The Chi of the Universe can only be absorbed to the extent that we open our heart to the Universe and extend our consciousness and Chi to it as a token of our love. Only then will it respond. To be effective, mind and Chi need each other, as in the rise of internal pressure. We will only receive the love energy of the Universe to the extent that we acknowledge and honour our love relationship to the Universe.
This first of all implies that we acknowledge that the Universe is alive and that we are its children. Unless we awaken to this and bring it into our lives, it will be difficult to realize that we are part of it and we will tend to feel superior to it and see ourselves the center of the world which we will wish to use as a tool for our own interest. The Universe may then become a profitable fetish which we use, because we believe we can get something out of it like a bank account.
This attitude of seeing ourselves as a small cosmos which is only there because it is nourished in every breath by the great cosmos, so typical of the Taoist tradition, is shared by many ancient cultures. It was thus, part of a common human pattern beneath all the diversity and multiple originalities, before the process of ho-mogenization was enforced with the advent of modern times.
When we relate to the Universe, it will respond and we will begin to feel it in the changes in energy in our body. This is the law of reciprocity underlying our relationship with the Universe. It requires an attitude which is radically different from the one in which the Universe has been reduced to a useful object which needs proper management.
In the course of Chi Kung of which Tan Tien Chi Kung is a particular form, a sudden sense of wonder may arise in a flash of awareness: although one is responsible for one's own life and for one's own breath and Chi, one realizes that one's breathing is only there, because one breathes. This awareness then grows with the realization that one is part of the great whole and its rhythms; our awareness processes the life giving energy.
Such a sense of wonder may arise in between the out and in breath and the in and out breath in that moment of emptiness when life is for a fraction in suspense. Then one is filled again with new life force and the Lower Tan Tien, enjoying the bio-electromagnetic current, in which the essence of food and air is converted, enters into waves of fine vibrations which ripple in all directions. It is like a drum whose skin has the right tension and internal pressure to produce a powerful sound. The same is true with string instruments. If the strings are too tight, they snap. If they are too loose, you cannot play. Only when they have the right tension does music become possible.
The Universe cannot resonate with us, if our musical instrument is out of order and we cannot tune it.
Yet, in order to truly get in touch with the Universe and with the world, there is a clear insistence in the Taoist view, that we need to be first in touch and connected with ourselves. It is difficult to be in touch with the Universe, if we are not first in touch with and love ourselves. As the Chi Kung Master Jesus, the son of a Palestinian carpenter, said, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." In order to receive love, we need to give it so that a balance of reciprocity is maintained and enhanced on the basis of mutual exchange. To be able to give, one must first gather abundant good energies to share.
Sensitivity and a loving attitude towards oneself is thus a condition for getting in touch with others and of the energies of the Universe. As I have more than once suggested, the relationship with the Universe may be compared with that between two lovers. In order to attract the attention of the person whom one has fallen in love with, one needs to first share one's good intentions and qualities, to stir openness and love on the other side. A true relationship is only possible, if there is dialogue and partnership and a process of mutual exchange in an interplay of give and take.
At the heart of Taoist practice stands the process of the alchemical conversion of energy: matter turns into energy and energy into matter of another kind and in another form. I have often observed that what is material immaterializes and what has immaterialized once again materializes into another form and state. Thus, the potential of the physical body to become a spiritual body is actualized.
As a rule, because of the materialist perspective in present day dominant culture and the immediate utility of Chi Kung for enhancing health, some may tend to use it as another outer fitness practice. Those who make use of it its original intention, develop inner power.
There is a growing group of people who long for a new perspective on health and self-healing which has its roots not in any dictates and truths from outside, imposed by any institutions, but in one which can be verified through one's own life experience.
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