Master Chia: When I first came to the U.S. I practiced acupuncture. In time I discovered that many of my patients had been referred to me by a doctor who was interested in Chi Kung. Whenever he had problem patients who didn't respond to conventional western medicine, he sent them to me. Many of them responded quite well to what I had to offer. Now I've been in this country for about four years and it was at least two years before I met the good doctor. He was excited about the way many of his referrals had responded. He asked to interview my students, half of which were his patients. I agreed and in time he published a book called "Reports of the National Clearinghouse for Meditation, Relaxation and Related Therapies", his aim being, to interest the American Medical Community in what he called, "Investigative Reports" regarding meditation in relation to physical and mental health. (This report can be obtained by writing to: National Clearinghouse for Meditation, Relaxation and Related Therapies, P.O. Box 3184 Church Street Station, New York, N.Y. 10008).
The case reports were of people who had headaches for many years, others who had asthma and various other ailments such as allergies, insomnia, hypertension, stomach ulcers, constipation, heart problems, hemorrhoids, chronic fatigue, overweight and low back pain. Doctor Young feels quite confident that these methods will be taught here to doctors as part of their training within ten to twelve years. In fact, it has great promise in the field of preventive medicine and as a means of fulfilling one's potentials.
I offered a workshop at the American Holistic Medical Association's annual congress held at La Crosse, Wisconsin. Many physicians, nurses and holistic health professionals attended.
At this workshop was a nurse who had practiced the meditaition of stilling the mind for four years. She reported that lately she had felt heat in her head, especially in her palate. Sometimes during practice periods, her tongue seemed to automatically reach up and touch her palate, at which time a shock would run through it. This greatly frightened her. During the workshop she learned that the tongue acts as a bridge that connects the two channels completing the Microcosmic Orbit. That night she practiced again and felt so full of energy that she continued to practice without getting any sleep and yet felt very energetic throughout the next day.
During three workshops, four participants successfully completed the Microcosmic Orbit and many others indicated the potential to do so in the near future. One physician had practiced T.M. for about ten years and had already begun to experience heat and light in his head during his T.M. meditations. By learning how the energy flows and placing his tongue to his palate during this training period in La Crosse, he completed the orbit. By concentrating on his navel he experienced the light flowing in his Microcosmic Orbit.
At the end of the seminar a number of physicians were of the opinion that the concept of the Microcosmic Orbit as being a continuous circuit of energy is more reasonable than one in which the energy is allowed to flow only up to the head or be given no direction at all as in certain yoga practices,
The following are taped recorded excerpts from workshops on the Microcosmic Orbit held in New York City, Boston, Boulder, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Tampa. Participants (identified here as "students") were asked to describe their experience with the Microcosmic Orbit. Responding are Mantak Chia and instructor Gunther Weil.
Student: I practice the Microcosmic Orbit every morning. The total time that I spend each day is one hour. I feel sensations of heat flowing through my body. Sometimes there are sensations of a cool kind of energy. Sometimes I feel as though my abdomen is filled with energy. I have spontaneous movements when I practice. When they first occurred I wasn't sure as to just what was happening and I found that I could stop them. When I relaxed, however, it started again, and I decided that it was generated from my body rather than by any choice of mine.
Master Chia: This sort of thing is not unique to this system. Practitioners of yoga and zen and T.M. have all had similar experiences. The specific gyrations are unique unto the individual and to a particular time and place. However they are indentically produced when areas that block flows of energy resist and then open up.
Student: lf I don't have a half hour to practice what can I do?
Master Chia: The Microcosmic Orbit can be practiced anywhere, anytime, even just for one minute. You can do it for even just half a minute. Just think a smile and relax down. I want to stress that at any time during the day that you find you have just one minute you should smile and relax down to the navel. Doing this, you will find that the microcosmic orbit is set into motion. If you collect those spare minutes you may be surprised at how much time you have practiced during the day.
Student: Do you have to go through all the organs?
Master Chia: No. At this point you should simply smile and relax and fill your heart with love, let the loving energy spread throughout the whole system. In the beginning you just have to go through each organ as you have learned. Just like you learn the A,B,C's in the beginning. When you practice more it becomes a part of you, and you can read quickly. In the same way, once you practice, when you smile it will quickly fill all the organs and glands with smiles and love. You should then feel as though something is going down into your abdomen. When you can sense something around your navel concentrate there and in moments you will feel the circulation begin.
