By Kim Knight, Director of the Art of Health, Auckland, New Zealand
Most people have heard of ‘Chi Kung’, which is loosely translated as ‘energy management’. And most people have heard of the Chinese term for life force – ‘Chi’. This article will explain a little bit about our life force, and how, using the tools of the Universal Healing Tao, we can learn to manage and enhance it for our own health and well-being.
So, firstly, a little about Chi. Whilst it is impossible to put such an esoteric concept into words, it has been described by Gilles Marin, author and Senior Tao Instructor, as ‘the breath of creation’, ‘energy impregnated with information’ and ‘the energy carrying the deliberate intent to promote life and existence’.
And whilst most people are familiar with Chi in general, its multiple origins and forms are lesser known. To simplify, there are three main sources for the Chi we find in our body:
- Jing Chi – known as our ‘original Chi or inherited Chi’ which is passed down to us from our parents
- Gu Chi – or digestive Chi, which is derived from the food and drink we ingest
- Da Chi – or Cosmic Chi, which is drawn in through the lungs
Even from just understanding this we can see the impact on our own health of (a) the quality of our parents’ Chi (which is an amalgam of their spiritual / mental / emotional and physical states) (b) the quality of our food / drink and eating habits (ie, chewing well and eating slowly for good digestion) and (c) our breathing and exercise habits.
Da Chi and Gu Chi are then combined to produce ‘Zong Chi’ which is transformed into ‘Zhen Chi’, a fully refined Chi that is now ready to be used by the body. Zhen Chi is further divided into
(a) ‘Wei Chi’, a specific type of Chi that helps us to maintain good energetic boundaries and protects the body from infections and
(b) ‘Ying Chi’ which is used by the body to nourish the cells and move the blood.
As Chi travels through the organs, it takes on the quality of that organ system: Chi travelling through the Heart and Endocrine system becomes ‘Fire Chi’, in the Kidneys ‘Water Chi’, in the Spleen and Stomach ‘Earth Chi’, in the Lungs ‘Metal Chi’, and in the Liver and nerves ‘Wood Chi’. Thus we find Five Elemental Forces within the body, a direct reflection of the Five Elemental Forces of Nature in the Universe.
Conservation of Energy
So, before going into how we can tap directly into the unlimited energy pools of Universal and Cosmic Chi, a few words about Chi Kung or ‘energy management’. According to Master Mantak Chia, founder of the Universal Healing Tao, “our first goal is to conserve our Chi: when a battery is drained it is harder to charge. Money makes Money. Chi makes Chi. Conservation of Chi will help gain more Chi.” In his book ‘Cosmic Healing I’ he explains how we unwittingly leak energy in 3 major ways:
- Through negative emotions
- Through constantly turning our senses outwards
- Through the reproductive system – (for men via ejaculation, for women via menstruation).
In the beginning practices of the Universal Healing Tao (UHT) we learn to root to the earth and build a good energetic structure with Iron Shirt Chi Kung. According to Chia, just like a tyre needs to have the correct psi, we need to maintain a good level of Chi pressure inside the body. This keeps our vital organs in their correct position and protects them with several layers of ‘Chi’ cushioning – an ‘Iron Shirt’.
We also learn through the sitting meditations of the Cosmic Inner Smile andSix Healing Sounds to bring our senses inwards to rest with their parents: the tongue rolls down to the Heart, the mouth to the Spleen, the ears to the Kidneys, the eyes to the Liver and the nose to the Lungs. And through the Healing Lovepractices, we learn to transform sexual energy back into life force that can be used to nourish the body. As I was once told ‘If you don’t learn how to control your sexual energy, it will control you.”
Apart from conserving Chi, we also need to balance it. Our energy needs to flow freely through the body’s meridiens (energetic pathways) like a river. Only then can our cells and organs remain healthy. Unfortunately, due to habits and lifestyle, our Chi can become stagnant, blocked, excessive in some areas and deficient in others. This affects all levels of our being: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. So for example, if your liver is clogged with physical toxins, you are likely to feel (mentally) nervous and (emotionally) frustrated or angry. And too much heat in the heart will result in feelings of impatience and hastiness.
