The power of the spine/ 2: The desiccated spine.

The Spine - Mindsprings

I needed to replenish my beautiful spine from top to bottom if I was going to be meaningful in this world.

We can look to the line of the spine for a more realistic report of our aliveness. But it doesn’t mean we won’t be shocked by what we find.

I’ve just been on a retreat in the East Sussex countryside and one of the most startling discoveries on Day One was how absolutely knackered my spine was. I was laying out on the sofa in between meditation sessions, and I had a vivid picture of my spine. She was shrivelled and desiccated. Lying on the sofa-upholstery like a charred, old branch. Totally depleted. Totally dry.

I felt shocked at the state of her.

I’m a meditator and a therapist and I’m meant to be looking after myself. I’m meant to be calm and self-nourishing. But here was evidence that I had been running my spinal energy down into the dust and not feeding her at all.

Admittedly, we had just weathered a particularly brutal US election, the ravages of lockdown, the radioactive presence of the Earth’s climate catastrophe. There were reasons for the spine to be depleted. But I felt a great sense of urgency.

I needed to replenish my beautiful spine from top to bottom if I was going to be meaningful in this world.

Check for yourself.
How are you feeling right now? Look into your body to see what you’re feeling and notice in the simplest sense where those feelings are happening.

I’m sure many people might make a similar discovery and have a similar desire. But to nourish the spine, we need to feel into its energetic anatomy.

Another great truth that the inner voyagers clocked about the spine millennia ago, is that the spine holds not just physical and existential value but also organises the emotional and energetic values of a human being.

Once you get into the habit of looking to the spine to supply a sense of how you’re doing, you will notice this. Along the front line of the spine are clusters of energy that we often read as emotions.

Check for yourself.
How are you feeling right now? Look into your body to see what you’re feeling and notice in the simplest sense where those feelings are happening.

There’s a glowing swirl of neurons and energy in the gut-basically behind the belly button and downwards. It’s where we have ‘gut feelings’.

They’re not happening in the space of the brain. They are-if you feel into it-happening along the front of the spine, moving in the middle of your body.

Emotions don’t just play out in a void. And the energies of life don’t just ping around the container of our body in random Brownian motion. As we explore more, we feel that they are indeed subtly organised along the spine.

We think-correctly-that the heart and the gut are the big places where we feel stuff. And at the simplest levels, it’s true.

There’s a glowing swirl of neurons and energy in the gut-basically behind the belly button and downwards. It’s where we have ‘gut feelings’.

Have a quick check of your three stacked energy clusters along the spine.

And there’s one in the chest. It’s misleadingly called the heart (and there is another mesh of neurons around the heart) but the energy of sadness, happiness and love, more accurately play out around the whole ribcage-front and back, left and right.

For starters, these two can be enough but the simplest inner maps’ add two at the top and bottom (the crown and the root: more on them later) and one at the throat.

The throat one is harder for some people to connect with but try it now: feel with your awareness into the belly. Then the heart (roughly). And then move up to the throat. Most people find that there’s a completely different thing happening up above the collar bones. It’s quite discrete.

Have a quick check of your three stacked energy clusters along the spine. It can make you feel a bit giddy connecting so rudely with this inner energy but the inner voyagers all say it’s the way through to something really important.

When you check you might find-like me-that the whole three-tiered wedding cake of belly-chest-throat is dry as a bone or burning like a petrol-fuelled bonfire. Which is where we come back to nourishing the spine skilfully.

Click here to read part 3 of this blog

Mindsprings Practicespace is a lively and friendly online practice community that meets three times a week with Alistair to explore meditation, discuss problems arising and investigate some of the big issues of life. Everyone is very welcome and you can try it out for two weeks for no cost. Just register here for a 2-week trial.

I’d love to know your thoughts about your energy spine. Drop me a message with any thoughts, comments, questions, queries or insights that pop up while reading the blog. I’d love to hear from you!

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