The theoretical basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has its’ roots in ancient Taoist philosophy.
Through Taoist meditation practices, as well as astute observation of the body and the environment, the Taoist sages mapped the energetic pathways of the body, as well as the interaction between the body and the myriad influences found in nature. At the time of conception, the pattern for the human energy flow precedes the materialization of the physical body, serving as an energetic blueprint for the embryo. The mapping of the acupuncture pathways and other energy flows were intended for use as a spiritual practice as well as a medical model. Meditation on the energetic pathways, for the purpose of moving “Qi” and clearing all energy flow, is an aspect of the Taoist practices for spiritual self-cultivation. It is said that if one can circulate Qi through special meridians, then one’s energetic state returns to that of a fetus; free of blockage and psychic debris.
The process of opening and circulating Qi through these channels through meditation carries the potential of offering to the conscious mind the psychic blockages impeding a free flow of energy. The very nature of acupuncture is to move stagnant energy, and as a therapeutic treatment, it carries the potential of opening blockages that may be generated by, or intertwined with, psychological issues, as well as patterns of belief that prevent us from experiencing genuine happiness and inner peace.
As we encourage the free flow of Qi through the body/mind via acupuncture needles or meditation, we invite energy flow into areas of blockage. It is commonly known that energy and blood flow follow conscious awareness, as in the case of increasing blood circulation by focusing the mind on a particular area. We can invite awareness, and therefore healing potential, into the physical body by encouraging energy flow to a particular area, via acupuncture, concentration, or other hands-on healing modalities. To invite the free flow of Qi into an area of blockage holds the possibility of catalyzing emotional content related to blocked energy into conscious awareness on a feeling level. Once the emotions are allowed to surface, one may recognize the belief systems, which are woven into our emotional pain. This offers the opportunity to reframe beliefs and thoughts that no longer serve us.
A relaxed and safe therapeutic setting allows the opportunity for awareness and curiosity to sink into the body. When the mind meets the holding patterns of the body through neutral, non-judgmental mindfulness, then the unconscious mind feels safe to offer into conscious awareness the themes, or belief systems which generate holding patterns.
After years of working with the body, it seems to me that many chronic symptoms have their psycho-emotional counterpart. I see the body as a dream, as symptoms beg for interpretation just as in the dream world. The Native Americans believe that if you can‘t work out your problems in your dreams they will manifest in the body. I believe that the more we can be neutrally curious yet compassionate towards ourselves and our dis-ease, the more we open up the window of communication from the unconscious.
Acupuncture and other healing modalities are catalytic to personal transformation by encouraging and gently nudging our growth process. The body/mind has it’s own organic timing for release of old patterns, when we have the intent of allowing the shadows within to surface. I once had a dream that a great healer came to me and said that he would eliminate any physical energy blocks that I wanted him to take away. I thought about it and realized that even though these blockages manifested as nagging pains in my body, I could not simply let them go without first making peace with their content.
As difficult as our suffering can be on this planet, I often remember the words of my favorite Jungian analyst, “The wound is the window through which the spirit enters.” So be it.