The Three Tan Tiens

three tiens

The Lower Tan Tien

This is the energy centre that is first worked with in Taoism, it is vertically in the mid line of the body and a little below the navel. After each session, you will store and concentrate all the energy you have accumulated here, by rubbing or focusing on the area. The purpose of this tan tien is to convert jing (raw inherited, DNA, sexual energy) into chi (physical energy). As children the tan tien is naturally active, until around 17 years old, (or before in unhealthy children) when the process slows or stops. One of the main purposes of chi kung is to get the lower tan tien turning and transforming jing into chi again, returning us to a healthy and youthful state. This is the main energy centre for men and men will almost always be working with this centre. Women start their practice by working here but later start to use the Heart centre (middle tan tien). The most important thing in chi kung is to activate the lower tan tien, because everything flows from that.

middle tien

The Middle Tan Tien

Once the Lower Tan Tien has been activated and it has started turning again, transforming jing into chi, the chi will start to rise like a mist up towards the Heart centre or middle tan tien. When the middle tan tien is activate it start to turn chi into shen (spiritual energy). There are different views about the exact location of this area, but for the purpose of what we are working with here this is the Heart area. For women, this is generally the main energy centre. Although women will also start working with the lower tan tien at first, they soon move here. It is important to have a solid basis low down in the body to keep you balanced, but the natural energy centre for women is the Heart. When the middle tan tien starts to activate, and with men this is often years into practice, you will start to feel pleasurable shivering in the lower abdomen during meditation, although not all shivering and shaking is this. When your Heart centre is activated you will start to come from a place of deep Love and Compassion in your life.

The Upper Tan Tien

The Upper Tan Tien relates to the pineal and pituitary glands, the area known in Taoism as the 'Crystal Palace'. because extended meditation leads to the tiny cracks in the skull opening up letting light into this area, producing an effect of illumination and activating the glands. Once the middle tan tien is so active that it is producing enough shen for this to rise like a steam into the upper tan tien, it will become activated and start to produce what is referred to as Tao or Original Shen. This is the substance from which we come forth on a spiritual level and the process of activating the tan tiens is about bringing us back from the physical to spiritual, which is reversing the birth process of turning us from the spiritual to the physical. Once this is activated you have gained enlightenment and this is also the key to immortality.