The microcosmic orbit is important because it teaches you how to allow the mind to direct your blood circulation. The heart is the sole mover of blood in ordinary people. Here, we do Taoist Chi Kung. This is a means of mixing energy into the blood and is achieved by mind power. When this is done, the heart doesn't have to work as hard. If your hands are cold you should now be able to direct Chi there to warm them, because your mind directs the flow of energy and the blood follows. The more your mind is used to circulate Chi, the faster and easier your blood flows. If you jog or exercise violently you can increase your rate of circulation but here you can sit down and relax and though your heart doesn't work as hard as it normally does, your circulation will be increased.
Student: I was born in New York. I'm an acupuncturist and I also teach people special corrective exercises based on a system by Master Oki from Japan. I do nutritional counseling, as well. I've been studying martial arts for ten years. I did Japanese style karate for three years and Shun Ryo and now I do Tai Chi. I also do some Kundalini Yoga. The first thing I was really fascinated by was the diagnostic power of this during the relaxation part when we were going down vertebra by vertebra. I could actually detect what went on there, whether it was compressed or irritated or collapsed or bent. I was really surprised. Then when Master Chia put his hand on me it was like someone had lit a match there. The whole thing was on fire even long after he'd touched me. The heat had gone into my lungs and I could feel it healing them. I'd had some trouble with my lungs previously. This training has made me more relaxed so that I can now deal with stress conditions much more successfully. I feel centered now and I have developed a considerable amount of self-assertiveness.
Student: I have a hard time making the spiral in collecting the energy. Usually I feel that it overlaps or is of a distorted shape. I can't seem to make it spiral out.
Master Chia: That's alright. That's the way it is in the beginning. Actually, if I feel I've done it incorrectly, I just do it again. Collecting the energy in the navel is so important.
We have two major divisions in our bodies. One consists of the heart, lungs and the brain, and the other part is the lower abdomen. The body can also be divided into hot and cold. Above the navel is heat and below is coolness or cold. That's why the Six Healing Sounds and The Fusion of the Five Elements are so important. There are some places where you can store energy without any harm, like the navel area, but when it accumulates elsewhere,it can cause unpleasant effects. You can compare concentration to bringing together into one point the sun's rays with a magnifying glass. Here we are able to add to that the ability to circulate that heat throughout the body. This will help your blood get warm and make you stronger and healthier . . . gradually feeding your body and then your soul and finally your spirit. Each level that you ascend to is altogether different. Your present energy is derived from your organs . . . but is still in a raw state.
The second level harmonizes these energies in the Fusion of the Five Elements . . . in which the heart, kidney, liver, lung and spleen are involved. Each of these organs produces its own particular energy and it is at this level that these energies are blended, or, as the name indicates, fused and then distributed throughout the body wherever they are needed. So when you don't collect the energy at the end of your practice you have no way of knowing where that energy may be stuck. If Chi has collected in your head or chest you may be in for a lot of trouble because your brain is very sensitive to heat and you may have terrible headaches and possibly delusions. When your heart overheats, you find that you can't breathe well and that it beats too quickly. In regard to this there is a rule in Tao which is to keep your head cool and your feet warm.
Student: Why does the right hand have to be over the left?
Master Chia: It has to do with Yin and Yang. The right hand is Yang and the energy flows from Yang, right hand, to the left hand which is Yin. You get more energy that way.
Student: Does it make any difference if you are right handed or left handed or a man or woman?
Master Chia: No. The hand position is the same for everyone.
Student: If men gather the energy together at the end of a practice session first clockwise and counter clockwise and women abide by the reverse procedure, why aren't their hands reversed as well?
Master Chia: The flowing of energy through the hands is the same. The circulation of energy through the cycle for the man starts at the head, and the energy circulation for woman start from the earth. When the energy is yang to yin it's the same in both.
Student: If a person is mentally unstable, is he going to able to complete the Microcosmic Orbit?
Master Chia: Some people come to me and after we talk I tell them A to go see a psychiatrist. They are "too hot" and have to do therapy first to slow down. I let them know right away that they are not ready now.
Student: Can the Microcosmic Orbit be used to aid in the relief of major medical ailments?
Master Chia: Many people in this practice fall in love with their organs and quickly give up bad habits as a natural course of events. Thos habits just don't appeal to them anymore.
