Mastering Meditation for Health and Harmony
by Michael James Edmondson
Meditation is a proven method for ‘growing younger and living longer’. The press often highlights the beneficial effects of meditation. Most ill health is created from the stress that leads to distress, disharmony and then on to disease.
So, wouldn’t it be wise to put a little meditation into our lives as a back-up to the other ways we try to navigate the twists and turns of modern living? I know what you’re thinking: I don’t have the time/patience/inclination to sit around doing nothing. However, what if you could meditate anywhere without having to put precious time and beliefs on hold? There are two key meditation techniques which the masters use and that can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
Place the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth
This is the most simple meditation technique there is, and paradoxically, the most profound! This technique works by silencing the internal dialogue that prevents a peaceful mind. You must stick your tongue straight out of your mouth so that the tip is pointed, then retract your tongue back into your mouth, placing the pointed tip as far back as possible to the roof of the mouth, close the mouth and focus on the sensation at the tip of the tongue, continue to keep the tip of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth.
What do you notice? Can you keep the tip of the tongue gently touching the roof of the mouth or does pressure build up against the roof of the mouth? Does the tongue become rigid like a poker? Does the root of the tongue become sore or tired? In other words, maintain awareness of the meditation practice by observing the sensation of the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth. The tongue is a muscle, so consider the mantra “soften, relax, release tension” whilst in this practice.
The master acupuncturist knows that every sensory organ is connected to a specific visceral organ. In the case of the tongue the connection is to the heart (with the nose, the lung; the eyes to the liver; the ears to the kidneys; the skin to the spleen). Each of the visceral organs are connected to a specific energy. In the case of the heart, it is the elemental energy of fire. By touching the tip of the tongue – and by correspondence the tip of the spirit – upwards towards the seat of consciousness, a bridge is established between the lower consciousness and the higher consciousness, between the mental plane and the spiritual plane. Meditation is about going beyond the mental universe and meeting up with the conscious universe. We go beyond the mind, where all our issues lay, beyond the pursuit of happiness and to a state of bliss.
Touching the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth creates another bridge, an energy bridge in the main orbit of energy that fuels all living processes in us. This energy orbit is known as the ‘microcosmic orbit’ and the master acupuncturist recognises this orbit as being composed of the two main energy meridians of a person – the Ren Mai (Sea of Yin) and the Du Mai (Sea of Yang). Improving the smooth flow of energy between these polarised energy meridians results in a healthier, harmonised organism. Bridging the gap in the energy orbit by placing the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth is probably the easiest and most efficient act that anyone could do in order to increase their health and happiness!
It doesn’t take much practice of this key meditation technique to find that the mouth begins to fill with a sweet fluid. We call this saliva, the yogis call it the sweet nectar of the soul, and master acupuncturists call this a ‘pure fluid’ (as opposed to the ‘impure fluids’ of the body such as urine). So, this is a good sign, a sign that the practice is going well.
The other automatic change that becomes very noticeable after a little practice is the rhythm of the breath which begins to slow down, becomes long and deep, and after reaching just 8 breaths per minute, this slowing in internal resonance has an effect on the glandular system, most noticeably stimulating pituitary gland secretion. After reaching just 4 breaths per minute pineal glandular function is affected. This leads us on nicely to the second key meditation technique, the breath itself.
The breath itself
There are many schools of meditation, and when it comes to breathing there are a multitude of different breathing techniques that are recommended. However, they are all unanimous in one respect, they all emphasise how important it is to become aware of breathing! Breathing is something that is ‘not of the mind’, (we breathe when we are unconscious, like the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, it acts as a bridge between the material and energy dimensions, between the lower self and the higher self, between the mind and the spirit. If all stress is ‘of the mind’ and is the major player in causing ill health, then being able to retreat from stress (mind) and enter a state of calm (no mind) can only be good for our health and happiness.
Here’s how the breath needs to be carried out.
1. With the tip of the tongue at the roof of the mouth (of course!), place a hand just below the navel.
2. Breathe in through the nose and feel the belly expand.
3. As you breathe out, feel the belly naturally contract beneath your hand; after a while you can take the hand away and focus on this belly breathing.
4. Next, slow down your in-breath so that the first part of the breath expands the belly, the second part expands the sides of the ribs and the final part of breathing in raises the chest.
5. Breathe out through the nose in exactly the same order, relaxing the belly, then ribs and finally the chest.
6. Now, all that is needed is the awareness of that microcosmic orbit. With the tongue acting as a bridge, allow the breath to circulate your awareness around the orbit thus: from the belly moving down to the perineum and then up the spine to the top of the head as you breathe in, only to fall down the spine and back to the belly as you breathe out.
So, if that is the practice, what is going on and why do it?
Well, the master acupuncturist knows that alchemy is the mother of physics and the father of chemistry, and that the quality and quantity of energy circulating in the microcosmic orbit affects the healthy functioning of the organs and glands. The twists and turns of life are reflected in the misalignments and blocks that occur along the microcosmic orbit. These resistances create tension where there was calm, affecting the mind-body-spirit being. Giving the microcosmic orbit a workout is like any other exercise regime. The more you practice the more you benefit!
Putting these two simple but key meditation techniques together and practicing on a daily basis brings about immediate rewards in terms of healthy living. These techniques can be practiced without the need for any ritual or even setting aside any precious time. They can be done anytime, anywhere… this is meditation in action!
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Michael James Edmondson was an apprentice to Master Acupuncturist Dr. J. D. Van Buren, founder of the International College of Oriental Medicine.
Michael has been in clinical acupuncture practice for over 25 years. He is a tai chi, qigong and kundalini yoga instructor and co-founded TaiYoga.
His current interests are travelling, writing and establishing a meditation centre at La Bastida, Spain.