Greetings. Welcome to our Wednesday Qigong Exercises
Ancient Chinese Qigong self-massage exercises to activate energy channels and pressure points in the body and limbs. When performed routinely, these exercises are used to strengthen the body and to reduce tension, fatigue, irritation, frustration, and pain.
Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me!
A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time.
If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me!
If only I am keen and hard like the sheer tip of a wedge
Driven by invisible blows,
The rock will split, we will come at the wonder, we shall find the Hesperides.
What is the knocking?
What is the knocking at the door in the night?
It is somebody wants to do us harm
No, no, it is the three strange angels
Admit them, admit them.
The Center of the Psyche-Soma Connection
The heart chakra is arguably the great center of the psyche-soma connection. We strive to reconcile our abundant psyche to the restrictions and rightful size of the body. Here, at home in ourselves, our bodies reach upwards toward the wild spirit of the psyche. If we recognize the relationship between mind and body is an alchemical work – which is to say the primary material that makes up our soulful life – we open ourselves into a world of tending to the mysterious and deeply meaningful gratification that comes with true intimacy. How do we then find the harmony? Should love between these seemingly separate worlds serve as the active agent, our means and method, then the miraculous work begins!
The Great Mother
I love the water. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be in the swimming pool, the ocean, or the bathtub for a long as my mother would allow it. This hasn’t changed really. When I’m out sailing, the relationship with such a deep and mysterious world penetrates my heart space. I suppose it has always had something to do with the great mother – a womb so large and yet deserving of respect. To soak or sail the waters that nourish and soften the rough edges of life penetrates my psyche with perspective and reverent peace.
The Safe, Cleansing Womb
My first solo encounter with the psyche-soma connection through love happened during a hot shower. With warm water softening tension on my neck and upper back, in the safe womb that incubates the ritual of cleansing and self-care, I began to rub my own shoulders. In this moment I allowed myself to feel and receive the care that my conscious hands provided. My shoulders received and accepted the gift. I suddenly switched my attention to the hands themselves providing the love and care. A sense of duality overcame me as I recognized the duality of my nature. I could, in the same moment, give love and receive love. I was in that time the one I was meant to be with and the promises to take good care and invest my conscious effort in gratitude to myself seeded a profound truth.
The Heart Chakra
Known as the Anhata Chakra, the heart chakra resides at the space between the breasts at the center of the sternum. Associated with the energy of circulation, passion, and devotion, anhata holds the tension of opposites between mind and body, psyche and soma. Anhata is at the center of our auric body. The color of light to balance it is a bright grass-green. It is not traditionally associated with a sentimental kind of love, though heartbreak and deep wounding often distorts, darkens, and weighs down this part of the body. Instead, the heart chakra has to do with the flowing abundant love of creation. This is to say, both the love of one’s self as well as the love of the universe.
Finding a Greater Balance
Our poem above written by D. H. Lawrence reflects this kind of revelation. He speaks of a wind that moves through the heart. A mysterious knock at the door that, although fear may prevent us from receiving, is the visiting divine energy. Opening up the heart is a lot like opening up a fist. When we practice a sensory awareness of this center of consciousness, we may begin to unfold, one finger at a time. The opening heart may feel painful and, yes, scary. This is why I encourage this week that we practice some self-love. If we take the time to open the heart even but a finger’s worth, we may begin to receive and soften. Furthermore, we may discover that we are the best-suited lovers for ourselves. Finally, we may find a greater balance between the struggles of the mind and the urges of the body.
In our work with the psyche and soma connection, we introduced the concept that the interrelationship between the body and mind is a primary factor in the individuation of one’s personality. Consider that we were to approach a client as an individual rather than a series of symptoms in need of management. We would come into therapeutic work with a very different range of curiosity – respect, compassion, and trust in the workings of the soul. A client may be facing the world and themselves with undiscovered layers of meaning and creative potential. Finally, one may become more connected with feeling. One may release old perspectives when confronting painful or simply unhelpful beliefs about themselves and others. However, the work with mind-body integration supports a willingness to let go of direction in certain respects and open up to experiential. Specifically, the interactive play between the perceiving and sensing functions.
A Storehouse of Memories and Activator of the Unconcious
Studies show that the body is a thinking body, with sensational phenomena. It is a storehouse of memories and an activator of the unconscious. We need a treatment model that supports this interrelationship. One where the role of consciousness spends time participating in the sensory here-and-now. One aspect of the person must receive and give attendance to the other. Otherwise, the relationship is contrived, compartmentalized, and often ignored. We move the body in an attempt to communicate something fluid, spontaneous and honest. If the mind is occupied with execution rather than relational participation, we discover a very rigid and out of touch individual. We have a very real problem on our hands – the divided self. Typically, this manifests as an oscillating self. On the one hand, it fights for power, control, to conquer problems, and win out. On the other, it succumbs to chaotic wild forces of the instincts.
The Solar Plexus Chakra
Becoming animal is of particular importance here for us as we look to the chakra system. This week, we are discussing the solar plexus chakra. Found above the navel just below the rib cage, the solar plexus chakra shines with the color yellow. Through imagery, breathing, and simple sensory awareness of this place in the body, one begins to feel the creative and yet stable presence of a an individual personality. The solar plexus belongs to the space between the feeling and creative center of the sacral chakra and the heart which brings balance and harmony to the mind and body relationship. So we might say that the solar plexus is more instinctual than a warm balanced heart. However, it closer to empowerment than the sacral instinctual power.
