Ida Lawrence on Awareness

The Tree Probably Does

The Tree Probably Does

Story by: Ida Lawrence

I’m going to begin with the image of a tree because there is plenty of symbology around that image: I’ll rest my back against it for a bit as I put these thoughts together. Our tree will symbolize inexhaustible life transforming, and since it is also said to span dimensions, we’ll visit that possibility as well.

Pressure and response: interesting to think about in times of change… and change isn’t coming on slowly anymore. It can certainly be seen in our personal lives. Outcomes of past choices, whether wise or foolish, conscious or unconscious, have been arriving on doorsteps with increasing speed. On the positive side, the pressure of change can cause the response of growth… if you’re into it and up to it.

When we change our perspective from personal pressure to worldwide pressure, it can become nearly overwhelming… so rapid, so destructive is the decline of this world. Is the global picture something we can bring into a conversation without becoming either angry or despondent? We’re going to try.

In the consciousness movement we work to know self. Part of that self-knowing comes through observing how, when under pressure from the outside, we may revert to conditioned and programmed responses inside. Through awareness of our conditioning and the system’s programming, we take up the task of replacing these patterns with ones that are more refined and liberating.

My thinking on this process was triggered recently when talking with my godson… our in-house Qi Gong practitioner. I’ll just quote him, and you’ll see the correlation:

“The body is a sensory and counter-pressure mechanism. When the External pressures demand a response there is an internal counter pressure that responds. A very basic example is an automatic response… when it’s hot (external pressure) you sweat to cool down (internal counter-pressure). Through the practice of Qi Gong you can control the counter-pressure.”

He went on to say that you begin with one energy circulation and practice it daily. After three months or so your work on the circulation becomes automatic… you will have a new switch inside, in response to a certain pressure. You can then move on to the next practice.

What the circulation of energy achieves is the ability to clear, clean, flow and store energy and do things with energy. What the Qi Gong master can do with energy is pretty incredible. There are videos online of masters who can start a piece of paper on fire just by projecting energy from their hands.
Stored energy can be used both to heal and to harm. And there is more, but it’s not for everyone. Most practitioners take years to get to heal or harm and that is where they stop. The ‘more’ has to be learned from a teacher who has taken the path.

Whether it’s mythology or history, stories tell of people giving their lives while learning the possibilities of energy; experimenting with the outcome of different practices. While only a few masters may know the ‘more’, a presumption can be made that it is the very real trans-dimensional metaphysician’s doorway. In today’s world, such doorways are being used.

Let’s move on to external pressure and internal counter-pressure in relation to our thoughts and emotions. Thoughts and emotions are energy too, and we can certainly create new pathways for them once we know what we’re dealing with. As I mentioned, we are conditioned and programmed to respond in a certain way. Unlike the body’s natural response, for the most part these responses are not what we were born with. Yet, like the Qi Gong practitioner, if we want to re-train these learned and programmed counter-responses we have to study, observe and feel.

Among the tools to increase awareness, re-train thoughts and emotions, and raise the energy from a dense state to a more refined state, are written lessons, specific meditations, guided meditations, physical disciplines, and therapies. Many people have been doing this work for years, and they are the ones offering tools on how to transform the fear response, as well as the anger, sadness, self-pity, hostility, weakness, indulgence and so on. So much could be said about this, and we’re just touching on things today.

We’re going to return to the tree again as a symbol of inexhaustible life transforming within a system. Have you wondered how many trees there are, i.e. how many self-contained and interrelated energy systems there are? The body is one; and the earth itself is one; the universe; the multiverse. I’d better add… and on and on.

If we as individual human beings can re-train our conditioned and programmed thoughts and emotions and raise our energy to a more refined level through a kind of ‘consciousness Qi Gong’, how about the collective consciousness of human families… can that be re-trained, or the global collective consciousness? Can a significant number of us go for transformation and liberation? If we do, can it lead to a way out of the current control system?
I’ll let you play with that, but to me, the whole thing looks like the fractal tree. And if that is true, we can say that the truth of the small is the truth of the great: for every confinement, no matter how seemingly inescapable, there has to be, built-in at the origin, an avenue of escape… because the avenue of escape exists on a small scale. We already pointed to it with the master of energy and the metaphysician.

Now let’s go to the global consciousness. We know that it is confined within a system of control… some call it a matrix of control. It seems the ones who run things have very well locked us down. When they put on the pressure, we provide an automatic counter-pressure. Normally it’s fear and compliance, sometimes it’s another reaction… argument, anger, rebellion, sorrow… but always within the confines of our conditioning and programming.

An earlier observation about pressure (when it increases, counter-pressure increases) points out the positive side: on the positive side, the pressure of change can cause the counter-pressure of growth… if you’re into it and up to it.

