Emotional-content is an enigmatic concept that is difficult to grasp.
At the same time, has concrete ramifications in the quality of life for chi gung and energy practitioners.
Chi Energy and Emotional Stability, as taught by Instructors Sifu Jones and Sifu Cicero embraces the concept of “emotional content” and the specific techniques on how to use it to the practitioner’s advantage is part of the School’s curriculum.
In this article, we will provide you with some biology-based principles that show exactly what emotions are made of and provide a glimpse as to how this will affect your chi. According to Merriam-Webster, an emotion is: “a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experiences as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.”
It is that last portion of the definition on which this article will focus: physiological and behavioral changes in the body.
Hormones: The Building Blocks of Emotions
According to Dr. Barry Sears, there are only two hormones upon which all emotions are based. “The two primary mediators of emotions are cytokines (hormones that are involved in inflammation) and eicosanoids.” Diet, Stress, and Emotions: The Mind-Body-Diet Connection
Cytokines and eicosanoids come in multiple flavors; all of which have a specific role to play. It should be noted, however, that some of these hormonal derivatives do, in fact, have an overarching negative impact on the body, especially those which encourage inflammation; these types of inflammatory producing hormones are not only associated with depression (unusually large amounts of such agents have been found in the spinal fluid of suicide victims), but have also been shown to adversely affect the production of natural killer cells in the body as they are the main source of the stress hormone cortisol.
As an aside:
According to Dr. Esther Sternberg of the National Institute of Mental Health: “A chronically stressed brain orders release of hormones and other chemicals that tamp down the immune system so it can’t fight off disease or speed healing. Too much stress even ages us faster.” More Hospitals Focus on the Mind\Body Connection
It should be noted that the human brain stores and generates “emotions” in its limbic system. The limbic system itself is comprised of connections of glands and structures that are located on top of the brainstem and are buried under the cortex. “Limbic system structures are involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival. Such emotions include fear, anger, and emotions related to sexual behavior. The limbic system is also involved in feelings of pleasure that are related to our survival, such as those experienced from eating and sex.” The Limbic System
There are two members of the limbic system which will serve well to illustrate a very important point that is often stressed to students of the School of Chi Energy: building chi pressure in and running extreme amounts of chi through the brain is something that is rarely recommended. The sheer amount of electromagnetic pressure along with the stimulation of the receptors of the cells that comprise the limbic system can, in fact, cause the brain to dump large amounts of hormones into the blood stream and throughout the body. The results can often be disastrous, as each gland produces a specific series of cytokines and eicosanoids; not knowing what, which, how and why could easily lead the chi energy practitioner into a hormonal roller coaster ride that is neither fun nor exciting.
The Limbic System’s Significant Contributors
The hypothalamus is about the size of a pearl, and directs a multitude of important functions. It regulates the body’s circadian rhythms, and is “an important emotional center, controlling the molecules that make you feel exhilarated, angry, or unhappy.” More on the Limbic System
The hypothalamus is responsible for the production of what is called the: Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). Abnormal levels of this specific inflammatory hormone that been found in the cerebrospinal fluid of suicide victims.
The hypothalamus also produces Dopamine, which is believed to provide a teaching signal to parts of the brain responsible for acquiring new behavior, similar to Pavlovian dogs. It also produces Somatostatin, suppresses the release of pancreatic hormones, thus inhibiting the release of insulin and glucagon. The Hypothalamus
The amygdala, another significant contributor to the Limbic System, directly affects activities like friendship, love and affection, on the expression of mood and, mainly, on fear, rage and aggression. The amygdala is also the center for identification of danger, which is fundamental for self preservation. The Amygdala
With those two very simple examples, it should be quite apparent as to why sending energy into the head could potentially create disastrous results. Inadvertently increasing or decreasing the production of Somatostatin, for example, could, in fact, have diabetic ramifications of a period of time; as this is the hormone directly involved in suppressing the release of insulin and glucagons.
Causing the amygdala to function in a hyperactive way could for example, cause an individual to confuse the emotional response of something that is dangerous and life threatening with that which is safe and pleasurable. Although somewhat innocent and well meaning on the surface, running chi through the head could, in fact, debilitating side effects (and certainly altering) results.
We at the School of Chi Energy have found that chi is best developed when a healthy mind and a healthy body work in unison. As the preceding article demonstrates, we understand the connections between the mind and body and take these factors into account in all of our chi development exercises and meditation courses.
In the interim: be well; be mindful.
Don Brown [Certified Instructor]
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