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Feeling the Energy Body

Here is an article which was originally written for Blog on Singing Dragons website. It
concerns the process of feeling the energy body; a large part of the Heavenly Streams
Anybody engaging with the internal practices of the Daoist tradition will no doubt encounter
many difficulties along the way: many of the terms are written in metaphorical language,
teachings are often contradictory and on top of that there is the crisis of faith often caused by
the question, is this experience real or is it my imagination? Even with the help of an
experienced teacher there will be times when students will find themselves fumbling in the
dark with practice yielding more questions than answers. These are challenges which any seeker of the way faces and it is
the role of a concrete system of practice to help guide the practitioner through this darkness towards the state of conscious
elevation which is the goal of all Daoist arts.
One aspect which can cause a great deal of confusion is around the meridian system. Is the idea of energetic pathways of Qi
running through the body purely a conceptual framework or is it in fact an actual part of the human body-system? Whilst
some may accept the concept of meridian pathways purely on faith others will disregard it on the basis that they have been
brought up in a science-based society where logic prevails. In my opinion both of these stances have their own limitations. I
have always sat somewhere in the middle; I am ready to accept that which has been a part of an unbroken lineage for
millennia but I am also prone to retaining an element of doubt until proven through my own experience. It was this position I
took when considering the meridian system.
I originally studied the meridian pathways in the conventional manner. As part of the Tui Na massage training I undertook
alongside my martial arts training, I read textbooks on Chinese medicine and was
guided towards locating the various points of the meridian system by my teachers. In this way I developed a working,
theoretical understanding of the meridian pathways which I was utilising daily in my practice of Chinese medicine, Qi Gong
and the martial arts. It was not until I was introduced to the Heavenly Streams practice of connecting with the meridian
system and sending my awareness along their length that I began to understand with no doubt whatsoever that the
meridians existed. Through learning how to breathe in a certain way and direct my attention to specific entrance points on
the meridians I learnt to retune the frequency of my mind. Like a radio switching between stations I was able to use the
points to translate the energetic realm for me bringing the flows of Qi into the realm of direct experience. Now these pathways
I had studied for so long could tangibly be felt. I experienced the flow of information along their length and began to feel the
comparative differences between the different channels. I encountered blockages of different types along their length and
found that I could move them through focused concentration; as a result I learnt how clearing these blockages had a knock
on effect to the physical realm of my body and my health improved.

Further exploration led me to understand how various

body functions could be controlled through these
points, for example one point in particular started me
sweating as soon as I put my mind onto it. I did not
increase in body temperature but rather just felt as
though the pores opened allowing fluid to escape
them. Other points allowed me to change my body
temperature, energy levels and even my mind-set; I
had connected with and learnt how to interface with the
energetic control panel of my body. Over the years I
have learnt to refine this until I am able to adjust the
various functions of my body to help me rid myself of
illness when in the early stages, change my mind if my
moods are working against me or even to prepare my
body for internal training. Progression has even
enabled me to now see the meridian pathways during
my practice; the information of the Qi being connected
with is translated visually by my mind and through this
inner vision I am able to observe the various
fluctuations of Qi taking place within my energy body.
When teaching, I encourage students to engage in the
same practices. Through periods of sitting and
connecting through the same entrance points I have taught my students to connect with their own meridian pathways. It is
always rewarding to see the face of a student who, for the first time, feels their own energy body; especially if this is a student
who has already worked on a purely theoretical level with the meridian pathways up until this point.
There are numerous benefits to experiencing your own meridian pathways. For those interested in improving their own
health it is possible to change the very energetic blueprints of your own body-system. Great insight into how your body
functions and what causes it to move out of balance can be had from exploring the flows of Qi through your own body.
For Qi Gong or Nei Gong practitioners it is very important to feel your own meridian pathways once you wish to move beyond
the earliest stages of development. Trying to work with your own Qi without being able to feel where it is flowing is like trying
to find your way through the darkness without a light. I believe that many of the problems people have caused themselves
through incorrect Qi Gong training could have been avoided if people had taken the time to learn to feel their own Qi flow
before going too deep into their training. Any health problems from incorrect training can clearly be felt developing within the
energy body long before they manifest as a physical or psychological imbalance. I was taught that students of the Daoist
tradition would originally have spent much time studying the energy body before they moved past even the most preliminary
of breathing exercises; these studies would have focused largely on experiential feeling of the meridian pathways supported
by theoretical teachings and charts.
Perhaps some of the greatest benefits of connecting with your own meridian system can be had by those practicing Chinese
medicine modalities such as Shiatsu, Tui Na or acupuncture. Is it possible to accurately treat somebodys energetic
imbalance if you have not experienced this Qi flow for yourself? It is possible to learn every function of every point in the body
by memorising lists and developing a theoretical understanding but this should be secondary to actually experiencing what
happens when the individual points are stimulated. It is my opinion that experiential understanding of the meridian points and
pathways needs to be an integral part of any sincere Chinese medicine practitioners training.
The meridian system is the energetic connection between the energies of Heaven and Earth; it sits at the point between the
physical world and the realm of pure consciousness. It is the pivot of human creation, development and eventual demise. In
life we begin to learn about the physical body as soon as we are born. We learn how we can control this vessel we find
ourselves within and through this vessel we explore our connection to the physical world. What we are not often encouraged
to do is to explore the nature of our inner world, the world of our energy body and for this reason our minds are no longer able
to tune into the realm of Qi. Thankfully this is an issue easily remedied.
As a general rule of thumb I believe that a fairly high level of energetic connection is attainable within a year of daily practice.
Obviously this length of time will vary from person to person but a years practice is what I have seen from teaching my own
students. Over the first few weeks a student can begin to feel the easier parts of the meridian pathways which are generally
the lengths of Qi flow on the forearms, fingers, lower legs and toes. From here it seems to take around a year of daily
practice for the whole energy body to open up to your awareness. From here it is possible to use this foundation of feeling the
meridians to be able to scan their length for imbalances and change their nature through controlled use of the bodys
meridian points. The key is to progress steadily and slowly; do not rush anything. Take your time, persevere and most

importantly: have fun with the process.