In Part 1 I discussed the basic concept of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ‘Meridian Clock’ and how it can give you insight into why you are waking up at the same time each night. As I mentioned before, the 12 meridians that sit within the clock have many responsibilities, pathways of energy and connections to different aspects of being: your mind, emotions, body and spirit. When we are in balance, each meridian is flowing and not expressing dis-ease. Let’s now look further into this incredibly useful wisdom.
Is it an aspect of your life that wakes you up at night?
Maybe you’re a bit stuck and you don’t know what to do next? Or you’re waking up early and are caught in a mental loop of guilt over some kind of loss – a relationship, lack of happiness, a job. Often we don’t even realise our feelings or behaviours until they’re pointed out to us. The key responsibilities (aspects of life) connected to each meridian is another useful avenue to self-understanding.
Following on from the basic emotions of the elements (Why You Wake Up At The Same Time Every Night Part 1) are the key responsibilities to each meridian. When I’m working with clients I find a pattern of blockages between particular meridians. From this, I can see a picture of behaviour or areas of their life that are not working so well. Remember we’re talking about sleep and when you’re waking up, so use Part 1 to help you find which meridian you need to focus on for self-reflection.
Meridians and their key responsibilities
The following table describes the basic responsibilities for each of the 12 meridians.
- Stomach – Nourishment of others; nourishment from outside
- Spleen – Nourishment of self in every way
- Heart – Connection to your spirit; circulation of Qi (energy); heart and mind working as one
- Small Intestine – Communication (speaking, listening); perception; truth
- Bladder – When to use our resources; being controlling
- Kidney – Reproduction and creating things in life; our resources
- Pericardium (aka Sex/Circulation) – Intimate relationships; protecting your heart; healthy boundaries
- Triple Heater – Non-intimate relationships; social aspects
- Gall Bladder – Determination and decision making; action
- Liver – Internal plans; the vision for life
- Lung – Barrier (skin) to the outside world; understanding what is of true value
- Large Intestine – Letting go of impurities (of emotions and beliefs, past experiences) ; holding on to what is of value
Of course, some sleeping problems stem from the inability to even fall asleep at night; dreaded insomnia. Do you find yourself helplessly awake watching the bedside clock tick loudly over to midnight with your mind ticking away even louder? Midnight places you in Gall Bladder meridian energy (11pm – 1am) and the Wood element. Ask yourself “am I stuck and not making a decision about something or acting upon it?”, “have I lost perspective?”
Extending the use of the clock beyond sleep
There are many patterns and signs in our lives; you just need to have your eyes open to see them. For example: anxiety around 4pm, headaches late at night, or a sore lower back before dinner time.
Your body is speaking to you in the only way it can by turning your attention away from the external world and inwards toward you. With the transferable knowledge of TCM you can use the clock for any time of day, not just sleeping problems.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, have a look at my article in the Sanctuary of Sleep series Part One Stress & Sleep – why you have trouble falling asleep.
I have received hundreds of comments for this series and I endeavour to answer them. Please go back to the clock and through the articles and your answer is most likely there.
As always my friend — you don’t have to do it alone.
Why You Wake Up by Kate Pamphilon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.