Says Dr. Candace Pert of Georgetown Medical in her best-selling Molecules of
(1997, and widely referenced in the literature of bodywork): We are all aware of the bias built into the Western idea that the mind is totally in the head, a function of the brain. However, the mind exists in the body as well. We do store some memory in the brain, but by far, the deeper and older messages are stored in the body. In
addition, these memories must be accessed
through the body. You can't heal a
person by talk alone
. You need the touch therapies, including massage. (Pert was a former researcher at the National Institutes of Health.)

This train of thought can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, if not further. In Book IX of
The Republic, Socrates sets an ideal of cultivating harmony in the body for the sake of consonance (agreement of components) in the soul.

This mind-body connection exists deep down to the cellular level, as Pert discusses in depth.
Says surgeon George Crile: "We fear not only in our minds but in our hearts, brains and viscera, that
whatever the cause of fear or worry, the effect can
always be noted in the cells, tissues and organs of the body." And vice-versa - when the body is relaxed, as we've seen, the mind reaps the benefits as well.

Thich Nhat Hanh brings in a traditional Buddhist
viewpoint: When we're upset, it's particularly
important to bring our attention down to the level of our navel. We're grounding ourselves in our trunk, like a tree in a storm.


Even physical movement itself starts in the midsection, rather than in the brain alone. According to trainer Mark Verstegen in his book Core Performance: All movement starts from a remarkable muscle called the transverse abdominis. He calls it the "point guard," which in basketball is the team's best ball handler, delivering the ball to the most appropriate shooter for a given situation. The transverse abdominis is the
deepest of the abdominal muscles, and it has connections to the diaphragm.

As far as looking forward to achieving goals is concerned, our intentions are more likely to bear fruit when thought is buttressed with feeling and emotion (our whole body), rather than by thoughts originating solely in the reasoning portion of the mind.

What it's known as:
The Chinese speak of chi; the Greeks of eros and/or pneuma; Polynesians of mana; and the Kung people of Africa's Kalahari desert speak of n/um. Tantra refers to it as kundalini. Hans Selye (mentioned above) speaks of "adaptation energy." Maltz says Selye's findings are accepted by medical experts the world over. French psychologist Pierre Janet (1859-1947) called this force "mental energy." The French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941) spoke of the Úlan vital.

The poet Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) speaks of the Andalusian (southern) Spanish notion of duende - an obscure power (and a struggle). It is not an idea, and you either have it or you don't, and you may not have it when you wish to, even if it once seemed on call. To quote an old guitarist, "The duende is not in the throat; it comes up from inside, up from the very soles of the feet." Lorca notes that the great artists of southern Spain, whether singing or dancing or playing on instruments, know that no emotion is possible without the mediation of the duende. They may hoodwink the people; they may give the illusion of duende without really having it. (Thank you to literary critic Harold Bloom for providing this example of duende.)


Region marked in purple

Says Eckhart Tolle, ki is the bridge between our physical body and the Higher Intelligence. What can clog up this bridge, said Wilhelm Reich, is chronic muscular tension.

Ki is palpable:
The ancient Taoists were masters of observation, not theory. The most respected
living Taoist masters say their predecessors could literally
see the energy meridians as they observed the patient. They are a palpable, tangible reality, however subtle.

Ki might be experienced by seeing colors; it may be felt. People might see abstract spirals, colors, waves. They can feel them. Things float in and out. They contain
feeling. Ki might be BLUE or bluish white, traveling in waves of spirals. It has been described as seeing the northern lights. The warmth of it may be felt; people might
experience it as a tingling. It is possibly
heard as an
atmospheric ethereal music.

When this force flows upward it is a cool blue (as claimed by Wilhelm Reich); when it flows downward it is warm and feels like an
orange-red energy.

Depiction of ki

Next page