There are many secret teachings in Taoism, Tai Chi and Qigong that the masters only share with their most dedicated adepts. But the biggest secret of all is in plain sight. So why don’t we quite believe in it? Why not bring the powerful searchlight of our mind down into the belly, legs and feet? Because every time we do, we connect with our primary source of the universal energy that supports all living systems, known all over the world as Chi, Prana, Ki.
We have trusted science to solve many of our problems, but this is one solution they have missed, though they may be finally getting on board. In fact, after 400 years of Descartian affirmations that “I think, therefore I am,” let’s celebrate the change. As scientific researcher James L. Oschman’s says in his book Energy Medicine, “In a few decades scientists have gone from a conviction that there is no such thing as an energy field around the human body to an absolute certainty that it exists.”
I’m not denigrating the amazing miracles of modern allopathic medicine, but it has much to learn from its natural-born, millennial sisters, and much to give up of arrogant assumptions. What I find exciting is this present convergence between scientific study and ancient knowledge. For example, physicist Ravi Ravindra’s marrying of the East Indian lore of his forefathers with esoteric Christianity in Whispers from the Other Shore or Yoga of the Christ; and Tibetan teachers’ work relating neuroscience to ancient Tibetan Buddhist science. Added to that, neuroscience psychiatrists like Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Bessel van der Kolk who state baldly that the brain is changing itself all the time depending on what we are doing, and have found yoga and meditation equally or sometimes more important than medication for sufferers of mental illness.
That’s huge, friends. And more recent news expands on the importance of the Belly Brain, once ignored by all but Eastern medicine and primal tribes around the world. The enteric nervous system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the head brain. So allow yourself to get blown away by the fact that ninety-five percent of the body’s feel-good serotonin is found in the intestines.
What’s more, there are trillions of micro-organisms—bacteria, fungi and viruses—mostly in the large intestine. BBC Future has just brought out a Microbes and Me series that examines the power of our gut microbiota to harm or heal, asking “How could these microscopic scavengers, feeding on the debris of our digestion, possibly affect the brain?” Which brings us to the question, could what’s in our belly sometimes be responsible for our mental health?