Michelle Wood, 4
Interview with Michelle Wood
I really appreciate all of that- great information and great quotes. I would like to hear now about your current meditation practices. In particular, I believe, standing meditation. Can you share something of this? I have no experience with this at all.
The standing meditation practice that I do is called Standing Tree or Standing Pole, Zhan Zhuang in Chinese. Like the concept of "Doing Without Doing," it's a bit of a paradox in that you are standing still in one of several postures, tensing and relaxing at the same time. You use your mind to intentionally relax the body while at the same time, you are mindfully building qi (energy, consciousness) and directing it to circulate through the body and accumulate in the dan tien, the abdominal energy center. Standing meditation works as a wellness practice in several different ways.
First, it is a great way to release tension. Stress is at the root of many chronic illnesses, and stress if your perception about a topic or event. Stress is very individual, and what may cause stress in one person does not cause it in another. About the only way to truly release stress and relax is to identify it and intentionally release it.
As you practice standing meditation, you initially scan your body for tension and engage the mind to release and relax that area and/or muscle group. It can take a while to learn to do it, people should not be discouraged if it takes a few months, but is well worth the dedication. In that way, it also fosters dedication and determination, too.
Second, standing meditation is an excellent mindfulness practice. When you mind in engaged in reducing tension and stress, it is calm. Just by virtue of having a calm mind, your parasympathetic system is kicked into gear and healing takes over. Your immune system function gets stronger, your digestive system works better allowing you to absorb nutrients better and get better nutrition-and your natural healing and rejuvenating abilities work better.
Third, one of the principles of Chinese Medicine is that one cause of illness is blocked or stagnant energy. As you intentionally circulate energy through the body, you will move the stagnant energy and unblock the blockages, initiating wellness. Fourth, if you do it long enough with an attitude of excitement and expectation (but also with detachment to the outcome), it can become a transcendental practice that connects you to Universal Consciousness, Oneness, Dao.
My personal experience started with standing for just five minutes a day for three weeks. Every three weeks I extended the time by five minutes until I was standing for 45 minutes a day. So, it was a six-month process, which also incorporated all the five basic postures of standing; these include different arm and hand positions. As I continued to practice standing meditation, I become incredibly aware of the vibrancy and luminescence of my own energy and consciousness (two definitions of the word "qi") and gained the ability to use the power of mindful intention to circulate my energy, as well as build energy and maximize the use of it. Ultimately, I honed senses I didn't even know I had!
One of my experiences while doing standing meditation in a dim room was that I noticed the Lao Gong points on the palms of my hands glowing with a faint, pale blue light. This was well before the news about the scientific discovery and announcement that the cells in the human body emit light. Of course, anyone who is able to see auras could have attested to that, and have over many centuries, but the point is that standing meditation will hone many seemingly miraculous abilities, two of the most profound in my opinion being the ability to use your hands and energy for healing others, and connecting with Universal Consciousness. These abilities bring a profound sense of humbleness.