Sunday, March 4, 2012

Finding and opening a chakra

As I explained in my previous post "What are chakras?", chakras like entities are called "mysterious aperture" (玄窍) in Taoist meditation. These are entities without a "permanent" physical presence, but when made to appear, can lead to powerful physical, psychological and metaphysical changes. How to make them present? The answer is through focused meditation (意守).

In tai-chi and Taoist meditation, the most common point of focused meditation is lower Dantian (丹田) which is roughly the Solar Plexus Chakra (臍輪). With focused meditation, energy will be created and stored there. There are however some negative side-effects when too much "mindfulness" (意) is focused on a singular chi-point. For one, prominent Zen meditation practitioner and Chinese classics scholar Nan HuaiJin (南怀瑾) was against too focused on focused meditation, and he often made fun with Taoist practitioners who develop too much chi at one single point resulting in many negative side effects (ref: His books of commentary on Can Tong Qi).

This brings us to another issue: after "finding" a chakra through focused mediation (意守), how can a practitioner "open" a chakra?

According to Tibetan Buddhism, a chakra (wheel) can be visualized as a flower. When it is being found, it is dry, and has to be nourished to make loosened and being fresh again. How to make this chakra alive again? Below I shall approach it from a Taoist perspective based on my own practice experience.

Let me introduce an important concept in the opening of chakras ("mysterious aperture" 玄窍). The concept is called Bathing (沐浴). Through the practice of bathing, chi is mindfully channeled radiantly outside a chakra. It is NOT like joining another chakra (which is another practice), but lowering the energy at the point (like lowering one's heat through "bathing" where its name came). The benefits are two folds: firstly more energy can be created at the point, and secondly its vicinities can be benefited from energy sending out from there.

For a practitioner who is familiar with tai-chi, he can visualize the opening of a chakra as opening his ball-and-socket joint in tai-chi. The only difference is that the ball-and-socket joint is physically there, whereas a chakra ("mysterious aperture" 玄窍) has to be discovered or found!

Image of root-chakra for meditation

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