Feeling Qi and Luke Skywalker in Star Wars

By Kenji Aoki

In the interview for our Open House in May, I was asked about the uniqueness of New Meridian Therapy in acupuncture. I mentioned that the basic idea of acupuncture treatment was to balance the human energy flows called Qi. Before balancing Qi, I, as a practitioner, must feel the human energy called Qi. Therefore, in my daily practice of acupuncture, I start checking the Qi balance of each client as a routine procedure.

One day when I checked the Qi of my client, she asked me, “What are you feeling?”

I replied to her, “When I focus upon your Qi, I feel an opening or closing in my third eye.”

“How is it possible?” She continued her questions.

Since she was an AP Biology teacher in high school I responded by asking, “Do you know why birds can migrate without GPS?”

She said, “Birds can detect the magnetic field in their brains.”

“That’s right!” I replied to her, “It seems to me that I can feel a certain kind of magnetic field as Qi flows.”

I know this kind of experience has been regarded as mysterious or para-psychological. Recently, however, CAL Tech and Tokyo University, in a joint research project, found that even human brains could be affected by the magnetic field. In their research, when the magnetic fields changed in the lab setting, the subjects’ brain waves changed accordingly. Subjects could not perceive the changes, but it was detected at the subconscious level.

I think this result is interesting in the sense of why human subjects cannot perceive the magnetic fields which affect human brain waves. In other words, we are detecting the magnetic fields unconsciously.

I am wondering if we change the experimental subjects to native people of the Amazon or of Africa, if they might detect the changing magnetic fields in the experimental setting. It is well known that native peoples are sensitive to space orientation like east, west, south, and north, in addition to up, down, and back and forth.

It seems that in our society we have already lost different kinds of sensitivities, not only to the magnetic field but also to others. Therefore, as you may have already experienced somewhere, we are very surprised when we are instructed to focus upon the taste of a piece of raisin in a Mindfulness exercise. In this practice, we must admit that we do not totally pay attention to the taste of raisins, though we might eat them in oatmeal every morning. We totally forget the taste of raisins. In this context, it is appropriate to cite the famous seventeenth century Japanese haiku poet, Basho, who composed: “When I look closely, I see nazuna blooming by the hedge.” (Nazuna is a plant, so-called shepherd’s purse. Usually we regard it as tiny weeds, even though it is edible.) In this poem, ‘closely’ is the key word. It could be translated to ‘mindfully’ in the context of Mindfulness.

For me, the aforementioned client’s question, “How is it possible to feel Qi?”, is very important because I have to teach or train my method of acupuncture to the next generation. I cannot describe what we are doing in the training in this short blog, but please recall how Luke Skywalker practiced and learned the Force from his master in the original film Star Wars by George Lucas (1977). In the climax of the movie, when Luke tried to drop the bomb by setting up the targeting computer for a precise hit, he suddenly heard the inner voice of the master, “Use the Force, Luke.” That is, use his trained instinct/feeling-way. Therefore, I can tell my students, “Feel the Qi!”