The Spirit Level
When we speak of treating the spirit, we mean the spirit level. The spirit itself needs no treatment, as it is innately perfect and pure awareness. Having no components, it cannot become imbalanced and thus, cannot be improved.
Every patient has a physical body, emotions, and thoughts, but beyond that, there is clearly something else – the “elan vital”, the Divine spark, the source of the “magic” of life. Spirit is not quantifiable or measurable with instruments, but using ourselves as instruments, our own spirit can assess the condition of the spirit manifesting in the patient.
Treating the spirit level is analogous to the removal of dark clouds, which obscure our perception of a clear and bright blue sky beyond. Like dark clouds, our perception of spirit, can be (and often is) clouded and compromised. We may see ourselves (and the world around us) through veils of anger, sadness, and anxiety, perceiving ourselves to be unworthy, unlovable, inept, or in the opposite extreme, superior, and arrogant. Either extreme is equally imbalanced and worthy of our attention and compassionate care.
Even if the patient’s chief complaint is at the physical level, there will always be concomitant imbalance on the mental and spiritual levels. The Chinese saw human beings as body/mind/spirit all at once. One could not be imbalanced at one level without it affecting the others.
Whether one covers the pain of brokenness at the spirit level with an outward façade or not, the pain is there and unless we address it, we are, at best, palliating – like putting a coat of paint on the outside of a decaying house, patching the holes in the wall without bothering to consider: Why are those holes there in the first place?
Some of the most powerful points to resurrect, strengthen, clarify, and support the spirit level are found on the upper Kidney meridians on the chest and the outer Bladder line on the back. These points may be conjoined with treatment of any element or organ/function. Below are 8 of these seemingly magical points.
Kidney 24: Spirit Burial Ground
This point, in a category of its own, is capable of resurrecting a “dead” spirit. I emphasize that the spirit itself cannot be truly dead and buried (as it is eternal), or really affected by any internal or external “happening”. However, when one has been so heavily burdened or traumatized that he or she has virtually given up, it is as if the spirit is gone - deeply buried and unreachable.
The patient may appear loud and out of control or quietly resigned. He may be able to move, talk, and even reason. The determination of the mind may even make it appear that all is well, but it is utterly without a core, an empty shell without the inner spark of life that brings joy, enthusiasm, and meaning. Without spirit, there may be existence, but there can be no real life. This point has the ability to “open the ground”, resurrect, restore, and revive one’s perception of spirit.
Kidney 25: Spirit Storehouse
This point is a reservoir of nourishment specifically for the spirit. It is a deep spiritual spring - a reserve on which to call in hard times, when the patient has very little on which to draw. Protracted illness, pain, or discomfort at any level tends to wear down one’s spiritual reserves. Though there is a perception of spirit remaining, the patient needing this point will be nearly empty - lacking the will, drive, or determination to carry on. Many times, what a patient describes as “fatigue” for which there is no physical explanation, is a call for this storehouse to be filled.
Kidney 26 Amidst Elegance
When one sees through the eyes of spirit, one sees beauty, elegance, and the perfection of natural law – the Divine manifesting in everything. It is not that one becomes naive and ignorant of the presence of evil or imbalance, but when one is “amidst elegance”, one sees through to the essential goodness. The patient needing this point may be cynical, pessimistic, discouraged, living a life of mediocrity - simply “going through the motions”, rather than seeing the glory and grandeur here and now - within himself, in others, and in the external world.
Kidney 27 Storehouse
Unlike Spirit Storehouse, this point is a more general storehouse, in which the patient who is depleted on any level can find nourishment for that depletion. If KI 25 is like an ashram, church, or similar place of spiritual inspiration, this point is like a COSTCO – a huge department store. One will find everything there for almost every need. We tend to use this point for the patient who, though improving, needs support on a level that may be lagging behind the others, or despite improvement, seems unable to recover fully.