I have a student in New York who completed the Microcosmic Orbit. One day he had pain suddenly in the back caused by a kid ney stone and had to go to the hospital. At the hospital he was given an injection of morphine, which he later said felt just like the experience when the energy suddenly rose up to the head. Naturally he was excited and he called me and asked me if that was possible. I explained to him that this phenomenan lately seems to have been backed by scientific investigations into the way the body makes endorphins, which are morphine-like compounds, and how acupuncture works to stop the pain. Anyway, whenever he gets pain now he stops it by meditating. You have to have some idea of the magnitude of the pain that kidney stones can produce to really appreciate this account. That student never fails to thank me now.
Gunther Weil: Often when we have workshops there are people who have had injuries in the back, knee, scrotum. When they do the microcosmic orbit they say they feel heat or pain in those areas, because the chi is going to those areas first to heal them. This is sometimes a little painful. It's like a resistance coil. The electricity flows and meets with an obstruction and takes a while to work through it. But then it works quickly. If you do it everyday you'll find a lot of healing in your body. Old injuries will heal themselves faster.
Student: I've benefited greatly from the practice. I came here because I have an injured back, as of three years ago. I'd been treated by chiropractors, acupuncturists and masseurs in Taiwan and in Tokyo, but nothing helped. Then a friend recommended that I come here because she said that she had had good results doing your meditation. After I had practiced about six weeks, I awoke one morning and felt a flowing sensation rise up through my legs.
Gunther Weil: You'll have different experiences at different points. Some points won't have any sensations at all. And other points will be very st. It changes all the time. It depends on your general state of health that day, the atmosphere, how much prior experience you've had.
Student: From doing the microcosmic orbit and the Six Healing Sounds I have a distinct sense of vitality, both physically and mentally. I find it an extremely valuable and valid approach. My first experience with meditation was in yoga and then, about 8 years ago, I learned Tai Chi and different types of meditation. Many teachers talked about energy flow, especially as regards to Tai Chi, but I never experienced it. I'd had my tongue to my palate through all of them, too. But this meditation here has created a sense of rooting that goes way beyond anything I've ever had before. What I'd heard years ago about such things was purely conceptual but what I get out of this meditation is an organic relationship between myself and the earth. I really feel as though I were like a tree rooted in the earth or a wave in the ocean.
The Six Healing Sounds have been very invigorating, too. Whether I do the orbit or the sounds I come away feeling the same. You can feel the energy move through the various pathways. It's a very distinct, definite sensation. You don't imagine these other pathways besides the Microcosmic Orbit. And those sensations are also clear cut and definite. Afterwards I feel very good; I feel more alive, I feel very peaceful. Then, during the day, I find that I have more energy and I feel very springy inside. I'd done Tai Chi Chuan for some years and I was concerned about hurting my knees in certain postures. After I'd practiced the Microcosmic Orbit for a few weeks I found that I was no longer troubled. What I assumed were knee stressing postures no longer troubled me.
Student: I've had quite a lot of experiences doing the microcosmic orbit. The first four or five weeks I didn't feel much at all and I began to feel concerned. By about the sixth or seventh week I had sensations that were almost like an orgasm and then I developed a feeling of euphoria. As I continued to practice I felt the energy rise. For a while it remained fixed at the midbrow area. In fact, I'd inhale when I practiced that was the only spot I'd feel. The most amazing experience I had was very recent when I was meditating at work. My tongue began to vibrate. My teeth then rapidly beat together and my head shook and then my body shook and my hands seemed to levitate upward. Then I realized that I could control the vibrations, at which point my body shook very fast, and then I slowed it down. This happens whenever I practice, now. It starts in the space of five or six breaths. At the end of such a session, I don't feel tired at all and that's what is most amazing to me. After I finish I bring the energy to the Tan Tien and rotate there and I get very calm, relaxed and happy, and strong, too. Along the way I've had other sensations, too, such as a different taste in my mouth. It's great!
Master Chia: That is very, very good. That taste you had, we call nectar, and that feeling of orgasm we call self-intercourse.
Student: I've practiced acupuncture for about three years and have studied martial arts as well. When you passed energy to me I felt a wonderful feeling in my chest and insides that was incredibly expansive, and hot and cold at the same time. I had a feeling of well being, of being grounded.
Gunther Weil: Each of you has to find the balance between staying at one point long enough to experience the energy gathering there and then wanting to go on by itself, versus going from point to point with your own mind because you're distracted. Only you can know which is best for you. The mind's always jumping around and wanting to do things and so if it's given a task to go point to point, sometimes the mind just wants to do it. If you sit and decide that you did this point and now you'll do the next, it's artificial. There's an internal balancing that has to happen. You have to do it till you're satisfied, deeply satisfied that you've done it. So at the beginning of this practice when you're alone at home or working, go slowly. Take 10 to 15 minutes on each point. Really exhaust it, deplete it. Sometimes the energy will go ahead. Sometimes it won't. Sometimes I don't notice anything. Sometimes I'll sit and I won't experience any energy at all but I'll feel the benefit of the practice. About 20% of practitioners of this don't experience the sensations but receive enormous benefits from it.
