Have you ever found yourself driving along a highway? The road stretches out in front of you and disappears into the horizon, almost lulling you to sleep. You press into the gas a little more, going a little too fast, but no one is on this highway. You stop thinking about driving and start thinking about your life. No longer paying attention to the road, you hit a bend in the road. The sudden pull of the car as it tries to break from the trajectory you’ve given it pulls you immediately back to your place behind the wheel. And for a road that hasn’t seen any traffic for the last 30 miles, suddenly there is a truck in the other lane bearing down on you.
That’s kind of what this year feels like.
It’s like I was in the middle of a great dream, and someone is shaking me awake and screaming, “Wake up, wake up, the house is on fire!”
2020 is like being in the midst of some significant change, some enormous societal change. It’s a change that has been coming for some time, and there is no way to change the course. It’s pressing an overwhelming emotional force on every individual I know.
In Chinese Medicine, the 12 primary channels are well-known. They consist of the major organs like the heart, the lungs, the stomach.
Every time we have an experience in life, we have to process the experience and incorporate it into our psyche. That’s the job of the 12 primary channels. Check out my blog on the heart, “Chinese Medicine, the Heart and How to Avoid Chaos”
But, there are another set of channels called the 8 extraordinary channels. When life experiences have become too much or have lasted for a long time, the experience can become overwhelming.
The pandemic is an excellent example of life experiences becoming overwhelming. An overwhelming experience is no longer able to be handled at the primary channel level. Many different experiences can become overwhelming. Just look at those situations that are considered major life events such as a divorce, losing a job, homelessness, moving, getting married, being a caregiver. Then there are the emotional scars from abuse, such as everything that can cause PTSD.
Some of the hallmarks of an overwhelming experience are it is unknown. Covid-19 has many unknowns, including when it will end. Another hallmark is the situation is a threat to personal survival. Here again, this virus has decimated the financial stability of millions of people in the United States. Not only financial stability, but it has an inconsistent side that threatens the lives of individuals. As the pandemic continues to threaten personal survival and family self-preservation, individuals become more frayed and run down. There can be a sensation of being powerless and trapped, leading to feelings of hopelessness.
These overwhelming types of experiences have a tendency to get trapped in our bodies and our psyche. Daily activities become difficult to manage. It becomes more challenging to sleep. Your emotions start taking more control of your interactions and your life. Feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, grief, brooding can become your daily drivers making it difficult to accomplish things.
How would you treat this? Well, all your traditional coping skills are probably taxed. Your traditional coping skills are like primary channels. Usually, they can handle all of life’s stressors. But, when faced with an overwhelming experience, coping skills get maxed out. That is when you use the 8 extraordinary channels. What are the 8 extraordinary channels?
The 8 extraordinary channels existed before you were born. The Chong mai starts with the zygote. When the zygote splits, the Du and Ren mai are created. The egg splits again, creating the Dai mai. Splitting one more time and the other four channels are created.
So, these channels were the start of you before you were interacting with the world. That would make them seem to be more you than your primary channels. In Chinese Medicine, when you get overwhelmed, the extraordinary channels can be used to siphon off and store some extra trauma.
Experiences and trauma at this level can be a little different than at the primary channel level. Here, it makes an impact on your personality and changes your outlook. You know, one of the things I’ve been hearing is hopelessness. As the pandemic drags on and more and more stress is shoveled on top of individuals, hopelessness starts to crop up. Hopelessness is a belief that is getting changed at the 8 extraordinary level, which means it will change your outlook on life.
And I’ve talked about how our beliefs create our world and why it is so important to own and manage your thought processes. My blog, “Karma Free Zone,” and my vlog, “Understanding The Laws of Karma – the First Step to Finding Your True Self,” are two opportunities to learn more about managing your thought processes.
There are other ways to identify if your situation has passed the point of simple management at the primary channel level. It’s not just that it is a belief. You are experiencing the same outcome over and over, even though you want a different result. Or, you may be dealing with some chronic issues like autoimmune diseases or long-term difficulty in sleeping. Things are happening in your life that you just can’t seem to get around.
Yet, as everyone started hitting quarantine fatigue, I noticed the emotional stress had begun to take on a whole new direction in the office. Clients were showing less resilience. They were having a hard time finding direction and were feeling stuck. Some were feeling like they were perched on a precipice, wondering when they would be pushed off. Others were experiencing a low-level nervousness that they couldn’t shake. Sleep was becoming a big issue, and staying motivated was challenging.
These were all signs that what is being experienced today is getting too complicated to manage. That’s the thing about overwhelming experiences. They have the opportunity to change how you interact with the world. Not all of it is good. So, suppose you are feeling stuck in your current coping mechanisms or treatments and need to find another solution. In that case, 8 extraordinary treatments to overcome the stories and the stuckness may be an option.