The intensity of global change and the downward force of it does bring the opportunity for growth. Can we intentionally be like the tree… inexhaustible life transforming? We can look into it at least, and whisper to ourselves… this may not turn out as badly as we expect.

Humanity is awakening, and the collective response to external pressure is amazing to watch. We can see energy moving, we can see the system watching and trying to manipulate it… and failing more and more often. So let’s never close the door to the possibility of liberation. We must keep on observing the movement, re-training our own conditioned responses, rejecting the programming, envisioning the change we want, and raising our energy. Our change makes a difference to the whole.

Who knows the doorway out… the tree probably does.


Acupuncture, Qi, & You

Acupuncture & the Qi Phenomenon

6th January 2013

By Adam Cantor, MS, LAc

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

What is Qi and why has Western science failed to explain away this phenomenon?

Modern acupuncture research has tried to understand Qi but instead of coming away with one unifying theory, or perhaps even a way to flat out disprove its existence, science has posited several possibilities as to the biological manifestation or physiological occurrence that the Chinese refer to as Qi. What follows is my interpretation of Qi as it pertains to acupuncture as well as the practice of Qigong, a form of moving meditation that translates into “life energy cultivation”.

Chinese Medicine is really abstract, full of flowery imagery and concepts that are foreign to most of us in the West. In that sense, it’s quite different from Western medicine which is steeped in reductionism or the idea of breaking the body down into small isolated pieces in order to understand each component; this often leads to forsaking the forest for the trees. Perhaps this explains why biomedicine has such a disconnect between the mind and body.  There are specialists for just about every area and function of the human body and yet, only a select few physicians are able to see the way these disparate systems interrelate or connect. Conversely, Chinese medicine views the human being as an integrated whole, a divine cohesive unit that must be treated as such in both life and in medicine.

Is Qi really as esoteric as it sounds? Not really. I’ll give you some Western biomedical explanations of how it works. For starters, Qi is, for all intents and purposes, “matter on the verge of becoming energy or energy on the verge of materializing” (Kaptchuk, Web That Has No Weaver). Let’s put that into more Western terms: potential and kinetic energy. Everything in this world has either potential or kinetic energy and according to physics and the law of conservation, energy cannot be naturally created, only transferred from one state to another. With that in mind, Qi can be viewed as the manifestation of energy in a state of flux – somewhere between potential and kinetic. This is why, when we cut someone open, we can’t see their Qi, yet it’s something that everyone can feel in themselves (with training).

I practice Qigong regularly and am able to feel Qi movement in my body. I even notice differences from session to session, based on what’s going on with me at a given time, physically as well as emotionally. Qigong is essentially exercise, but instead of just building the muscles, it builds the mind as well; something modern science is just now beginning to understand with it’s extensive studies of neuroplasticity and meditation.  Keeping in mind that the body and mind are to be viewed as one, Qigong requires relaxation, breath work and an open yet disciplined state of consciousness. The mind guides and the Qi follows. If the mind isn’t open during practice, results are tempered. The stronger your mind, the easier it becomes to cultivate and guide the Qi. This doesn’t mean the smarter you are, the easier it becomes, but rather the more relaxed and receptive your mind is, the easier it will be to experience results. As traditional societies have known for quite some time with their own cultivation practices (i.e. Ayurvedic, Shamanic or Native American), the building and cultivation of ones self can only be truly achieved through meditation or meditative-like practices. The stresses of modern life such as smart phones and all of the other non-stop stimuli inundating our brains make such development and practice that much more important – and simultaneously, that much more difficult for the average person.

Qi has also been described and quantified in the West as our bioelectric charge. Bio-electromagnetism refers to the electrical and magnetic fields produced by living cells, tissues and organisms. During the electro-physiological research of the 1960′s, scientists proved that bones are in fact piezoelectric. This means that under mechanical stress, chemical processes convert energy to electric current. It is understood now however that the human body is constructed of many different electrically conductive materials, and that it forms a living electromagnetic field and circuit. All living things on this planet, large and small have some level of electric and/or magnetic charge. Humans and some plant cells, experience living “electrical events” known as action potentials, or nerve impulses, in which neurons, muscle cells and endocrine cells facilitate inter-cellular communication and activate intra-cellular processes. Electromagnetic energy is continuously being generated in the human body through biochemical reactions such as those we experience in assimilation of our food and air.

In addition, we are constantly being affected by external electromagnetic fields such as those of the Earth, moon and large bodies of water. Anyone who has ever practiced Qigong next to a river or ocean can attest to the difference!  Many acupuncturists use magnets or electricity in their treatments for this very reason. Dr. Robert O. Becker, author of The Body Electric, reports in his book that the conductivity of skin is significantly higher at acupuncture points. Dr. Becker’s book, as well as several other reports on the subject, confirm the notion of Qi is indeed both real and scientific.

