Reflections on Meditation

This post is copied from our older, original blog. Original post date 9/27/2013.

By Karl Bower, Lic.Ac.

One might ask how meditation relates to acupuncture, or how it relates to health in general, for that matter.  As a practicing Buddhist, I can say that, for me, meditation is integral to both.  There are obviously many facets and concepts around what meditation is and what it can do for individuals.  But for those who practice, the nuances are vaster still.  However, also as an acupuncturist, my views about health and wellbeing of a patient can shed light on how a meditation practice can help one shape what it means to receive an acupuncture treatment.

My job is to work and balance the qi in one’s body; to facilitate the most even and easy flow of energy throughout.  East Asian medicine does not draw a distinction between mind and body; they are one-in-the-same.  If the mind is calm, there is no tension in the body, and vice versa.  It is a perpetual cyclical relationship.  When receiving acupuncture, we are treating ‘the body’.  This can have powerful effects on the mind, especially stress, anxiety, depression, etc.  Free and easy qi flow plays out both mentally and physically.

From a Buddhist perspective, an important part of meditation is posture.  With correct posture comes a freer flow of qi, which influences our breathing and even our thoughts.  Therefore, when one sits in meditation with limited muscle tension, in a relaxed upright posture, the channels can open and qi flows with minimal obstruction, and the mind calms and quiets.

Within an acupuncture treatment, I like to help the body relax and open, calling attention to tension when necessary.  This makes us more aware of our posture in all moments of the day.  As we become more aware, our breath and mind follow; calming, relaxing, and opening.  When East Asian medicine talks about ‘qi stagnation’, this is exactly what type of “stuck-ness” we are ameliorating; allowing qi to flow, tension to release, and pain to ease throughout the mind/body.

This is the same type of meditative awareness I try to bring to my own life.  Meditation does not end after getting up off the cushion.  It should be brought with us moment to moment.

If you’re ever interested in learning more about meditation and the various ways it can used on your path to better health, ask me and I’ll be more than happy to help.