Energy is fundamental to any Taoist or chi kung practice. It is easy to talk about it without understanding or being clear, in some ways it needs to be experienced. We can talk about energy that powers our lights, or feeling full of energy, but when it gets onto the more metaphysical level it becomes possible to get lost in the term. I come from the background of being an acupuncturist and we work with the energy body, as opposed to the physical body. By addressing the energy according to millennia old formula, we successfully treat conditions that western medicine cannot help on a regular basis.
Einstein said that E=mc 2, referring to energy being equal to mass and speed. At the subatomic level, this refers to protons and neutrons traveling at great speed in empty space. In fact we are made out of empty space. Quantum physics looks into the mysteries of what is too small for the eye to see, and it never ends. Medicine has had a difficult time finding a treatment for cancer and this is because cancer is about cells and atoms rearranging into patterns which turn out to be harmful for the whole organism.
To Taoists everything is about energy, it is a scientific method of exercises and practices that are for the sole purpose of improving your energy by refining, recycling, circulating and storing it. Taoists realised that energy is the key to life, the key to feeling good and to enjoyment. Energy can be looked at in terms of vibrations. Before I practice chi kung, I was aware that sometimes I would feel better than at other times, but because I was always looking to the external world, I had little awareness of my own energy. When I started to get acupuncture treatments, sometimes I would feel a movement in part of my body, almost like electricity, but it was passing and I felt little connection with it.
Some years ago I would smoke cannabis and I loved the vibrations that it was producing in my body, they made me feel so content. I didn't realise at the time, but because my body was not vibrating in the way it should have, in balance and harmony, I was looking for those vibrations elsewhere and cannabis was forming a poor substitute. When I started to cultivate chi, I realised that suddenly I was feeling vibrations like the cannabis, but these were without the paranoia or edginess and just felt perfect and blissful. I would wake up the next day feeling fantastic, not groggy.
Energy vibrations are an essential part of the human experience. We exist on the physical plane, which is recognised by biology and chemistry, but there is also a energetic plane which (quantum) physics is starting to touch on. Taoists understood vibrations and categorised them and worked with them to promote health. Acupuncture, tai chi and chi kung are systems that have been passed down that work on this level, a do some types of meditation and yoga.
Most of us have felt a jolt of energy move up our spine at some point in time, or felt static electric shocks. When we start to practice chi kung, we start to feel different kinds of energy moving in our bodies. At first this can be a vague warm sensation or tingling, especially in the hands or lips. There can be jerking of the body which is energy moving and getting stuck in a place where there is a blockage in the body. As the blockages clear this can be replaced by feelings of waves of vibrations moving up or down the body.
Here are some types of energy you may feel:
- When practicing the Inner Smile or Six Healing Sounds you can start to connect with the energy in your organs and learn how to identify the quality of energy is there, how it effects your body and how to influence it so you can chose what energies you want. You can start to feel these energies building up as vibrations and bring them from one organ to the next in a practice called Fusion of the Five Elements.
- When you learn to activate your microcosmic orbit, you will start to feel a physical feeling of chi energy moving in your spine. This can be warm or cool or tingling and starts to build up, becoming stronger each time you do the practice as the energy flow starts to open. It is often felt on the lips and hands first and increased production of saliva is also a sign.
- In chi kung practice you can connect with terrestrial and cosmic energies, or electromagnetic energy. You can charge your body with this, it's a pleasant and relaxing feeling.
- When you correctly align your body in chi kung you can start to feel the flow of energy up your body which is like waves of vibrations.
- Tai Chi is about following the energy in the environment around you, the slow movements can be described as tracing the energy, or even that you are moving the energy and your body is flowing with it.
- With sexual alchemy practices you work with jing, which can be felt in the manifestation of sexual arousal. It is a clear energy that everyone feels and when it is transformed and spread around the body the experience is literally transformative. Sexual experience goes from being surrounded with frustration and shame to a spiritual experience and full body orgasms start to occur. These are energy vibrations that spread around the body. To Taoists the key to longevity was to combine orgasmic vibrations with the vibrations of love energy in the Heart and send these around the body where they can vibrate and heal the cells by reorganising the atomic structures.
The Three Treasures: Jing, Chi and Shen
Taoists saw energy in three forms, called the Three Treasures.
Jing is raw unrefined energy, like the DNA ancestral knowledge passed down from our ancestors. One easily accessible form it manifests in is sexual energy. This is a powerful force which often goes toxic through mismanagement resulting in frustration and sexual dysfunctions. In the lower tan tien, jing is transformed into chi, or physical energy. This is like the process of turning iron ore into steel, and is the first step of alchemical transformation towards immortality. At the end of every session, we condense the energy we have cultivated in the lower tan tien to activate the area and start the transformation.
Chi can be compared to physical energy, the energy we feel when we are full of energy. It keeps us strong and healthy. Transforming jing into chi is the first step to renewing our health, and you will feel increased energy levels and notice better health when this starts.
Shen is spiritual energy. It can be compared to love or feelings of connection. Chi is transformed into shen in the middle tan tien. From here is rises to the upper tan tien where is can be transformed into Tao original energy. When the Heart center starts to activate and transform you are likely to feel strong vibrations in your body rising up through the middle channel of the body (Thrusting Channel).