Standing and health

I realized something lying in bed this morning; this often occurs, as my mind seems to be most open at these times.

I had a very rewarding and pleasant time the other day doing my standing practice under the redwoods in a park near downtown Mountain View. The Sequoia Sempervirens are “my” tree, and I always feel at home with them.

I stood for about 7 minutes there, the longest session so far. You are supposed to take it very slowly and carefully, and I do, but I am resolved to do my daily practice no matter what now and expand it to the eight fundamental “power developing” postures and the seven “healing” postures.

It amazes me how simple this is, yet how powerful it is. I’m not good at “felt sense”, or the moment-to-moment tracking of body feedback alignment with mood and mind, but the sensations of health and vigor are unmistakable. And all for a few minutes of simple standing.

I have been trying to develop some kind of model to explain what is going on. My gut feeling is that the postures change the simple posture of the body into a kind of tuned circuit, or antenna, which interacts with some subtle energies of the sky and earth and rectifies this into the life force itself, chi. That in turn is stored in the lowest of the three centers in Taoism, the belly center, and distributed to the body as needed. Taoism is the practice of learning to direct the chi for various uses – fighting, healing, spiritual stimulation.

The Taoists say that the moving chi gung postures (as opposed to the standing postures I am doing) produce results because the movement of the arms and legs around the body causes eddies in the Etheric body, which stimulate the chi in the physical body to move along the pathways, or meridians, where it becomes available to various organs.

I always felt like I had a special relationship to life force, despite my disdain for the body, and I was always trying to rouse it and direct it and (especially) transmit it to others.

Since I have been doing my standing – what little of it I have done – I have been doing what I always do with Nettie, try to send my life force into her.

But I realized in bed this morning that she is getting well now.

She has no more of the out-of-it confusion, and her pain level has lowered so that she takes a third less of her pain pills. She can stand now for short periods of time. She is bright and witty and extroverted with me, the way she used to be at her best. She has even taken up coloring her coloring books again, today doing a nice portrait of blue whales at play in the sea. Her physical therapist says she is “three sessions” from being able to get into the shower, which she has not been able to do for 16 months.

She has had no side effects from the high-powered antibiotics I administer to her every 8 hours – despite their causing her stomach upsets and loss of appetite every time I gave them to her in the past. Certainly, she still has a busted ankle and trashed hip, but the overall signs are unmistakeable. This is all in the last 2 weeks.

Am I fantasizing all this?  I don’t think so. Until this morning it never occurred to me that she might benefit from what I was doing. And I try to put my life force into everything living in my world – the beans in the back yard, whatever animals I pet, Nettie, passersby on the street. I have never seen this kind of feedback before, except in my plants, but the only other explanation is coincidence, as she has been going downhill for years with only a few plateaus and no real reversals.

I feel like Lancelot allowed to do his miracle in spite of his fall from grace…

Monday afternoon

I am so pumped up I have to speak up…I did a stand under the redwoods in the park in downtown Mountain View about an hour ago. It was really something. The redwoods definitely help the process. I was able to feel my way into the “sweet spot” where the alignments are correct; the feeling is hard to describe, where awareness seems fragmented and then suddenly becomes unified and spread all over the body. Perhaps I am naive, based on my own inexperience with body work, but it is really something.

This stand was about 12 minutes, way longer than my previous ones, and involved two different postures – the usual one of just standing, and then another, the “tree hugging” pose that has you standing with both arms curved about 8-12 inches from your body, as if hugging a tree.

The redwoods add a very soothing, peaceful quality to the posture that is most welcome. I find myself wanting to go stand with them every day now, and wonder what it would be like at dawn with them.


About Mike MacLeod

At large
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