Carl Hendel, MD 7/02
The Rhythmic Energy Being seems to have an egg-like or teardrop shape. That is what has been described through the ages by "seers" and shamans through-out many cultures. In TaiJi practice, the suspended headtop and fluid-like quality to the body that is the result of sinking experientially supports this awareness. Since this is a universe of holograms and no wasted patterns, it would seem that the mind must also be an egg-shaped experience. This "Rhythmic Energy Mind" can be thought of as an energy egg.
This has major implications for the state of our current mental health and psychology theories. The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) is the currency of the mental health profession. Everything has been catalogued, numbered, outlined, and organized into a package of boxes and lines. There is even a structure with decision trees, so that a computer could conceivably diagnose psychopathology. There are even true-false, multiple choice tests that are scored and evaluated by computers based on this classification system, a system based on pathologizing.
I suggest that perhaps, again, in man's age-old follies of declarations later proven incomprehensible, this model of the mind is not consistent with the experience of mind.
One possible description of behavior within the sphere of mind would be the egg or teardrop metaphor, an "energy-egg mind". The fluidic nature should be without "hollows or protuberances". This might be experienced as peaceful, calm, quiet, relaxed, aware, and comfortable. Feelings of love, light and appreciation would be available. This would seem to be very good.
However, many people, for various reasons, manifest fear, anger, hate, aggression, and distrust. In the model of the Rhythmic Energy Mind, the fluid medium is disrupted with areas that are a bit congealed or even aggregated. In simple terms, mind qi gets stuck, excessive or deficient. Maybe this is why the Chinese have been treating "mental illness" with acupuncture,herbs, and exercises that affect qi for 30 centuries.
When a person's functioning becomes a problem, our current system turns to the DSM for answers. Maybe someday, the true nature of the mind will lead to better ways to restore mind wellness than our often pharmaceutical approach, I am not proposing that we "throw the baby out with the bath water", since many lives have been saved. I just ask for some perspective and to not shoot reflexively from the pharmaceutical holster.
The DSM is a linear, and therefore limited and flawed structure. Many times in the past, pathologizing has proven damagingly wrong. The literature is full of examples. People have been locked up for years with inaccurate diagnoses and inappropriate treatment. One example is the "Multiple Personality Disorder", now called "Dissociative Identity Disorder" in the DSM. We used to label these people as schizophrenic and treat them as mad, crazy, dangerous, and bizarre aberrations of a human being. We now understand that this syndrome is a manifestation of a healthy mind protecting itself, often from horrible, unbearable experience. We used to declare that schizophrenia could only be treated with drugs, restraints, electro-shock, and insisted until very recently that "talking therapy" was a waste of time and money in schizophrenia.
Although our current established understanding of psychology may have been flawed in the past, I believe that it will continue to evolve and grow. The DSM does have value. It gives a language and guidelines in establishing that there is a "problem". The lists and criteria outline years of observation and can help identify a person in significant distress, at risk to "crash and burn", and to treat these individuals as appropriately as we know now.
I prefer to consider "problems" a mind-qi disharmony, something amiss, a corner, a bump or protuberance, a hollow in the energy egg field of the mind. This writing is not the place for me to describe my approach to mind-body healing...perhaps another day (the nature of the healing relationship).
I certainly am not the first or only person to note the problems described above. An alternate view from pathologizing is the concept of Spiritual Emergence. Breakthroughs in consciousness sometimes come with speed and turmoil, The ancient descriptions of rising Kundalini energy, of "seeing the sun at midnight", and the Chinese ideas of madness due to unrestrained yang qi rising and escaping the meridians are all consistent with the energy-egg mind, the rhythmic energy mind. Many people who could be diagnosed as mad by the DSM are in the process of dynamic change and excitation of mind-qi. That doesn't mean that individuals in spiritual emergence crisis don't need help and support. Of course they do. But assuming that metamorphoses in mind are always sickness is, in itself, sick.
So, what do I recommend if you happen to have stuck or disordered mind-qi? Talk to friends and family openly. Seek help if symptoms feel disruptive and interfere with functioning in daily life. Eat appropriately, exercise, be sure that sleep is normal and healthy, and do some form of meditative self-care (of course, TaiJi is my favorite recommendation). Acupuncture, imagery, massage are often helpful. All of these facilitate the movement of qi, and that can only help the mind-qi flow unobstructedly through the field of rhythmic energy that is the mind.