Meridians: The Sequel

Even as I was posting “In Search of My Meridians,” I had the feeling that I’d have to write a sequel—and that it wouldn’t be titled “I Found Them!!!”

And, indeed, I soon concluded that I simply could not do the process I was attempting, which involved standing for up to 45 minutes with hands at shoulder level, facing the chest, and elbows a bit lower.

In his book “Heavenly Streams: Meridian Theory in Nei Gong,” Damo Mitchell says that if you stand like this enough times with your awareness resting gently on a particular meridian’s “source point” either at the wrists or the feet, you will become aware of the path of that meridian as a narrow tube beneath your skin.

I had hoped that this technique would enable me to feel my 12 organ meridians more precisely than I do now when I do the Yi Ren Qigong exercises that target organ meridian pairs.

However, as I have aged, I have spiraled down around a curve in my spine, and my body is now too far out of alignment for standing in the manner prescribed to be anything other than an ongoing struggle with muscles that want to resume doing what they’re accustomed to doing.

I don’t think it’s possible to hold a meridian source point in awareness with any sort of equanimity when one is engaged in combat with one’s body. At least I was not able to do it, and I was beginning to dread my qigong practices.

I don’t blame Damo Mitchell for my failure. He does say in his first book, “Daoist Nei Gong,” that you need to clean up your body’s alignments before you begin to do any serious internal energy work, and he offers some techniques for doing this—which I guess is the “square one” I must return to.

I doubt I can make the curve in my spine go away, but perhaps I can reverse some of the changes that have occurred in recent years—which would be a good thing for western medical reasons as well as for the flow of qi.

So I do intend to work on straightening out my body, both within and outside my qigong practice.

I will also devote some time to massaging the various “source points” which Mitchell says are where the 12 organ meridians will begin to reveal themselves, and I will keep doing the Yi Ren organ meridian exercises without worrying about precisely where the meridians are. (Just relax and enjoy, Barbara.)

I may or may not return to Damo Mitchell’s standing meditation approach to getting in touch with one’s meridians at some future date. Perhaps, for me, it is simply too direct.

My most profound energy experiences seem to come when I’m not trying to make anything happen—and then what does happen is something that never even would have crossed my mind as a possibility.

I had one such experience a couple of weeks ago as a student in a Level I Yi Ren Qigong class. We were doing an exercise that involves bringing attention to major energy centers, including, briefly, the Earth Center, in the perineal area at the bottom of the torso.

I hadn’t been doing that exercise at home because I didn’t much like it, but the class was doing it, and so I was doing it—and oh, my goodness, when we got to the Earth Center, I felt not just the Earth Center in general, but a very specific spot on the perineum which I think must have been the huiyin point, located between the anus and the genitals. I knew such a spot existed, but I’d never given much thought to finding or experiencing it.

Why did I feel it that evening? I have no idea.

Perhaps my energy body just likes to surprise me. Or maybe it wants to remind me who’s boss….

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