Master Chia: Sometimes your vitality or energy is too low and so your energy doesn't seem to do anything. Usually each month you have a week or two of lowered energy but the more you practice these dips in energy will be evened out.
Student: How are Tai Chi and the Microcosmic Orbit Related?
Master Chia: Tai Chi Chi Kung takes the principle of the microcosmic orbit and puts the energy in motion. In other words it adds chi or internal energy to the Tai Chi movements and works on the tendons, the chi passing from the internal organs out to the rest of the body including the fascia, tendons, muscles and bones. The microcosmic orbit creates the energy that is then used in Tai Chi. You can't imagine how happy it will make you.
Gunther Weil: When you do the first level in this system you begin to regulate your energy, opening the main channels. In saving and regulating the energy you're beginning to balance it, but you still can't do very much with it. When you're assailed from the outside by factors that affect you emotionally you'll simply respond as you've learned to. That's why it's necessary that you do the first part of the Fusion of the Five Elements, because you learn a means of transforming the energy of your emotions, including anger. When you are in the presence of someone who's angry you can learn how to take that anger in and use it, or take your own anger and use it, by taking the energy out of the anger. Anger can be converted to a neutral energy either by returning it to its organ of origin (the liver) or by mixing it with the emotions of the other elements until no single emotion is any longer dominant.
Student: I'm a chiropractor and I teach Touch For Health. This exercise was very powerful. The energy started going up my spine, like a jack hammer forcing its way up. When it went to the base of my skull my whole body shook. Then it went to my head, then my hair line, then settled in the bridge of my nose where it was really painful. Finally it felt like the energy went through. It moved down to the navel creating a huge amount of white light energy. A very powerful experience.
Master Chia: Good. Keep your practice going every day. If you don't, all the energy will be reabsorbed. Just relax down to your navel and when you feel the navel is activated, go down to the next center, either the sperm palace or ovary center, and then to the perineum, and then to the coccyx. That is all there is to it. Remain there until the energy shoots up the back. Just keep the pump pumping up. The coccyx is like a pump that pushes everything up; and there's another pump at the upper end of the back, too, remember. Relax and smile down to your navel and the whole thing is set into motion.
Student: How come you never gave us any preliminary exercises in breathing to do.
Master Chia: Because you might have come to rely too much on it. Breathing is important, though, in establishing relaxation through the proper use of the diaphragm. Paying attention to breathing draws energy and attention from the mind and that acts as a drain and a distraction. Ultimately, we seek to arrive at 100% use of mind power and paying attention to the breath does not allow for that. Besides, on much higher levels breathing is no longer noticible. It is not without reason that we take as much time in letting everything "go down" so that the mind can be free.
There's something I'd like you all to understand. What you are practicing now is inner alchemy. The food you eat involves an outer alchemy. Many people today believe that by simply eating correctly the body will be brought to harmony. This is not true. If your body is not prepared your organs will not work together properly and all that good food will be wasted because it will not be utilized properly. It is common knowledge that under stress digestion and assimilation are hampered and that under extreme stress v there can be an overall emptying of food contents. Of greater importance, then, is the cultivation of the inner alchemy. With no exaggeration, if the inner alchemy is balanced, the outer will take care of itself. In the higher level, when our bodies are in perfect balance, we can get along with little food, or no food at all.
Student: Is it important for a husband and wife to meditate together?
Master Chia: When you practice as a family you will all change, becoming more harmonious. I have a student who told me that whenever she concentrated on her navel in the morning and her husband moved his leg she could feel the energy in her own leg go into his. In a short time she observed that his overall health had improved and he was no longer burdened with frequent headaches and colds. Another of my students, Richard Wu, rid himself of his allergies through Taoist Yoga. When his wife found herself similarly afflicted she asked to learn the method so that she too could find relief. It took her just one day to complete the micro orbit. Her husband came to me pleased by her accomplishment but puzzled, too, because it had taken him months to do the same thing. I explained that that was not unusual and that their energies flowed in sympathy because they lived together and that being with a person who practices can lead to such results.
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