Most people go about their daily lives with no sense of the Qi within them or around them. However, there are the naturally gifted few that are born with the innate wisdom and sensitivity to be able to see and work with these energetic fields. Again, these people are truly rare today and I believe that most who profess such skills are telling half-truths or flat out lies. That being said however, such individuals certainly exist and there is absolutely an aspect to energetic healing that is beyond the scope of modern medicines capability to explain. For the rest of us normal humans however, it requires extensive training and development of our minds and our nervous system to be able to get in touch with this field, let alone control it or yield it… but it is possible.

The ancient Chinese people had no knowledge of electricity, yet they knew that when an acupuncture needle was inserted into the body at a specific location, some form of energy other than heat was produced. In acupuncture theory, Qi ‘flows’ through the body via channels or meridians that connect our entire structure. These meridians, although not identifiable formations by Western biomedicine, have been mapped, described in detail and utilized by Chinese medical practitioners for thousands of years. Meridians contain ‘gates’ or points along their pathway where manipulation of the energy or Qi that flows through them is possible and particularly effective. By manipulating these points, one can influence the flow of Qi along the meridian in order to help the patient regain health and wellness. That’s the acupuncturists’ job, to transmit the message to the patient’s body in order to allow them to regain balance. The healing isn’t in the needle itself, but rather it’s in the practitioner’s ability to read the patient and transmit the correct message to them at the correct time in order to facilitate that person’s natural ability to heal and self-regulate. In that respect, true wellness is actually up to the patient and their ability to receive that message.

Western medical research has determined that acupuncture points are locations of fascial bundling. Our fascia is a seamless web of connective tissue that covers and connects the muscles, organs, and skeletal structures in our body — it’s absolutely everywhere! While much of the incredible healing power of acupuncture is still being researched, acupuncture points have been found to mostly lie along fascial planes, between muscles or between a muscle and bone or tendon. Fascia envelops the smallest fiber of muscle, every bone and joint and holds us together, in effect, supporting our structure and giving us our shape.

So what does Qi have to do with fascia?

A blockage of Qi can be viewed as an alteration in fascial composition and the majority of acupuncture points correspond to the sites where fascial networks converge. Thus, manipulation of an acupuncture needle produces change that can propagate along the fascial network and communicate with our entire body since everything is connected via this massive web of tissue. Think of fascia like a spider web; when something hits the web, the spider doesn’t have to see it, it just knows exactly where it is because of the vibrations. Similarly, when acupuncture needles enter the fascial web, it propagates a signal to our nervous system and our neurochemistry responds accordingly. A 1995 study by H. Heine, a German MD, documented the existence of perforation points in the fascia. He found that the majority (82%) of these perforations are topographically identical with the 361 classical acupuncture points of Chinese medicine.

I’m going to get a bit more in depth so bear with me if you can, because this is really interesting stuff!

Fascia is densely innervated by mechanoreceptors, also known as golgi bodies. These receptors influence local fluid dynamics of the tissue and their activation triggers the autonomic nervous system to change the local pressure in blood vessels. Strongly stimulated fascial fibers can even influence the extrusion of plasma from blood vessels into the interstitial fluid matrix, thus changing the viscosity of the extracellular environment. The interstitial mechanoreceptors can also trigger an increase in vagal tone or impulses from the vagus nerve, which leads towards more trophotropic tuning of the hypothalamus. In other words, the parasympathetic (rest and digest) aspect of our nervous system increases, our muscles relax, our adrenals close up shop for a while and our body essentially down-regulates into a deeply relaxed state — all from a properly inserted acupuncture needle!

Qi is absolutely real and cannot only be felt but it can be measured.  While acupuncture has been the focus of roughly 1,000+ scientific studies around the world over the past five years, Qigong has earned only a fraction of that attention.  Interesting considering Qigong practices are thought to pre-date acupuncture, a healing modality dated somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 years old.

Although the aforementioned studies have shed a great deal of light on the Qi phenomenon, there are still several questions left unanswered. For example, how can the mind generate a force in order to circulate the Qi of the body (as in Qigong)? How are we as humans affected by the electromagnetic fields that surround us in our environments? What about our daily use of electronics; how does that impact us? How do the fields of other people affect us? Why is it that you can be at a party and when someone walks into the room that is upset or angry, even without seeing them, you can sense it in your body? How do we quantify those things?

Nanotechnology is beginning to help us address some of these queries. But the future of Qi research and our exploration of the internal is going to be quite an adventure.