Article – How do you navigate the boundaries between conscious, sub-conscious or unconscious….
How do you navigate the boundaries between conscious, sub-conscious, or unconscious causes and effects, between manifestations in the body and mind? Written by Adam Hellinger FwSS
Shizuto Masunaga developed the concept of Keiraku Shiatsu. (Meridian shiatsu)
Masunaga’s Zen Shiatsu approach is centred around the concept of Hara diagnosis and the “extended meridians” as functions.
The concept of palpation for diagnosis is not uncommon in Japanese medicine. Here we are asked to ‘feel/experience’ not so much the quality of Ki but the volume/fullness in each area relative to the others. And this I feel is the beginning of our connection between the conscious and subconscious.
How this occurs is via the principle that our Ki follows our intention.
Therefore, one’s lifestyle has the ability to create the distribution of Ki amongst our meridians and go onto affect these meridian functions.
Our habits and patterns of behaviour can therefore be seen and experienced as patterns of Ki and their distribution amongst the meridians.
As we know many of our patterns and beliefs are “automatic” in as much as once learnt they go onto maintain themselves. From how we tie our shoelaces to our relationships with our fellow human beings. So many patterns exist that the brain ‘remembers’ them into an automated response, which to an extent we can interact with via our thoughts.
Longer-term patterns could be seen as so ingrained that they become aspects of our subconscious and therefore not as ‘easily’ contactable with our conscious thoughts. This can also be seen as a bridge between conscious and subconscious (sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.)
These ‘habits’ also manifest as patterns of Ki since our interaction with life directs Ki and its resulting functions.
We can view this ‘storage’ of patterns as the separation between conscious and subconscious.
To summarise we have a pattern of Ki distribution for every event, and these patterns overlap to create our relationship with our lives and also how we view and relate to them.
Let’s take the example of someone coming for a Shiatsu session. I ask the reason for their visit, and they say I have a stiff right arm which they have had for 18 months. It just won’t shift despite exercise, physio and painkillers/muscle relaxants.
One could look at the location and select relevant points, treat via which meridians run through the area, apply stretches and many other very effective techniques. This may well redistribute the Ki and get the blood and lymphatic system working resulting in a greater range of movement and less stagnation/pain. But has it asked the receivers system what their relationship to the ‘problem’ is?
Where and how have the receivers Ki responded to this ‘event’, which has caused this “pain and lack of motion.”
We palpate the Hara with an open question in our minds “what’s the most efficient/best way to connect to this…(shoulder.)
The Hara’s response is the distribution of the receivers Ki in relation to the receivers’ habits and response to that event. Their Ki shows the response.
The response includes the mind conscious awareness of the problem and the at the same time the mind’s subconscious “preconditioning” to the same event.
The background to the event sets up the receiver’s relationship to it via their Ki response and at the same time, the Ki response creates a reference point to that event from a perspective of their ‘habits’.
One can connect to the body and via a series of principles of touch. These principles enable an awareness within both the receiver and giver and promote the function of that meridian. As in all Japanese arts, this begins with a form and develops into an awareness of ‘being’ in relation to the practice.
For example, The Lung meridian is responsible for “The intake of Ki and air” therefore if this function becomes out of balance relative to the other meridians/functions our ability to breathe will be impaired. By working towards a ‘balance’ of Ki within that meridian during the treatment, the ability to perform the “intake of Ki’ returns. Our breathing and or our ability to take a breath changes.
Masunaga went onto develop the concept of the distribution of Ki around the body in “relational” terms. IE how ones Ki is distributed amongst the meridians is a result of our interaction with the life event.
It’s not how much Ki one has but its distribution. And its distribution enables the meridians functions to manifest.
Another important development for this approach is that its ‘relative and relational’.
How the Ki is distributed is always relative to the other meridians. This means that any approach is always inclusive of the “whole”. The whole system, all of its functions and all of their relationships relative to each other and the functioning as a whole system.
This is a great change from how much Ki we have, or how’s its generated and or stored.
(A perspective more related to TCM)
Returning to the Lung example above, rather than connecting to the Lung meridian in isolation we look at it relative to the other meridians. This interaction connects us into the energetic system in a different and more holistic way.
How we ‘select’ the meridian to engage with comes from the Hara.
Approaching the Hara, Masunaga developed a diagnostic map which enables the practitioner to observe the Ki distribution amongst the 12 basic meridians.
How much Ki is in each meridian relative to each of the others. The meridian/function with the most Ki we call Jitsu and the meridian/function with the least Ki we call Kyo. All the remaining meridians are included in the scale between these two opposites. (Opposite in the levels of Ki within them.)
The palpation of the Hara reveals the Lung diagnostic area feels the ‘fullest’ (Jitsu).
We now select the meridian which feels the ‘emptiest’ (Kyo) An important fact to remember is that the Lung feels Jitsu in relation to the Kyo of let’s say the Bladder. (But it can be any of the other meridians)
We now simply have to work towards “balance in the distribution of Ki” in the Lung and Bladder meridians with the interaction between these two ‘opposites of distribution” held within our connection and touch.
One way how we do this is via using their function as a ‘template/key’ It can be considered an energetic key which when used resonate/vibrates at the frequency of the stored functions. Like a tuning fork which when struck vibrates at a certain frequency and therefore sound. In this case what sets the frequency is the shape and construction of the folk.
The ‘key’ we use in Shiatsu is the concept of a function vibrating within the human field to enable that field to manifest on a biological level.
To look from the opposite perspective the biological structure is enclosed in a connective tissue ‘sheath’ whose biological construction is able to carry, support and resonate at an electrical vibration unique to that biological function.
Each of the meridians have a different set of functions we simply use them to create a Ki awareness within ourselves and this becomes the “key/template” with which we connect to the receivers Meridian.
Lung = the intake of Ki
Bladder = The impetus to move Together that creates the impetus to move enabling the intake of Ki (a breath.)
Our awareness connects to the entire system via the addition of the Bladder function (impetus) our touch comes into resonance with the receiver’s energy system and field rather than working on a single meridian.
Below is Musanaga’s Hara diagnostic map.
We palpate the hara and observe our feeling of the most Jitsu and Kyo diagnostic areas.
We then create a unity between the Jitsu and Kyo by enabling both functions of the corresponding meridians to manifest in one combined note/vibration/function.
A very interesting aspect of “our perception” is that that is what creates the platform of one’s observation. Each and every observation is unique to that individual relationship. The ‘level’ of awareness and perception defines the interaction but at the same instant creates a space for interaction between the giver and the receiver.
Using our example allowing my impetus (BL) to enable me to take in a breath (LU.)
Obviously, this can mean different things to different people but the connection between the receiver and the giver will enable the correct interpretation.
This thought/reflection of the function sets my energy field up at a vibration which then matches the energetic function within the receiver. If I use the principles of Zen shiatsu and connect to the receivers’ meridians using this mindset/frequency, then the receiver’s entire field of energy and these functions joins to support the re distribution. And this process enables the space of change and rebalance to manifest.
To summarise what this approach enables, is an awareness of connection between the receiver’s patterns of response to the “life event” and the givers awareness and perception of that distribution.
Every practitioner will have a different perception and awareness of the presenting pattern. This approach is all-inclusive to that level of awareness as the field developed and constructed is unique to the interaction of both giver and receiver.