The Yin-tang is the pituitary gland and is called the "Tsu Chiao" or the Original Cavity of the Spirit by Taoists. In fact, there are many names for it in the Taoist Encyclopedia (Life Palace, Yu Ting, Jade Cauldron, etc.). This point is located between the eyebrows, above the nasal cavity. It is the master endocrine control gland, regulating growth, gonadal function, the adrenals and the thyroid.
It is said to govern the forebrain, vision, the right eye, as well as being the seat of love, compassion, knowledge, integration or personality, love of humanity and devotion. It is further said to be the seat of intelligence, conceptual memory (reading, thinking, studying), linear sequential time consciousness, abstract and conceptual thinking, compulsiveness, racism, sexism and paranoia.
The pituitary and the pineal gland are extremely important when completing the routes, for it is at these two points that you can check your power flow. When you concentrate on the navel and store power there, energy suddenly rises up and passes through the Niwan (the pineal gland). The next checking point is the Yin Tang (the pituitary gland). When you have completed the Micro-cosmic Orbit you can use these two, the Niwan and the Yin- tang, to see whether indeed there is a power flow. The rest of the points are usually not sensitive enough for this. To complete the route, the power has to flow down from the soft palate, through the tongue, into and through the throat, the Hsuan-chi, the Shuan-chung (heart chakra) the Chung-wan (solar plexus) and finally the navel again.
When the power has passed from the midbrain to the forebrain and then to the pituitary gland and the mammalary bodies, many students will feel pressure in both the left and right sides of their forehead, which is due to resistance to the flow often found when the route narrows as it comes down through the nose. This may stimulate the release of mucous or even lead to sinus trouble, if you are inclined that way.
After some time you may experience a fragrance. This is said to be caused by hormone glands purifying the internal organs. The aromas vary from person to person and also depends upon the degree of one's development. It is impossible to describe all the various senses that have been reported but flowers, perfumes, wine bouquet and coconut water have been mentioned. Along with the fragrance, there may be needle-like sensations or a feeling as if something were pressing down on one's forehead or hammering in the middle of one's head. This is again due to the fact that there is resistance to the flow of energy. If you can ignore these feelings, the condition will gradually abate.
Concentrating on the brow point reduces the jarring effects of sudden loud noises. By contrast, students who concentrate on the navel do not have this facility. A degree of stability is reached, then, by the time you reach the point between the eyebrows. The tendency to worry will diminish and disappear as practice progresses. From then on you feel more saliva being released, which is said to be caused by hormones which are activated in the pituitary gland. With continued practice, the saliva will become more sweet and fragrant, at which time it is referred to as nectar.
This nectar helps to stimulate appetite and to activate all of your bodily systems. When your appetite is good, your digestion and assimilation are improved and you feel both content and invigorated. To top it all, you will also feel very calm. Students at this level report that they hear internal noises ranging from the beating of the heart and the magnified sound of their breathing to the rushing sound of the blood as it passes through blood vessels and the workings of their various inner organs. They even describe sounds which Indian Yogis have for centuries referred to as divine. Most of these smells and sounds have always been there, but have been overshadowed by our attention to other things. As you grow quieter, and become less distracted, these ever present sounds become evident with the exception of the nadis, the divine sounds, which alter characteristically as one progresses spiritually.
When you have finally reached the point between your eyebrows, you are half-way finished. This doesn't only refer to opening the Microcosmic Orbit and other routes, but to what follows as well. The next stage (after the routes have been opened) involves the transportation of vital materials, the hormones as well as chi in the practical application to one's daily life of these new found abilities. These steps have already been described as organ purification, stimulation and development of the vital flow for the healing of illness. It brings strength and vitality to those who have been weak and finally rejuvenation and long life.
This calls for a very subtle balancing of powers and methods of approach to avoid the many pitfalls that side-effects can bring. The danger here is real. Without the proper knowledge as to how to proceed, outright physical and emotional damage can result. Some of the side-effects, again, are sensations of tightness or heaviness in the head, sleepiness, ear-noises, toothaches, sinusitis, nervousness, anger and irritability, all of which are due to having too much power accumulated in the head. The precaution, again as a reminder, is to be sure to bring the power back down along the route it travelled on its way to the head and/or being sure to end each practice period by returning it back to the navel in the prescribed manner. At the navel circulate the chi clockwise (if you are male) 36 times and then counterclockwise 24 times, ending by pushing in at the navel (reversing the direction of circling if you are female).
If you concentrate solely on the forehead or if you do so for long periods of time without having properly opened the routes, you will have most of these ill effects. Of the hundreds of students I have taught, most of them have reached higher levels of practice without much, if any, such trouble. Our aim here is to acquaint you with the side effects that can occur and how to prevent them so that you can be alerted to what can happen as you practice and thereby be more successful in your endeavors. Younger people, who have stronger power, must be more careful and should be sure to bring the power down to the navel at the end of each session.
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