There are nine basically significant centers of power. The first of these is located at the base of the spine. It controls elimination and corresponds to the Sacral Plexus. This is the occult center of the body, which holds the serpent power. It also represents the Earth element. Its color is yellow.
The Tu Mo, or Channel of Control, is composed of twenty eight acupuncture point, ascending from the coccyx, up the spine, over the skull, and ending at the upper gum. If this channel is not functioning properly, one will experience bladder problems, pain in the lower abdomen or chest, or hernia. Many of the points on this channel are employed to stimulate or tone the organs in general. Mediation on this center steadies the body and trains the mind.
Place the palms facing, thumbs together, fingers upward. Interlock the fingers above, but extend the middle fingers of both hands and hold them together in front of the chest. Feel the heat between your hands; feel the beat of the pulse in your palms.
Using the middle fingers as a pointer, trace the ideogram shown in the air before you by alternately tracing five horizontal lines and four vertical. Close the eyes and visualize the character. This will key the mind to the sacral center. Chu represents "Strength of Mind and Body."
Hold the head erect, with the tip of the tongue lightly on the roof of the mouth. Inhale deeply through the nose, filling the lungs from bottom to top. Lay the hands in the lap. Exhale, emptying the lungs from top to bottom, but exhale only two-thirds of the breath. Press the remaining one-third downward into the Hara by expanding the lower belly, and hold for nine heartbeats. Repeat 81 times.
On the eighty-first repetition, exhale completely and hold the exhalation. Concentrate on the Hara. "If this region is warm," say the Chinese, "one is halfway to immortality." This exercise alone will prevent many illnesses. Lower the head forward until the chin touches the chest if possible, but do not stretch. This will aid in holding the lungs empty. Do not hold the breath with the throat. That can cause rupturing of tiny blood vessels supplying the face, neck, and head. Retain the breath by tensing the diaphragm, the bellows which draws in the air and presses it downward.
While in this position, one develops a kinesthetic sense of the body. This enables one to diagnose imbalances of energy within the body. This technique is known as touring. Holding the breath for 81 heartbeats while circulating Qi in the Microcosmic Orbit, up the back and down the front of the body, is known as the Small Tour. Holding the breath for 108 heartbeats while circulating Qi in the Eight Psychic Channels is known as the Grand Tour.
After the prescribed time (number of heartbeats), relax. Slowly release the diaphragm and the chin lock, taking care not to strain or move too quickly. Release the tension used to expand the Hara and inhale slowly, taking care not to gulp air and induce belching. Breathe slowly and deeply without sound.
The Hara will now feel warm, like a friendly fire. In fact, it is called the Golden Cauldron in Chinese alchemy, used to "distill" Qi from the breath. You will feel a sensation at the base of the spine. It will grow, double, redouble, and race up the spine to the base of the skull. This is the site of the medulla oblongata, which controls all autonomic functions of the body-including respiration, circulation, and certain other functions- hence the name Channel of Control.
Once in this altered state, begin sensory withdrawal exercises to isolate the mind and develop conscious control of the body. In Yoga, the bandhis or "muscle locks," like holding the diaphragm, chin-lock and so on, are the first step in developing the internal strength with which the Ninja forges his body in the fire of his will. Through this type of exercise the Yogi, and the Ninja, develop the ability to endure extremes of heat and cold, pain, hunger, and deprivation.
Patience is also a virtue gained through this practice. Being the first in a series, and unfamiliar, it quite naturally takes some practice to calm the breath sufficiently to not hear it. Feeling the pulse also requires some practice. And, hearing the heartbeat, which is only possible when the mind is calm, may take ninety days or more. Most initiates are frightened when this occurs. Their first thought being that if they hear it, their heart will stop. But, this does not happen.
And, in time, the heartbeat becomes as source of comfort and reassurance. Furthermore, it is the "internal clock" by which all these exercises are "timed." Making it essential to the remainder of the practice.
Therefore, do not expect to be enlightened the first time you sit down. Patience, practice and perseverance are required to achieve even the smallest positive result. Very often the anticipation of some subtle sensation is the very thing that prevents it from happening. This too, is one of the hidden lessons of Ninjitsu.
Enlightenment seldom appears as a flash of lightning that makes everything suddenly clear. Instead, as many great authors have told us, it is a slow and gradual process, made up of many small steps, each of which contributes to the whole. The trick is to "see the pattern."
One way in which the Ninja does this is by classification of the "ten thousand things" into broad categories of Yin ("In" in Japanese) and Yang ("Yo" in Japanese), the two primeval forces of the universe, constantly striving for balance. (Tao) This is another mnemonic tool to aid the memory. This removes many of the injunctions of society, making it clear that the rat does not steal, nor does the cat murder. Each acts according to its nature. So too it is with Man.
She«- 2nd Kanji/Mudra
The second center of power is the source of the Jen Mo, or Channel of Function. It begins at the base of the genitals and travels up the center of the body, ending on the face just above the chin. Along this path lie twenty-four acupuncture points, or points of adjustment. If there is an imbalance in this channel's flow of energy, the back of the neck will be stiff and there will be spiritual unrest. This center represents the water element. Its form is circular and its color is white. It controls sexual desires and is characterized by the energy of youth. It corresponds to the epigastric plexus and develops power generation in the psychic centers.
Place the palms together as before and extend the index fingers. Withdraw the middle finger from its intertwined position and place it over the index fingers. Think of the Hara, the One Point.
Lift the hands and trace the illustrated ideogram in the air before you by alternately tracing five horizontal and four vertical lines. Close the eyes and visualize the character. Place the hands in the lap.
Hold the head erect. Begin with an exhalation brought about by a rapid inward stroke of the abdomen. Inhalation follows immediately by relaxation of the abdominal muscles. Thus, inhalation is so passive and automatic that one again creates an oxygen debt within the system; as before, this produces a sensation of warmth. Repeat this exercise eighty-one times at the rate of two exhalations per second. Lay the head back, exposing the throat.
On the eighty-first repetition, hold the breath as before with the diaphragm. Previously it was specified that the Lotus posture of yoga be employed for these exercises. The reason will now become apparent. When the breathing exercise described herein is properly performed over a long period, certain vibrations begin within the body. These emanate from the center of power we are now considering. The vibrations, coupled with a feeling of exhilaration, lessen motor control of the limbs. In the Lotus, the legs are in a position impossible to undo without the aid of the hands. Thus they are not likely to be disturbed by this loss of control. Such an occurrence would likely cause one to fall over.
This exercise is used to develop concentration. In the stage of sensory withdrawal, one becomes responsive to those forces which are of a spiritual nature. When the Ninja finds that he can detach himself from senses, he is ready for this, the second, phase. In this state, let the mind wander and your thoughts take their own course freely. At first this is difficult because the mind is so full of many things. After a time, it settles and begins to flow.
This unrestricted stream of consciousness may entertain good as well as evil thoughts, so evil that one will often be surprised. But, day by day, these will diminish, become less and less numerous, and less extensive. Until, finally, only one thought remains. Then attention is directed to the interval between thoughts. The latter are elusive and fluctuating continuously. The former, the interval, is calm and flowing. By this experience one comes to know the true self. This exercise is often taught as a purification ritual.
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