the mid 80s and was experimenting with various drone sound combinations - we used to use those mammoth monitors in the studio and I could literally feel the various frequencies vibrating in different segments of my body - combining that with melodic feel and soul so it isn't just dry science but art and with my knowledge and experience as a doctor of Chinese medicine and expert in how energy flows in the body, and it resulted in the sounds Ive built for the show, for which we'll be using earthquake bins to make the place properly rumble - 90 minutes of pure theatrical guided chill-out.
Skrufff: Youre performing in Salford: quite different from Londons private member haunt the Cobden club where I saw you last time, how different is it up there from your perspective, do northerners react any differently to your spiel?
Barefoot Doctor: My mum was born two miles from the Lowry Theatre and I spent half my childhood there, so Im actually half-Mancunian myself, with strong northern sensibilities. In fact, up north, it's more like in America: people have less airs and graces, can spot authenticity immediately and instantly respond - and are generally ready to have a great time providing what you're offering is from the heart, which this is, so I have no fears about that. Its not grim up north, either, it's actually colourful and warm - because of the people. I love it - it's the maternal root, so a fitting place to do my first ever-travelling medicine show. In June we'll be touring right round the UK.
Skrufff: Whats the best way for a person to discover his or her own ideal direction in life?
Barefoot Doctor: The best way to find your destined path is to let it find you. Be willing not to know where you're heading, other than to know you're choosing to go towards, say, success, love, fulfilment, abundance, health, peace, whatever, then simply follow your fascination like a small child. And wherever your fascination leads you, will be your optimal path to follow in life. Specifically, that means ignoring practical obstacles your rational mind invents and giving in to innocent clarity- i.e. letting go, relaxing and tuning in to whatever fascinates you the most in life. By following these natural urges in your body and exploring them fully, youll discover the practical way to realise what you want (the path for you, in other words) - it will reveal itself spontaneously for you. The key is not to force it.
Skrufff: And how should you handle people you dislike?
Barefoot Doctor: "At a certain stage of personal development, you learn to transcend personal preferences and to value every encounter, whether pleasant or not, to appreciate each experience as something precious, simply because it
constitutes your life at that moment and you value your life. This stage tends to occur around the time you come to terms with your mortality and realise you're going to die one day and you don't know when, hence you suddenly wake up and start appreciating what time you do have left. In this state of kind you won't bother wasting precious energy on upholding dislikes - you'll instead train yourself to see beneath the surface disguise of everyone you encounter (the surface being the level you find things to like or dislike about the person) - straight to their underlying ineffable spirit.
Skrufff: When does the end justify the means?
Barefoot Doctor: "The story of the world always unfolds through a combination of kindness and cruelty and from the human perspective it's often impossible to judge which is which, i.e. whether you're being cruel to be kind or kind to be cruel. Sometimes actions must be taken for the sake of expedience, whether considered cruel or kind - that's just the way it is and if these actions turn out in retrospect to have been cruel, they'll remain on the long list of irresolvable issues and form part of the complex tapestry of the mess and miracle of life. But no matter how extreme one's actions are for the sake of expedience, they can always be performed with or without compassion and mercy; and if performed with compassion and mercy, then time tends to be forgiving."
Barefoot Doctors Travelling Medicine Show takes place at the Lowry Theatre, Salford on Tuesday March 14.
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Jonty Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff.com)