According to Taoists sages, the physiological function of each organ will equally be impaired by negative emotions: worry affects the spleen / stomach; fear and stress affect the kidneys and sadness and grief affect the Lungs.
Practicing the Cosmic Inner Smile and Six Healing Soundsmeditations we connect with and clear negative emotional energy from the organs. And with theMicrocosmic Orbit meditation we free up and circulate our Chi flow around two major meridians which together form a loop up the back and down the front of the body.
Each organ system also stores a particular part of our Soul and Spirit, which ‘reveal’ themselves in our positive ‘virtues’. The Heart’s essence is joy, gratitude and respect; The Stomach and Spleen’s are trust and openness. The virtues in the Kidneys are deep peace and stillness, which are also the essential nature of the Water Element. Each virtue is infact the essence of one of the Five Elemental Forces of Nature found in both our body and the Cosmos, which when combined form the energy of Compassion.
Transformation of Energy
Once we have started to conserve and balance our Chi, we can then learn totransform it into more beneficial energies. In the next stage of practice, theFusion of the Five Elements – remembering that energy can never be destroyed, only transformed – we (a) journey through the organs to collect negative emotions which are then (b) collected in a ‘cauldron’ at the navel and transformed into a purified ‘pearl’ of pure Chi which is then (c) passed through the organs again gathering the virtues so that finally (d) a ‘pearl of compassion’ can be moved through the meridians and organs to clear blockages and nourish our being.
As Mantak Chia puts it “Chi is not only the foundation of our health, it is also the basis of spiritual development in the Tao”. The Fusion practices are level 3 out of a total of 9 levels of ‘Internal Alchemy’. Initially the practices are aimed at enhancing our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. However, in the process of creating a solid foundation of health, the basis for developing ones spiritual independence is also created. Once one reaches the more advanced practices such as Kan and Li and Sealing of the Five Senses, one builds an immortal foetus and energy body which becomes the vehicle for passing into spirit. The ultimate goal of Taoist practice is infact the transcendence of physical boundaries through the development of the soul and the spirit within.
Once we have accomplished the 3 phases of conserving, balancing and transforming Chi, we then learn to increase it. It is essential to first learn the above three phases or we will either waste the extra energy or amplify any negative energy still in the body.
As Master Chia puts it, Chi is everywhere – it pervades all of heaven, earth and nature, and we just need to learn how to tap into the unlimited, transpersonal reservoirs of Universal and Cosmic energy. Via the Microcosmic Orbit and the practice of ‘Opening the 3 Tan Tiens to the 6 Directions’ we connect our Macrocosmic (Individual Being) with the Microcosm (Whole), moving up through the solar system, Milky Way, the Five Elements, Three Pure Ones and Tai Chi, arriving at the Primordial Force (Wu Tao).
Remembering that we are a miniature version of the Universe, we too have our own primordial force at our centre: the Tan Tien or ‘Elixir Field’. This is where our Original Force is stored and where we can store any Chi that we create inside or absorb from the Universe. This is also the site of our abdominal brain, which we can train to use so that we can rest the head brain, which tends to be overworked.
Finally, a practitioner learns to assist others using Cosmic Healing Chi Kung, Chi Nei Tsang and the World Link meditation. There are many other branches of purification within the Universal Healing Tao, including Bone Breathing, Stem Cell Chi Kung and Healing Buddha Palms. With so many Chi Kung practices to choose from, and with their ongoing cumulative and beneficial effects, Master Chia reminds us that ‘according to the ancient sages, long-term practice beyond two years and most effectively if practiced life-long, could retard the various degenerative changes associated with old age. A diligent practitioner often lived to ninety years of age and remained healthy and alert, able to jog, run and climb mountains with ease, and continued to enjoy life more fully than most people’.
Tapping directly into these Universal and Cosmic forces teaches us that we are born with the ability to by-pass a total reliance on plants or animals for the life-force which they themselves have absorbed from the Cosmos. We are designed to go directly to the Source – we just need to know how.