The Yellow Sphere of Light
One engaging the solar plexus chakra in balance experiences the moment from a place of self-worth and acceptance. The seat of rightful existence dwells in this yellow sphere of light. The sacral chakra is concerned with guilt and pleasure. Meanwhile, the solar plexus chakra addresses shame and power. Healthy empowerment comes from a sensational presence in this area of the body. Let’s relate and connect with this space. We may begin to feel our deep and sacred birthright to be present in all that we are. Through this chakra, we strive to overcome the wounds that make us smaller than we ought to be as well as the distractions that prevent us from showing up in our true callings and personal power.
“Ultimately, to acknowledge the life of the body, and to affirm our solidarity with this physical form, is to acknowledge our existence as one of the earths animals” – David Abram
Aristotle once wrote that the human soul is a rational soul. He observed how plants possess a vegetal soul focused on growth and nourishment. Meanwhile, animals possess the soul of instincts. For humankind, argues Aristotle, both the vegetal and animal souls are present. However, it is the rational soul that sets us apart. Here we turn our attention to the psyche and soma connection once more. In fact, the soulful experience can be encountered in each of these three dimensions. Indeed, we must come to terms with our poor connection to the sensuous and wise experiences of nature and animal life. Moreover, often enough it is not the rational mind that needs the mending. Rather, it’s the liberation of the animal and the natural relationships to life and presence. Should we become convinced that our thinking defines our being, we gravely miss the simple pleasure of existence.
Orange Swirling Hues
This week we turn our awareness both sensationally and psychologically to the sacral chakra. Seated above the root chakra between the frenum and the navel, the sacral chakra gushes with orange swirling hues. This chakra is the energy center of all creativity, relationships, sexuality, and feeling. When out of balance, the sacral chakra is a dangerous place. Should we live unconscious to the underactive or overactive energy in this center, we would find ourselves deprived of vital enjoyment and personal power on the one hand or, on the other extreme co-dependencies, cravings, compulsions. The sacral chakra is the seat of our addictions and ultimately gluttonous behaviors. If we work to balance this energy center, we discover a world of joy rather than sensory overload.
The Soul of Experience and the True Personhood
The sacral chakra is a double-sided coin. On one side, when this energy center is blocked or overactive, one can feel either cramped in the lower body or loose. For example, the kidneys, bladder and adrenals can become infected, inflamed, or hypertensive. One’s lower back may be tight or in spasm or the belly may hang out pronouncing evidence of an indulgent lifestyle of fat and sugar. Not surprisingly, these areas are associated with the feeling of guilt. Guilt claims the right to pleasure and joy, argues that pleasure has lead to terrible things and therefore must be repressed. This is a common mistake we make when working at psycho-spiritual healing. If guilt overwhelms the sacral chakra, one may go on living as the rational do-gooder but it suffocates the soul of experience and true personhood. Creativity chokes behind the strong grip of guilt.
A Calming and Soothing Realm
The problem is not the desire for pleasure, but the relationship one has with pleasure. For example, if we seek our pleasure at the expense of our souls, there is, as most of us have seen, great destruction that may accompany our ‘natural’ inclinations. On the other side of the coin, pleasure of the sacral chakra promises great relief from the mind and a realm of expression and sensation that can detox the negativity within us, become blissful and filled with wonderful hormones. A balanced sacral chakra is one that allows the salivating self to taste and enjoy the process. For example, watery energy is a flowing, sometimes completely calming and soothing realm. Other times, it is rapid and powerful. With riptides and undercurrents of emotion sweeping us off our feet and thirst-quenching nectars of heavenly sweetness, the moisture of feeling deserves our deepest attendance, respect, and indulgence.
The Constellating Themes of the Sacral Reality
We seek to balance the sacral chakra. This week, let’s pay special attention to their sense of things. As we spend time opening up to the realm of guilt, pleasure and joy, let us all keep in the mind the animal and vegetal soul. Indeed, there is a natural and worthwhile place for the sacral in life. The instincts may be wilder than we want and this is why the root chakra need be open first. Dealing with fear, the root chakra grounds our experiences in a place of balance and security. Below is a simple series of affirmations we associate with the sacral chakra. For those of you willing to give it a try, I encourage reading through these. Say them out loud, speaking them from the space of the sacral and meditating on the color orange. Noticing how one feels exposes the constellating themes of the sacral reality.
I am the co-creator with the divine
I am creative
Creativity flows through me
I feel my emotions and I feel my pain
I love to feel pleasure in my body
Sexuality is sacred and is meant to be enjoyed
I release all blame and guilt
I easlity accept pleasure
What others do is none of my business
I am a sensual being
I am a creative being
My emotions are balanced
I can and will receive and give pleasure
I am exactly where I need to be in my life
I release the need to control others
Goodness beauty and joy resonates with my soul
I attract what I need and I am blessed
I accept my uniqueness
I am grateful for the joy of being me
I embrace my sensuality and sexuality
I am connected to my body
I am fully present in all the little pleasures of my day
I love myself unconditionally and exactly as I am
I receive pleasure and abundance with every breath I take
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