I have always been fascinated with movement and energy. But I have often been frustrated by my inability to feel the more subtle energy that flows through the body. As a beginning student of Traditional Chinese Medicine some 40 years ago, I was taught about meridians. My teachers explained that these were the pathways that energy (chi) takes as it travels through the body.
Trying to comprehend that, I conceptualized these meridians as if they were blood vessels or neural pathways, and points along these vessels as if they were electrical sensors that control the flow of energy through them. I imagined these meridians as two-dimensional, like lines on a map. And, of course, they aren’t.
When I began my study of Structural Integration, I quickly learned that not only is the body three-dimensional, it’s also in a constant state of motion. And as the body extends, contracts, rotates and twists, so do the meridians. That was when I started to see how the ways my clients moved – or didn’t move – affected these pathways. And I began to wonder whether the flow of energy through the meridians also affected the ways my clients moved.
As I began to see these lines in motion and in context, I started to understand how twisting the body could also affect the flow of movement and energy through the body. And how alignment of the body’s anatomical components could affect both its structural and functional integrity.
I began to see the body’s structural components like the tumblers of a lock, and the focus of my work become aligning those tumblers in order to ‘unlock’ and open the channels of body. And thus, to support the transfer of breath, movement and energy through the body.
Over the years, my ability to see and feel the subtler movements and energies that flow through the body has evolved, but I am still sometimes frustrated by how much I think I fail to see and feel. And at the same time, I have learned more and more to see and feel what is not there.
I have learned to see what is not moving and should be, and to feel what is not flowing and could. I now understand that the subtlest of all movements and energies are the movements that have not happened yet. For they are the potential to move – and the intention to move! – that make all things possible.