Bladder 37 Soul Door (in some texts, this point corresponds to UB 42)
When this door is open, one is able to be inspired, able to take in new vistas of richness and quality. Shock and trauma can slam this door shut, keeping one from the very goodness and spiritual fulfillment that one seeks. One may go on spiritual quests, continual outer searches for meaning, purpose, and other sources of inspiration. One may seek more money, property, titles, and honors that promise a sense of worthiness. One may change partners, gurus, diets, may alter ones lifestyle, but not perceiving the essence that lies within, these quests are in vain. One tries to contact the spirit, but cannot. If this door is closed, one is strangely unsatisfied with what one finds. Even in the presence of the holiest of holies, one cannot take in its nourishment and may simply give up. Associated with the Lung, the Receiver of Pure Chi From the Heavens, opening this door allows access to inspiration, awe, and real self worth - the rewards that were there all the time, but unperceived. It is the way to the innermost dwelling of the spirit where the eternal riches await.
Bladder 38 Rich for the Vitals Correspondence (in some texts, this point corresponds to UB 43)
This point directly enhances the richness, quality, and vitality of the blood. Associated with the Heart Protector (AKA Pericardium), it brings joy, warmth, vitality, and richness to every level. It is considered for any long-term chronic disease, wasting-away, blood deficiency, poor circulation, sluggishness in body or mind, lacking joy, warmth, passion, and love. It is akin to putting high-octane fuel into the body, mind, and spirit. It is used for anemia at any level – physical sluggishness, mental fatigue, and coldness of the spirit. Rich red blood brings strength, power, and vibrancy to every cell, organ, function, and level. Thus, we consider it for patients who need enthusiasm, passion, and excitement.
This point can receive more moxa than any point on the whole of the body. With severe cases of depletion such as with cancers, chemotherapy, immune system diseases, chronic fatigue, chronic depression, weaknesses of old age (to name a few), we can begin with 5-7 small direct moxa cones, bilaterally, and increase on each visit. For example, we may begin with 5-7, do 15 on the next visit, then 21, 31, 41, etc., until we reach the upper limit, followed by needle tonification. In keeping with the practice of using odd numbers of moxas, this writer uses 49 as the upper limit. Then, if still warranted, we could start at 5-7 again and continue building up to 49. However, once the pulses and other diagnostic indicators (e.g. odor, color, sound of voice, and emotion) showed a strong and successful response, there would be no need to further increase.
Bladder 39 Spirit Hall (in some texts, this point corresponds to UB 44)
This point, associated with the Heart, is an inner sanctum a where the Supreme Controller can find rest, refuge, peace, and rejuvenation - free from the demands and needs of everyone to which the King or Queen must almost constantly attend. The Supreme Controller must rule from a place of internal quietude - with wisdom, love, and order. We consider this point when he has been overburdened, jarred, displaced, traumatized, at his wit’s end. Spiritually, the patient needing this point is often restless, weary, unsettled, out of control, unable to find the way “home.” Disorder, fear, and chaos is felt throughout the kingdom of all Officials. This point can restore order, calm, and provide a true “welcome home”. When we are spiritually at home, we can feel at home anywhere.
Bladder 42 Spiritual Soul Gate (In some texts, point corresponds to UB 47)
The point is a gate that provides access to the deepest levels of the soul – the “Spiritual Soul”. Associated with the Liver (the Official of Planning), this point can clarify the spiritual vision to see ones destiny. It helps a patient see whether their path, their plans, and their choices are in alignment with their Divine purpose or destiny. It helps a person know how he or she fits into the grand scheme of things. Patients who need this point tend to lose their way or become easily confused, frustrated, and thrown off track. They lose their internal compass. They may spiritually flicker – finding purpose, direction, and alignment – only to lose it, as the natural functioning of this gate is impaired. When this gate is open, it allows for a strong flow of spiritual strength and insight capable of handling whatever need may arise. One is on-task, on-purpose, and confidently self-assertive.
(English translations of point names are those taught by Professor J.R. Worsley and published in Traditional Chinese Acupuncture Volume 1 Meridians and Points, J.R. Worsley, Published by Element Books 1982.)
© 2019 Neil R. Gumenick / The Institute of Classical Five-Element Acupuncture Inc.