~ Awareness of the Dan Tian ~
© Margaret Emerson
Published in Qi Journal, Winter 2012-2013
I had no business being at the top of Mt. Bachelor. Wind had whipped the snow into Dairy Queen swirls that—up there—looked sinister. The way down was shockingly steep; there were no trees to hang onto; and I was a mediocre skier. I had only one hope—plug into the dan tian and trust it to give me the wherewithal to make it to the bottom in one piece. Five years of T’ai Chi training had at least begun to teach me what the dan tian was capable of. So instead of giving my attention to the parts of me that appear to do the skiing— my arms and legs—I focused inward on the dan tian. Outside of practicing T’ai Chi or meditating, this was the first time I deliberately drew on that place in the center of my abdomen. I stayed in my dan tian the whole way down the mountain. My limbs performed with strength and coordination way beyond my normal skill. I made it without falling.